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Thursday, 13 November 2014

UK Trips Schedule for 2015



BIRDING TRIPS INSIDE THE UK IN 2015
 
Just launching my itinerary for 2015 in terms of the UK where I can offer the following -:
 
ROUND BRITAIN TOUR 23-31 JANUARY 2015
Designed to see as many of the winter specialities as possible depending on weather conditions, recent tours accumulating around 180 species and 93% success; targets include Great Northern, Black-throated & Red-throated Divers, Slavonian, Black-necked & Red-necked Grebes, Fulmar, Gannet, Shag, Bittern, Cattle & Great White Egrets, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Whooper & Bewick's Swans, Snow Goose, Greenland White-fronted, Eurasian White-fronted, Tundra Bean, Taiga Bean, Pink-footed, Icelandic Greylag, Barnacle, Pale-bellied Brent, Brant & Red-breasted Geese, Ruddy Shelduck, Mandarin Duck, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal,Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Greater & Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, King Eider, Common, Velvet & Surf Scoters, Long-tailed Duck, Smew, Goosander, Ruddy Duck, White-tailed Sea & Golden Eagles, Marsh & Hen Harriers, Rough-legged Buzzard, Goshawk, Peregrine, Merlin, Red & Black Grouse, Ptarmigan, Grey Partridge, Golden Pheasant, Water Rail, Common Crane, Avocet, Purple Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Jack Snipe, Ruff, Common Sandpiper, Bonaparte's Gull, Ring-billed, Mediterranean, Caspian, Yellow-legged, Little, Glaucous & Iceland Gulls, Rock Dove,Little, Barn, Short-eared & Long-eared Owls, Kingfisher, Ring-necked Parakeet, Shore Lark, Water & Rock Pipits, Dipper, Waxwing, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Dartford Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Siberian Chiffchaff, Yellow-browed Warbler, Crested Tit, Willow Tit, Bearded Tit, Great Grey Shrike, Red-billed Chough, Hooded Crow, Common Raven,Tree Sparrow, Brambling, Twite, Hawfinch, Common Crossbill and Snow, Lapland, Cirl & Corn Buntings.
 
SCOTTISH LONG WEEKENDER: 17-20 APRIL 2015
Departing Little Chalfont early evening Thursday, we arrive in Scotland for dawn and displaying BLACK GROUSE. The schedule then follows a well-rehearsed routine, taking in all of the Scottish Specialities and visits to the far North West and outlying islands such as Skye. Expect to see CAPERCAILLIE, BLACK & RED GROUSE, PTARMIGAN, WHITE-TAILED SEA & GOLDEN EAGLES, OSPREY, DIPPER, CRESTED TIT & SCOTTISH PARROT CROSSBILL with a boat trip excursion for close-up views of WHITE-BILLED DIVERS, Seaduck & Auks included and if available - a SNOWY OWL diversion.
 
ROUND BRITAIN TOUR 7-14 JUNE 2014
Another repeat of my highly successful summer tour concentrating on seeing all of the UK's resident breeding birds and summer visitors, recently accumulating weekly totals in excess of 205 species and a record 209; the long list of targets include GREAT NORTHERN, BLACK-THROATED & RED-THROATED DIVERS in breeding attire, breeding SLAVONIAN & BLACK-NECKED GREBES,  Manx Shearwater, Storm Petrel, nesting SPOONBILL, WHOOPER SWAN, MANDARIN DUCK, GARGANEY, KING EIDER, WHITE-TAILED SEA & GOLDEN EAGLES, OSPREY, MONTAGU'S & HEN HARRIERS, HONEY BUZZARD, GOSHAWK, HOBBY, PEREGRINE, RED GROUSE, GREY PARTRIDGE, QUAIL, CRANE, CORNCRAKE, STONE CURLEW, WOODCOCK, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, ARCTIC & GREAT SKUAS, LITTLE & ROSEATE TERNS, PUFFIN, BLACK GUILLEMOT, ROCK & TURTLE DOVES, CUCKOO, NIGHTJAR, WOODLARK, DIPPER, COMMON REDSTART, WHINCHAT, RING OUZEL, DARTFORD, GRASSHOPPER, MARSH, SAVI'S & WOOD WARBLERS, FIRECREST, SPOTTED & PIED FLYCATCHERS, CRESTED TIT, BEARDED TIT, HOODED CROW, RED-BILLED CHOUGH, COMMON RAVEN, TREE SPARROW, NORTHWESTERN REDPOLL, SISKIN, HAWFINCH, COMMON & SCOTTISH PARROT CROSSBILLS & CIRL & CORN BUNTINGS.
 
AUTUMN 2015 week-long trips concentrating on rarities in Shetland, etc still to be finalised
 

Accommodation is either B & B or Travelodge/Premier Inn, whilst birding is traditionally dawn until dusk. Vacancies are available on all 3 trips at present - please email LGREUK400@aol.com for further details and bookings

Thursday, 6 November 2014

DESERT WHEATEARS arrived today

Two first-winter male DESERT WHEATEARS were discovered today - one at Reculver Towers in Kent and this one in Suffolk at Lowestoft North Denes - both showing typically well. A particularly special rendezvous....















































Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Official LGRE Account on Twitter

Please note that Lee Evans has just ONE official Twitter account - @LeeEvansBirding

An account bearing the name @leeevansuk400 is fraudulent and is contacting individuals claiming to be me and being rude and offensive. Please IGNORE all such messages and report any such contact/tweets to Twitter. I have contacted them and they claim that they can discover the identity of the imposter; I have also reported the matter to the authorities following a number of concerning matters over the past six months

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Recent rise in BADGER persecution

Joint Release from Badger Trust and Care for the Wild
Badger blame game is leading to huge increase in persecution

The Badger Trust released its annual report for 2013 on badger persecution today, claiming that the demonisation of badgers by the government and farming industry to justify the badger cull is leading to a significant increase in illegal persecution of the species.

The report shows that 2013 proved to be another year of mayhem, death and destruction for badgers throughout the UK. Badgers were baited with dogs, illegally shot and gassed, badgers were poisoned and had petrol poured down their setts and ignited and in some cases badgers were even skinned alive and thrown by the side of the road.

A total of 697 badger persecution incidents were reported during 2013 involving badger baiters, farmers, landowners, game keepers and property developers across the UK, but this is only the tip of the iceberg with thousands of incidents of illegal killing of badgers going unreported every year.

Commenting on the persecution report, Dominic Dyer CEO of the Badger Trust and Policy Advisor at Care for the Wild said:
“The badger is a protected species but remains subject to rising levels of persecution across the UK. The badger blame game when it comes to bovine TB and the demonisation of the species by the government and the farming industry to justify the disastrous badger cull policy, is making a bad situation worse.

“Over the last 12 months we have seen an increasing number of farmers and landowners taking the law into their own hands by illegally killing badgers by gassing, shooting, poisoning, snaring and the destruction of their setts.

“In the badger cull zones of Somerset and Gloucestershire we have seen a 250% increase in calls to local badger group helplines to report incidents of badger persecution, since the culls commenced three weeks ago.

“This includes two cases of fires being started on top of badger setts, in one case a farm contractor was seen piling up straw after the harvest and then setting light to it. Fortunately a local badger group volunteer called the fire brigade, who promptly responded and put the fire out.

“We have also seen an increase in illegal snaring of badgers, including a case where a lady checking her ponies found a badger with a snare caught in its mouth. The injuries were so severe, with the wound infested with maggots, that the badger had to be put to sleep. The snare was manufactured and set in the illegal self-locking configuration.

“Badger persecution is a blight on our modern society and involves people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Wildlife crime is a serious offence and wildlife protection groups such as the Badger Trust play a key role in helping the police gather intelligence on criminal activity in order to bring this issue to the attention of politicians and the media.

“I call on everyone who cares for the future of our badgers to remain vigilant and report all incidents of badger persecution to the police and the Badger Trust.
By working together we can help to beat wildlife crime and make the countryside not only a safer place for badgers but also for every other wildlife species.”

Friday, 12 September 2014

Tragic news - ROY DUNCAN, the Scilly Boatman dies

ROY DUNCAN was a treasure. I first met him in the 1980's when he joined the Isles of Scilly Boating Association where quickly I established a friendly rapport with him, eventually coaxing him into enjoying some of the rares that befell the archipelago. Along with John and Joe, he was always keen to help out whenever the inevitable occurred, chauffering hordes of twitchers at the beck and call for the biggies. He got me countless birds during his reign, particularly late in the day (the Tresco Bicknell's Thrush comes to mind, as well as the Great Pool Yellow-billed Cuckoo) and will be sorely missed. Testamony to his popularity is the number of people that turned out today for his funeral - rest-in-peace Roy - you were a one in a million.......

http://www.scillytoday.com/2014/09/03/hundreds-of-islanders-bid-final-farewell-to-roy-duncan/

Friday, 5 September 2014

The late great JIM ENTICOTT..

It was forty years ago today, 5th September 1974, that the late, great Jim Enticott, in the company of Pete Ewins and Chris Cook, observed an extraordinary looking seabird fly past Blanan', Cape Clear Island. He
immediately realised it was something completely new for him and, after conducting some research in the observatory library that evening he and his co-observers cautiously concluded that it had to have been a
'Pterodroma petrel sp'., probably 'Soft plumaged Petrel', as it was known then. One anomaly however was that the literature and illustrations available all indicated that Soft-plumaged Petrel had a distinct breast band, something that their bird lacked....

Jim's style of research following the observation is most impressive; in an extensive write-up of the record published in 'British Birds: 92: 504-518, October 1999 he explains how he left Cape Clear on 9 September and (following a brief visit to Akeragh Lough Co Kerry) arrived in Dublin on 12 September. There he embarked on the SS Nevasa bound for the Atlantic seaboard of France, Spain, Portugal, Gibralter and then Madeira. During the course of the voyage he saw and photographed numerous seabirds that were new to him including Madeiran Storm-petrel and Bulwer's Petrel. The problem of the identity of the Cape Clear Pterodroma was solved on 21 September when he saw and photographed several groups of 'Soft-plumaged Petrels' at sea, within sight of Madeira. He took extensive field notes on these birds, recording that they did not possess the complete breast band illustrated and described in the literature.

Following this discovery Jim visited the British Museum to examine specimens of Pterodromas and he was able to confirm that all of the northern populations of 'Soft-plumaged Petrel' (now known as Fea's Petrel, Desertas Petrel and Zino's Petrel) lacked a complete breast band.

I recommend reading the full account, for those of you who have access to British Birds (it is available free online at the British birds website, but the search facility on the website is useless, so anyone looking for it
will have to employ a more laborious process to get it...).

If ever there was a case of the RIGHT person being in the right place, Jim Enticott being on Blanan' that day is it! What a great discovery.

Killian Mullarney

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Up close and personal with CURLEW SANDPIPERS........

I could not resist sharing with you my views today of two migrant juvenile CURLEW SANDPIPERS. The two birds have been present for the best part of the week on Farmoor 1 Reservoir (Oxfordshire) where some draining of the reservoir is taking place. The two birds are just so confiding (as seemingly are all the other juvenile waders taking advantage of the prime feeding conditions here) and came to within a few feet of me - the closest I have ever been to the species. Generally speaking, Curlew Sandpiper is a rare passage migrant inland, with very few records annually. This was a rare treat. Although I took well over 500 images, here is a selection of my favourite ones - enjoy!!