27th September 2014 - Kilnsea

Only 2 weeks after our first ever visit to Kilnsea and Spurn, we were back on the road with Oliver Simms from NGB, heading there again hopefully to see the Masked Shrike.  A Barn Owl was our first spot of the day from the car when it was still dark.  The Masked Shrike was showing well but distant.  We had a short walk around Kilnsea after seeing the Shrike, where we saw a variety of species including many waders and a Sparrowhawk.  We were lucky enough to be with Oliver when he received a call from Tim telling him to get immediately to the Warren where they'd just caught a Common Rosefinch.  I'd actually mentioned in the car up that I'd love one day to see a Rosefinch, so this was a great experience for me!

Masked Shrike


Common Rosefinch
Trip list: 45
Year list: 203
Lifers of year list: 16

19th September 2014 - South Stack RSPB

The yearly trip to the Abergavenny Food Festival was preceded this year with a short stay in North Wales and our first visit to the South Stack RSPB reserve on Anglesey.  It's a lovely reserve and I look forward to visiting it again next September.  We did arrive quite late though so we only had a short time to wander around before we had to leave to check into our B&B.  Highlights were great views of a Rock Pipit and Northern Wheatear but the best bird came in the form of a lifer, the Chough.





Trip list: 19
Year list: 302
Lifers of year list: 15

5th to 7th September 2014 - Frampton Marsh, Spurn and Rutland Water

Despite hearing wonderful things about Spurn, I'd never actually visited, so a last minute decision was made and we headed up for the Migration Festival.  The route up on the Friday took us vaguely near to Frampton Marsh, so we also had a stop off here.  Frampton Marsh is lovely and the number of Curlew Sandpiper was impressive!  We couldn't find the Glossy Ibis that had been around earlier, but had great views of a little Red-necked Phalarope, as well as 3 Spoonbill.

Red-necked Phalarope

Meadow Pipit 
We had our first taste of Spurn the next day with a guided walk around Kilnsea.  There were tons of Whinchat, Swallow and Yellow Wagtail, as well as Pied Flycatcher, Tree Sparrow and a lone Lesser Whitethroat.  We saw our first ever Barred Warbler, which is a surprisiginyl chunky bird and had such close views of a Wryneck.  We failed a bit at seawatching, with a single Fulmar and 10 Common Scoter.  The day culminated in a hog roast, excellent talk from Mike Dilger and a great couple of hours chatting in the Crown & Anchor.

Yellow Wagtail

We had to leave relatively early on the Sunday, but had a quick dash around, adding a Caspian Gull spotted by Martin Garner and 2 Razorbill to the list.  An extremely quick stop at Rutland Water meant we saw a beautiful Red-necked Grebe, my 200th bird for 2014.

House Sparrow

Red-necked Grebe
Trip list: 60
Year list: 198
Lifers of year list: 14

31st August 2014 - Dungeness

I love Dungeness anyway but this was a fabulous trip.  We started off at the entrance to the RSPB reserve, with a group of 5 Wheatear, doing what they do best by behaving like the Meerkat of the bird world and finding the highest point to stand regally on and look attractive.  I could watch them all day.  The first Yellow Wagtail we'd had in 2014 decided to fly over bellowing its little lungs out which led to general (muted) cheering and clapping, getting us some odd looks from cars passing by.
An alert then came up for a Wryneck, so it was off to Lydd Ranges for the first time, to drive up and down, completely missing the road we were meant to turn down for at least half an hour.  We did get distracted by our second, third, fourth...up to about thirtieth Yellow Wagtail of the year however, which was definitely worth it.  We finally found the Wryneck twitch and had a few short sightings of the bird, albeit through a heat haze.


We travelled back to the RSPB reserve for a wander around, where we saw lovely Garganey and completely missed two Honey Buzzard that must have been right above our heads.  Impressive.  The NNR provided little, with a lone Redstart being the highlight.

Pied Flycatcher
The last stop of the day was to another new Dunge location, the Denge Marsh Gulley.  It was full of photographers and birders and in the afternoon sun, a lovely location.  It was here within 5 minutes of arriving that I saw my first ever Pied Flycatcher, along with excellent close view of a Garden Warbler and Blackcap.

Millions of Swallow!

Trip list: 36
Year list: 191
Lifers of year list: 14