Jun 112019

My wife and I re-visited one of our favourite chill-out places for a 5th time, the greek island os Samos. We stayed at the same hotel near the little fishing village of Kokkari on the north coast. It really is a great place to relax and unwind.

The weather was superb and so not a lot of migration took place during our stay. In previous years we have seen lots of Bee-eater and Eleonora’s Falcon moving east to west and a few White Stork and Short-toed Eagle. Not the case this year, with cloudless blue skies. However I did manage to see a few new birds that I’ve not seen on the island before, as we hired a car for 3 days.

A very pretty and green island and lots to explore. We didn’t really scratch the surface. So highlights for me were as follows:-

Butterflies – 10+ Two-tailed Pasha (only emerged during the middle of our second week); 2 Southern White Admiral; lots of Painted Lady (including some that were extremely small); Cleopatra; Large White, Red Admiral; Holly Blue; Small Skipper; Aegean Meadow Brown; Scarce Swallowtail; Swallowtail; Small Tortoiseshell and Ilex Hairstreak

Birds – (Highlights only) Greater Flamingo (5); Ruddy Shelduck; Black-winged Stilt; Roller (6+) Bee-eater (party of 6 and 20+); 2 White Stork; Honey Buzzard (1) Long-legged Buzzard (pair); Short-toed Eagle (1); Common Buzzard; Sparrowhawk (1); Kestrel (1); Eleonora’s Falcon (6+); Red-rumped Swallow; Ruppell’s Warbler; Sardinian Warbler; Yellow-legged Gull; Tawny Owl: Hooded Crow; Samos Jay – the total list was just short of 50 species.

Others – Oriental Hornet; Snake-eyed Lizard; Odalisque; Beautiful Demoiselle; Red-veined Darter; Hummingbird Hawkmoth; Carpenter Bee; Pyramidal Orchid.

Two-tailed Pasha
Aegean Meadow Brown
Beautiful Demoiselle – female
Beautiful Demoiselle – male
European Bee-eater
Greater Flamingo – Psili Amos Salt Pans
Hooded Crow
Ilex Hairstreak
Odalisque – male
Odalisque – female
Pyramidal Orchid
Painted Lady
Pink Rock RoseCistus creticus
Red-rumped Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow
Ruddy Shelduck
Ruddy Shelduck
Ruppell’s Warbler – male
Ruppell’s Warbler – male
Snake-eyed Lizard
Southern White Admiral
Snake-eyed Lizard
 Posted by at 4:14 pm
Jun 102019

A few good birds were available in Yorkshire this weekend, so a day twitching on Sunday was a wise move.

A male Black-headed Bunting and a female Subalpine Warbler sp, had been discovered at Flamborough Head, whilst a Great Reed Warbler was continuing to sing and show at Wintersett Reservoir, near Barnsley.

The Subalpine Warbler, with it being a female, was virtually impossible to ID to species in the field, but was most probably a Western Subalpine Warbler. This species has now been split into three – Moltoni’s, Eastern & Western Subalpine Warbler. The females look like a diminutive Common Whitethroat, very delicate and quaint in appearance but require tail pattern and a call to be sure of species ID.

Subalpine Warbler – female – Flamborough Head, Golf Course Willows
Subalpine Warbler – female – Flamborough Head – Golf Course Willows

The male Black-headed Bunting was showing along the Old Fall Hedge, but always remained distant. Good views of it though through the telescope. 

These buntings are rare migrant overshoots from Eastern Europe and several male birds have been seen at various sites in the UK during the past week

Black-headed Bunting – male – Flamborough, Old Fall Hedge
Black-headed Bunting – male – Flamborough, Old Fall Hedge

A Great Reed Warbler had taken up residence in a large Reed-bed at Wintersett Reservoir, near Barnsley. So we called in to see it on our way back home. The bird was easily heard croaking away as we walked towards the site. It was very difficult to try and get a photograph, due to all the differing reeds and branches in the way, but I managed a few record shots of this very rare warbler from Europe.

Great Reed Warbler – Wintersett Reservoir, Yorkshire – above 3 images
 Posted by at 9:25 am
May 192019

Having missed a local Cattle Egret by minutes, flushed by Dog Walkers, at Sinfin Wetlands near Derby, last night, I managed to see 2 summer plumaged birds this morning. They were just over the Derbyshire border in Staffordshire. A visit to Willington GP beforehand, held a 1st summer Little Gull and a few Common Tern but nothing else out of the ordinary.


Cattle Egrets in Staffordshire
Blackbird in Ash Tree
1st summer Little Gull – Willington GP, Derbyshire
Common Tern – Willington, Derbyshire
Common Tern – Willington GP, Derbyshire
Female Black-tailed Skimmer – Staffordshire
Reed Bunting – male – Willington, Derbyshire
Reed Bunting – Willington GP, Derbyshire
 Posted by at 9:00 pm
May 162019

A Great Spotted Cuckoo was lingering at Weybourne in North Norfolk for nearly a week or so and as I hadn’t seen one for a number of years, I decided to make the journey over to see it.

I didn’t realise how distant it would be and so somewhat disappointed with the 2 or three brief views I had of it, perched and in flight. Two Temminck’s Stint were on the scrape at Cley, so we stopped off to see them. They showed well in front of the famous Dawkes Hide. A few Ruff were also on view but little else of note.

Six Dotterel were also lingering at Choseley near Titchwell and they showed well albeit in some moderate heat haze. Fortunately closer than we thought. Four bright females and two males. A Corn Bunting was also singing and on view.

Finishing off the day at Titchwell, primarily to see the 100 pairs of Mediterranean Gulls now breeding on the freshwater mere. Also a few Little Tern and two Spoonbill were year ticks. Nothing else of real note worthiness here. A very difficult day for photography due to the severe heat haze and most decent birds were distant. Year List moves on to 201.

A total of 70 species seen during the day.


Adult Spoonbill – Titchwell, Norfolk
 Posted by at 8:10 pm
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