Tuesday 10 May 2011

Garden warbler at Banstead.

I had mistaken a blackcap in my garden for a garden warbler on song alone, so I was happy that David Campbell told me about 1 or 2 at Banstead Woods. I went up to meet him and we went to the spot where he regularly saw it. We heard it a few times but it was quite a while before it eventually showed. A lovely bird. Even though it is rather plain, its song is fabulous.

Garden warbler

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Israel trip with Birdfinders - Day 5. Saturday.

Before breakfast I was in Shulemit Park by the hotel. The bottlebrush tree was a lovely backdrop to the local birds. The migrants were in other parts of the Park.

Blackcap - male

Blackcap - female
After breakfast we went back to the sewage pools at Km 19 where we had been previously. In the reedbeds we saw Dead Sea sparrows, Sardinian warbler, woodchat shrike, red-throated pipit, isabelline wheatear and a fine male namaqua dove nearby.

Isabelline wheatear

Sardinian warbler

Namaqua dove - male

Red-throated pipit
Also present were 2 spotted eagles which drifted off towards Jordan.

Spotted eagle

Next stop was the saltpools of Km20 where there were a couple of hundred slender-billed gulls, 25 ruffs, etc.

It was our last chance to go to the firing range for desert species so we drove north to Ha'Meishar plains. Larks abounded including thick-billed, greater short-toed and bimaculated.

Thick-billed lark
Our main target was crowned sandgrouse and we were lucky to come across a flock of over 100 which allowed us to approach relatively near.

Crowned sandgrouse. Female on left, male on right.
We moved to a different range where we were fortunate to encounter a small flock of bar-tailed larks.

Bar-tailed lark
There was little else of note, despite a diligent search till just before sunset. Ah well! Back to the hotel for another splendid buffet dinner.

Monday 2 May 2011

Radipole / Lodmoor dowitcher and more

On my way to Plymouth I called in to Lodmoor to see the long staying long-billed dowitcher. It was a little more colourful in summer plumage:

Long-billed dowitcher, an American wader

Also present were some bar-tailed godwits in breeding plumage:

Bar-tailed godwit. The worm was taken and washed before being eaten

Bar-tailed godwit. You can see the barring on the tail.
some whitethroats:

Common whitethroat.
some sedge warblers:

Sedge warbler
a magpie which tried out the post used by kingfishers:

and a kingfisher, shown here leaving the nest:

Kingfisher leaving the nest
and here on the usual post:

Makes me want to go back in a couple of weeks when the young are out!