Wednesday 25 May 2016

A bit of an update

I didn't quite realise how long it has been since I did an update on here. A lot has happened, both birding wise and at work. One of the busiest periods for both, and so having got back from Italy on that first Bank Holiday weekend in May, one of the first things I did was go on an after school twitch to Otford, Kent where the meena race Rufous Turtle Dove showed well on arrival: -
Rufous Turtle Dove Otford, Kent 3rd May 2016
Back in the day, this species was near-mythical. I remember seeing the Orkney bird on a dark December 2002 day and near enough everyone needed it then. I even saw another orientalis race bird in Oxfordshire a few years back in 2011.

The next weekend promised a lot, with a really decent passage of Pomarine Skuas past Dungeness on the Friday. It was good enough for me to get up well before dawn and venture down there. And I wasn't alone, though we were all without the skua passage with a grand total of zero Poms recorded! I did have a nice Black Tern on The Patch and a walk about the trapping area revealed a Whinchat at the far end of the Long Pits. But other than that, Dungeness was really quiet and so I headed back to London early afternoon. A walk about Rotherhithe that evening was pleasant if not spectacular with a Buzzard over my flat, a Bristol ringed Herring Gull on Greenland Dock and then some nice views of an inquisitive Ring-necked Parakeet: -
Ring-necked Parakeet Russia Dock Woodland, Rotherhithe 7th May 2016
1st-summer Herring Gull (L+R) Rotherhithe 7th May 2016 - ringed as a chick in Bristol on 7th July 2015
The next morning, May 8th, was one of those days where I nearly didn't bother getting out of bet. But hell yeah, I'm glad that I did. And so in glorious blue skies I met up with John A at Crossness and we went for a stomp around. Very quiet indeed to start off, and then all of a sudden while on the hunt for a leftover Wheatear in the paddocks, a small finch flew over with a buzzing 'tr-tr-tr-tr (or something like that!) followed by a couple of jangles - and to boot, being only 100 or so metres away and having heard them last weekend, it was quite obviously a Serin! John A concurred and we both moved back to the river, very happy indeed! A Hobby whipped over and then on the river a Grey Plover was by the outfall and 4 Sanderling were in Barking Bay. Add to that a couple of Lesser Whitethroats and a Little Ringed Plover - all in beautiful weather - it paid to stay local!

And what with all that hot weather, who'd have thought a Dalmatian Pelican would turn up? Well it certainly did, and to boot it lingered in Cornwall (and is still there as I write this).
Dalmatian Pelican Polgigga, Cornwall May 2016
Having been seen previously in Poland, its credentials are fine but being honest it's probably never going to get much further than Category D. With a fine male Woodchat to boot at Marazion, the trip to Cornwall was enjoyable if not a little fraught given how it gave us the runaround more than I'd anticipated. 

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