Donna Nook 16/12/12

 Large numbers of Grey Seals still cover the beach at Donna Nook. It's been another successful breeding season with 1,523 pups born so far - beating last year's total of 1,438.

I was unable to cover the whole of my birding patch as attempting to do so would have resulted in some protective mothers biting chunks out of me. Note the bull in the background - he is keen to mate with the female but will have to wait until she is ready. Currently she will not allow him any closer as she continues to attend to her pup.

Naughty pup behind bars


Bohemian invaders

 We have been fortunate to witness a mass arrival of Waxwings into the UK this autumn/winter.

Autumn passerine migration begins 12/08/12

Passerine migration is under way with me seeing 4 Pied Flycatchers today between the RAF base and Pyes Hall (a 5th bird was also reported). The flycatchers ere my first of the year as was a Whinchat seen close to Pyes Hall. Also seen: Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Green Sandpiper, Cuckoo, 5 Whitethroats and a Willow Warbler. On the insect front a Migrant Hawker dragonfly was on the wing at Pyes Hall and butterfly highlights were: Ringlet, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Heath, Common Blue, Wall, Gatekeeper & Small Skipper.

Pied Flycatcher - often one of the first passerine migrants on the move along the coast

Horseshoe Point 05/08/12

An evening visit to Horseshoe Point for the high tide produced by 2nd Black Tern in as many days, this time a juvenile. An adult Curlew Sandpiper was in amongst the Dunlin. An adult Med Gull also present. Other noteworthy birds: Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 10 Whimbrel, Little Owl, Barn Owl and a Corn Bunting,

Donna Nook 04/08/12

Highlight was my first Black Tern of the year, an adult in amongst the terns at high tide. Other noteworthy birds were 2 Marsh Harriers, Peregrine, 15 Kestrels between Stonebridge and Pyes Hall, 15 Whimbrel, 4 Greenshank, whilst warblers were represented by 8 Whitethroats & 2 Willow Warblers. Small Tortoiseshells are now clearly on the wing with at least 4 seen, also 3 Gatekeeper and a Red Admiral made up the butterfly highlights. A Common Lizard scurried across the footpath close to the base and a Muntjac briefly showed by the roadside verge close to Stonebridge at the end of the day.
Relaxing on a lovely summer's day by the tide edge with these fellas

Donna Nook 28/07/12

An afternoon visit to Donna Nook produced a Common Sandpiper on the outfall at Pyes, a couple of flyover Yellow Wagtails, Marsh Harrier west over Stonebridge car park, an immature Peregrine playfighting with the gulls on the mudflats and my 2nd Curlew Sandpiper of the autumn. A Red Admiral butterfly was at the base.

Adult Curlew Sandpiper

Sea Lavender provides a colourful carpet over the saltmarsh

This immature Peregrine was causing chaos on the mudflats but appeared to be playing rather than seriously looking for prey, it even decided to have a few swoops at a Herring Gull.

Woody Nightshade (also known as Bittersweet)  
Related to the more well-known Deadly Nightshade, it also possesses berries that are poisonous to humans

Horseshoe Point 21/07/12

Had a walk out on to the mud flats at Horseshoe in the afternoon with the best bird being a moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper with a flock of only 10 Dunlin, Whimbrel were clearly on the move with a total of 8 birds moving through. The only other noteworthy birds were 9 Common Scoter heading upriver, a Yellow Wagtail and a Dutch-ringed Oystercatcher.

Curlew Sandpiper

Oystercatcher all blinged up with Dutch rings

Calandra Lark

Calandra Lark (SE Turkey 2012)

Twite (E Turkey & Caucasus race brevirostris)

Twite (race brevirostris)
 The pale underparts & well-defined dark markings on the breast are clearly visible here - very different to British birds!

Some shots from my SE Turkey trip 2012

 Dead Sea Sparrow

 Black Kite

 Paddyfield Warbler

 Black-headed Wagtail

Snow Finch

Garden Sparrowhawk

Male Sparrowhawk on my garden fence 

Year tick

Yellow Wagtail - a single bird at Covenham Reservoir & my first of the spring