Jan 082018

The 5th January 2018 kicked off with the first year & patch listing. There is nothing better than finding a good bird on your local patch and I did exactly that, a fine male Hawfinch at Staunton Harold Reservoir. Along with a few Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Goosander and Goldeneye, I managed to put my patch list on 49 and the Year List to 76.

Yellowhammer – Staunton Harold, Derbyshire – January 2018 – Tony Davison©

Great Tit – Staunton Harold, Derbyshire – January 2018


 Posted by at 5:04 pm
Jan 042018

A flock of 40 odd Redpolls, consisting of Lesser, Common and a single Coue’s Arctic, had been faithful to a small garden on Hazlewood Common near Aldeburgh in Suffolk. We had planned our New Year celebrations around a trip to Dunwich, staying at a really nice pub and so this coincided perfectly for a visit to see the Coue’s Arctic Redpoll. I made two trips to see the birds, one on the 30th December 2017 and one on the 1st January 2018. The flock was interesting as it presented an opportunity to compare the three species at close quarters. Several of the Common (Mealy) Redpolls were very white and so to the untrained eye, could easily be passed off as the Arctic Redpoll. However, when the Coue’s was on view there was no real issue with its identification. My year list finally finished on 243


Arctic Redpoll – race exilipes (Coue’s) – Northern Eurasia – Hazlewood Common, Suffolk – Tony Davison© – Very frosty white, very white prominent wing bar, white rump and clean undertail coverts. Very light streaking on the flanks and buffy tones to the head. Tiny conical shaped bill appears to be “pushed in” to the face. Small scarlet red crown patch.

Common RedpollAcanthis flammea (Mealy Redpoll) – Hazelwood Common, Suffolk – Tony Davison © – Above 3 images – Several of the Mealy Redpolls that were present were very white, but showed several fine streaks on the undertail coverts. Slightly larger than Lesser Redpoll, less buff , especially around the head. White wing-bar and rump. Heavier streaks on the flanks than Arctic Redpoll.

Lesser Redpoll – Acanthis cabaret – Above 3 images – Hazelwood Common, Suffolk – Tony Davison© – note small size, larger conical shaped bill, buff wingbar, shiny red cap, males can show very pink breast and flanks in late winter. Generally more buff, but check out the white eyelids on the bird in the middle photo, I can’t ever remember seeing a Lesser Redpoll showing this feature before? Looks oriental!! wonder where it is from??



 Posted by at 8:50 pm
Dec 282017

A male Penduline Tit has been resident on a small local wetland area called Plock Court Wetlands at Longford, near Gloucester. So, worth a visit, as these birds are not so easy to see in Britain. Male Penduline Tit always reminds me of a miniature Red-backed Shrike and this bird was very active feeding on the large amount of Reed Mace that was available for it. Also showing was an immature male Stonechat, a small party of Long-tailed Tit, large numbers of Pied Wagtail and smaller numbers of Meadow Pipit. Looks like my final Year List tally will finish on 243

Penduline Tit – male – above 4 images – Longford, Gloucester – December 2017 – Tony Davison©

Stonechat – immature male – Longford, Gloucester – December 2017 – Tony Davison©


 Posted by at 5:41 pm
Dec 262017

A male Desert Wheatear was found during this past week, in fields alongside the Cleveland Way near Whitby, North Yorkshire. Desert Wheatear often turn up late in the year and are always worth looking at. A trip to the coast had been previously planned for today, Boxing Day, so Whitby very quickly became the destination. I managed to get to see the bird before we spent the rest of the day wandering around this lovely Yorkshire coastal town. Although it showed well, photography was very difficult as the wheatear was always into the sun. It did come fairly close, briefly, during a 45 minute to an hours viewing time that I had on the bird. A great day out. The Desert Wheatear is usually a classic late arrival and an annual vagrant to our shores, from the Deserts of North Africa or the Steppes of Eastern Europe.

Desert Wheatear – male – Whitby, North Yorkshire – December 2017 – Tony Davison© – note the all black tail, black face mask and overall pale buff colouration.

 Posted by at 8:18 pm
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