UK Bird Photos 1989 - 1999

Ivory Gull Pagophila eburnea
Aldeburgh, Suffolk, Dec 1999.

Bird of the year? It will not be bird of 2000 as it's untimely departure on the night of the 31st December must have upset the year listers.


Bee-Eater Merops apiaster
Cleadon, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyneside, May 1999.

After a wait of 12 years to see these beauties in the UK, I caught up with this flock of 10 birds near Newcastle. They spent the first couple of hours after dawn "warming-up", before moving from their tree-roost to fly to nearby gardens. They then gave an excellent display of their flying prowess!


Brent Goose"Black Brant" Branta bernicla nigricans
Wells, Norfolk, February 1999.

This bird was in a flock of 300 "dark-bellied" Brent Geese with 2 or 3 "pale-bellied" birds present as well. The photo was taken from the car.


Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
Hayle Estuary, Cornwall, February 1999.

Proved to be a very easy bird to photograph, as it obligingly came to bread. This is one of handful of reliable localities to see this species in the UK during that winter.


Black Stork Ciconia nigra
Benacre Broad, Suffolk, August 1998.

After spending most of the summer months in northern Scotland, this 1st summer bird moved south, eventually settling in the Benacre Broad and Blyth estuary area of north east Suffolk.


Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides
Southwold, Suffolk, April 1998.

A cracking 2nd summer (or possibly 3rd summer) bird. One feature that I find is not stressed enough in the field guides, is the characteristic bright "bubblegum" coloured pink legs and feet, common both to Glaucous L. hyperboreus and Iceland Gulls. This is when compared with Herring Gulls which have paler pink legs.


Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus
Aldeburgh, Suffolk, April 1998.

A beautiful 2nd winter bird. It's quite possibly the same bird that was present as a 1st winter in 1997.


Long-eared Owl Asio otus
Winterton, Norfolk, Spring 1997.

This migrant spent most of the afternoon dozing away in the warm Spring sunshine. That was until a male Blackbird Turdus merula spotted it!

Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus
Aldeburgh, Suffolk, February 1997.

This 1st winter bird shows the fierce angular head as well as the soft coffee colour to the plumage.

Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
South Norwood Lake, London, February 1997.

A nice bird that spent much of its time hiding under the overhanging branches on an island.


Southern Grey Shrike "Steppe"
Lanius meridionalis pallidirostris
Clacton, Essex, Autumn 1996.

A record shot of this newly split species. Of the handful that have been recordered in the UK, most have appeared in the late autumn. This individual had a penchant for House Sparrows Passer domesticus


Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis
Waterside Village, Cumbria, July 1996.

The mad panic to see this male bird, a massive UK rarity, seems a little bizarre if you ticked it 2 years on, when it was still fluffing-up its feathers and singing from the farm buildings. 


Arctic Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni exilipes
 Langham, Norfolk, Late Winter/Spring 1996.

Langham was a good place to see these little white bundles with over 20+ in the village. Sometimes they outnumbered the "Mealies".

Black-throated Thrush Turdus atrogularis
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, March 1996.

A probable 1st winter male, again present on a housing estate. This one was less showy than the Webheath bird. 


White-billed Diver Gavia adamsii
Tattershall Bridge, Lincolnshire, March 1996.

This immature bird was present on the River Witham in Lincolnshire. Although they are annual visitors to the UK, especially Scotland, they are very rare inland (possibly the 3rd ever inland record?). Unfortunately these pictures show the sad demise of this giant. This visit was on a Saturday and with the bird still being present it obviously attracted a large amount of birders to the site. On this day a fishing match was also taking place along this stretch of the river. We arrived just before 11 am and the bird was swimming up and down the river. Did the presence of a large crowd at close quarters upset the bird, were the birders "pushing" the bird? Anyhow, on one fatal occasion it took a fisherman's bait and it transpired that one set of the tripple hooks became lodged deep in its throat. As a result the bird got entangled in the line and the more it struggled the more badly entangled it became.  The Diver was "reeled in" to release the line and hooks. The bird was clearly ill and a local wildlife centre was found to help out. The bird was taken away and sadly died a few hours later. I believe that one set of the hooks inside the bird could not be reached, and in order to remove them the sternum would have to be broken. Hence the bird would be rendered flightless. 


Black-throated Thrush Turdus atrogularis
Webheath, Worcestershire, January 1996.

A 1st winter male found in a suburban garden in the Midlands. It drew a large crowd of birders, sometimes to the annoyance of the local residents.


Arctic Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni exilipes
Broomhill Flash, South Yorkshire, January 1996.

A brilliant local patch tick. One of the many involved with influx of Mealy Redpolls Carduelis flammea in winter 1995-96. 

Hoopoe Upupa epops
Sunk Island, East Yorkshire, December 1995.

A late migrating individual that, unknown to birders, had been present near the east coast hot-spot of Spurn Point, for up to 2 weeks.

Little Auk Alle alle
Titchwell, Norfolk, November 1995.

A "wreck" of Little Auks A. Alle on the north Norfolk coast produced sightings of dead birds as well as "lost looking" living birds. 

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Titchwell, Norfolk, November 1995.



Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Sizewell, Suffolk, July 1995.

This bird spent a long time of its stay feeding at the outfall of the nuclear power station and occasionally resting with the other gulls on the shingle beach.


Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus
Lowestoft, Suffolk, June 1995.

Following on from the large early summer influx of this species in 1994, 1995 produced some sightings of wandering adults as well. This bird spent most of its time feeding in the skips full of fish waste at the Bird's Eye factory at Lowestoft. 


Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala
Aberdaron, Wales, June 1995.

This male was in fine plumage showing no aberrations associated with it being an escape from captivity. As is fairly typical it appeared on the western side of Great Britain in June.

Wryneck Jynx torquilla
Holme, Norfolk, April 1995.

As is more than often usual for Norfolk, the star attraction (Little Bunting) had a good supporting cast. This cryptic migrant could be surprisingly well camourflaged on the ground.


Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla
Holme, Norfolk, April 1995.

This beauty showed really well to the twitchers at this north Norfolk hot-spot. It's quite unusual to twitch spring birds, as they are more common in the autumn.


White Stork Ciconia ciconia
Hull/Spurn, East Yorkshire, April 1995.

Taken an hour or so after first light. This individual soon took flight moving along the nearby coastline. 


Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
Barnsley Moors, South Yorkshire, April 1995.

Using the car as a hide enabled me to get close to this summer visitor to the South Yorkshire moorlands. 


Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris
Rimac, Lincolnshire, October 1994.

This mega-rarity was most unexpected, especially with it frequenting the edge of a Lincolnshire saltmarsh. 


Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus
Stiffkey, Norfolk, October 1994.

There's not a finer site then watching this majestic raptor hunting along the east coast in late autumn. October and November 1994 proved to be an exceptional couple of months for witnessing an influx of this species from Scandinavia to the east coast of Britain. No fewer than 100 individuals were located in that period. 



Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleshanka
Felixstowe, Suffolk, October 1994.

A very obliging immature female showed well on the perimiter fence of Felixstowe docks.


Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus
Skipsea, East Yorkshire, October 1994.

On ariving at the site on a Sunday afternoon, I was amazed to find no one here. On phoning Birdline North-East, I soon understood why. The lure of a Pechora Pipit at nearby Filey had proved too much.


Tawny Owl Strix aluco
Wells Wood, Norfolk, September 1994.

This sleeping owl was pestered by Blackbirds Turdus merula and a migrant Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix


Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus
Broomhill Flash, South Yorkshire, August 1994.

My best ever find back home. Scanning the right hand side of the Flash, I could not believe it as this Skua flew in, and swooped onto the flock of Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus resting on the water. It circled this wetland for a few minutes and at one point was pursued by a Lapwing Vanellus vanellus. It drifted off to the south-west never to be seen again. It's small size, reduced white in the primaries, dark cap, secondary bar and its blunt tail streamers confirmed this as a juvenile "intermediate-type" Long-tailed Skua.


White Stork Ciconia ciconia
Ashford, Kent, August 1994.

This juvenile showed well catching frogs with relative ease.

Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus
Moelfre, Anglesey, July 1994.

Mid-summer usually sees the arrival of wandering adults of this species in the UK, some years produce numerous records. 1994 was a good year. 


Little Owl Athene noctua
Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, July 1994.

This smart individual was sitting in the shade close to its nest hole. 


Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
Rhyl, Wales, April 1994.

This immaculate breeding plumaged adult spent most of its time at a distance on the boating lake. Only on a couple of occasions could it be attracted to bread thrown onto the jetty.


Ross's Gull Rhodostethia rosea
Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, March 1994.

The mythical winter wanderer. After 6 hours this gem flew in off the sea to feed with the other gulls in the docks. It gave stunning flight views allowing many photographers to go home happy.


Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides
Broomhill Flash, South Yorkshire, February 1994.

This 1st winter bird gave good views at the wildfowl feeding station in front of the hide.


Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
Fleetwood, Lancashire, January 1994.

This female (right) returned for her 3rd? winter to the Fleetwood shoreline. She seemed quite at home with the local Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula (left).


Dipper "Black-bellied" Cinclus cinclus cinclus
Lowestoft, Suffolk, January 1994.

An elusive bird frequenting a parkland lake to the north of Lowestoft in Suffolk.


Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti
Heacham, Norfolk, November 1993.

A little beauty. This 1st winter plumaged female must have felt the cold as it arrived just before the first snows of the winter in East Anglia. 


Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni
Holkham, Norfolk, October 1993.

A very scarce autumn migrant that can perform at close quarters, as seen with this bird. The two- toned supercillium characteristic of this species can be easily seen.


Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisgena
Rutland Water, Rutland, August 1993.

Twitching the Midlands brought us to Rutland Water late one Sunday evening. Still managed to get a nice record shot of this eye-catching individual. This species is a sporadic breeder in the United Kingdom, and summer birds, like this one, usually return to the same site in consecutive years. 


White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
Ouse Washes, Cambridgeshire, June 1993.

This lone marsh tern delighted birdwatchers at the Ouse Washes RSPB reserve. This extensive wetland produces some wonderful migrants, as well as breathtaking winter sunsets.


Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator
Kelling Quags, Norfolk, June 1993.

A quick to dash to see this male spring migrant could have been taken at an easier pace. It stayed in the area for over one month. 

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus
Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey, June 1993.

The tern hot spot that is Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey hosted this marsh tern.


Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum
Mundesley, Norfolk, June 1993.

An extreme rarity to the UK. This bird was the 3rd ever to be found in the British Isles. Despite, its huge rarity status, all three have been long-staying birds.


Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica
Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire, May 1993.

This breeding plumaged male was elusive at times. It's more common to encounter immatures of this species on autumn passage.


Bluethroat Luscinia svecica svecica
Holme, Norfolk, May 1993.

Always a beautiful bird to see on the east coast of the United Kingdom, on its way to and from Scandinavia. 


Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
Blagdon lake, Somerset, May 1993.

This female bird spent much of its time in the company of a drake Shoveler A. clypeata.


Sociable Plover Vanellus gregarius
Cley, Norfolk, May 1993.

A major rarity that was appreciated by many as it mixed with the local Lapwings V. vanellus.

Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritus
Blakeney, Norfolk, May 1993.

A nice summer plumaged bird that lingered on the north Norfolk coastline.

Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides
Sheringham, Norfolk, April 1993.

A long stayer , photo taken in April 1993, the bird present from January to May 2013.


Snow Goose Anser caerulescens
Southport, Lancashire, October 1992.

A typical locality for sightings of this species in the UK in the early winter months. They usually

arrive with the thousands of Pink-footed Geese A. brachyrhynchus that frequent these Lancastrian coastal marshes and neighbouring farmland. Usually sightings are of white morph birds and not blue morphs, which is shown here.


Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus
Cley, Norfolk, October 1992.

One of two migrants resting outside one of the many hides on the Cley marshes. It was constantly "bobbing" up and down.


Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicaria
Anglers Country Park, West Yorkshire, Sept. 1992.

A juvenile bird that showed well as it stopped off on its migration south from the Arctic.

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Broomhill Flash, South Yorkshire, July 1992.

This type of Gull occurs regularly in the south of the UK, particularly in summer when they can be located in flocks of Lesser-black Backed Gulls Larus fuscus graellsii. This sub-adult showed typical plumage features, including red orbital-ring of the eyes, large amount of black to the
primaries and dark grey colour of the upperparts. (Originally written when a bit of a novelty!)


Arctic Tern Sterna paradisea
Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey, Wales, June 1992.

The stout deep-red bill of this species is clear to see in this photograph.


Red-backed Shrike Lanius colluro
Spurn, East Yorkshire, June 1992.

Normally given top-billing, this migrant was "outclassed" by the UK's 2nd ever Marmora's Warbler Sylvia sarda present in the area.


Great White Egret Ardea alba alba
Stanford Res., Leics/Northants., July 1992.

This bird was tracked moving down the eastern half of the UK from Newcastle.

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Aberdaron, Wales, May 1992.

A small influx of at least 10 birds appeared in the UK in May 1992.


Serin Serinus serinus
Reydon, Suffolk, May 1992.

A singing passage bird.

Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, May 1992.

The cemetery at Great Yarmouth is a notorious rarity hotspot. This summer plumaged male paid a brief visit to this mecca.


Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
Bardney, Lincolnshire, May 1992.

This adult breeding plumaged bird gave excellent views.


Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix
Swallow Moss, Staffordshire, April 1992.

Now sadly lost from this locality.

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
Elsecar Res., South Yorkshire, April 1992.

In early spring these birds start moving north. This bird stayed for only one day before moving on.


Bean Goose Anser fabalis rossicus
Broomhill Flash, South Yorkshire, March 1992.

This particular subspecies occurs as a mid-winter vagrant and can turn up anywhere in the UK. Nice comparison with the closely related Pink-footed Goose A. brachyrhynchus (foreground). The rossicus subspecies is closer in size and colouration to Pink-footed Geese than the fabalis subspecies of Bean Goose.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor
East Harling, Norfolk, January 1992.

This surprisingly obliging bird gave me a chance of setting up the camera and taking this shot.


Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
Norwich, Norfolk, January 1992.

Either the first or second record of this species in Norfolk. This second winter bird frequented the University of East Anglia grounds but proved elusive to photographers during its protracted stay.

Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus
Broomhill Flash, South Yorkshire, January 1992.

This 1st winter bird was attracted to the wildfowl feeding centre in front of the hide. In this shot, probably my favourite photograph, the characteristic clean white underwing of this plumage can be seen.


Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
Cley, Norfolk, December 1991.

Probably the first accepted sighting of this species to occur in the UK in juvenille/1st winter plumage. This bird was present in a flock of Eurasian Golden Plover P. apricaria in the "Eye field" at Cley. It was frequently harried by its larger cousin and spent most of its time towards the front of the flock close to the beach car park.

Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus
Snettisham RSPB, Norfolk, November 1991.

It's always a pleasure to photograph these beauties.

Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena
Snettisham RSPB, Norfolk, November 1991.

A tiger-striped juvenille bird. The relatively small width of these pits allows for close views of the wildfowl attracted to this excellent reserve on the edge of The Wash.

Greater Scaup Aythya marila
Snettisham RSPB, Norfolk, November 1991.

Immature male (left) and female-type birds on the pits south of the car park.

Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus
Cley, Norfolk, October 1991.

This immature bird spent much of its time posing in front of Dauke's Hide during its stay on the Cley marshes.


Desert Warbler Sylvia nana
Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire, Oct. 1991.

A record shot of this major rarity. This record was of ca. the sixth ever sighting of this species in the UK.


Garganey Anas querquedula
Broomhill Flash, South Yorkshire, August 1991.

This juvenile bird ,as identified by its dark appearance especially to the underparts, spent most of its time on the mud directly in front of the hide ...which was nice!


Little Stint Calidris minuta
Blacktoft Sands RSPB, East Yorkshire, Aug. 1991.

This RSPB reserve allows for good views of in excess of 20 wader species per day in August.


Little Gull Larus minutus
Wintersett Res., West Yorkshire, August 1991.

A juvenile bird that stayed around for a few days.


Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
Benacre Broad, Suffolk, August 1991.

There's always a few of these to be seen around the East Anglian coastal marshes in the summer months.


Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk, August 1991.

An adult bird moulting out of breeding plumage. 


Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Broomhill Flash, South Yorkshire, August 1991.

Wow! I've always managed to miss this species on my old local patch in the Spring and Autumn. I was just about to leave before this one stopped off for a take-away. From its plumage, it was thought to be an adult female.
I only managed to get these photos after a frantic change of film. Fortunately for me, it took the bird three attempts to catch a fish.  This was quite literally a take-away. The bird flew off so high, that it was a dot at 40x magnification through the telescope. The bird stayed for five minutes, but luckily a few birders were there to witness its fishing prowess. 



Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
Wath Ings, South Yorkshire, July 1991.

A very drab looking individual. Nevertheless, this view was a lot better than the usual half a second glimpse of this skulker in the summer months!


Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Wath Ings, South Yorkshire, July 1991.

An annual autumn migrant to the South Yorkshire lowlands, particulary the "Crab Apple Row" at Wath Ings. 

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Wath Ings, South Yorkshire, July 1991.

It's not every day that one of these drops into a mist-net!


Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Broomhill Flash, South Yorkshire, May 1991.

A familiar summer migrant at this wetland from mid-March onwards. 

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Broomhill Flash, South Yorkshire, May 1991.

A common summer visitor.

American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus
Marton Mere, Blackpool, Lancashire, March 1991.

Standing in the right place at the right time. I was very lucky to see this bird, let alone photograph it so well. It had been elusive on the day of our visit.


Smew Mergellus albellus
Broomhill Flash, South Yorkshire, February 1991.

The second record and first drake for my old local patch. It swam reasonably close to the hide, giving me the chance to capture this photograph.


Hoopoe Upupa epops
Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, January 1991.

This poor thing looked really out of place!

Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus
Unstone, Dronfield, Derbyshire, May 1990.

This beautiful female was a shear delight on this hot Spring morning. 

Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
Fairburn Ings, West Yorkshire, March 1990.

A regular sight in the Aire valley in Spring is the appearance of one or two drake Ring-necked Ducks. This bird spent nearly all of the time sleeping, so I was fortunate to capture this shot.

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
Normanton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, February 1990.

This butcher bird gave a smart performance and hovered frequently whilst hunting


Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides
Wath Ings, South Yorkshire, December 1989.

This immaculately plumaged 2nd winter bird was a lifer at the time. 


Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus
Broomhill Flash, South Yorkshire, November 1989.

Three nice adult birds. This site was/is a good wintering ground for up to 30 birds. Numbers have unfortunately dropped over the last 10 years. 


Leach's Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa
Midhope Res., South Yorkshire, October 1989.

A record shot of a brief stayer.


Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
Elsecar Res., South Yorkshire, October 1989.

A juvenile bird spending a few days in the area before moving on. 


Common Raven Corvus corax
Tregaron, Wales, August 1989.

This was a "press and hope" shot. The silhouette came out quite nicely.  

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
Oban, Scotland, August 1989.

A nice pale one.


Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus
Cowden, East Yorkshire, July 1989.

It's in there, not the greatest of photos of arguably a once in a lifetime rarity to these shores.

Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus
Midhope Moors, South Yorkshire, June 1989.

Now that's what I call a record photo!

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Fairburn Ings, West Yorkshire, May 1989.

You couldn't ask for better views of this exotic gem, and the weather was nice as well.


Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
Wombwell Ings, South Yorkshire, May 1989.

A nice spring record of a very obliging bird, which was probably an adult female.

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Wath Ings, South Yorkshire, May 1989.

Nice views of this rare visitor late on the Sunday evening.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Wintersett Res., West Yorkshire, May 1989.

A bird that stayed around for a few days on its way north. It caught a whopper of a fish!