The rime of the unwanted wedding guest

With apologies to Coleridge and de la Mere

‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Bailiff,
Knocking on the vestry door;
His super turbo 4×4
In sympathetic roar.
And an owl flew out of the belfry,
And a distant hawk did cry,
And a black cat hissed at the Bailiff,
And some travellers passed by.

But the wedding party was long gone
The bride and groom had kissed.
And all had gone to the Rose and Swan
Where most were fairly pissed.
And no one saw the Bailiff
Who came to church that day,
Walk back to car with writ unserved,
Rev up, and drive away.

14 March, 2016 – Pennington Flash

I revisited Pennington Flash with only two hours available, so divided my time between the Bunting Hide (with feeders) and the Teal and Tom Edmondson hides (for water fowl).

The Bunting hide was lavish in its food offerings, with perhaps the cheekiest little bird being this cute long-tailed tit.

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Long-tailed Tit

In fact there were lots of these tiny little birds – they really are delicate little things, and very attractive.

160315 long tailed tits 4 Pennington Flash

Long-tailed Tits on feeder

Food tables were also well attended:

160315 blackbird Pennington Flash

Blackbird (male)

160315 bullfinch m&f Pennington Flash

Pair of bullfinches (male at left)

And even a moorhen had hopped onto a food table

160315 moorhen on bird table Pennington Flash

Moorhen, unusually at food table

Other passerines were around the feeding area: chaffinches …

160315 chaffinch f Pennington Flash

Chaffinch (female)

12794994_10153428098956932_4109042274783533195_o

Chaffinch (male)

… a nuthatch …

160315 nuthatch Pennington Flash

Nuthatch

.. a cheeeky reed bunting …

160315 reed bunting m 4 Pennington Flash

Reed Bunting (male)

… and a Blue tit.

160315 blue tit Pennington Flash

Blue Tit

Water fowl seen included: shovellers

160315 shoveller m&f 2 Pennington Flash

Male and female shovellers

… teal …

160315 teal Pennington Flash

a teal

.. and, skulking in the undergrowth, a water rail …

160315 water rail 3 Pennington Flash

Water Rail (half hidden}

… who eventually revealed himself

160315 water rail Pennington Flash

Water rail out in the open

Finally, as I was leaving, I saw a male gadwall swimming on the big lake at the entrance.

160315 gadwall m Pennington Flash

Gadwall (male)

 

21 February, 2016 – Tophill Low

I went with the Stockport local RSPB group to Tophill Low, south of Scarborough on the Eastern Yorkshire coast. It was a pleasant outing but very overcast and it rained all day. In between the rain showers I was able to take one or two photos.

tophill Low

Tophill Low nature Reserve

This was a mixed site – woodland and wetland – but I only really saw water birds. Here’s a male goldeneye taking to the skies.

160221 golden eye 2 Tophill Low

Goldeneye taking to the air

And here again, with a lady friend

160221 male and juv female golden eye Tophill Low

Male and juv female Goldeneye

A Greylag Goose, one of many we saw ..

160221 greylag goose Tophill Low

Greylag goose

Plenty of curlew around today …

160221 curlew Tophill Low

Curlew at the water side

The highlight of the day was a pair of scaup on one of the reservoirs – we knew they were there, but were also –with the aid of spotting scopes– actually able to find them. Here’s a male scaup quacking up a storm about something.

160221 scaup m (foreground) & f Tophill Low

Scaup in the distance

There were plenty of teal on the water – here are a few on a mudbank, with other assorted ducks and swans.

160221 teal (Anas crecca) Tophill Low

Mixed waterfowl on a mud bank – mainly teal

Swans a plenty too – here’s a Mute Swan cygnet from last year in juvenile plumage and black beak.

160221 mute swan juv 2 Tophill Low

A juvenile mute swan

And to finish off, a bit or mallard woohoo – clearly they thought it was spring already.

160221 mallard woohoo Tophill Low

A pair of mallards engaged in a little woohoo

18 February – RSPB Leighton Moss

It was a sunny day and I decided to take the train up to Silverdale, to visit RSPB Leighton Moss. I spent a few hours there and took one or two pictures (see below).

Nothing special, and this is just a photographic record of the some of the birds I photographed on this day (I saw many more species which I did not record).

160218 great tit RSPB Leighton Moss

Great Tit

160218 black-tailed godwit RSPB Leighton Moss

Black-tailed Godwit (in foreground) with Redshank in rear

160218 black-tailed godwit 3 RSPB Leighton Moss

Again, Black-tailed Godwit (in foreground) with Redshank in rear. This time the Godwit has something to say for himself.

160218 redshanks 10 RSPB Leighton Moss

Redshank

160218 redshanks 34 RSPB Leighton Moss

Redshank again

160218 marsh tit 2 RSPB Leighton Moss

Marsh Tit

160218 marsh tit RSPB Leighton Moss

Marsh Tit again

160218 tufted duck 12 RSPB Leighton Moss

Tufted ducks on the prowl – the second from the right is a bit manky, probably a hybrid.

 

 

 

Martin Mere, 29 January 2016

As always, click on a photo to see in slide format, or scroll down for normal view.

My first birding outing back in the UK was to Martin Mere, near Southport. I suppose the plat du jour was the recently hatched Grey-crown Crane:

160129 grey crowned crane juv Martin Mere

Juvenile Grey-crowned Crane, Martin Mere

Here’s a reminder of what mother crane looked like, with a close up below of the colourful plumage.

150807 Grey-crowned crane 2 Martin Mere

Grey-crowned crane – adult

160129 grey crowned crane feathers Martin Mere

detail of feathers, grey crowned crane

Here’s a Northern Pintail – looking crisp as the weather I experienced on this visit …

160129 northern pintail Martin Mere

Northern pintail

… and a few friends from Argentina, first the Southern Screamer …

160129 chaja Martin Mere

Southern screamer

and below, the Chilean Flamingo …..

160129 chilean flamingo 2 Martin Mere

Chilean flamingo

… and finally some Muscovy Ducks.

160129 muscovy ducks 2 Martin Mere

Muscovy ducks

Moving outside the collections area, I didn’t stay very long on this visit as I mistimed train connections, but I did attend feeding time for the Whooper Swans, a main feature of Martin Mere. Below a close-up.

160129 whooper swans 1 Martin Mere

Whooper Swans

160129 whooper swan 2 Martin Mere

Whooper Swan, close up

Other wild birds I saw included a snipe  about his business …

160215 snipe 2 Martin Mere

Snipe

A glorious robin singing his heart out ….

160215 robin Martin Mere

Robin

A shelduck …

160215 common shelduck Martin Mere

Common Shelduck

A greenfinch …

160215 greenfinch Martin Mere

Greenfinch

Quite a few reed buntings

160215 reed bunting female Martin Mere

Reed Bunting (female)

160215 reed bunting male Martin Mere

Reed Bunting (male)

And, back on the shoreside, a lapwing

160215 lapwing Martin Mere

[Northern] lapwing

A grey Heron …

160215 grey heron Martin Mere

Grey Heron

And a ruff, sadly not in breeding plumage but I’ll be back!

160215 ruff 4 Martin Mere

Ruff

Ceibas, Entre Ríos – 1 November 2015

I was in Buenos Aires at the end of October 2015 for a teachers’  conference and when it was over my good friend Alec Earnshaw invited me up to Ceibas for a day’s birding. It was a long day too –Ceibas is in the Province of Entre Ríos and we left the northern suburbs at about 04.00, getting back to BA at about 23.00– but it was an excellent day, and I had myself an excellent guide, one of Argentina’s very best. Thank you again, Alec, for a wonderful day’s birding.

Alec knew this area really well, and was able to guide me to a a great many birds, twenty-eight of which were lifers for me. Below are some of the birds we saw – there were so many birds everywhere that I didn’t bother to take photos of birds I know in order to save my batteries for new ones.

Lifers of the day were Savanna Hawk, Grassland Sparrow, Chestnut-capped Blackbird, Wood Stork, Screaming Cowbird, Suiriri Flycatcher, Yellow-browed Tyrant, Solitary Sandpiper, Sooty Tyrannulet, Grayish Saltator, White-browed Meadowlark, Brown-and-yellow Marshbird, Straight-billed Reedhaunter, Curve-billed Reedhaunter, Nacunda Nighthawk, Bran-colored Flycatcher, White Monjita, Firewood-gatherer, Brown-chested Martin, Scarlet-headed Blackbird, Freckle-breasted Thornbird, Roseate Spoonbill, Warbling Doradito, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Stripe-crowned Spinetail, Chotoy Spinetail, Whistling Heron and Snail Kite. That’s a total of 28 – not bad for one day’s birding, and I’m no longer a beginner.

The photos below follow, for some inexplicable reason, a not quite perfect inverse alphabetical order. This was obviously not the order we saw them, but some months later it would be time-consuming to reconstruct that order, and it’s not that important anyway.

151101 varillero congo 3 Ceibas Entre Rios

varillero congo (Chestnut-capped Blackbird) Agelaius ruficapillus

151101 tuyuyú 2 Ceibas Entre Rios

tuyuyú (American Wood Stork) Mycteria americana

151101 tordo pico corto (screaming cowbird) Ceibas Entre Rios

tordo pico corto (Screaming Cowbird) Molothrus rufoaxilaris

151101 siriri pampa 3 Ceibas Entre Rios

siriri pampa (White-faced Whistling-Duck) Dendrocygna viduata

151101 Sietevestidos Común 27 Ceibas Entre Rios

siete vestidos ( Black-and-rufous Warbling-Finch) Poospiza nigrorufa

151101 pitotoy solitario Ceibas Entre Rios

pitotoy solitario (Solitary Sandpiper) Tringa solitaria

151101 piojito gris 5 Ceibas Entre Rios

piojito gris (Sooty Tyrannulet) Serpophaga nigricans

151101 pico de plata hembra Ceibas Entre Rios

[female] pico de plata (Spectacled Tyrant) Hymenops perspicillatus

151101 picaflor comun 2 (glittering-bellied-emerald) Ceibas Entre Rios

[male] picaflor comun (Glittering-bellied Emerald Hummingbird) Chlorostilbon lucidus

151101 perhaps muscove duck? Ceibas Entre Rios

domesticated version of pato real (Muscovy Duck) Cairina moschata

151101 pepitero gris Ceibas Entre Rios

pepitero de collar (Golden-billed Saltator) Saltator aurantiirostris

151101 pecho colorado Ceibas Entre Rios

[not to be confused with long-tailed meadowlark!] pecho colorado (White-browed Meadowlark) Sturnella superciliaris

151101 pecho amarillo comun Ceibas Entre Rios

pecho amarillo común (Brown-and-yellow Marshbird) Pseudoleistes virescens

151101 pajonalera pico curvo 3 Ceibas Entre Rios

ñacundá (Nacunda Nighthawk) Chordeiles nacunda/Podager nacunda

151101 federal 2 Ceibas Entre Rios

federal (Scarlet-headed Blackbird) Amblyramphus holosericeus

151101 Espinero Pecho Manchado freckle-breasted thornbird Ceibas Entre Rios

espinero pecho manchado (Freckle-breasted Thornbird) Phacellodomus striaticollis

151101 Espátula Rosada 3 Ceibas Entre Rios

espátula rosada (Roseate Spoonbill) Ajaia ajaja

151101 Doradito Común 3 Ceibas Entre Rios

doradito común (Warbling Doradito) Pseudocolopteryx flaviventris

151101 curutie colorado 2 Ceibas Entre Rios

curutié colorado (Yellow-chinned Spinetail) Certhiaxis cinnamomeus

curutié blanco (Stripe-crowned Spinetail) Cranioleuca pyrrhophia

curutié blanco (Stripe-crowned Spinetail) Cranioleuca pyrrhophia

151101 cortarramas Ceibas Entre Rios

cortarramas (White-tipped Plantcutter) Phytotoma rutila

151101 chotoy Ceibas Entre Rios

chotoy (Chotoy Spinetail) Schoeniophylax phryganophilus

151101 chinchero chico Ceibas Entre Rios

chinchero chico (Narrow-billed Woodcreeper) Lepidocolaptes angustirostris

151101 chiflon Ceibas Entre Rios

chiflón (Whislting Heron) Syrigma sibilatrix

151101 chaja Ceibas Entre Rios

chaja (Crested aka Southern Screamer) Chauna torquata

151101 carpintero de cardon hembra Ceibas Entre Rios

carpintero de cardon (White-fronted Woodpecker) Melanerpes cactorum

151101 cardenal comun 2 Ceibas Entre Rios

cardenal comun (Red-crested Cardinal) Paroaria coronata

151101 caracolero Ceibas Entre Rios

caracolero (Snail [or Everglade] Kite) Rosthramus sociabilis

151101 Baywing, or Bay-winged Cowbird Ceibas Entre Rios

tordo musico (Bay-winged Cowbird) Agelaioides badius

151101 becasina comun 2 Ceibas Entre Rios

becasina (South American Snipe) Gallinago paraguaiae

151101 bigua feeding 2 Ceibas Entre Rios

bigua (Neotropic aka Olivaceous Cormorant) Phalacrocorax brasilianus

151101 Cachilo Ceja Amarilla Ceibas Entre Rios

cachilo ceja amarilla (Grassland Sparrow) Ammodramus humeralis

151101 calandria 3 Ceibas Entre Rios

calandria grande (Chalk-browed Mockingbird) Mimus saturninus

151101 atajacaminos tijera Ceibas Entre Rios

atajacaminos tijera (Scissor-tailed Nightjar) Hydropsalis torquata

151101 Aguilucho Colorado Ceibas Entre Rios

[young] aguilucho colorado (Savanna Hawk) Buteogallus meridionalis

151101 Suirirí Común Ceibas Entre Rios

suirirí común (Suiriri suiriri) Suiriri Flycatcher

151101 Suirirí Amarillo 2 Ceibas Entre Rios

suirirí amarillo (Yellow-browed Tyrant) Satrapa icterophrys

Trip to Río Gallegos, 8 November 2015

I made a return trip to Río Gallegos in November 2015. This time it was for work (to give one or two talks at a local teachers’ conference) but it was a good chance to meet up with my friend Emanuel Tiberí and do a little birding.

We took a half day and went out to Punta Loyola, an area that Emanuel knows well as he is working on the reserve there. I was lucky enough to see one or too lifers while there (Least Seedsnipe, Chocolate-vented Tyrant, Collared Plover and Tawny-throated Dotterel) , so it was a good outing.

Here are a few photos I took on the morning outing:

monjita chocolate (Chocolate-vented Tyrant) Neoxolmis rufiventris

monjita chocolate (Chocolate-vented Tyrant) Neoxolmis rufiventris

chorlo cabezón (Tawny-throated Dotterel) Oreopholus ruficollis

chorlo cabezón (Tawny-throated Dotterel) Oreopholus ruficollis

chorlito doble collar (Two-banded Plover) Charadrius falklandicus

chorlito doble collar (Two-banded Plover) Charadrius falklandicus

agachona chica (Least Seedsnipe) Thinocorus rumicivorus

agachona chica (Least Seedsnipe) Thinocorus rumicivorus

bandurrita comun (Scale-throated Earthcreeper) Upucerthia dumetaria

bandurrita comun (Scale-throated Earthcreeper) Upucerthia dumetaria

In the afternoon I walked out along the costanera before taking my flight back north and took my final shot of the trip: possibly the most common bird in Patagonia, but always a delightful one: the chingolo.

chingolo (Rufous-collared Sparrow) Zonotrichia capensis

chingolo (Rufous-collared Sparrow) Zonotrichia capensis

 

Atlantic coast, Part 2c – Punta Rasa back to Mar del Plata, 20 October, 2015

This is the final part of a trip I made north from Mar del Plata to Punta Rasa when my Pelagic trip was cancelled due to bad weather). It covers a little of the area around Punta Rasa and then the coast down to Panama and Mar Chiquita. As I am so far behind with South American bird logs I am again limiting this to photos of some of the species I saw, limiting the captions to bird IDs. I saw one lifer: the Southern Screamer.

Firstly I drove west to General Lavalle:

gallineta comun (Plumbeous Rail) Pardirallus sanguinolentus

gallineta comun (Plumbeous Rail) Pardirallus sanguinolentus

garza mora (Cocoi or White-necked Heron) Ardea cocoi

garza mora (Cocoi or White-necked Heron) Ardea cocoi

[singing his heart out] chingolo (Rufous-collared Sparrow) Zonotrichia capensis

[singing his heart out] chingolo (Rufous-collared Sparrow) Zonotrichia capensis

 I then drove south to Piñamar, where I parked up beside the small aerodrome:

pecho amarillo común (Brown-and-yellow Marshbird) Pseudoleistes virescens

pecho amarillo común (Brown-and-yellow Marshbird) Pseudoleistes virescens

pato picazo (Rosy-billed Pochard aka Rosybill) Netta peposaca

pato picazo (Rosy-billed Pochard aka Rosybill) Netta peposaca

cuervillo de cañada (White-faced Ibis) Plegadis chihi

cuervillo de cañada (White-faced Ibis) Plegadis chihi

chaja (Crested aka Southern Screamer) Chauna torquata

chaja (Crested aka Southern Screamer) Chauna torquata

carpintero-real comun (Green-barred Woodpecker) Colaptes melanochloros

carpintero-real comun (Green-barred Woodpecker) Colaptes melanochloros

 Finally, I drove into the holiday village at Mar Chiquita, just to the north of Mar del Plata.

pitotoy chico (Lesser Yellowlegs) Tringa flavipes

pitotoy chico (Lesser Yellowlegs) Tringa flavipes

pititoy grande (greater yellowlegs) Tringa melanoleuca

pititoy grande (greater yellowlegs) Tringa melanoleuca

lechucita vizcachera (burrowing owl) Athene cunicularia

lechucita vizcachera (burrowing owl) Athene cunicularia

churrinche (Vermilion Flycatcher) Pyrocephalus rubinus

churrinche (Vermilion Flycatcher) Pyrocephalus rubinus

benteveo comun (Great Kiskadee) Pitangus sulphuratus

benteveo comun (Great Kiskadee) Pitangus sulphuratus

becasa de mar (Hudsonian godwit) Limosa haemastica

becasa de mar (Hudsonian godwit) Limosa haemastica

martin pescador grande (Ringed Kingfisher) Megaceryle torquata

martin pescador grande (Ringed Kingfisher) Megaceryle torquata

 

Atlantic coast, Part 2b (afternoon and evening) – Punta Rasa, 19 October, 2015

I am way, way behind with my birding logs, and will therefore limit this to a listing of some of the birds I saw and photographed.

In the afternoon of 19 October 2015 I drove up to Punta Rasa, one of the finest birding sites I have visited and one I can most highly recommend. It’s where freshwater meets seawater, and a stopping off point for migratory species all year round. You never really know what you will see there.

The area around Punta Rasa is also very good for other species (not water birds or migratory species, again all year round).

So, here are the photos from Punta Rasa – with captions limited to ID info. Lifers of the afternoon were Great Pampa-Finch, Royal Tern, American Golden Plover, Olrog’s Gull, and Snowy-crowned Tern.

chorlo pampa (American Golden-Plover) Pluvialis dominica

chorlo pampa (American Golden-Plover) Pluvialis dominica

chorlito gris aka chorlo arctico (Black-bellied Plover) Pluvialis squatarola

chorlito gris aka chorlo arctico (Black-bellied Plover) Pluvialis squatarola

gaviotín golondrina (Common Tern) Sterna hirundo (see also in Eurasia)

[at foot of photo] gaviotín golondrina (Common Tern) Sterna hirundo (see also in Eurasia)

gaviotín lagunero (Snowy-crowned Tern) Sterna trudeaui

gaviotín lagunero (Snowy-crowned Tern) Sterna trudeaui

gaviotín real (Royal Tern) Thalasseus maximus

gaviotín real (Royal Tern) Thalasseus maximus

milano blanco (White-tailed Kite) Elanus leucurus)

milano blanco (White-tailed Kite) Elanus leucurus)

151019 milano blanco 2 Punta Rasa

gaviota cangrejera (Olrog's Gull) Larus atlanticus

gaviota cangrejera (Olrog’s Gull) Larus atlanticus

Food for the Olrog Gulls - the crab Neohelice granulata

Food for the Olrog Gulls – the crab Neohelice granulata

ostrero comun (American Oystercatcher) Haematopus palliatus

ostrero comun (American Oystercatcher) Haematopus palliatus

playerito enano (semipalmated sandpiper) Calidris pusilla

playerito enano (semipalmated sandpiper) Calidris pusilla

verdón (Great Pampa-Finch) Embernagra platensis

verdón (Great Pampa-Finch) Embernagra platensis

And a leaving shot from Punta Rasa:

[at end of day] gaviota cangrejera (Olrog's Gull) Larus atlanticus

[at end of day] gaviota cangrejera (Olrog’s Gull) Larus atlanticus

Atlantic coast, Part 2a (morning) – San Clemente Port, 19 October, 2015

After my day in and around Mar del Plata I got up early and drove north from Mar del Plata to the coastal town of San Clemente de Tuyú, home to Mundo Marino (Sea World), although I did not visit it on this occasion. I was on my way to Punta Rasa, but will deal with my visit there in a second post. In San Clemente I was heading for the old port, a great place for birds, especially [migratory] water birds.

As I am putting up this post a long time after my visit I’ll just limit myself to listing some of what I saw, this time giving my IDs in the photo captions. Lifers of the morning were Bare-facded Ibis,White-rumped Swallow and Maguari Stork.

becasa de mar (Hudsonian godwit) Limosa haemastica

becasa de mar (Hudsonian godwit) Limosa haemastica – on ground

becasa de mar (Hudsonian godwit) Limosa haemastica

becasa de mar (Hudsonian godwit) Limosa haemastica – in air, a little confused, perhaps

benteveo comun (Great Kiskadee) Pitangus sulphuratus

benteveo comun (Great Kiskadee) Pitangus sulphuratus

tero real (Black-necked Stilt) Himantopus mexicanus

tero real (Black-necked Stilt) Himantopus mexicanus

ciguena americana (Maguari stork) Ciconia maguari

ciguena americana (Maguari stork) Ciconia maguari

[ON LEFT) ciguena americana (Maguari stork) Ciconia maguari

[ON LEFT) ciguena americana (Maguari stork) Ciconia maguari

golondrina ceja blanca (Tachycineta leucorrhoa) White-rumped Swallow

golondrina ceja blanca (Tachycineta leucorrhoa) White-rumped Swallow

pititoy grande (greater yellowlegs) Tringa melanoleuca

pititoy grande (greater yellowlegs) Tringa melanoleuca

pitotoy chico (Lesser Yellowlegs) Tringa flavipes

pitotoy chico (Lesser Yellowlegs) Tringa flavipes

hornero comun (Rufous Hornero aka Red Ovenbird) Furnarius rufus

hornero comun (Rufous Hornero aka Red Ovenbird) Furnarius rufus

lechucita vizcachera (burrowing owl) Athene cunicularia

lechucita vizcachera (burrowing owl) Athene cunicularia

and finally a little avian porn:

gorrion (house sparrow) Passer domesticus

gorrion (house sparrow) Passer domesticus