Monday, 24 September 2012


SUNDAY 23/09/2012.

On Saturday a report of a White Rumped Sandpiper at the RSPB reserve on the Ouze Washes came up on the pager and as Olly Clam needed it (Tart) we decided to go for it, only three of us this week as Campvan Clam has "Gone Fishing" !

We arrived at 9am the weather was cool with a strong North Easterly wind but no rain yet, so we walked onto the reserve, the pager said that the bird had been seen the day before between the Stevens Hide and the Railway Bridge, looking at the map of the reserve, the Stevens hide was the last hide about 3k away! Olly Clams legs were already knackered as he had played 36 holes of Golf on Saturday but never mind we have to go through pain sometimes to get birds, Physically & Mentally !

We stopped in the first hide for a scan. In the hide there was another Birder we asked if the White Rumper had been seen today, but he said not yet but there is a Great White Egret showing over in the distance, so we set up our scopes and watched the bird for about half an hour.

From the hide the other birds that where present were large numbers of Teal , Gadwall , Mallard, 8 Ruff & 6 Whooper Swans.We couldn't see any other waders in this area so we packed up and took the long walk down to the Stevens Hide.

In the hide we set up and starting scanning arcoss the shallow pools and patches of mud. There were alot more birds in this area of the reserve, 150+ Teal , 60 + Gadwall, 28 Little Egret, 30+ Ruff , 5 Redshank, 4 Little Stint, 2 Marsh Harrier's , Mute Swans and a single Shellduck, but no sign of the White Rumped Sand!

We then over heard a Birder saying that the WR Sand was further down viewerble from the Bank, so we hurried out and walked down 150 yards and set up looking across another mud flat.

Alot more Waders here, 25+ Ringed Plovers, c.30 Dunlin, 5 Green Sandpipers and a Greenshank, but we couldn't see the W.R. Sand, then afew more birds flew in,Ruff mainly, Bart Clam then picked up a Pectoral Sandpiper and then another feeding in the vegetation, GREAT !

After staying another hour scanning through we still had no joy of picking up the W.R Sand so we packed up and headed back to the car!

Where next then? As the rain was starting to come down and the winds were good, we headed to the north Norfolk coast and too Warham where a Red Brested Flycatcher had been reported earlier in the day!

After an hours drive we arrived at Warham Green and walked down the path to where the bird had been reported, there was about 8 Birders looking and they said it was in the Hedgerow.Then we saw a small bird fly out and disapear out of view, none tickable views for Tom & Bart!

I then decided to check out a small copse behind us that was sheltered from the wind and rain, imediately inside the small group of trees I picked up a small passerine in the Hawthorns but couldn't get my bins on it. I called Bart and Tom over, then Bart pished and the bird flew up into the Hawthorn again - BANG ! Red Breasted Flicker !

The bird showed for about 20 minutes , cracking adult male! but then we had confirmation on the pager that the reported Booted Warbler at Burnham was the real thing, so a quick walk back to the car and we set off to Burham.(Tickers)

We arrived at Burham at about 1600hrs, and headed down the path towards the sea front and on top of the embankment to where a group of six Birders were standing they said the bird was in the vegetation in front of us about 10 feets away, then after 5 minutes it flew up and landed about 20 feet away, SEEN IT BANG! it showed briefly then flew back down. It repeated this process for about 15 minutes giving us good enough views to get all the ID features.

It was now tipping it down with rain and the wind was still getting stronger! Wish we could stay as these conditions are bang on for a Mega to drop in , but work is calling for the morning so we packed up and set off home!

What a GREAT days Birding!

On the way home the Pager rang out MEGA ALERT on Fair Isle (Shetlands) MAGNOLIA WARBLER!
Now most of the time we would look at this message and say "oh thats nice" because its usually to far for us to Twitch , but as the CLAMS are going upto Shetland next week and  we may have the chance of seeing this LITTLE BEAUTY!

                                                                  PLEASE STAY !!!

Keep on Clamming and logging onto our Blog as we are on Shetland for seven days from Saturday 29/09/12!

Olly Clam signing out.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Baillon's and Pec - Saturday 15th September

Just a few photos to add to the previous entry of a great day with Baillon's seen well and a Pectoral sandpiper at Dungeness RSPB reserve too.

Didn't see a reported little bittern at Sevenoaks Wildfowl Park but did see the world's largest bee tower. I'll have to compete with that!



15th SEPTEMBER 2012.

Here we go again! As the Baillons Crake was still showing daily through out the week we decided to go for it again on Saturday, only the three of us as Bearded ,AKA Malteaser Head (Bart) couldn't make it. So another early start was arranged and we set off at 2.30am.

We arrived at Rainham RSPB reserve at 05.15 and was greeted by Howard the site manager who wished us luck AGAIN! It was still dark as we entered the hide so we took our place on the right hand side of the hide, set up our scopes and waited for the sun to rise.

The time was now about 06.30 and the light was good and the hide was full, then a shout from the left "It's there, in the reeds infront of the red generator !" We got our scopes on the area and there it was showing well, walking on the edge of the reeds - GET IN! It showed for about 3 minutes until a coot flushed it whereupon it flew towards us but out of view.Good views so - SEEN IT BANG !

About 40 mins passed and there was another shout - It was right in front of the hide on the edge of the reeds! We thought the views before were good , but now the bird was out in the open at times showing us all the ID features! It showed for another 2 mins then went out of view into the reeds.

We stayed in the hide for another half an hour and decided to head back to the car and go for breakfast, we took the long way back, walking around the reserve, not a great deal about , Little Egret, Snipe, 3 Jays, and the usual wildfowl.

                                                        View from hide at Rainham.
We also had some Migrant Hawkers and two Red Admiral Butterfies which were great to see basking in the sun.

                                                                    Migrant Hawker

Back in the car we left to get some breakfast at the local Tesco and while we were tucking into a full English the news of a Pec Sand came up on the pager at Dungerness RSPB reserve, so as Milky Bar Clam (Tom) needed it , we drank up our coffee's and headed down to Dunge.

We arrived at Dunge RSPB at 11.30 , parked up and paid up £3 to the RSPB lady (she had a beard) and we made our way down to the hide, as we got in a birder was onto the bird already.
We got our scopes onto it, the bird was feeding on the edge of a small island in the middle of the lake, it was quite distant and the heat haze was quite bad but we could ID the bird.

Then after about half hour the bird took flight and landed right infront of the hide! Great views were had as we watched the bird feeding infront of us for about half an hour.

                                                             Juv Pectorial Sandpiper.

Where next ? We decided to head down to the sea front and see what passes by. As we were driving down towards the sea, the pager went off - Little Bittern at Seven Oaks, seen in filght at 13.30, so as it was on our way home ( well it was north) we decided to go and have a look.

We arrived at Seven Oaks Wildfoul Park at 14.30, a nice place, woodland surrounding two large lakes, we checked the log book and there was no further sign of the Bittern.

We walked to the hide from where the bird was last seen , entering the hide, it was empty! So we started scanning across the small lake, Mute Swans, Coot, Moorhen, 1 Green Sandpiper, and a quick glimpse of a Kingfisher, no sign of the Bittern!

Time was getting on so we packed up and headed back home.

                                    The Thinker ( Captain Clam ,AKA The Biking Birder
Keep on Clamming !!

Monday, 10 September 2012


9th SEPTEMBER 2012

In the week the news of a Long Billed Dowitcher was reported, then on Thursday the news broke that the Long Billed was now re-identified as a Short Billed! Now as the last bird on the mainland was back in 1999 this was a Mega, so arrangements was made between the Clams that we would go for it on Sunday.
Then news broke of a Baillons Crake at Rainham Marshes, so I called Captian Clam and we decided that we would go for the Crake first and then the Dowtcher, I sent a text around the Clams pick up time of 3am !

                                                       Sunrise over Rainham Marshes

We arrived at Rainham at 0545, and we were directed towards the hide from where the bird was last seen.Inside the Hide it was full of Birders and they were pointing to the right, we asked is the bird on show? someone said that it was seen down in the ditch 5 mins ago ( I dont know how as it was barely light) so we made our way over to the right hand side of the large hide and gained a reasonable viewing point of the small ditches and pools in front of the hide.

                                                                   View from Hide
After an hour and half we hadn't seen the bird, we had a few Sedge Warblers, 2 Water Rail , Little Grebe's, Coot , Moorhen , 8 Snipe flew over , 1 Green Sandpiper, Little Egrets everywhere and 2 Peregrine Falcons were hunting over the marsh catching Dragonflies which I hadn't seen before so that was nice to see.It was now 8am so we decided to move on and go for the Dowicher as it was a three hour drive away.

                           Tom scanning the Marsh (AKA,Milky Bar Kid) due to the colour of his legs.

Two hours into our journey we checked Birdguides to see if the Dowitcher was still showing and to our horror .... Baillons Crake seen 0950 !! showing WELL??? ... Never mind we said trying to reasure ourselves, we have the Dowitcher to get and its by far the rarer bird!!

Over the next hour Captain Clam tried to write a song about Dipping on the Baillons to the music of Bonie Tyler's "Bright Eyes" .. It didn't really work, it just drove us all insane for an hour!

We arrived at Lodmore at 11.30, parked in the car park and walked down the path along side of the west scrape, there were about 30 Birders looking across the reserve, we asked if the bird was on show but was told that it had not been seen since 10.30 ! No not two DIPS in one day please!


We set up our scopes and started scanning across checking every piece of waters edge and reeds, we had a Greenshank briefly far over the back, Green Sandpiper , 2 Black Tailed Godwit, 20+ Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plover, Sandwich Terns, 3 Med Gulls, a Hobby and the usuall mixture of wildfoul , but still no sign of the Dowitcher!!!

                                                                     Adult Med Gull
Another half hour passed, then a shout further up from us " Its here!" we slowly walked up set up our scopes on the reeds about 100 yards away, and there it was sleeping within the reed bed. It sat there for about half an hour, moving on occasion showing us its head and we could also see the main ID feature, the barring on the Tertials, Later the bird started to feed and we had good views ... SEEN IT BANG !

                                   Spot the bird - in the center showing the barring on the tertials.

                                      Crap Photo, but you can just make the bird out on the left.

We watched the bird for about and hour and then decided to go for some fish & Chips at Alfs near Wyke Regis (best in Weymouth ). After we had stuffed our faces, we went up to Portland Bill but there wasn't much about and with the time now 16.30 we headed back home.

                                      Captain , Bearded & Milky Bar Clam, by the Obs Portland.

                                                       Olly , Captain & Malteser Head.

Great day in the end, Dipped on the Baillons, but Bagged a Short Billed Dowitcher, Clamtastic!!

All the best

Olly Clam.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


26TH AUGUST 2012.

Eariler in the week news of a Bairds Sandpiper came up in Penbrokeshire, so as things were still on the slow side and I still needed it for my life list (Tart) I sent a text to Bart & Tom. Soon received a responce, Tom couldn't make it but Bart was in, so a pick up time was arranged for 04.30am.

View of Angle Beach.

We arrived at Angle Beach at 08.30am and the sun was out, there was already a group of Birders there scanning arross the bay. We hurried up and asked if the bird was present, but if wasn't so we set up our scopes and started scanning arcoss the beach.

After about an hour of waiting no joy just Oystercatchers , Cormorants, Gannets passing by far out at sea , and a distant Spoonbill flying over was picked up by the group of Birders who had travelled up from Kent.

Hours passed by and we had walked up and down the beach and between us all had checked the surrounding coves and beaches but still no Bairds!,

Now as it was Bank Holiday weekend and the sun was out, the beach was now filled up with holiday makers, setting up their windbreakers, playing football and dogs running around chasing balls! We were now thinking that there was no chance of this bird returning here and a Dip was on the cards.

Malteaser head's last walk down the beach (Bart).

The time now was 16.20 so with a 4.5 hour drive back home we resigned ourselves to a Dip and set off back home.

After an hour of driving we was nearly in Swansea when the pager rang out! No it can't be!!!! Yes it was the Bairds had returned!!, We both looked at each other and said sod it we have got to go back! We got off at the next junction and headed our way back, and after a quick text to Mick (one of the Kent Birders who we met) He confirmed that the bird was still there!

After a nervous hour driving back we arrived back at Angle at 18.30 and Mick was still there to greet us and put us onto where the bird was! GET IN! and thanks Mick!

The bird was feeding at the top end of the beach giving us views down to 20 feet, and wasn't bothered at all by us or the people that were still on the beach.

Classic Wheatabix pose.

feeding on Sand Flies.

We watched the bird for about 40 mins and then decided to finally head back home. I got back home at 23.30hrs, shattered but a great day!