Friday, 12 May 2017

Top Ten Springs

It's nostalgia time!- (i.e. it's been a week of catching up with soul destroying paperwork).


10. First Springs

My first full spring was 1987- I found a Firecrest (a local mega at the time) which was my first major find at Beddington. Everything was new and exciting- falls of Wheatears (30+ in 1987), my first-first spring migrants, Black Redstarts were regular then too. In 1988 Garry and I had a Red Kite flying over the hundred acre field with a Ring Ouzel, Yellow Wagtails and 15 Wheatears running around below it- a UK rarity at the time and our first mention in Birding World.

9. Late 90's University Team Rarity Hunting

In the late 1990's (1995-1999)  Jaffa, Sam Woods, Dingers, myself, the unfortunate ladies and occasionally AJ, Crispin and Mush were hell bent on finding rarities, first in Devon and Cornwall (based from Plymouth and Exeter Universities) and later when we were all evicted back to London, mainly in Kent. Always tougher finding a vagrant is Spring rather than Autumn but we managed a Citrine Wagtail in Spring 1996 in Devon and Red-footed Falcon, Kentish Plover and a few scarcities (Temminck's etc) in Kent. Also twitched a few birds including Slender-billed Gull in Kent. Good times cutting our rarity finding teeth.

8. Lesvos 2001

Cinereous Bunting 
Red-throated Pipit

This was my first spring birding trip to the Eastern Flyway. Just me and Dingers (Just the Two of Us was our anthem). Absolutely loved it. First time for Eastern specialities such as Glossy Ibis, Long-legged Buzzard, Eleonora's Falcon, Little Crake, hundreds of Temminck's, White-winged Blacks, Rufous Bush Robin, Isabelline Wheatear etc etc, 

7. Israel 2016

Glossy Ibis
Long-legged Buzzard
Masked Shrike
Eilat Mountains

Last year's Champions of the Flyway trip was fantastic- MORE HERE

6. Bulgaria 2011

White-winged Black Tern
Paddyfield Warbler 
Black and Common Terns
Turtle Doves 
White Pelicans

Spring on the Eastern Flyway is simply epic. The 2011 trip to Bulgaria with Darryl, Greg and Dimiter was pure joy- epic mgiration and a few WP ticks to boot. A few more pics HERE

5. Point Pelee, Ontario 2004

The Pom Boys (Jaffa, Dingers, Darryl and myself) hit Pelee in 2004 and found some Pomarine Skuas which is pretty rare there but we didn't give a monkeys- the first time doing American passerines migration in Spring- doesn't really get much more impressive. 2004 still back in the days of notebooks.  

4. Morocco 2013

Seebhom's Wheatear- we found this bird as a migrant away from the main summering area
Thick-billed Lark 
Western Bonelli's Warbler
Subalpine Warbler 

Simply brilliant trip- headed south into Morocco for specialities and to meet the wave of migrants on their way north. One of Jaffa's trips with Wise Birding- Sue, Neil, Andrew, Darryl, Dingers and myself- brilliant crew and birds. MORE HERE

3. Georgia 2003

Guldenstadts's Redstart 
Great Rosefinch 
Caucasian Snowcock 

Darryl, Chris Bowden, Graham Tucker and Myself did this recee for Sunbird- mega local birds and mega migration too. Wrote this trip up for Birding World. 

2. Arctic Skuas 2000, shorebird flights and migrant falls at Beddington

Six Arctic Skuas over the North Lake in May 2000- one of the best things I've ever witnessed locally 
Early May 1990 shorebird flight- my baptism into east winds, terns and waders. 2 Little Tern (first for the farmlands), six Black Tern, 30+ Commic Terns, 1 Temminck's Stint, Turnstone and other shorebirds went through within a few hours in the morning. 
Barwits over the North Lake - a classic Spring flight species 
Wheatears at Little Woodcote 
Ring Ouzels at Little Woodcote

Spring flights and falls at Beddington and locally are some of my favourite and most exciting birding events in the Spring. Late April/ early May is the time for a shorebird flight usually associated with east sector winds. 

1. The ultimate shorebird flight over Beddington 2010

Pacific Golden Plover (photos by Roger Browne)
Common Crane 

Over a couple of days in early May bank holiday weekend in 2010 we had Pacific Golden Plover (First for the farmlands and first in London since the C17th and a BB Rarity- which at Beddinton is like a first for the world!),  Common Crane (first for the farmlands) Knot, Bariwt, Whimbrel, Arctic Tern, Kittiwake and a whole load of other commoner waders and migrants. The ultimate in local birding- cannot beat the excitement of mega action on the local patch. 

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