Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Happy Christmas to my Reader!

Happy Christmas 
to all who happen to read my blog

Lets hope we have a great birding
New Year!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Crossbills at Last! Eymore Woods

Well at last Eymore delivered the goods, we were on our way for a walk and look around near Button Oak, but Tina suggested just stopping at Eymore for a while and have a coffee up at the top car park.

All was quiet when we arrived apart from two blokes playing with their toy cars in the car park, I kid you not! Eac to their own, although the high pitched whining from them (the cars not the blokes!) was annoying, so much so it was difficult to pick up any bird song.

The trees right by the end of the top car park proved to be full of Goldfinch and a couple of Siskins (that we pretended were juvenile Crossbills!!) Thankfully after about 10 minutes the blokes with the cars had moved along the tracks further up the car park, so we could no longer hear them, then we heard chip-chip and result, Crossbills! Our first sighting in England!

At anyone time we saw about 4 or 5 really going for it on the cones, of course quite high up, but the sun was shining so through the bins we were able to admire the colours on the males, they looked magnificent. I managed a couple of shots for the record, just wish they had been closer, but you can't have everything!

We stayed a while until a man with a dog slammed his van door and they all took off, a mixed flock of about 20-30 birds took to the air, (Crossbills, Goldfinch, Siskin and various Tits) damned annoying. But still a great start to the afternoon.

We then drove on to Button Oak and parked up in one of the Copse car parks and went for a walk.

Nothing much to report (Wren, Coal Tit, Woodpigeon), we did hear some pigs in the forest which surprised us, but we didn't see them. After a very pleasant walk we were heading back along the track to the car and with the light fading, I glimpsed something weaving through the trees at speed, it then burst out across the track and back into the trees the other side and disappeared into the gloom, a Goshawk... what a day!

That was only our second ever sighting of  a Goshawk and brings our UK year tally up to 158, not going to beat last year as with Christmas fast approaching that will be our last free weekend until the festivities are done.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Eymore Wood & Trimpley Reservoir

Well another busy weekend with one thing and another, but we did manage to get out and zoom over to Eymore Wood in the vain hope of seeing the Crossbills there that everyone under the sun has seen except us! This visit was to prove no exception. We heard the little blighters but never saw them, well that's not strictlty true, we think we might have seen 4 whip across the trees and disappear but in the fading light we can't be certain and even so it wouldn't have been a good sighting!

We did have a quick walk down to the reservoir and sailing lake, just to see what was about. We picked up a nice pair of Goosander:

a few Tufted Duck:
There were a couple of Cormorant about:
A Grey Heron:
And for the last of the murky photos, a Great Crested Grebe:

There were plenty of Black-headed Gulls about, a few Canada Geese, a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Mallard, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Robin, Crows and just by the lower car park a nice band of Long-tailed Tits.

So another visit still needed to bag our first English Crossbills..........................

Friday, 22 November 2013


I had to head down to Hounslow for a meeting yesterday, but I always look forward to a drive down the M40 if the weathers nice, just to see the Red Kites.

However on the way down the weather was awful, plus after traffic delays I had to keep the pace up to get to my meeting on time. Coming back though was a different story.  As I headed into the Kite zone the weather was perfect.  In all I counted 56 kites that flew over me or came close, (keeping my eyes on the traffic at all times of course!) Some of the views were spectacular, especially when I stopped at the Oxford services to use the facilities. One Kite was circling just above where I had parked... no camera with me so no pics I'm afraid!

All in all the return journey was very productive, large flocks of winter thrushes, Starlings, a couple of Buzzards, a couple of Kestrels, some Lapwing, a Pheasant, a field full of Swans, plus the usual Corvids and Gulls.


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

RSPB Middleton Lakes - Starlings

We popped along to Middleton on Sunday afternoon primarily to see the starlings at dusk, so we arrived with just enough time to do the wetlands circular walk, including a couple of coffee stops. What we didn't allow for was the mud slowing us down.

We took a few photos from the hide, nothing spectacular but nice just the same:

So as the sun was setting we headed back for the Starlings, however they started a bit early and didn't murmurate (is that a verb?) for long before dropping down into the reeds. Someone needs to tell them that a murmuration should last at least 30 minutes. Thankfully I did get a couple of distance shots:

After they had settled we did see a couple of Sparrowhawks but the Starlings weren't bothered and refused to pop back up. So off back through the mud and to the car park pretty much in the dark.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Costa Rica - Last Instalment

So the final bit...

We did two river trips whilst at Tilajari, the first was rafting on our local river, where we had another great sighting not a bird this time but a River Otter
We did see some great birds though: (and frogs and bats!)
Bare-throated Tiger heron

Tropical Peewee

Black Vulture

Green Kingfisher

Blue Jean Poison Dart Frog

Mangrove Swallows

Turkey Vulture

Green Basilisk

Long Nose Bat


Great Blue Heron

Snowy Egret
One more river trip, this time up by the border with Nicaragua, this too was brilliant, boat trips are just the best way to see wildlife! Again we had some really special sightings on this trip, starting with this Northeren Jacana:

Green Heron

Ringed Kingfisher

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks


The ever present Mangrove Swallow


Green Kingfisher

Howler (Female)

Masked Tityra

The very special Common Potoo (Nothing Common about that!)

Neotropic Cormorant

Rufous Nightjar
So that's it for the blog, many more photos on Flickr
I would recommend Costa Rica to anyone, this trip gave us the best of everything, Culture, People, Birds and other Wildlife. A truly brilliant destination. Would we go back, yes, but just to many other places to visit, where next, who knows! But something might happen in January....................

Our Complete bird list for the trip:
Amazon Kingfisher  ("Chloroceryle amazona")
American Redstart  ("Setophaga ruticilla")
American White Ibis  ("Eudocimus albus")
Anhinga  ("Anhinga anhinga")
Baltimore Oriole  ("Icterus galbula")
Bananaquit  ("Coereba flaveola")
Banded Wren  ("Thryophilus pleurostictus")
Bare-throated Tiger Heron  ("Tigrisoma mexicanum")
Barred Hawk  ("Leucopternis princeps")
Black Vulture  ("Coragyps atratus")
Black-and-white Warbler  ("Mniotilta varia")
Black-bellied Whistling Duck  ("Dendrocygna autumnalis")
Black-capped Flycatcher  ("Empidonax atriceps")
Black-cheeked Woodpecker  ("Melanerpes pucherani")
Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher  ("Todirostrum nigriceps")
Black-hooded Antshrike  ("Thamnophilus bridgesi")
Black-necked Stilt  ("Himantopus mexicanus")
Blue-and-white Swallow  ("notiochelidon cyanoleuca")
Blue-grey Tanager  ("Thraupis episcopus")
Boat-billed Heron  ("Cochlearius cochlearius")
Broad-billed Motmot  ("Electron platyrhynchum")
Broad-winged Hawk  ("Buteo platypterus")
Bronzed Cowbird  ("Molothrus aeneus")
Brown Jay  ("Psilorhinus morio")
Brown Pelican  ("Pelecanus occidentalis")
Brown-capped Tyrannulet  ("Ornithion brunneicapillus")
Buff-rumped Warbler  ("Myiothlypis fulvicauda")
Buff-throated Saltator  ("Saltator maximus")
Cattle Egret  ("Bubulcus ibis")
Cerulean Warbler  ("Setophaga cerulea")
Chestnut-backed Antbird  ("Myrmeciza exsul")
Chestnut-sided Warbler  ("Setophaga pensylvanica")
Clay-colored Thrush  ("Turdus grayi")
Collared Aracari  ("Pteroglossus torquatus")
Common Black Hawk  ("Buteogallus anthracinus")
Common Black Hawk (subtilis)  ("Buteogallus anthracinus subtilis")
Common Ground Dove  ("Columbina passerina")
Common Potoo  ("Nyctibius griseus")
Common Tody-Flycatcher  ("Todirostrum cinereum")
Crested Guan  ("Penelope purpurascens")
Crested Owl  ("Lophostrix cristata")
Eastern Wood Pewee  ("Contopus virens")
Fasciated Tiger Heron  ("Tigrisoma fasciatum")
Fiery-billed Aracari  ("Pteroglossus frantzii")
Fiery-throated Hummingbird  ("Panterpe insignis")
Finsch's Parakeet  ("Aratinga finschi")
Golden-crowned Spadebill  ("Platyrinchus coronatus")
Golden-hooded Tanager  ("Tangara larvata")
Golden-winged Warbler  ("Vermivora chrysoptera")
Great Antshrike  ("Taraba major")
Great Blue Heron  ("Ardea herodias")
Great Kiskadee  ("Pitangus sulphuratus")
Great Potoo  ("Nyctibius grandis")
Great White Egret  ("Ardea alba")
Great-tailed Grackle  ("Quiscalus mexicanus")
Green Honeycreeper  ("Chlorophanes spiza")
Green Kingfisher  ("Chloroceryle americana")
Green-backed Heron  ("Butorides virescens")
Grey Hawk  ("Buteo nitidus")
Grey-breasted Martin  ("Progne chalybea")
Grey-capped Flycatcher  ("Myiozetetes granadensis")
Greyish Saltator  ("Saltator coerulescens")
Groove-billed Ani  ("Crotophaga sulcirostris")
Harris's Hawk ("Parabuteo unicinctus")
Hoffmann's Woodpecker  ("Melanerpes hoffmannii")
House Sparrow  ("Passer domesticus")
House Wren  ("Troglodytes aedon")
Inca Dove  ("Columbina inca")
Keel-billed Toucan  ("Ramphastos sulfuratus")
Limpkin  ("Aramus guarauna")
Lineated Woodpecker  ("Dryocopus lineatus")
Little Blue Heron  ("Egretta caerulea")
Louisiana Waterthrush  ("Parkesia motacilla")
Magnificent Frigatebird  ("Fregata magnificens")
Mangrove Swallow  ("Tachycineta albilinea")
Masked Tityra  ("Tityra semifasciata")
Montezuma Oropendola  ("Psarocolius montezuma")
Mourning Warbler  ("Geothlypis philadelphia")
Neotropic Cormorant  ("Phalacrocorax brasilianus")
Night-heron  ("Nycticorax nycticorax")
Northern Barred Woodcreeper  ("Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae")
Northern Crested Caracara  ("Caracara cheriway")
Northern Jacana  ("Jacana spinosa")
Northern Waterthrush  ("Parkesia noveboracensis")
Olive-throated Parakeet  ("Aratinga nana")
Orange-chinned Parakeet  ("Brotogeris jugularis")
Orchard Oriole  ("Icterus spurius")
Osprey  ("Pandion haliaetus")
Pale-vented Thrush  ("Turdus obsoletus")
Palm Tanager  ("Thraupis palmarum")
Passerini's Tanager  ("Ramphocelus passerinii")
Plain-brown Woodcreeper  ("Dendrocincla fuliginosa")
Prothonotary Warbler  ("Protonotaria citrea")
Red-crowned Woodpecker  ("Melanerpes rubricapillus")
Red-legged Honeycreeper  ("Cyanerpes cyaneus")
Red-winged Blackbird  ("Agelaius phoeniceus")
Ringed Kingfisher  ("Megaceryle torquata")
Riverside Wren  ("Cantorchilus semibadius")
Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon  ("Columba livia")
Rose-throated Becard  ("Pachyramphus aglaiae")
Ruddy Ground Dove  ("Columbina talpacoti")
Rufescent Tiger Heron  ("Tigrisoma lineatum")
Rufous Nightjar  ("antrostomus rufus")
Rufous-collared Sparrow  ("Zonotrichia capensis")
Rufous-naped Wren  ("Campylorhynchus rufinucha")
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird  ("Amazilia tzacatl")
Rufous-tailed Jacamar  ("Galbula ruficauda")
Scarlet Macaw  ("Ara macao")
Semipalmated Plover  ("Charadrius semipalmatus")
Sharp-shinned Hawk  ("Accipiter striatus")
Short-billed Dowitcher  ("Limnodromus griseus")
Short-tailed Hawk  ("Buteo brachyurus")
Snowy Egret  ("Egretta thula")
Social Flycatcher  ("Myiozetetes similis")
Southern Rough-winged Swallow  ("Stelgidopteryx ruficollis")
Spotted Sandpiper  ("Actitis macularius")
Squirrel Cuckoo  ("Piaya cayana")
Streak-headed Woodcreeper  ("Lepidocolaptes souleyetii")
Stripe-headed Sparrow  ("Peucaea ruficauda")
Summer Tanager  ("Piranga rubra")
Sungrebe  ("Heliornis fulica")
Swallow  ("Hirundo rustica")
Thick-billed Seed Finch  ("Oryzoborus funereus")
Double-toothed Kite    ("Harpagus bidentatus")
Tree Swallow  ("Tachycineta bicolor")
Tricolored Heron  ("Egretta tricolor")
Tropical Kingbird  ("Tyrannus melancholicus")
Tropical Parula  ("Setophaga pitiayumi")
Tropical Pewee  ("Contopus cinereus")
Turkey Vulture  ("Cathartes aura")
Turquoise-browed Motmot  ("Eumomota superciliosa")
Variable Seedeater  ("Sporophila corvina")
Violet-crowned Woodnymph  ("Thalurania colombica")
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper  ("Glyphorynchus spirurus")
Western Sandpiper  ("Calidris mauri")
Whimbrel  ("Numenius phaeopus")
White-shouldered Tanager  ("Tachyphonus luctuosus")
White-tailed Kite  ("Elanus leucurus")
White-throated Magpie-Jay  ("Calocitta formosa")
White-tipped Dove  ("Leptotila verreauxi")
White-winged Dove  ("Zenaida asiatica")
Willet  ("Tringa semipalmata")
Wood Stork  ("Mycteria americana")
Yellow Warbler  ("Setophaga petechia")
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher  ("Empidonax flaviventris")
Yellow-crowned Night Heron  ("Nyctanassa violacea")
Yellow-headed Caracara  ("Milvago chimachima")
Yellowish Flycatcher  ("Empidonax flavescens")
Yellow-olive Flatbill  ("Tolmomyias sulphurescens")
Yellow-throated Euphonia  ("Euphonia hirundinacea")
Yellow-throated Warbler  ("Setophaga dominica")
Zone-tailed Hawk ("Buteo Albonotatus")

Costa Rica - Part 3

The hotel where we staying had some Primary Rain Forest near by and our guide took us for a walk there one afternoon and it resulted in a mega sighting for us.

The walk was great, very hot and sticky though, so lots of insect repellent, the place was literally buzzing!

Our first great find was a pair of Crested Owls:

But these were trumped by a Great Potoo...

These were two birds that we never expected to see. If we had been on an dedicated birding holiday maybe, but to just stumble across them was fantastic and within 5 minutes of each other. All credit to our guides for finding them.

A little later on the walk we came across a Double-toothed Kite and a shy Sloth:

A great afternoon, especially as as we left the forest we flushed a Fasciated Tiger Heron! Didn't have the camera ready though!.

Apart from trips out as I said in the previous post the hotel grounds were great for wildlife, here are some more highlights:

Final part, to follow......................................................
Link to the photos: Costa Rica Photos