Friday, 11 March 2016

March 4th to March 11th.

4-3, Worlds End.
One more week to catch up on and it started with an 04.30 pick up, 2 hour drive to Worlds End and an hour and a half sitting watching Black Grouse -in the car - in the freezing cold wind - with the window down - by eck it was cold.  So why? Well, do it and see. They are amazing birds and definitely worth the early morning, two hour drive and coldness to be with them.  Awesome. 

The hills on the far side of the moors were quickly disappearing with snowy conditions so we decided to turn and burn and with snow forecast in North Wales we decided to head closer to home.

4-3, Belvide Reservoir.
My mate has just joined West Mids Bird Club and fancied a visit to Belvide.  In general it is pretty quiet here at the moment but the Scaup was easy to find and we had an enjoyable couple of hours.

4-3, Whitemoor Haye.
The usual birds were around including the WhooperSwan but the bonus was a Woodcock which I flushed whilst looking for Treecreeper, which didn't show.

8-3, Whitemoor Haye.
I was off work for a bit with a chest infection but I needed to get out for a walk so had aslow stomp around the patch and with the Whooepr Swan being there it had clocked up its 100th day on site. 2 Snipe in the ditches were a bonus too and a single Redpoll in a hedge was cracking.

11-3, Whitemoor Haye.
Back to work and a cracking early evening walk around the patch produced not a lot.  No sign of the Whooper Swan, I wonder if it has took advantage of the calm weather and headed north?  There is lots of water at the moment and I am really disappointed for the activity centre as they cannot do much as it is flooded - and if you believe that you believe anything. What do they expect, building on flood plains, tossers.

Anyway, up to date now and off early for a mini adventure tomorrow before getting home and feasting on England v Wales 6 nations decider.  Not going to say who I want to win but I just cannot wait for it.

February in brief.

1-2, Elford.
Corn Bunting.

9-2, Chasewater.
Mediterranean but still no Glaucous or Iceland Gulls :(.

11-2, Stubbers Green
An unexpected Common Sandpiper.

11-2, Whitemoor Haye.
11 Grey Partridge, 150 Wigeon, 600 Lapwing, 2 Oystercatchers,  and the Whooper Swan.

13-2, Church Broughton.
Black Redstart.

20-2, Whitemoor Haye.
Treecreeper was a nice year tick.  2 Oystercatchers, 26 Siskin, Shelduck and the Whooper Swan were of note.

20-2, Alrewas GP (A38 pit)
5 Chiffchaffs were by far the highlight.

27-2, Fradley Junction.
A female Goosander was on the lake but the best birds were the flock of predominantly male Bramblings in a field by Middle lock.

27-2, Whitemoor Haye.
3 Ravens were nice, the Treecreepers were still there, 4 Oystercatchers, a Lil Egret and theWhooper Swan were in support.

28-2, Whitemoor Haye.
Circa 25 Siskins were still around along with 131 Wigeon, 2 Goldeneye and Treecreeper.

28-2, Draycote Water.
A return trip to try and get the Scaup and White-fronted Geese and they were not hard to miss this time.     

Rest of January

Unfortunately my computer had a bit of a breakdown however it is back and I have been birding so a bit of a catch up really. 
16-1, Fradley Junction.
Did my monthly guided walk around Fradley, quite busy with Goosander on the lake and a Nuthatch for the year.
16-1, Whitemoor Haye.
Two Whooper Swan were with the Mute Swans, where has this one come from, a Raven was a nice year tick for WH and 2 Gadwall were on the pool.
16-1, circa Alrewas.
A bit of an eventful walk with my mate and his dogs saw us stalking a small pool which had about 200 Teal on it at dusk. Things were about to get much better when a Peregrine drifted over and lifted the Teal (okay, could have been us as well) and then had a go at them. We then went owl hunting with no luck.
Late news of a 3rd Whooper Swan today found by Julian Allen, wow.  Hope they stay.
17-1, Whitemoor Haye.
900 Lapwing, 30 Siskin, 60+ Skylark, 4 Gadwall, only 1 Whooper Swan :(, 2 Teal, 80 Goldeneye.
23-1, Whitemoor Haye.
1 Sparrowhawk, 700 Lapwing, 2 Ruff, 1 Whooper Swan.
24-1, Whitemoor Haye.
700 Lapwing, 150 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 60 Golden Plover, 2 Great Black-backed Gulls, 1 Whooper Swan, 1 Lil Grebe, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Oystercatcher, Shoveler.  Busy day.
24-1, Uttoxeter Quarry. 
A Ring-necked Duck was holding court and found by Mr Powell.  When I turned up it was showing at the furthest point possible and it was quite a good hike but well worth it.  It was showing with some female Tufties and allowed a good comparison.   Writing this on 11-3 and I believe it is the same bird that is currently at Tittesworth reservoir. 
27-1, Draycote Water.
With a day off I decided to go further afield than Whitemoor Haye to mop up a few year ticks.  A very showy male Smew was a great bird but missed Scaup and White-fronted Goose plus a couple of Great Northern Divers (not needed for the year) but theweather was pretty horrid and almost impossible to scope.
27-1, Ladywalk Reservoir.
Only one bird was expected here and that was the Bittern.  I did get it but I was in the wrong hide, the Bittern hide!!!!! when it did a lap of the reserve and showed brilliantly from the River hide, typical.  Got it though.
27-1, Whitemoor Haye.
Couldn't resist coming back to the patch!!  2000 Lapwing were the main highlight.  No sign of the Whooper.
29-1, Chasewater CP.
First visit of the year for the gulls and not a very good roost was did get the Ring-necked Parakeet which was sadly a year and Staffs tick.  Thanks to the friendly people there I was put on to Yellow-legged Gull, and Caspian Gull.  I do not know how people find them.
30-1, Hornsbere Pool
A day out in Gloucester saw me and my mate at a few birding sites to nail some good birds.  First site was where 2 Penduline Tits were hanging out, these would be a lifer for my mate. After a couple of hours and a few false alarms the birds finally showed up on the reed mace and showed well.
30-1, New Fancy View RSPB.
Kind of fell on to this reserve by mistake but thought it may be worth a go and was rewarded with brief views of a Goshawk.
30-1, Parkend.
Dida couple of sites here before falling on our prey, the Hawfinch. Always good birds to see, cracking bill Gromit.
30-1, Canop Pools.
Just down the road from Parkend and I was told it was a very reliable site for Mandarins and hey presto, 8 were on the pool.
30-1, Kempsey.
Time was getting on so we decided to head home but drop in on the site in Worcester as it had been giving brilliant views of Short-eared Owls, worth a go.  Eventually found where to go but there was lots of disappointed people slowly heading to their cars as it was starting to get to dusk.  We decided to tough out the cold and were rewarded with brief views of one bird.  It was enough though, two happy birders headed back up the M5 home.  Great day out. 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

12th January

Bonus bird today.  Site visit down in South Wales near Abergavenny and I had my fair share of Red Kites to stare at.  Well lush birds!!!!!

Monday, 11 January 2016

9th January

Broad Lane is Heswall, The Wirral, had become a temporary home for a Pallas's Warbler, a tiny Asian warbler.  Having not seen this species before I was on the road at 06.00 and on site just before 09.00 (I know it is only 2 hours from Alrewas but it was lashing down with rain so a breakfast was enjoyed).  The bird had shown in heavy rain but briefly but that was good news, it was till around, and so the wait was on before it showed again.  Show it did thank god, 2 hours later, and so a PALLAS'S WARBLER was in the bag.  To begin with it showed on the right hand side hedge on the floor briefly, I didn't get on it then but the it flew to the right hand hedge and continued to act like a Goldcrest as it fed and flittered along the face of the hedgerow enough to get on it and see the orangy yellow supercilium, and yellowy white wing stripes but sadly no pale rump. 
As well as the super warbler, bloody load of Goldcrests and the odd Chiffchaff.
I would have liked to bird the Wirral for more birds as it is a fantastic place for some winter birding but I was told of a private site in Cheshire where a Black-necked Grebe had been present for a few weeks.  On finding the lake I failed to find the bird but added Raven and Jay to my year list.  The bird was present n the Sunday as my contact had it. :(
I decided then to come back in to Staffs to end the day at Swallow Moss but before then I had time to check out a site for Dipper, which I dipped on, before heading to Knotbury for Red Grouse. I got out of the car, scanned the local fields for anything and spotted a bonus Little Owl sitting on a stone wall, a nice year tick.  A walk around the track and it wasn't long before a Red Grouse flew past me.  That's was enough as time was getting on and I wanted to get to Swallow Moss before dusk. 
On the way to Swallow Moss my year list grew one with the sighting of a Short-eared Owl hunting near Flash.
I arrived at Swallow Moss and was there until dark but only managed to get Starlings, Pheasant and a Wren.
A great days birding. 

6th January

My last day off before back to work so I loaded up my bike and did my favourite circuit of gravel pits.
Whitemoor Haye.
30 Siskins were still present but quite mobile, 600 Lapwing, 1 Redshank calling from the pig field, several Tree Sparrows and Yellowhammers, Goldeneye, Tufties and the Whooper Swan still in the field.
National Arboretum.
After getting a puncture and getting my mom to pick it up and take it to my house I continued on foot.  Nothing special in the arboretum but did add Redwing and Mistle Thrush to the year list.
Junction Pit.
Seconds after arriving the Cetti's Warbler blasted its unforgettable song, this must be the third year this bird has been present.  Has it got a mate? I wouldn't have thought it would hung around if it didn't attract a mate so there maybe a breeding pair there we don't know about!!  2 Snipe were chilling o the bank and five Redshank flew over and appeared to drop in.
Croxall Wides.
Grey Wagtail was the only bird of note on this very flooded corner of the arboretum/river Trent.
Alrewas GP.
4 Goldeneye, 116 Tufties, 10 Gadwall, 7 Teal, 18 Mallard, 41 Coot, at least 3 Chiffchaff and several Goldcrest - new for the year.  

Thursday, 7 January 2016


Black-tailed Godwit - Titchwell RSPB

Purple Sandpiper - Sheringham

Shoveler - Titchwell RSPB

Barn Owl - Titchwell RSPB

Shag - Rudyard Lake

Red-necked Grebe - Trentham Gardens

Ehyptian Geese - Hickling Broad

Shorelark - Thornham

Twite - Thornham

Hoopoe - Wall Heath (Taken 1st Dec)

Whooper Swan -Whitemoor Haye
Rough-legged Buzzard - Choseley Barns

Carrion Crow, Titchwell RSPB