Thursday, 24 December 2015

Birding Advent Calendar - catch-up!

Ok, had a bit of a glitch on the interweb front as we moved house so the birding advent calendar from 17th - 23rd December kinda didn't happen.
So here's what you might have won and then I'll add the today's Christmas Eve bird and finish with a flourish tomorrow.

17th December

Glossy Ibis

A nice approachable bird which fed around the channels and ditches behind the lake at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk last November.

Juvenile Glossy Ibis, Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk
18th December


On the same day in November this late Hoopoe was present at Crostwick, Norfolk. I say late but there's still a Hoopoe around the West Midlands and several Swallows in Norfolk including a Red-rumped at Blakeney - all a bit weird!!

Hoopoe, Crostwick, Norfolk
19th December

Siberian Stonechat

A very smart bird indeed, and a lifer for me also. I managed one decent shot courtesy of some passing golfers who flushed the bird towards me.

Siberian Stonechat, Caister on Sea, Norfolk
20th December

Thick-billed Warbler

Sorry no picture of this one but well worth covering in my birds of the year round-up. Like the Citril Finch, it was right place and right time. Thanks to a tip off by James Lowen followed by a mad dash from Sumburgh to Quendale, I managed to get several flight views of the bird as it dashed from one clump of nettles to the next. Not how you would want to see it but better than missing it altogether.

21st December 

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

It took eight attempts, which reflects the scarcity of the species now sadly, but in the end perseverance won out and I managed good views of this female drumming at Santon Downham, Suffolk (in fact it flew across the Little Ouse so that gave me both Norfolk and Suffolk views also).

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Santon Downham, Suffolk
22nd December

Western Bonelli's Warbler

An unexpected bonus en route to Fair Isle last September. I had gotten a taxi from Sumburgh Airport to the Sumburgh Hotel, dropped off my gear and got the driver to bring me up to Sumburgh Lighthouse. I told him to come back in two hours and pick me up. The light was running out and I had to meet the taxi at 6.30pm, chances of a photograph were looking slimmer and slimmer until with about two minutes left before I needed to go, the bird popped up briefly for a look about before dropping down and out of sight. The trip was off to a great start with a lifer.

Western Bonelli's Warbler, Sumburgh Head, Shetland
 23rd December


A small crowd of seven or so birders had assembled to watch this Bluethroat at Winterton dunes last September, once they'd had their fill they all trooped off to try for a nearby Wryneck. So I was left on my own with the bird as it continued to feed around the bottom of the gorse. This is where it got good. At one point a Redstart dashed in and seemed to chase it away. The Bluethroat held its ground and then perched up on a low stump a short distance off the ground and began excitedly fanning its tail. I was trying to figure out why it was doing this when an Adder slithered past below the bird. Marvellous to see such behaviour up close.

Bluethroat, Winterton dunes, Norfolk

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