Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hayle, RSPB Reserve in Cornwall, UK

Sunday, 18 October turned out to be grey and cool with the odd gusting wind. Out at Hayle though, it appeared to be a 'pleasant' day for the birds. An hour's birding at the mudflats and along the path to the hide produced a decent list of around 30 species, 3 of which I must give credit for to the other friendly birders who pointed out far-away species and let me 'use' their scope - thanks.

The path from the hide to mudflats produced a Robin, Blue Tit clambering through the reeds (not seen them doing this before), Chaffinches and Gold Finches. Arriving at the road-side view of the mudflats I was confronted with a host of birds. Most numerous were the Herring and Black-headed Gulls (adults and immatures) and Lapwings followed by a huge number of Common Teals, both adult and immatures. Between this the friendly birder pointed out a few pairs of Mediterranean Gulls with at least one sub-adult.

Nearby was a Curlew (see previous post for photos) working the shallows and a bit further off, a Common Redshank.
Common Redshank and Teals

Little Egret
, Rock Pipit, Pied and Grey Wagtails were on the near shore although the Pipit and Grey Wagtail were only around briefly. To the far edges there was a Grey Heron, at least one Eurasian Spoonbill and a fair amount of Wigeons. There were about 5 Eurasian Oystercatchers with one coming closer for awhile offering me at least a record photo opportunity.
Eurasian Oystercatcher

Another highlight was the Bar-tailed Godwit that the friendly birder pointed out - great to see as I don't to get to them very often. Other species present included Mute Swan and the obligatory Rooks.

Plumage Lessons from a Curlew

Sunday, 18 October I was at the Hayle RSPB Reserve in Cornwall (UK). A Curlew Numenius arquata was being most obliging in offering photo opportunities - just a pity the quality of light wasn't that great.

At one stage, it started preening and stretching wings presenting a great lesson in wing and tail plumage.

"You looking at me?"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Birding at Bujagali Falls, Jinja (UGANDA)

Last week I spent a few days in Bujagali Falls where I stayed at Nile River Explorers. Located outside Jinja town, this area is not only the hub for kayaking and white-water rafting activities but also provides a great diversity in bird species. For those keen on the more obvious of insects, dragonflies and butterflies, there's a host of species and rather easy photo opportunities.

I didn't need to go far for some impressive sightings with the highlight probably the not often seen migrant Common/European Cuckoo although seeing the African Grey Parrots (photo on right) virtually everyday is always a special is my book. There was widespread evidence of successful breeding with immatures everywhere with adults, the most notable being the number of young with some pairs of Scarlet-chested Sunbirds who have clearly had a good breeding season. Red-chested Sunbirds were busy nesting in one of the large acacia trees. The Collared Sunbird pair also had one youngster with them.

Migrants in addition to the cuckoo were seen regularly with European Bee-eaters flying over, Olivaceous Warblers foraging in the acacia trees and a couple of sightings of Common Sandpipers in the eddy below the camp.

As far as numbers go the Long-tailed and Great Cormorants top as usual followed by the Sand Martins who appeared occasionally in flocks varying between 40 and 100. Although common, the Black Kites and Pied Crow never come close in numbers to the Cormorants and Martins. At one stage the Openbill Storks were around 20 birds with some soaring and others perched near the river.

Birds of prey are always great here with the most prominent (and verbal) being the African Fish Eagles. Long-crested Eagle and African Harrier-hawk made brief appearances overhead as did a Shikra (Little Banded Goshawk). A Lizard Buzzard perched close to the viewing deck with some prey and offered a great photo opportunity, albeit through the leaves and branches - not unlike the skulking but loud Black-headed Gonoleks.

Black-headed Gonolek

Other species seen here; Eastern Plantain-eater, Yellow White-eye, Little and Baglafecht Weavers, African Blue Flycatcher, Little Egret, Lesser Striped-Swallow, Grey-backed Camaroptera, African Darter and Black-headed Heron.
Eastern Plantain-Eater

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcome to my new Blog

This blog will be for all matters birding-related outside of Rwanda from our neighbouring countries to other regions and continents. I will also be posting about some past trips in the meanwhile between my travels out of Rwanda.

There is a trip coming up next week where I'll be driving via Northern Tanzania (south of Lake Victoria - an area I've not visited before) to Nairobi, Kenya.

To kick off, here's a photo I took in August 2009 of a Hartlaub's Turaco in Nairobi, Kenya.