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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Some great birds shared with some great friends......




What an amazing experience - up close and personal with a whole family of WESTERN BROWN FISH OWLS in Turkey - and watching them with some of my closest birding friends. Me with Keith Vinicombe and Garry Bagnell in the top picture, me with Ozcan and Chris Heard in the middle and with the entire team in the bottom shot including some of ISRAEL'S finest - of course Yoav Perlman amongst them.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

LGRE back in Britain at moment and available to answer emails....

Apologies for not being able to get back to individual enquiries but very busy with scheduled trips at moment in WP including a very successful tour of Eastern Turkey comprising of 170 species and mega views of both nesting BROWN FISH OWLS and STRIATED SCOPS OWLS and a bumper increase in breeding numbers of IRAQ BABBLERS....
Anyway, I am in a position to take in emails now and will answer as many as possible in the next few days
As for my Round Britain tours of 2013, it is looking as though I will have to add in a third trip due to the demand for places - with trips in January (third Week), April (last week) and in May (third week). Maximum places for each trip is TEN. The 2013 tour price will be in the region of £529 per person plus accommodation and food depending on the price of fuel per litre with £150 deposit before 31 December 2012 required for booking. All specific species requirements can be catered for except for Lady Amherst's Pheasant which is now strictly out-of-bounds and off-schedule - please enquire at time of booking

I shall be putting together my 2013 Tour Schedule together in December but will be planning on visits to Spain (2 different), Israel, Egypt, Western Sahara & Morocco, Scandinavia, Poland, Georgia & Turkey combined, Eastern Turkey, Cape Verde Islands, the Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand and another big trip to China mainly for 13 species of Pheasant.

Additional trips will be added in and advertised at a later stage but if you have an interest in any of the localities mentioned, please do not hesitate to ask for further information. But remember, these trips are all designed for maximum numbers of birds and are subject to dawn until dusk birding in often quite strenuous conditions - luxury birding it is not in many cases
Kind Regards

Lee Evans

LGREUK400@aol.com




Monday, 18 June 2012

Lee's Round Britain trips in 2013 - reserve your place now

John Foster has very kindly put together some of the highlights of our Round Britain tour in May 2012 where we recorded no less than 189 species. They can be viewed here at
http://yakkafoz.smugmug.com/Nature/Birding-Holidays/Round-Britain-Tour-May-2012

and are best viewed in 'slideshow mode'

I plan to run similar tours in 2013 - one in January and another at the end of April. I can take a maximum of 10 participants and have a few places left on both trips. Please email me to reserve a place. You do get some sleep.

Interestingly, 192 species were recorded on the January trip
Good Birding Always
Lee

LITTLE BITTERN supports Team GB





Stocker's Lakes' LITTLE BITTERN clearly supports Team GB in this year's Olympics, preferring each day to keep close to the football ! Francis Buckle obtained these great shots on Saturday, this bird having now delighted over 500 observers since its arrival.

It is performing well on frequent occasions and has now been present on site for a week. Leave the M25 at Junction 17 and drive towards Maple Cross. Turn left at the roundabout and take first right (Springwell Lane). Drive down as far as the flats and find somewhere to park safely in the vicinity or in Springwell Lane car park itself on the right. At the car repair workshops, walk down the river to the first bridge - cross it then follow the Colne river north along the footpath for 250 yards.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Still my favourite bird of the year - the CREAM-COLOURED COURSER





A most memorable twitch of 2012. My good friend Mike Lawrence took these magnificent pictures. Bird of the Year so far in 2012

Thursday, 14 June 2012

HEDGEHOGS in stark decline

Due to the incessant use of slug pellets in suburban gardens and elsewhere, Hedgehog populations are in serious decline. Hedgehogs actually consume vast numbers of garden slugs so if left to prosper would naturally cure the problem. However, eating poisonous slugs means that Hedgehogs endure a slow, painful death. Please think seriously before lacing your garden with these highly toxic pellets


Lee Evans

Monday, 11 June 2012

Wettest June since records began forecast

Rain, rain, rain.....and more rain - and gale force winds too - and all set to make June 2012 the wettest since records began. All proving disastrous for breeding birds too - both resident and migrant. Despite all of this doom and gloom, birders have still managed to find a combined total of 377 species in Britain and Ireland this year, no less than five species added in the past week.....




The Yorkshire EUROPEAN ROLLER of course remains top-billing, performing admirably for over 2,000 visitors now and favouring the large tilled field east of the B1242 about half a mile north of Aldbrough village (East Yorks). Check out Rebecca Nason's fantastic flight shots of this bird on my UK400 Club blog......Although, not to be outshone, the gorgeous adult male SNOWY OWL continues its summer sojourn at Grenitote on North Uist (Outer Hebrides). The Outer Hebrides' also hosted a female GREATER SANDPLOVER at Stinky Bay on Benbecula from 8th-10th, showing well with Ringed Plovers on the sandy beach



Also today, male IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS continue to sing in Somerset (Porlock) and in West Cornwall (at the top end of Kenidjack Valley) although doubts are now being raised over the identification of the Somerset male, whilst a marked arrival of ROSE-COLOURED STARLINGS seems to have taken place with singles at Severn Beach (Avon), in an Edwinstowe garden (Notts) and at Langney Point, Eastbourne (East Sussex) and the impressive spring for 'twitchable' MARSH WARBLERS continues with one still at Hadston Carrs (Northumberland) and another at Big Waters NR (Northumberland).



As usual, the Northern Isles at the end of June continue to attract scarcities, with Fair Isle hosting Common Crane, Grey-headed Wagtail, Icterine Warbler, Marsh Warbler and Golden Oriole in recent days, as well as the first RIVER WARBLER of the year, North Ronaldsay (Orkney) a female Red-backed Shrike, two Marsh Warblers and a PADDYFIELD WARBLER and further singing male Marsh Warblers at Sumburgh Head (Shetland) and by the doctor's surgery at St Margaret's Hope, South Ronaldsay (Orkney).



A single GLOSSY IBIS remains at Marloes Mere (Pembs) whilst the two adults that were with it all winter and year moved south in the storms to Somerset, where they appeared at Steart on the weekend and flew north over Combwich today. Two more remain at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk), frequenting the flooded levels to the south of the reserve, with that roaming the South Coast currently favouring Farlington Marsh (Hants).



Whilst at least two pairs build scrapes, a single female BLACK-WINGED STILT visited Cley Marshes NWT (Norfolk) from 6th to 9th



Two new WOODCHAT SHRIKES appeared yesterday, with a first-summer male on the edge of Walberswick Common (Suffolk) and a first-summer female on the limestone pavement at Great Orme (Conwy), whilst the long-staying first-summer female remained at the north end of Winterton North Dunes (Norfolk). A male RED-BACKED SHRIKE remained for a second day at Landguard NR (Suffolk) whilst an ICTERINE WARBLER was discovered in marrams at Long Hills, Blakeney Point (Norfolk).



A first-summer male RED-FOOTED FALCON survives at Tealham Moor (Somerset) today but sadly the young male at Willington GP (Derbyshire) succumbed to the appalling weather conditions and died overnight.



A LONG-TAILED DUCK remains on Neatholme Scrape, Idle Valley NR (Notts)



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HIGHLIGHTS 1-10 JUNE 2012



An incredibly deep and wet low pressure system hit the West Coast on 7th resulting in a NORTH ATLANTIC LITTLE SHEARWATER being seen off Berry Head, Brixham (South Devon) and unusual numbers of STORM PETRELS along the South Coast. Up to 20 Pomarine Skuas were 'plucked' out of the Atlantic and displaced (including 16 in Chesil Bay, Dorset) and an adult SABINE'S GULL at Severn Beach (Avon) on 9th.



A 2nd-summer BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON was at Lower Pennington (Hants) from 2nd-7th, with a first-summer PURPLE HERON moving from the Severalls Reedbed, Church Norton (West Sussex) on 4th to Denge Marsh Reedbeds, Dungeness RSPB (Kent) from 5th-10th. Meanwhile, the surviving party of 4 WHITE STORKS continue to travel widely, from flying west over Redmires Reservoir (Yorks) on 2nd, over Titchwell RSPB (North Norfolk) on 4th before settling down during the inclement weather near Dingestow (Gwent) on 7th-8th. Then, on 10 June, they toured the North Welsh coastline again, last being reported flying north over Colwyn Bay.



A female RED-FOOTED FALCON was near Aberfeldy (Perth & Kinross) until 2nd

A calling male CORNCRAKE was noteworthy at Scarf Dike, Tophill Low Reservoir (East Yorks) from 1-9 June whilst the male BAILLON'S CRAKE at Malltraeth Marsh RSPB (Anglesey) remained calling until at least 3rd.



An AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 3rd, with the first BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER of the year in Tyninghame Bay, Dunbar (East Lothian) on 5th and a GREAT SNIPE discovered by a survey worker at West Sedgemoor RSPB (Somerset) on 25 May.. A PECTORAL SANDPIPER was at Dawlish Warren NNR (South Devon) on 1st, with two together at Beacon Ponds, Kilnsea (East Yorks) on 2nd and another at Snab Point, Walney NR (Cumbria) on 5th whilst a summering female RED-NECKED PHALAROPE in the Midlands was seen at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) on 1st & 5th-7th and at Coombe Hill Meadows (Gloucs) on 2nd-3rd. A migrant male of the latter species dropped in at Brockholes Quarry (Lancs) on 9thA LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER reappeared at Saltholme Pools RSPB (Cleveland) until 3rd



A HOOPOE visited a Tincleton (Devon) garden on 2nd, whilst a single EUROPEAN BEE-EATER toured the East Coast, visiting Winterton Dunes (Norfolk) on 6th, St Osyth (Essex) on 9th and Walberswick NNR (Suffolk) on 10th with 2 over Filsham Reedbeds (East Sussex) on 9th. A THRUSH NIGHTINGALE remained on the Isle of May (Fife) until 1st, with a RED-SPOTTED BLUETHROAT there too, with 2 GREATER SHORT-TOED LARKS on Lundy Island (Devon) on 2nd-5th.



GREAT REED WARBLERS bellowed out from respective reedbeds at Weston Sewage Works (Avon) until 7th, Gunwalloe Fishing Cove, The Lizard (Cornwall) from 3rd-6th and at Cley Marsh (Norfolk) whilst a real bonanza of MARSH WARBLERS have been discovered this June with singing males at Rainham Marsh RSPB (London) from 1-8, Cleethorpes (North Lincs) until 3rd, Blacktoft Sands RSPB (East Yorks) until 7th, Harbridge Water Meadows (Hants) from 5th-9th, on Fair Isle on 5th, at Collieston (Aberdeenshire) on 9th, and at Balmedie Country Park (Aberdeenshire) on 9th. SUBALPINE WARBLERS including a female at Quendale Burn (Shetland) and up to 2 on Lundy (Devon) until 3rd, whilst an elusive singing male BLYTH'S REED WARBLER was at Warham Greens (Norfolk) on 9th June.



Singing male ICTERINE WARBLERS included a new male by the Old Fall Steps, Flamborough Head (East Yorks) on 1st and up to 3 on the Isle of May (Fife) from 5th, whilst MELODIOUS WARBLERS included singles on Bardsey Island (Caernarvon) on 3rd-4th and on the Isle of May (Fife) on 7th. A minor influx of GREENISH WARBLERS included singles on Walney Island (Cumbria) on 4th, on Bardsey Island on 4th-5th and up to 2 on the Isle of May (Fife) on 6th-8th.



An excellent scattering of RED-BACKED SHRIKES occurred with two males at Horsey Gap (Norfolk) on 1 June, a male at Sennen (West Cornwall) on 1st, a singing male by the lighthouse at Flamborough Head (East Yorks) from 3rd-6th, a female at Westleton Heath (Suffolk) on 5th, a male on Out Skerries (Shetland) on 7-8, a male at Woodhall Dene (Northumberland) on 8th, on Fetlar (Shetland) on 9th and a female at East Holm (Orkney) on 9th whilst WOODCHAT SHRIKES arrived on Bardsey Island on 3rd



A cracking male RUSTIC BUNTING was on Inner Farne (Northumberland) on 1 June, the same day a male BLACK-HEADED BUNTING remained on Yell (Shetland) at Gloup.



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IRELAND



A SABINE'S GULL flew past Cape Clear Island (Co. Cork) yesterday, following at least two records from Britain during the gale force westerly winds and an adult off Galley Head (Co. Cork) on 9th. Tacumshin Pools (Co. Wexford) continue to host the adult summer FORSTER'S TERN and a MONTAGU'S HARRIER

SNOWY OWL trip




Ron Marshall was able to get these stunning images of North Uist's adult male SNOWY OWL last week at Sollas. This is one of my favourite birds and I am planning another trip up there in the next week (3 dayer), also taking in the Greater Sand Plover if it is still there, Red-necked Phalaropes and eagles. I can take a maximum of 5 others - please email me if you are interested (LGREUK400@aol.com) or phone 07881 906629

ROLLER still wowing the crowds



He's still present ! This glorious male EUROPEAN ROLLER is still frequenting the tilled field east of the B1242 just north of Aldbrough village in East Yorkshire and what a stunning bird he is. Now seen by over 2,000 admirers, Rebecca Nason obtained these absolutely brilliant flight shots, the lower as it came into land. Those below were taken by local birder Tony Dixon





Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Yorkshire ROLLER continues top billing

In East Yorkshire, the adult EUROPEAN ROLLER continues to delight large numbers of admirers in its favoured tilled field east of the coastal B1242 about half a mile north of Aldbrough village. It is a spectacular bird and repeatedly perches on a white post about 65 yards in from the road. The views can be outstanding and of all of the hundreds of shots which have been taken, few are as evocative and challenging as those taken by Rebecca Nason. Special parking arrangements have been offered nearby at Bewick Hall.
A second individual first seen on Sunday was also seen today in Hornsea (East Yorks), on roadside wires about six miles further north than Aldbrough.

Not that far away at Flamborough Head (East Yorks), a singing male RED-BACKED SHRIKE remains on gorse clumps in fields south of the lighthouse.
Another popular bird is always a vagrant RED-FOOTED FALCON with today's first-summer male at Willington GP (Derbyshire) performing well SW of the pits by the River Trent. From Wellington village, take Wellington Road south, cross the bridge and then follow the footpath SW for at least 20 minutes about 200 yards beyond the small wood (1.5 miles walk).
Although some BLACK-WINGED STILTS have now settled to breed, odd first-years such as today's female at Cley NWT Reserve (North Norfolk) are still on the wander. Typically mobile, at teatime the bird was viewable from hides overlooking North Scrape whilst earlier on, it frequented Cricket Marsh and Pat's Pool. A first-summer female WOODCHAT SHRIKE also continues in East Norfolk today, favouring bushes and scrub close to the fence about half a mile north of the beach car park.

It has been an excellent year for singing MARSH WARBLERS and today is no exception with birds still singing and occasionally showing at Harbridge Water Meadows, north of Ringwood (Hants) (at SU 149 897; in the hedgerow and weeds bordering the roadside literally yards NW of the bridge), at Rainham Marshes RSPB (London) in weeds below the 'Serin Mound' 1.2 miles west of the information centre along the seawall, in the Old Fall Hedgerow at Flamborough Head (East Yorks) and another 1.5 miles NE of Hadston (Northumberland) in reeds close to the road at Togston Links

After numerous false starts earlier this spring, we are now seeing some 'genuine' IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS occur with a male for its 7th day at Kenidjack Valley (Cornwall) and a newly located male at Porlock (Somerset) at the bottom end of Porlock toll road by the logpile on the left opposite the bench close to the first bend

GREAT WHITE EGRETS have bred for the first time in Britain at Shapwick Heath NNR (Somerset), whilst a first-summer PURPLE HERON has moved from Church Norton's Severalls (West Sussex) to Denge Marsh Reedbeds, Dungeness RSPB (Kent), where it is performing this afternoon from Springfield Bridge at TR 055 182. A GREAT WHITE EGRET is also on the Isle of Wight for a second day at Brading Marshes RSPB viewable from Mill Farm along the footpath to Bembridge Windmill, whilst the GLOSSY IBIS touring Hampshire and West Sussex is currently favouring Farlington Marsh Main Lagoon.

Continuing its good run of recent records, the Isle of May (Fife) today attracted a GREENISH WARBLER, whilst Fair Isle has both ICTERINE WARBLER and COMMON ROSEFINCH. Bardsey island (Gwynedd) has also had an excellent recent run of overshooting vagrants with a GOLDEN ORIOLE new in there today as well as a COMMON ROSEFINCH. A EUROPEAN BEE-EATER flew north over Winterton North Dunes (Norfolk) at 1503

On North Uist (Outer Hebrides), the stunningly beautiful male SNOWY OWL continues its summer sojourn at Sollas and Grenitote, sheltering from the wind and rain besides the fencing. Please respect this bird and do not approach to within 100 yards. If not approached too closely, this bird will stay for a protracted period.

In IRELAND today, a GLOSSY IBIS is at Timoleague (County Cork), whilst Tacumshin Pools (Wexford) continue to harbour the adult FORSTER'S TERN, 2 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, a WOOD SANDPIPER and a first-year MONTAGU'S HARRIER. A male WOODCHAT SHRIKE remains on Sherkin Island (County Cork) in scrub and bushes on the west side of Horseshoe Bay.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Another Scilly regular passes away - the REVEREND ROBERT KEMPSTER

Many of you will remember Robert Kempster, a Newton Abbot birder who was a Scilly regular throughout the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's. Robert died recently and his funeral will be held on Wednesday 20th June at St Mary's Church in Abbotsbury, Newton Abbot, at 2.00pm (TQ12 2ND)


Robert spent many Octobers at the Wingletang Guest House in Hugh Town and was a very good friend of mine during his more active years, frequently providing me with updates from his region and especially rarities he had espied or found whilst birding with his long-time friends John & Jean Woodland. We first met in West Cornwall in April 1977, after all four of us met up on an enjoyable Hoopoe twitch, whilst during the vintage years on Scilly post 1999, we spent many memorable times together enjoying the likes of Black-and-white Warbler, Bobolink, Northern Parula, Philadelphia Vireo and Hermit Thrush.

It is getting quite depressing of late having to report such sad circumstances but I guess this is the consequence of so many of us getting that much older

For more information relating to Robert's funeral, please contact Robert's sister's daughter Claire Fry at design@clairefry.co.uk
Best wishes
Lee