20/06/2015 Hampton in Arden, Solihull

Melodious Warbler: Today I finally caught up with the west mids Melodious Warbler, this bird has been in the same area for ages now, but between my wedding photography shoots and work I simply haven't had the time to go down.

And after yesterdays Saltholme Squacco dip it was good to add a new bird to my growing list.

This was my first Melodious but when observed closely the first thing I noticed was it's large heavy set bill and its supercilium more prominent in front of its bill, nice little bird overall.

It was good to bump in to Andy Ingham while there too, I hope he got a better pic then I did!

14/06/2015 Bardsey Island

Cretzschmar's Bunting: I never thought I would be travelling to Bardsey and ticking this little cracker today!

I was on my way to the West Midlands hoping to get myself the Melodious Warbler that has been down there for a week or so now when I got a call from Frank Duff who convinced me to turn around and go with him for the Cretz.

 We arrived at Porth Meudwy or the "Fishermen's Cove", near Aberdaron and after a quick dash from the car park we missed the second boat of the day and had to wait for the third.

Butterfly Orchid: We didn't have to wait too long for the next boat and in no time we were heading up the path towards the lighthouse.

The bird was flittering around the lighthouse compound occasionally coming to a patch of seed the warden had put out.

Frank and I filled our boots with some brilliant views although at the time the sun was in the wrong place - as you can tell from my images!

What a great trip, my first visit to Bardsey, a great day out with Fank and what a brilliant bird to have added to my list.

Two tips if anyone is going, wear waterproofs on the boat, it gets bloody wet on the crossing over!

And if you have time keep an eye out while your walking down towards the harbour, you might find a couple of Butterfly Orchid that are in fill bloom.

12/06/2015 Cumbria

Lesser Whitethroat: I spent the week surveying alongside Mr David Haigh a legend from the Wirral lot. He and I came across a pair of Lesser Whitethroat on a Breeding Birds Survey and I decided to go back in my free time and try for some pictures.
In typical fashion the birds were extremely difficult to pin down, I must have taken at least 300 frames consisting of the back of the bird, blurred branches and tantalising glimpses of the skulky bird.

In the end one of the birds flew across the road and and gave me some blinding full frontal views for only a few seconds before dipping back in to the undergrowth.

This gave me enough time to rattle off a couple of frames capturing these two beauties, time well spent.

Tawny Owl: One another trip out earlier in the week Dave and I were joined by Kenny D. We took a long walk in the village we were staying in and caught up with the local Tawny Owl and several Spot fly.

01/06/2015 Amble, Northumberland

Eider: After arriving home from Dorset and a very early night, Gary, Jon and I left Manchester and headed for the Black-winged Part.

But alas this would prove to be another futile attempt to see this blasted bird!

We arrived not long after the bird was spooked by some Crows and flew North, eventually ending up in Aberdeen!

Never mind!

Ever since Scott brought me to Amble Harbour a couple of years ago after our successful Collard Flycatcher twitch I have always thought Amble was pretty awesome.

So I thought we could go and take some wholemeal bread and visit Ambles famous Eider, and we weren't disappointed.  

In the usual Eider style they came straight over and were not shy, overall we ended up with some great birds, great views, great company but a rubbish dip!

31/05/2015 Arne RSPB, Dorset

Sika Deer: After a sound night sleep in Bournemouth Gary and I packed up early and decided to go to Arne.

I have heard a lot about this place from an old colleague and a mate of mine from the RSPB John Lloyd who used to work there.

The morning was very wet and very grey! Typical birding weather when you go visit a new place however we made the most of the day by putting on our waterproofs and getting on the heath.  The weather had an impact on what we saw as it was no-where near as good as the previous evening on the heath at The New Forest, the highlights were several Green Woodies and plenty of Sika Deer, a mammal tick!

Overall I can say we had a cracking trip with plenty of new ticks for both of us with a great supporting cast and we were both keen to stay another night but made the decision to go home that night and try for the Northumberland Black-winged Pratincole.

30/05/2015 The New Forrest National Park, Dorset

Cuckoo: Once we had our fill of Pagham Harbour, after enjoying the Little and Sandwich Terns and getting some great views of Spot Fly in Norton Church yard Gary and I decided to go back over to Bournemouth where we were staying the night.

Back at the hotel and after a 'shockingly' bad cup of tea made by Gary - don't give up your day job mate! We thought we would make the most of the sunshine and long days and go explore The New Forrest.

Almost as soon as we arrived and after literally dodging the local ponies I caught sight of Dartford's and plenty of Skylark and Mipits. I thought this place was awesome, we managed to see two pairs of Redstart and heard at least four Cuckoo.

Most of the calling Cuckoo sounded very deep in the valley and I didn't think we would get lucky enough to actually see one.

How wrong was I?!
Redstart: As we headed back to the car Gary noticed a cuckoo right by us in a nearby tree. This bird was fascinating as it periodically dropped from it's perch and landed on the ground.

While on the ground it was foraging for worms and other inverts, a behaviour I have never seen before.

30/05/2015 Pagham Harbour, West Sussex

Red-necked Phalarope: From Titchfield, Gary and I headed across the border to West Sussex to Pagham Harbour in search of the Black-winged Stilts and Phal.

Both birds were on Ferry Pool where we joined the growing crowds alongside the road.

The Phal came pretty close and at times gave us some great flight views as a local kes came through a couple of times.

Black-winged Stilt: Although I was a little disappointed that the Stilt was pretty distant, I was still very pleased to finally add this bird to my list, it's been a long time coming!

30/05/2015 Titchfield Nature Reserve, Hants

Greater-yellow Legs: I seem to be getting slower and slower off the mark when it comes to twitching, this bird has been on the south coast for ages now and I don't make the trip until now!

Gary and I left Manchester for about 4am and arrived in good time at Titchfield, not knowing that the reserve doesn't open until 9.30am on the dot, leaving us to explore some of the public paths.

The tide was in when we arrived and we thought that we might have to wait for the bird to follow the tide out and come onto the muddy banks of the reserve for around 2pm.

However we struck lucky!

As soon as we entered the furthermost hide the bird was happily feeding right in front of us. the bird lingered for about 25 minutes before flying out of sight.

The one thing I noticed about Titchfield is the abundance of Cetti's Warbler, they seemed to be all over the place.