Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Richards

With Chris C up for the weekend, Mark and I were hopeful for a good migrant haul today - especially after the good run if east coast records this past week. Alas it was not to be - the bluethroat at St Mary's appears to have gone, and with yellow-browed warbler aplenty at the second destination we didn't hang on to long.

Whitburn was marginally better - with 2 Richards Pipit frequenting the field opposite the coastal park and a single yellow-browed warbler. The un identified acro was unseen by us, and a fear of leaving before anything of significance had been trapped kept us on the site for a few hours.

Glorious sunshine and nice to catch up with CC.

Brown Shrikes "all over the place" might be an indicator of what's to come over the next few days....

Thursday, 26 September 2013

More of the same

Another trip to Hartley / St Mary's this morning - sunny and quieter than yesterday. The bluethroat continues, while 2 yellow-browed warbler were also noted.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Feeling blue...

Headed out early this morning, starting back at the dunes between Blyth and Seaton Sluice - no sign of yesterdays red-backed shrike.

Seaton Sluice appeared quiet - 2 stonechat and the flock of house sparrow... so headed to Hartley to try for yellow-browed warbler on the mounds. Greeted by a pager message advising of a bluethroat at the northern most mound, and a few minutes later were enjoying close views on the track - a good result and my first in the county for several years. Frustratingly only had the bridge camera, and while record shots were possible, the quick reaction focus of the DSLR would have been better...

Back at Seaton Sluice, the hunt for common rosefinch was unsuccessful, but a yellow-browed warbler flew in off the sea...

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Number 3

3rd "bike" red-backed shrike of the year this morning - a female between Blyth and Seaton Sluice on hawthorns alongside the cycleway, 10m north of the dunes car park / 150m south of Glocester Lodge Farm

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Two Yanks and a Little 'grin.

Worth getting up for!

It was an early start on Sunday to get onto St Mary's just as the tide receded - for another attempt at iphone-scoping the American Golden Plover... Still not quite getting the results I had hoped for, and I'll use the blustery conditions as a contributory excuse for now...

Best of a bad bunch...

Further north at Cresswell, another American, this time in the form of a Pectoral Sandpiper occasionally came within the iPhones range for record shots. Better still were flyover little egret and a soaring peregrine - both very belated 2013 ticks!

Pectoral Sandpiper and, to the left, Ruff

Saturday, 21 September 2013

AGP: Tresco 2006

Had another go for the St Mary's Island American Golden Plover this afternoon, and perhaps got the timing just wrong - as the rising tide reduced time on the island itself and reduced the available rocks beneath the promenade somewhat. Two "closerthanyesterday" views, but insufficient time to get a photography device on the bird in question. Rather frustrating.

Reflecting on this, I wondered how long ago it was since my last AGP... surprised to find it was 2006, a confiding immature on Tresco, Isles of Scilly. It was a sunny, warm day (not unlike today) on 11th October. To say the bird was confiding is an understatement, and it completed a good day on  the island.

The AGP was the final pitstop, having enjoyed an American Robin in the morning (a bird I've never photographed well in the UK... need another go!)

...and between the AR and AGP, a nice Red-backed Shrike  on my favoured autumn shrub-type perch (brambly things) - all in a days birding in the South-West!

Friday, 20 September 2013

American Golden Plover, St Mary's - iPhone scoping attempt 1...

First attempt at iphone scoping a rare... American Golden Plover at St Mary's today. Conditions were ok, but a slight breeze made steady focus tricky. A handy tip on site from MH might assist ... I'll try next time and advise accordingly!

The AGP was initially on a rocky island offshore in Hartley Bay, too far for any serious attempt at a record short (though I did try). As the tide encroached the flock moved onto the rocks adjacent to the lighthouse, so a closer approach was possible,  the images are zoomed in slightly on the scope and can at best be described as a "record"(from approximately 20 meters range?).

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

iPhone Scoping

I'd tried a couple of attempts at digi scoping recently, and after a short period of experimentation I've opted to use the iPhone in preference to a standard compact camera. (The Dslr hasn't been retired!).

The advantage of the iPhone is that images or video can be uploaded direct from the field and, perish the thought, be skyped or facetimed live from the field when that gripping rare turns up!

Hand held images were ok, but an adapter was needed to speed the accuracy up - so here's a sample of what I came up with - the back of a hard case for he 4s, and a bit if creativity from a mate...

Picture 1 - the room with a view - scope aimed at the gable end near top if picture.

2 - iPhone through scope at *30 (minimum zoom)

3 - iPhone through scope at *70 (maximum zoom)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Good start / Good End

Headed to st. Mary's this evening for an hours sea watch before dusk. Arrived as most of the others had left, with only Mark L and Alan J on watch - first bird through the scope was a close-in Sooty shearwater!

Gannets predominated viewing, with lesser numbers of kittiwake. 25 Brent geese headed north and a few wigeon. Skuas seen consisted only of Arctic, while the highlight of the watch was almost missed by Alan, as a storm petrel fluttered north in line with the yellow buoy! The investment in the new scope is paying off...

Carbon Fibre Tripod - For Sale

GIOTTOS  YTL8253 Carbon fibre leg tripod

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Graduated leg markings on each of the lower leg sections
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3/8" to 1/4" tripod thread to use with different tripods heads

& VH 6011-658D Mini Video Head

Great for DSLR's with video recording
Suitable for scopes & digi-scoping
Die cast aluminium construction
Independent pan & tilt locks

All original boxes / tools and instructions available

Cost new £239 August 2013

For sale £200ono - email or leave comment if interested

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Waders and bits at East Chevington

After a failed attempt to get common rosefinch on the county list this morning (Seaton Sluice), I headed to East Chevington for a few hours.

The north pool was very busy, with the main quarry, white-rumped sandpiper on show throughout the visit along with a good variety of waders - 25+ ruff, 10 black-tailed godwit, bar-tailed godwit, dunlin, ringed plover, redshank, lapwing, curlew, 3 little stint, snipe, 1 curlew sandpiper, some fly through sanderling and redshank.

A few pintail were amongst the teal and a single black tern occasionally came down in front of the viewing area.

From the edge of the reed bed the spotted crake continues to show intermittently, but the star of the visit was a suprise bittern that walked along the edge of the eastern shore, crossing the "crake bay".

Tried some digi-images to mixed results...

White-rumped Sandpiper

Black Tern

Test from the field!

iPhone pic of Black tern at East Chevington...