Wednesday, 10 July 2013


On the way to The Point the Little Owl  was posing beside the road and at the south end of the ARC a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper and a my first juvenile Little Ringed plover of the year..
 At The Patch no sign of yesterdays Black Tern or Little Gulls but still 8 Mediterranean Gulls and only 1 Sandwich Tern and 8 Common Terns.
3 Little Egrets were on the beach in the gull roost and then attempted to land on the floating scum around the boil. 2 flew off west and the other returned to the beach. 10 Common Scoter flew east, 2 Swifts moved west off shore and c40 Gannets were feeding off shore.
 At the ARC from Hanson all the usual reed bed warblers, still 100s of eclipse ducks, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Dunlin, a Greenshank, a Marsh Harrier and c100 Sand Martins.  At Cockles bridge an Oystercatcher posed and Yellow Wagtail was in the horse field.
Spotted Redshank from the screen
After spending the afternoon listening to England's woeful batting performance, I took a walk up to the Screen and the pines. From the Screen the Black-tailed Godwits had increased from 4 to 15 and a superb summer plumage Spotted Redshank was roosting with them. In the hide the Swallows were feeding there young with Damselfly's and a Cuckoo was still calling in the Tower pits.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Black Tern

07.30 at The Patch this morning DW was already there scanning the Gulls. Over the boil 3 Little Gulls, a 1st summer Common Tern and my first Black Tern of the Autumn. On the beach 10+ Mediterranean Gulls and a few Terns in the Gull roost. Off shore a few Gannets, a single Common Scoter, a Grey Seal and a Harbour Porpoise. The Black Redstart still singing in the power station, 
At the observatory the juvenile House Martin growing fast on its diet of Dark Arches.
A Common Sandpiper and 2 Ringed Plovers at the south end of the ARC, the Swallows now feeding young in the Screen Hide, Reed and Cetti's Warblers still singing there. On the islands 4 Black-tailed Godwits, a Green Sandpiper, many Lapwing and 100s of eclipse duck.
This afternoon at Galloways a male Marsh Harrier was of interest.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Black Throated Diver

The Little Owl was showing well this morning near Boulderwall as I made my way to The Point. 07.30 The Patch: 8 Mediterranean gulls on the beach in the Gull roost with just 4 each of Common Tern and Sandwich Tern. 5 more Mediterranean Gulls following a fishing boat, a first summer Little Gull over the boil, c30 Gannets feeding off shore along with a party of 45 Common Scoter and 3 Swifts in. A real surprise was an adult Black Throated Diver flying west just outside the boil. Behind the hide the Black Redstart still singing.
At the observatory the juvenile House Martin still devouring the moth catch.  
Lizard Orchid
 A cycle ride to Camber to see the Lizard Orchids taking in the Scotney complex where apart from 100s of Greylags and Canada Geese there was little to be seen. On the Camber pools 3 Little Egrets and several Reed and Sedge Warblers still singing. At the Lizard Orchid site I counted 70+ spikes along with many Pyramid Orchids and a few Bee Orchids.
The Midrips looking good for Autumn waders.
On the way back I visited The Midrips where I found 19 Avocet, 2 Greenshank, 6 Redshank, 6 Oystercatchers, 4 Sandwich Terns roosting , 5 Little Terns fishing off shore and a Marsh Harrier seemingly taking Shelducklings at will.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Moth Trap Feeder!

After spending 3 days battling with a flat pack greenhouse (I'm not sure who won) it was good to get out and about.
First stop was The Patch where there was 2 Mediterranean Gulls on the beach, 2 first summer Common Terns with 8+ adults, 4 Sandwich Terns and dozens of Black-headed Gulls, Herring, Lesser Black Backed and Greater Black Backed Gulls. Then the hordes of anglers arrived and flushed everything. The Black Redstart is still singing behind the hide and a Pied wagtail was collecting food off the perimeter wall. 
In the lighthouse garden which is now becoming quite over grown and looking good for migrants 2 juvenile Goldfinches.
 At the observatory the juvenile House Martin was being fed by DW. It has now graduated from Tawny Shears to Dark Arches from last nights catch and seems to be thriving.
At the ARC a Cuckoo was still calling by the track to Hanson, also there many Reed Buntings a family of Sedge Warblers and a Sparrowhawk over. From Hanson 2+ Reed Warblers still singing in front the hide, on the islands which are rapidly appearing 100+ Lapwing, 2 Redshanks, 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Common Terns and many eclipse ducks.
In the screen hide the Swallows still in residence, behind the hide a Hobby over the Tower Pits also a Marsh Harrier and a Bittern flew from the Tower Pits to Boulderwall.
This afternoon watching from the garden listening to the tennis produced the usual Marsh Harriers, a Hobby, a Little Egret and several Oystercatchers calling high overhead.
Islands are now rapidly appearing on Burrowes Pit, hopefully one or two good waders will find them. From Dennis's Hide today 200+ Canada Geese, many eclipse ducks, a Redshank and on the raft behind the hide the pair of Common Gulls have a well grown chick.
This evening a bike ride down Galloways was as expected very quiet. An adult male Marsh Harrier was hunting close to the road, a few Linnets, Common Whitethroats, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks were seen. In Dengemarsh Road a Yellow Wagtail by the entrance to the race track.

Thursday, 4 July 2013


Calandra Lark
 On the long drive to Birecik lots of Calandra Larks were seen, also Lesser short-toed Larks, Black Headed Yellow Wagtails, Crested Larks, Short-toed Larks, Steppe Buzzard, Hoopoe, Black Headed Buntings and more.
Rock Sparrow
          If you ever go to Birecik this is the tea garden where the Pallid Scops Owls hang out!

 Opposite the tea garden there is an island in the River Euphrates that is home to 100s of roosting and breeding Herons, Little, Great White and Cattle Egrets, Night Herons, Squacco Herons also a dark Little Egret looking very like a Western Reef Heron. The island is also used by 100s of Pygmy Cormorants.
Iraq Babbler
 At the nearby gravel pits we found our main target bird for the area Iraq Babbler, we made a couple of visits to site seeing at least 8 Babblers, also Great Reed Warblers, Eastern Olivacious Warblers, Graceful Prinia's, c20 Desert Finches, Pied Kingfishers, Little Bitterns, Purple Herons, Bee-eaters, Rollers and more.

Graceful Prinia
 Behind the Bald Ibis centre there is canyon where some of the Ibises breed on the ledges.


In the canyon See-see were found, numerous Rollers, several Menetries Warblers, Upchers Warblers, Syrian woodpeckers, Eastern Olivacious Warblers, Rufous Bush Robins, Hoopoe's and more. The cliffs a few hundred metres from the entrance to the centre hold Little Swifts, Alpine Swifts and Common Swifts.

Chestnut Shouldered Sparrow
 In nearby fields Chestnut Shouldered Sparrows, Dead Sea Sparrows and more Bushchats were found

Dead Sea Sparrow
Eastern Rock Nuthatch
 We found Easter Rock Nuthatch near Halfeti with more Eastern Black Eared Wheatears, Isabelline Wheatears and Woodchat Shrikes.
During the trip White Storks were common in suitable habitat, Crested Larks were abundant as were Isabelline Wheatears. Red-rumped Swallows, Bushchats, Rollers, Spanish Sparrow, Western Rock Nuthatches, Black-headed Buntings were seen at most sites. Other birds seen include Kruper's Nuthatches, Olive Tree Warblers, Eastern Bonelli's Warblers, Masked Shrikes, Penduline Tits, Bearded Tits.
As we were rather late in the season some birds were very difficult to find and very skulking. The 40C+ temperatures did not help and caused havoc with our camera equipment.  

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


Our base for Demirkazik
An 03.30 start saw us driving the short distance from our Pension with Oz Safak our guide to meet up with the tractor driver who would take us high into the mountains for our main quarry of Caspian Snowcock. The tractor made short work of the climb though not the most comfortable of rides. As soon as we dismounted Snowcocks could be heard but could not be seen in the early morning gloom. We all scrambled higher up the hillside and eventually the tractor driver spotted one  and got us all onto it, then another was spotted and 2 more quickly followed, at least 5 were seen with more heard. I did take some record shots but they are all dots on a rock.
Radde's Accentor
Several Radde's Accentors were seen but were surprisingly difficult to photograph that's my excuse.   Snowfinches, Red-fronted Serins, Crimson Winged finches, Shorelarks and Black Redstarts were common. Also seen were Cretzschmars Bunting, Ortolan, Northern Wheatear and Linnets.
Crimson Winged finch

Health and safety rules don't apply!
As time was short we opted to ride the tractor back down which allowed us more time to explore the lower slopes and fields.
The slopes produced a pair of Finsch's Wheatear feeding young in the nest more Crimson winged finches, a Booted Eagle hunting the abundant Susliks, Hoopoe, Isabelline Wheatears, Serin and many of the smaller butterflys.
Finsch's Wheatear
Bimaculated Lark
In the nearby fields we found Bimaculated Larks, more Shorelarks, Crested Larks , abundant Isabelline Wheatears, while overhead Red billed Chough and Alpine Chough made flying look easy, a Long-legged Buzzard soared over.

Short-toed Lark
By the track to the chromium mine we found several family parties of White Throated Robins, Short-toed Larks, more of the abundant Isabelline Wheatears, Eastern Black-Eared and Northern Wheatears, a Barred Warbler, Red-backed Shrikes, Black-headed Buntings and more Crimson Winged finches.
White Throated Robin
Juvenile Isabelline Wheatear
In a nearby gorge we found Golden Eagle, Steppe Buzzard, Rock Sparrows, Rock Bunting,  Eastern Orphean Warbler, Crag Martins, Alpine Swifts, Black Redstarts, and both Choughs.
In the orchards by the stream Golden Orioles were seen and heard, Red-backed Shrikes, Eastern Olivacious Warblers, Nightingales, Serins, Syrian Woodpeckers and more.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Hotel Yeshil Vardi

Our base for the Brown Fish Owls was The Hotel Yeshil Vardi a fairly basic but adequate hotel situated between Manavgat and the Oymapinar dam overlooking the Manavagat River where we spent 2 nights.
The restaurant. (note the Trout in the pool)
 While having breakfast we could see 5 Eleanora's Falcons and a Lanner cruising the cliffs  adjacent the hotel. In the grounds Scops Owls were heard (not seen) Red-rumped Swallows  overhead, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Eastern Olivacious Warblers, Yellow Vented Bulbuls, Roller, White Storks, Masked Shrike, Crested Larks, Woodlarks and more. It was an 04.30 start for the Fish Owls, which was just as well because from 10.00hrs the heat made birding very difficult and photography nigh on impossible. The Owls were brilliant getting great views of 3 adults and 3 juveniles also 2 Short-toed Eagles flew over.
  We drove out to a some nearby birding sites. One of which was a walled garden which we birded from the outside. Seeing Syrian and White Backed Woodpeckers, Olive Tree Warbler, lots of Eastern Bonelli's Warblers, Hoopoe's, Masked Shrikes and more. The heat and the lateness of the season did not aid us in finding birds. I deleted virtually all the pictures I took.
                As we got out of the car 1000s of Locusts came out the dried grass in waves as we walked round the wall.
Juvenile Black-eared Wheatear
 At another site we found a family of Black-eared Wheatears, Western Rock Nuthatches, Black headed Buntings along with many Butterflys more on those later.
Western Rock Nuthatch

Back at Dunge!

07.30 The Patch: 3 Mediterranean Gulls on the beach among a few Sandwich and Common Terns, Herring, Common and Black-headed Gulls including the first juvenile I have seen there this year. Off shore a party of 7 Common Scoter flew east, on the power station wall the Black Redstart still singing.

09.15-09.45 The fishing boats: Just c15 each of Sandwich and Common Terns tooing and froing, c25 Gannets past and 2 Harbour Porpoises.
10.00 The ARC : At the south end 50+ Swifts over the lakes, an adult male Marsh Harrier spooked the roosting eclipse duck and a single Ringed Plover.
At the north end still Reed and Sedge Warblers singing along Reed Buntings and a couple of Cetti's Warblers. In the Willow trail a Chiffchaff singing, overhead Swallow and House Martins dived in along the trail devouring the swarms of emerging insects.
From Hanson some islands are now appearing, on one a Little Ringed Plover, a Redshank  and a Common Tern. Several pairs of Oystercatchers were giving their characteristic display flight. In the screen hide the pair of Swallows still sitting tight.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Some Owl pics from our Turkey trip

With temperatures in excess of 46C at times photography was challenging and often impossible. On one occasion after travelling for a couple of hours with my camera in the boot of the car, the lense (400mm DO IS USM) was almost to hot for me hold, no wonder the auto focus wandered in and out refusing to lock most the time.

                                          4 of the 6 Brown fish Owls seen at Oymapinar

 3 of the 4 Juvenile Pallid Scops Owls seen in the Birecik Tea Gardens. When one of the adult showed well my camera refused to focus because of the heat.
                                                         Little Owl in the Tea Gardens