Wise Birding Holidays

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Autumn Approaches

Good to have that Autumnal feeling over the last few days on the local patch, my favourite time of year. Nothing spectacular over the last few days but highlights have included a couple of Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpipers and a number of juvenile Swallows and both adult and juvenile Reed Warblers.

Adult Reed Warblers still feeding juveniles today

Juvenile Swallows at White Bridge

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Least Sandpiper at Blackhole Marsh, Seaton

Nothing like a bit of filthy "off-patch" twitching to start a Wednesday morning! Thanks to Mark Bailey for the text early this morning. Great to see this American wader again in the UK and much closer views than the last one I saw in Devon in 2005!

I am always as sucker for waders and Blackhole Marsh Reserve looked just great. Well worth a visit regardless of any rarities and a place I hope to be visiting a bit more often this Autumn!

Adult Least Sandpiper, Blackhole Marsh, Seaton

Adult Least Sandpiper, Blackhole Marsh, Seaton

Least Sandpiper and Dunlin

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Beaver Kit

An exciting evening on the River Otter yesterday!
Pink Tag Beaver (aka Patricia) with Kit

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

FINLAND - Wolverine and Bear!

Wolverines are the largest terrestrial mustelid. Mustelids include mammals such as Otters, Badgers, Martens etc. My recent trip to Finland included two nights at a great lodge near the town of Joensuu in southern Finland. We had two nights in a number of different hides and saw a minimum of eight individual Wolverines and a Brown Bear during this time. I shall be organising a "Wolverine extension" to my normal Wise Birding Owls trip again next year.

Wolverine 1

Wolverine 2

Wolverine 3

Wolverine 2

Wolverine 4

Wolverines 5 & 6

Brown Bear - This bear wandered through at 04.23hrs and dug up some bait that the Wolverines had stashed!

Brown Bear

Wolverine up close and personal!

Wolverine Hide - This is one of the hides our group spent the night

Sunday, 19 June 2016

FINLAND: Owls and Wolverines

I have recently returned from another successful Wise Birding Holidays tour to Finland. The trip was slightly different compared to my last tour to Finland in 2014, as the itinerary included two nights looking for Wolverines in the south-eastern half of the country. Despite the less impressive vole numbers compared to 2014, we still managed to find the five key owls (Great Grey, Ural, Hawk, Tengmalm's and Pygmy) and the Wolverines were simply fantastic. Below are some of the bird highlights. Mammal highlights to follow!

Hawk Owl - This adult bird was feeding at least one juvenile on the nest

Ural Owl - One of two juveniles seen as well as an adult bird that was untypically shy.
Amazingly, these birds fledged just five hours after we saw them!

Tengmalm's Owl - a typical view of an adult at a nest box

Great Grey Owl - difficult this year with low numbers breeding, so this female with young chicks was very much appreciated

Siberian Jay - one of two birds seen very well near Kuusamo

Siberian Jay

Siberian Tit - one of a pair seen at a nest box

Rustic Bunting - this female bird was seen feeding a recently fledged juvenile. The male was also seen well, but eluded the camera!

Little Bunting - this singing male was seen just metres from the Rustic Bunting close to the Russian Border

Common Rosefinch - good numbers this year and always great to see in breeding plumage in the hotel gardens

Ortolan Bunting - a few singing males around the Oulu area

Terek Sandpiper - a single bird was seen well in Kempele Bay

Velvet Scoters - great to see these bright breeding plumaged birds near Kuusamo

Capercaillie - this male performed exceptionally well
Black-throated Divers near Kuusamo

Slavonian Grebe near Oulu

Whooper Swans - Finland's national bird

"Northern" Bullfinch

Birding near the Russian border

Me at the Russian border

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Hobby and Beaver

Seem to be spending all my time on Dartmoor still, but not a bad place to be surveying with the chance of a flyover Lammergeier!

Away from Dartmoor, an evening wander on nearby Woodbury Common last weekend gave some nice views of a couple of Hobby and then a late evening look on the River Otter produced my first sighting of an untagged Beaver, presumably a young animal born last year? Also interesting that this animal was in the estuary south of White Bridge, the furthest south I have seen one.

Adult Hobby

Locals watching the Beaver

Untagged Beaver River Otter, 15th May

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Garden Warbler and Marsh Tit

I spent this evening looking closely at the patch as the weather just "feels rare" at the moment! In fact it has felt like that for the last couple of days and perhaps not surprising given the amount of rare birds in country at the moment. Anyway, nothing spectacular tonight, but two species that I don't see that often on the local patch, Marsh Tit and Garden Warbler. A young buck Roe Deer was also present, chasing a mature adult around the scrapes. 

Garden Warbler

Marsh Tit  - like the Willow Tit this is now a red listed species with a greater than 50% decline nationally.
The feathers on this bird appear ruffled giving the impression of a whiter rear cheek, a feature more associated with Willow Tit.
However, the bird does show a white spot to the base of the bill, a fairly recent id feature used to separate from Willow Tit
when birds are not calling.

Roe Deer

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Grey Plover and Otters

Not a great amount of time available to dedicate to the patch in recent weeks as I am spending most of my time surveying much of South-East Dartmoor for the RSPB. Recent highlights when I have been on the patch have included Hobby, Greenshank and a lovely summer plumaged Grey Plover briefly this morning. Also great to see the three Otters continue to be seen fairly regularly.....

Summer plumage Grey Plover was a welcome sight this morning

Otters on the River Otter

Thursday, 14 April 2016


Western Bonelli's Warbler 

Common Redstart on Broom Rape

European Bee-Eater

Common Redstart and Western Orphean Warbler

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin

Too many good desserts at the Moroccan Hotels!