Thursday 29 July 2021

The Phil More's Corner Podcast - Series 2 Episode 8

We were very excited to have the opportunity to sit down and chat with one of the finest bird artists out there. Hans Larsson tells us how his interest in birds and drawing first began. He talks about his collaborations with Klaus Malling Olsen illustrating the identification guides to Terns, Skuas and Jaegers and Gulls of Europe, North America and Asia and more recently on the much anticipated "Seabirds - The New Identification Guide"  with Peter Harrison and Martin Perrow.

Thursday 15 July 2021

The Phil More's Corner Podcast - Series 2 Episode 7

In any other episode stories of Least Terns, Short-billed Dowitchers, European Rollers and Pacific Golden Plovers would be enough to occupy us completely and that's without our ramblings on Tayto Park and the Patagonia Picnic Table Effect. 
However, this episode is really about about Sean's two stonking nocmig records. First of all he digs out a Baillon's Crake in Wicklow (Ireland's 5th record if accepted) and a week later he outdoes himself when he comes across a Semi-Palmated Plover down on the Mizen Peninsula - the lad is on fire!!

Monday 5 July 2021

June / July Catch-up

Time for another catch-up post. We are bang slap in the middle of the birding doldrums but there have been birds to see and some good ones at that.

I'll start with the crowd-pleasing Roller found on the 23rd June at Lackford Lakes, Suffolk and then re-found not far away at Icklingham. Had I got bins in the car with me I would have gone from work that same evening but I was more prepared the next day and twitched it after work on 24th June. There were some stunning images obtained of the bird during its 5 day stay (I think), I failed miserably to get anything other than record shots. I could easily have returned for seconds but I thought better of repeating a walk along the edge of the hair raising A1101 road (until a safer route had been figured out, you needed to park 300 meters or so away and then walk back up along the narrow A1101 road to  where the bird was.....not for the faint hearted).


                                                                    Roller, Icklingham, Suffolk - 24th June 2021

Tuesday the 29th June was a significant day for other reasons - after over 8 years, my time at Baxter Healthcare came to conclusion. I was given a very nice send off, finished on good terms with great memories and now have 3 weeks off before I venture into the fascinating world of cell and gene therapy. Which means that until then I have some time for birding!

News broke last Saturday 3rd July of an adult Pacific Golden Plover showing well on Bishop's  / Brendan's Marsh at Hickling NWT. I was otherwise engaged that afternoon but in the evening when everyone else was watching the England game, Nick and I headed to Hickling. I have dipped on a few Pacific Golden Plovers (PGPs) in the past. And I dipped again!! Five minutes before we arrived it had been showing well and then took flight, it didn't seem to have left the area according to other birders but we never saw it. But it was a very pleasant evening otherwise with Common Cranes, Bittern, Wood and Green Sandpipers, double figures of Ruff, Little Ringed Plover and two Black-winged Stilts.

                                            Black-winged Stilt, Hickling, Norfolk - 3rd July 2021

All was not lost though, I got a second bite of the cherry when a PGP was found on the Serpentine at Cley on Monday evening (same bird I guess?). I headed up on Tuesday morning and the bird was showing very nicely. PGP was a lifer for me, its cousin, American Golden Plover, occurs more frequently in Ireland (I've seen 3 or 4 of those and I've even managed to find one myself (An almost expensive finds tick)). So, it was nice to finally see a PGP and a fine adult breeding plumage bird at that!

                                                Pacific Golden Plover, Cley, Norfolk - 5th July 2021

A Roseate Tern amongst Sandwich Tern on Arnold's Marsh was a nice bonus and a very good Norfolk bird too!

I'm still keeping an eye on my local patch too. Obviously much quieter than April and May had been but warblers are still singing albeit not with the same vigour as earlier. A walk around the area on Sunday morning produced singing Blackcaps, Common Whitethroat (3), Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler (2) and Sedge Warbler (3). 

Nocmigging as you'd expect has been quiet. Since mid-May due to wet weather and migration dropping off, I only put my parabola out on 17 out of 50 nights (34%). The highlight was a Common Cuckoo, calling twice at 2.45am on the morning of the 29th May. I didn't pick it up at first, I saw the Blackbird alarm call whilst scanning through the sonogram, despite recognsing what that is and it being nothing unusual at all, I decided for some reason to listen and slap bang it the middle of the Blackbird alarm call there was a Cuckoo. Score!


Otherwise its been quiet although Curlew passage started at the end of June (I had Curlew on three nights) and if the number of returning waders on Hickling last Saturday is anything to go by I should be getting Green Sands coming through soon and if I am super-lucky perhaps, just perhaps a Wood Sandpiper isn't totally out of the question!