Thursday, 29 December 2016

Another frosty day at Stockers

Well I have been searching for the White Nun over the last few weeks as this enigmatic bird hides amongst the willow islands of Stockers lake.
I walked to the Shoveler hide had a quick scan and moved on however after a hundred yards did a U turn as I  saw my quarry off the main island .Back in the hide the red head Smew obliged giving close views as we waited.
Well close views of this small merganser made my day along with Shoveler dabbling in the shallows.
The icing on the cake not the lake was displaying Goldeneyes for a fellow birder and I before departing the crowds on the causeway.
The sunshine brings out the crowd winter or summer.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

A Quick walk around Stockers Lake

A circular walk of Stockers today in search of Smew be it a red head,Anna Marett and I looked but alas only found Goldeneye good numbers of Wigeon and a good number of Red crested Pochards at least 8 and four on Bury GP.
Also large numbers of Coot we met Messrs Hulls and Lapworth and Tony revealed that Jack Snipe were at Ruislip Lido.
The ice covered a great deal of the lake and on it stood a few gulls.
Finally near the Alders a flock of splendid Siskin .

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

last days of November at Maple Lodge

Well it was a sharp frost this morning ,on arrival at the reserve I found the lake almost frozen over,so  I walked through the Paddock towards Lynsters Farm where good numbers of Stock Doves obliged.
These were feeding amongst the grazing Greylags,moving on to the hides a few Grey Herons hunted the shallows.
Returning along Long Hedge I noted a splendid Goldfinch feeding on Teazel.
Made my way back to the club house where dunnocks ,blackbirds etc fed under the feeders.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Autumn day at Stockers Lake

Autumn days at Stockers Lake are special,blue skys lead to clear nights and of course sunshine. Here I searched diligently for wildfowl to be precise the
Goldeneye, at the viewpoint  I am  lucky to see a nice pair.
Also good numbers of Wigeon as they whistle down the wind on a circular walk of the lake.
My walk ends at Bury Lake where some blue tits in the Silver Birch trees
near the Yacht club.
Well its time for tea now and I'm sitting next to  Jack Mann.
Jack was one of Churchills secret warriors he is 91 years young and still going strong.
It was an honour and a privelige Sir.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Moor Park and its birds on a cold sunny day late Autumn

Its not even light and the Jackdaws are in abundance along the Chestnut drive on route to the Mansion.
As day breaks Cormorants fly high overhead while distant Canadian geese are heard,the regular Egyptian geese have gone awol.
Small flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare cackle and twitter,on the pond a good number of Mallard and one lonely Moorhen.
The highlights of today were two Red Kite a Common Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Paddy at the Colusseum Watford

Well I was lucky to be invited for Paddy a musical drama at the town hall where I spent a few St Patrick nights with heather in my buttonhole.
This musical drama on Irish emigration was a joy to behold for sure,most of us there had some Irish descent and the play brought it home.The play is set in the sixties when we were playing football and drinking in North West London mostly with Irish family's who were struggling to make ends meet.
This emotional tale of Padddy's trials and tribulations was worthy of the West End and Broadway ,God bless you all.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Manningford in the vale of Pewsey

I could almost smell Alfred's burnt cakes here in the kingdom Wessex,there was no sign of Ragnar Lothbrok's Vikings as we travelled through this pleasant land. Arriving at Manningford we tackled up and proceeded to fly fish for some Rainbows, the stream nearby held Brown trout and Grayling a harder prospect to catch. After a few hours I caught my quota.
Later I noted a pair of splendid Kingfishers as I walked the  river only a few chattering Fieldfares and the mewing of the Buzzard.

Friday, 18 November 2016

In pursuit of Esox Luscius

Today around 0800hrs Danny Gomm picked me up to go fishing .Pike fishing that is we set off for Inns lake right next door to Stockers bordering the River Colne.
It was a bit fresh a few coot and duck on the lack ,we were using deadbaits and soon a pike was showing interest in Danny's float or should l say bait. Nothing happened we were distracted by a Muncjac trying to get through the fence on to Springwell lane,however it did a u turn and swam  the whole length of the lake to the River Colne.
Danny got a phone shot of this unexpected event.We carried on fishing with no luck until we brought the lure rod in to action and I managed a 5lb fish on the far side of the lake.
A great day out as not been piking for a while thanks to Danny

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Scrape

Heres the new scrape lets hope it improves the quality of sightings we deserve.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Afternoon surprise at Maple Lodge

well an afternoon stroll in autumnal sunshine to the lodge where Lewis gave me the heads up on what's about was enlightening.From Rotunda a green sandpiper and next door at the Double Decker a  shock .At last a scrape something for the members by the members and contractors well done to all.
Forty Wigeon on Lynsters farm ended the day.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Woodoaks Farm

A walk to the farm after the frost had melted was ideal ,met Chris had a chat told him I clocked fifty lapwing on the field then chatted about the gooners and spurs for a bit.  I then walked towards the dung heap and a dozen skylark took off. In the distance I saw a Stonechat which I stalked and got a few photos.
Walked back towards the old orchard where I noticed a buzzard thought it might have been Rough legged didn't get the white rump,heres a pic of it.

Super dooper Whooper

Well a phone call sent me to Stockers on a cold afternoon,so cold pauls phone died after the call.I made my way to the preachers pulpit dragging another birder with me .As we arrived all I got was the rear end of a Whooper disappearing in to the islands.Paul was sceptical thought they might have been Bewicks.However they appeared further down the lake
So we dashed to the causeway to find 8 Whooper swans all adults.
We rang all and sundry Joan Thomson arrived as did Lee Evans a good county record for all

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Minsmere day trip

My old mate Dave Cole picked me up around 0700 hrs and we set off for Suffolk.Three hours later we arrived Dave don't do sat nav.
On arrival made our way through the bushes towards the beach ,colder sunny and a bit windy a few lingering swallows obliged.
From the beach noted a single Gannet,before arriving at the Scrape where some splendid Black tailed Godwits obliged.
Also here a variety of duck,we missed snow bunting at the Sluice,but arrived at the West Scrape noting a few Grey Plover and Redshank.
Outside the hide on mounds of earth a Stonechat obliged.
Moving on to the Bittern and Island Mere hide several Marsh Harriers entertained us sporadically ,we missed the Otter by 10 minutes .
Although two female deer did not escape us as they grazed between the Phragmites.
Disappointngly we also missed a Waxwing due to member of staffs incompetence,all it took was one word as he dashed past us,fortunately his female counterpart cried waxwing 5 mins later ,it was only few yards away we missed it by seconds.
A lovely autumnal day was not over as a chilli jacket served for lunch at Minsmere caused an unavoidable stop as I was crippled up with abdominal pain .Thanks for the experience.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Ensenada Mexico

Arrived around 0700 hrs greeted by seals and birds,California and Heerman gulls,Brown Pelican and Pelagic cormorant.
This is the port at Ensenada where we docked this morning back to the birds the Brown pelicans are always splendid.
We had breakfast in our room as Royal Terns flew by in good numbers.
While waiting to get off clocked Great Blue Heron plus a number of Clarks Grebes now split from Western Grebe check out the area around their eyes to confirm.
0940HRS we disembark with liz rich,ann and peter walking past the numerous tourist shops noting day of the dead T shirts etc.

We stopped for a beer and was entertained by a guitarist singing Guantanamera.We eventually saw a Mariacchi band before making our way to the Riviera del Pacifico a renovated casino and museum .
Inside the former casino chandeliers hung from the ceiling and the museum was excellent.
The natural history museum held some interesting relics from the past ,native americans,pottery etc.
A final loop of the town  before a Mexican meal of enchiladas etc devoured by the gang.
Walking back to the boat I clocked up Osprey,Curlew and a number of Clarks grebes. Finally two imposing Guadalope fur seals as we boarded
Ensenada is located in Baja California on Mexicos western shore.
Portugese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered this small bay in 1542 and named it San Mateo. It was renamed by Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino as Ensenada de Todos los Santos.
Margarita a tequila based drink was invented at Hussongs cantina in 1892.
So ends another cruise its LA in the morning and coming home on the red eye the next morning Aloha Adios and Goodbye

Two more days before Mexico

Monday the 17th of October overcast rain in the air spent some time on Lido deck had a Pina Colada thought I was Del boy,only two flying fish before 1500hrs ,time for a siesta before another Captains night.
Awaiting Rich and Liz got the champers on ice and Lionel on the I pad.
Great night six of us eating having a dance and the crack with the Geordies and Ronnie and Reggie.
Final day Caz at the launderette,I'm looking for the elusive birds of the Pacific ocean.The boats rocking its Beaufort 8 from the west,its 1500 hrs and its still rocking I'm reading Arsene Wengers  biography another day of heavy seas ,Carols almost sick not our best day.

At Sea for 5 Days

First day sunny a cup of tea seawatching 0715 winds from the south the Pacific yields little a few shearwaters before breakfast.
Chatting to fellow passengers at lunch time now Ronnie and Reggie  (aliases) boxed with the former owner?of the George in Holloway Rd .
Not a lot of people know that.A siesta followed by two flying fish brought the day to a close.Next day  all quiet sea watching produced a Red footed Booby.
Nothing much else doing
Getting over a late night doing a Karaoke song only one my rendition of Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding ,adulation from the Geordies and Ronnie and Reggie finishing in Crooners bar not Gooners. Heard they beat Swansea 3-2 GOALS from Ozil and Theo.
Well back to today its flat calm as I gaze across the Pacific not a bird in sight.A message from Sarah Naga has blue hair and dressed as a mermaid.
There's no mermaids in this ocean and Strictly no birds.Distant Bulwers petrels  so small against a mass of blue.Evening meal with Rich and Liz ended the day.

Big Island or Hawaii its aloha Hilo

Awoke 0630hrs cruising past the island of Hawaii,of note probably a couple of Christmas Petrels,Tropic birds and Cattle Egrets.
On docking I'm grilling the shoreline hoping for more.
and I get a small flock of Ne Ne or Hawaiian geese in flight,just the tonic as last chance for this island endemic and national bird.

083Ohrs breakfast,never hot Caz gets the hump,off the ship around 0900hrs
at Hilo where we take a taxi to Rainbow Falls.
Aptly named this 442ft produced a rainbow.
The Waluku river runs below it legend here of monster and man only tourist today.

Next stop was the Lilluokalani Gardens ,these were Japanese style gardens.
The Bashi style was quite pleasing to the eye as I looked around for some birds much to Carols annoyance.First a Wandering Tattler another Alaskan migrant at close quarters.
Also of note another introduced species seen in Africa prior was the Yellow Fronted Canary.
Reluctantly leaving the park with its architecture and birds,our next stop was the market.
A few beers and lunch at a splendid restaurant called the Pineapple halted our progress,then it was on the hop on hop off bus back to port.
Hilo at a glance founded by the Polynesian boatmen around1100 and famed English explorer James Cook moored in Hilo Bay in 1778.Climate 127 inches of rain a year today the sun shone all day . The Ne Ne goose is Hawaii's state bird the world's 6th most endangered wildfowl.More birds have become extinct in Hawaii than in any other part of the world.
Due to changes in their natural habitats,forest destruction,rats,mongooses and man.