An early visit on Sunday to find the Whoopers wasn’t a great success, as I approached the hide I heard two Swans taking off from the scrape but saw nothing, a dog walker I met later said he had seen them fly over him while on Hougham Mill Lane but didn’t look close enough to ID them. Nor did I see the three Little Grebes or the Green Sandpiper, but there was a large flock, c200, of Lapwing flying around the whole time I was there. Also around 15 Redpoll in the main track hedge and the hedge to the … Continue reading

Starlings, whoopers, etc.

  Marston. 23/11/2013 The starling roost wasn’t as good as yesterday when I estimated 5,000 but  still plenty came in, perhaps 3,000. They didn’t all join together like yesterday. Watching from the main track with Trev Lee and his family, it was still very entertaining, especially when a sparrowhawk joined in the fun. Walking back to the car park in near darkness, we were amazed to find a family of whooper swans on the scrape. How the hell had they sneaked in ? They must have dropped in from behind the willows to spend the night. What a privilege ! My … Continue reading Starlings, whoopers, etc.


  Marston 21/11/2013 It has been a while since I made a dusk visit. It’s a different world here at that time of day.  Water rail squeals really step up a gear and lots of birds drop into the reedbed to roost. I was thrilled to see lots of starlings coming in, then more, then more. I’d got a bit of a murmuration happening ! I would estimate 3,000+.They weren’t all in one group, after the initial gathering of about 1,000, others of up to a hundred would drop in, mostly they came from the east but some from the west. … Continue reading MSTW

Crossbill parakeets

Holt, Norfolk. 20/11/2013 Sharon is usually far from impressed when I show her my rarity photos, or what bird I’d seen in a book. Its normally a case of showing her the pic and explaining that it’s a first winter/juv/female type version-she looks in the bird book and says something like ‘why can’t you ever see that one?’, pointing at the gaudy adult breeding male. Well, I thought I’d put things right and go for the parrot crossbills.(which she called crossbill parakeets !) Anyway, things didn’t go quite the way Ted planned, crap weather, crap views, no photos. Met some good … Continue reading Crossbill parakeets


19/11/2013. Denton. The res. is fast becoming my first choice dog-walk route (and Lily’s). The first goosanders of the winter, a drake and female flew off soon after a pike fisherman arrived. There were approx.200 wigeon, the most Iv’e seen here. Over a hundred fieldfares and over fifty redwings were in the trees and fields. Three skaarking jays were acorn-ing. A text from SL informing me of a flock of redpolls and other finches at Marston got me looking there later on, but I couldn’t locate them. Very quiet it was. A green sandpiper and the obligatory squeals from water rails were the highlight. Got me … Continue reading Goosanders.


Spent a couple of days on the Northumbrian coast mainly around Stag Rocks in the Bamburgh area. Pretty lively with more Snow Buntings, Twite and Purple Sandpipers than I’ve ever seen at one time before. Large numbers of Common Scoter and Eider with just two Velvet Scoters. The sea ducks were quite a long way off shore due to the high winds and breaking surf but the waders were closer in. Good location where you can actually sea watch from the car! Just a few shots: David Continue reading Northumbria