Apr 182019

Willington Gravel Pits, lies alongside the River Trent near Repton in South Derbyshire. The site is now a Derbyshire Wildlife Reserve but for many, many years has been well known for being a great local birding spot.

Over the years it has had some superb birds and I can recall one of my best finds in Derbyshire at this site, a Red Kite in 1966, when Red Kite was a mega rare bird across the country, let alone in Derbyshire.

News of a summer plumaged Little Gull this morning, pulled me away from my local patch at Staunton Harold Reservoir, where I found my first Common Sandpiper for the year, but little else.

I soon found the Little Gull hawking across the pits in amongst the Black-headed Gulls. I also had a few good spring migrants including a Common Tern, Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler, both Lesser and Common Whitethroat. So not a bad morning.


Little Gull
Little Gull
Great Crested Grebe performing their dance
Great Crested Grebe
 Posted by at 7:28 pm
Apr 152019

Saturday 13th April I made a visit to one of my favourite RSPB Reserves, Frampton Marsh, near Boston in Lincolnshire. A Long-billed Dowitcher has wintered at the reserve and had been showing regularly in recent days. The bird is now moulting into summer plumage, so was worth the visit.

Despite our efforts, we failed to see it, but did manage to find a few good birds. An adult Little Gull, a drake Garganey, several Little Ringed Plover, several Yellow Wagtail, 2 Sedge Warbler, a Spotted Redshank, some smart Ruff, 3 Pintail and thousands of Brent Geese. In all we had 65 species during the day.



A male Ruff moulting into summer plumage
Drake Garganey
Little Ringed Plover
Adult summer plumaged Black-headed Gull
Brent Geese
 Posted by at 9:23 pm
Apr 082019

Spent the past weekend in Dorset, searching the coastal fields for some of the first flowering orchids. In particular the Early Spider Orchid, which was a new species for me. 

We had 6 species of orchid altogether, 3 rosettes (Autumn Lady’s-tresses; Pyramidal and Bee) and 3 in flower Early Purple, Green-winged and Early Spider.

A few Swallows were coming in off the sea, my first Sandwich Tern of the year and managed to catch up with the 1st summer Lesser Yellowlegs at Lodmoor RSPB near Weymouth. Also had the drake Ring-necked Duck from the car at Radipole Lake. Not a bad weekend.


Early Spider Orchid – many were just in bud
Early Spider Orchid
Early Spider Orchid
Early Spider Orchid – the first plants to appear are nearly always short and stubby
Early Spider Orchid
Green-winged Orchid
Autumn Lady’s-tresses Rosette
Early Purple Orchid just coming into flower
Bee Orchid Rosette
Lesser Yellowlegs at Lodmoor Reserve, near Weymouth
 Posted by at 2:57 pm
Mar 162019

A Great Grey Shrike has been wintering at the National Trust’s Clumber Park, in Nottinghamshire. It has been favouring an area called South Lawns, a reasonable walk from the visitor centre car park. 

I managed to see the bird on Friday 15th March in extremely windy conditions. It was quite challenging for taking photographs and made it very difficult trying to approach the bird. With patience though,                 

I managed to get a few pictures, of what can be a difficult bird to photograph in Britain.

The Great Grey Shrike is a scarce autumn migrant and annual winter visitor to our shores, mainly from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

Shrikes are often called the “Butcher Bird”, due to their habit of impaling their prey on thorns of bushes, such as Hawthorn.

 Posted by at 1:44 pm
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