Thursday, 30 December 2010

2010 Round Up.

Its the boring bit so I will keep my roiund up sharp and too the point. At the beginning of the year I decided to not bother chasing birds and let them come to me. It started off well but two thirds through the year I was missing seeing certain birds. Whitemoor Haye got a bashing too this year. 90 visits in all but they were all worth it when I found Staffordshire's first ever Woodchat Shrike. Unbelievable when you take a moment to think about. Luck rather than skill thats for sure. In total I saw 180 species of birds (rubbish) and added 5 birds to my life list (rubbish). However I did enjoy concentrating more on the local pits like Alrewas pit, Junction pit, Croxall and of course Whitemoor Haye.

What for next year?

I have decided to go with the flow. However I would love to try and get over 250 birds for the year, that would be ace, and thats why I am having two full days in Norfolk to kick the year off and hopefully nail a few life ticks.

Thats me for a bit, thanks for reading this blog and see you next year.

30-12-10, Whitemoor Haye.

Oh well this is the last outing for the year. I wasn't bothered about going out today, things to do. However a few of the Bewick's Swans had gone missing from Elford/Fisherwick. As the Carrion Crow flies its minutes from Elford to Whitemoor and so I was hoping they had turned up on my patch. I headed on down, there was still some fog around so I decided to have a drive round and end up checking the Mute Swan flock. Birds noted were Blue Tit, Cormorant, Starling, Black-headed Gull, Lapwing, Blackbird, Magpie, Linnet, Robin, Pheasant, Green Sandpiper, Pied Wagtail, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Meadow Pipit, Wren, 261 Mute Swans and 2 Whooper Swans., No Bewicks but the two Whooper Swans made up for them.
Tomorrow I am off to spend New Years Eve in a seedy motel just outside King's Lynn, all on my own. then up sharpish to get to Titchwell to start off 2011 with, hopefully, a bang.
Happy New Year to all.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

29-12-12, A morning out in the fog

Doh, Ive put a headline on this posting. Today was pretty much horrible. After this mornings rant I set out and the fog just didnt improve at all, I put visibility down to about 60 meters which meant seeing birds today was going to be hard work. But set out I did into the murk. As it was pretty uneventful and to not waste too much of your time I will just nbame each site and list the birds there.

In each case most birds were seen, usually in hedgrows and trees, but also the odd duck (odd as in number not appearance or behaviour) was seen on the ice near the bank or flying over.

Alrewas GP.

Starling, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Robin, Wren, Black-headed Gull, Mallard, Great Tit, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Teal, Carrion Crow, Redwing, and Coot.

National Arboretum.

Black-headed Gull, Great Tit, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Wren, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Mallard, Wigeon, Goosander, Goldeneye, Canada Geese, Bullfinch, Coot, Moorhen, Chaffinch, Redwing, Goldfinch, Fieldfare, Pheasant, Jay, Teal, Greylag Geese, Grey Heron, Snipe and Mistle Thrush. I dont think thats a bad list really.

Junction Pit.

Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Moorhen and Magpie. A pit that once showed great potential but now has low water levels and no birds.

Croxall Wides.

In the hunt for a Smew I had a quick look through the mist and saw Teal, Wigeon, Coot, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Canada Geese. I was going to go to Croxall pits after the arboretum but there was some very load gun shots as if there were some hunters around the hide area so I didnt bother going there. Not a loss really.

Whitemoor Haye.

Kestrel, Robin, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Teal, Grey Heron, Blackbird, Canada Geese, Magpie, Tree Sparrow, Great Tit, Carrion Crow, Black-headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Lapwing, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Pheasant, Song Thrush, Mute Swan, Redwing, Starling and Meadow Pipit.

Thats more than enough for today.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

28-12-10, Whitemoor Haye.

I think it has already been mentioned that I really enjoyed the recent cold spell. Everyone I know couldnt wait for it to end. Well it has, and its either raining or thick fog. I am writing this early Wednesday morning. I wanted a good days birding yesterday but it started to drizzle going around Whitemoor and then the fog came in. I had a call out late last night to Coventry and it was thick fog all the way. getting up this morning and it still fog and in Sky news it is hgere to stay till New Years Day at least. Even the weather girl said at least the fog will keep temperatures high!!! Absolute garbage, I would have -20c and be able to see anyday. To todays effort of birding and birds noted were Kestrel, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Robin, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Dunnock, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Grey Partridge, Skylark, Buzzard, Wigeon heard calling from over the pits, Wren, Magpie, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Redwing, 1 Green Sandpiper flying over, Yellowhammer, 231 Mute Swans, 1 Curlew, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit and a Redshank.
We will see what the rest of the week has to offer weather wise but its not looking top good.

Monday, 27 December 2010

28-12-10, WeBS Count.

I finally got round to dredging through my various notes scribbled down whilst out on the count and also remebered my login password for the BTO site. The results are as follows.
Croxall pits (including Alrewas GP and Junction Pit plus the river):- Canada Geese 238, Coot 42, Cormorant 13 (flying over), Goldeneye 19, Goosander 3, Great Crested Grebe 31, Grey Heron 3, Greylag Geese 30, Kingfisher 3, Lapwing 224, Little Grebe 2, Mallard 85, Moorhen 1, Mute Swan 21, Pochard 49, Redshank 13, Snipe 5, Teal 374, Tufted Duck 65, Black-headed Gull 12 and Lesser Black-backed Gull 17 (flying over).

Barton pits (only the one by the marina as I cannot get permission to get onto Catholme pits):- Coot 29, Mallard 212, Moorhen 15, Pochard 8, Tufted Duck 29 and Black-headed Gull 35.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

26-12-10, Whitemoor Haye.

I decided to have a slow walk around Whitemoor Haye and its gaps today. With the snow and ice covering the lanes, firlds and pool, the birds were very low in numbers. A slow walk produced 58 Tree Sparrow, 24 Goldfinch, 5 Blackbird, 32 Carrion Crow, 5 Fieldfare, 256 Mute Swan, 55 Wood Pigeon, 2 Buzzard, 23 Magpie, 1 Reed Bunting, 25 Lesser Black-backed Gull over, 3 Wren, 11 Curlew, 4 Skylark, 1 Yellowhammer, 59 Black-headed Gull flying around plus another 81 sitting on the iced up pool, about 50 Starling, 15 Blue Tits, 1 Stock Dove, 1 Robin, 12 Greenfinch, 3 Dunnock, 2 Kestrel, 27 Mallard on the pool plus about 15 overhead, 3 Great Tit, 5 Chaffinch, 2 Woodcock - a nice site tick for here, and a single Pheasant.
Not bad species wise but it was difficult birding around this site.

26-12-10, Elford.

I fancies making another trip just down the road to between Elford and Fisherwick to see the Bewick's Swans and try to get some record photos. Birds noted were 153 Mute Swans, 16 Bewick's Swans, 9 Skylark, and loads of Carrion Crows and Wood Pigeons.

One of the nice group of Bewick's Swans.

26-12-10, Croxall GP.

I headed for Croxall next. It has been nearly two years since I have seen a Smew and this was at Draycote Water. I cannot remeber the last Smew I saw around Whitemoor/Croxall area. I decided to concentrate on the river section hoping to find one. Birds noted were Kestrel, Chaffinch, Buzzard, Redwing, Fieldfare, Wren, Carrion Crow, Bullfinch, Black-headed Gull, Grey Heron, Blue Tit, Goldcrest, Lapwing, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Goldeneye, Coot, Teal, Tufted Duck, Mistle Thrush, Redshank, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Goosander, Little Grebe, Gadwall, Reed Bunting, Rook, a group of about 50 Siskins flew over and a couple of Dunnocks.
There are some great numbers of both Redwing and Fieldfare at Croxall at the moment, easy a few hundred of each at times. The Fieldfare are very skittish so I couldnt get that near to them and these were my best efforts!!! Nuff said.
A fine few hours birding. Same tomorrow me thinks.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

25-12-10, Elford.

Any chance to slightly increase my awful year list and a few Bewicks Swans had been present near Elford village for a couple of days so today was my first chance to go and see them. After topping up the feeders at Fradley resevoir I headed to Elford and quickly found the swans. Birds noted were Mute Swan, Bewicks Swan, Skylark, Carrion Crow, Greylag Geese and a couple of White-fronted Geese of unknown, but proberbly can guess, origin. Now chill for the day.

Monday, 20 December 2010

19-12-10, Alrewas GP.

It was WeBS count day today and, due to work commitments, this is the first one for a few months. It was a dull start to the day and I was a recovering so I left the car at home and headed off towards the first pit of the day by the A38. With snow on the ground and it being very cold, 99% of the pool was frozen. There was a small bit of water in the middle that had a load of ducks and grebes on and by the spit was bare but otherwise solid white. Birds seen were Blackbird, Cormorant, Carrion Crow, Black-headed Gull, Canada Geese, Wren, Starling, Bullfinch, Robin, Redwing, Dunnock, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Mallard, Greylag Geese, Coot, Redshank, Snipe, Lapwing, Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe, Blue Tit, Mallard and Little Grebe. I will give the results of the WeBS count at the end. Now it was a hop over the railway onto the next site.

19-12-10, National Arboretum.

This site is not covered by me on the WeBS count but the Junction Pit and Croxall are so I was checking out the ducks on the river as I walked to Croxall. Birds seen around the arboretum whilst passing through were Skylark 8 flew over, Teal, Mallard, Snipe, Robin, Carrion Crow, Moorhen, Dunnock, Wren, Little Grebe, Kingfisher, Goldeneye, Teal, Blackbird, Great Tit, Fieldfare, Goosander, Reed Bunting, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Redwing, Cormorant, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pheasant and a Buzzard.

19-12-10, Junction Pit.

A short diversion for the Junction Pit left me very disappointed with only a single Grey Heron standing on the 100% iced pool. A Reed Bunting was calling nearby and a Wood Pigeon flew over. Staggering, not.

19-12-10, Croxall GP.

After the last visit, the main pool has now completely frozen over so counting ducks and waders was pretty easy. 9. 9 Mallards were sitting on the ice looking pretty fed up. I then caught up with a group of birders led by Dave Scattergood and we had a quiet walk upto the river to have a look at the birds on the river. Then it was home for a desperately needed breakfast. Birds noted were Kestrel, Chaffinch, Fieldfare, Skylark, Redwing, Grey Heron, Blackbird, Magpie, Bullfinch, Mallard, Lapwing, Cormorant, Black-headed Gull, Snipe, Redshank, Teal, Goldeneye, Robin, Kingfisher great views of two birds feeding by the river, had to drag myself away, Goosander, Mute Swan, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Goldfinch, Song Thrush, Wood Pigeon and Pheasant. The new wides at Croxall are an excellent new habitat but the birds are very edgy and it is impossible to walk around that area without upsetting the birds. With this and the frozen ground and pools I decided not to upset the birds and head back home instead.

I popped up to the marina to count the birds on the nearby pool and didnt do a proper birdwatch.

I will post the bird count later after going through ny notes.

This is the last post till xmas as I am working until 5pm xmas eve. I then go on call for a week, until NewYears Eve but I will be out doing local birding as usual.

Merry Christmas to all the readers.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

18-12-10, Whitemoor Haye.

Out at first light and things were a bit dull at the start but I perservered. A bit of a mistake really cause as I set off it started to snow and the further I went, the more it snowed. Birds noted were Blue Tit, Blackbird, Dunnock, Carrion Crow, Skylark about 40 were feeding in a field, Mallard, Starling, Wood Pigeon, Canada Geese, Black-headed Gull, Tree Sparrow, Jackdaw, Mute Swan, Wren, Chaffinch, Magpie, Pheasant, Bullfinch, Song Thrush, Buzzard and a couple of Tufted Ducks on the small bit of open water on the quarry pool. A waste of time really with the snow coming down but there you go, home for a nice fry up fro brecky now.

18-12-10, Branston GP.

After a nice breakfast and waiting untill the snow had stopped (and also a trip to FCradley to top the bird feeders up in the nature reserve) I decided to tackle the pits near Barton. Birds noted were Redwing, Robin, Buzzard, Blackbird, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Fieldfare, Carrion Crow, Snipe, Pheasant, Redshank, Coot, Gadwall, Pochard, Black-headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Buzzard, Wigeon, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Lapwing, Mallard, Greylag Geese, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Dunnock, Starling, Jackdaw, Litte Grebe, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Tit, Kestrel, Long-tailed Tit and a Greenfinch. The main pool was three quarters frozen but there were loads of ducks in the space available but the sandy pool and Long-tailed Duck pool were 100% frozen and 0% birdy. A good couple of houre though.

18-12-10, Willington GP.

The last couple of days has seen a few decent birds turn up at this site so what a great place to spend the rest of the afternoon. In species num,bers, today did not return a lot but I did see some nice birds. Birds noted were Blackbird, Redwing, Kestrel, Blue Tit, Reed Bunting, Dunnock, Robin, Black-headed Gull, Cormorant, Magpie, Moorhen, lesser Black-backed Gull, Teal, Gadwall, Common Gull, Mallard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Wood Pigeon, Great Bittern - in fact I saw two today and a third was seen a few minutes after I left, Mute Swan, Wren, Wigeon, Pochard, Fieldfare, Great Tit and a cracking Long-eared Owl (year and site tick). Yep, the pair of Bitterns and the LEO were the best bird today by far but at all sites there were great numnbers of Redwings and Fieldfares. A good day and tomorrow its patch work as it is the WeBS count day.

Friday, 17 December 2010

17-12-10, Burton Upon Trent

By now everyone would be aware that we are having a Waxwing erruption for what ever reasons e.g cold in Scandanavia, lots of berries in the UK. Either way there are hundreds of em and I reckon I am the only birder not to have seen any this winter. I had them earlier in the year but not recently. I was hoping for some up in Wales as there had been a good flock present about two miles form my house. They had been present for a few weeks and present on Sunday 12th Dec, but typically none were seen since. I took my camera up just in case but never got to see any. The house was finished mind, just need to flog it or rent it out now. I was going to do the usual patch birding this morning and some jobs in the afternoon but yesterday evening, checking the pager 60ish Waxwings were in Burton. These I had to go and see. I arrived at 07.50, hung around where they were seen and within 10 minutes a flock of 20 were flying over. Between then and 09.30 there were roughly 120 birds present. The light was rubbish and I had a go at photography but the light and myself were garbage. Other birds present were Starlings, Black-headed Gull and Magpie.

Croxall GP.

From Burton I was going straight to Whitemoor Haye but leaving Burton I was curious as top why cars and lorries had snow on the front of them. I soon found out on the A38. As I got to Barton it turned into a snow storm and by the time I got to Alrewas all roads were covered. I got home and hung around for an hour until the snow past and the sun came out. I headed out and decided to head to Croxall instead. It was very pleasant with no dog walkers and birds noted on the main side were Redwing, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Goldfinch, Wren, Robin, Teal, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, Mallard, Wigeon, Carrion Crow, Lapwing, Dunlin, Snipe, Chaffinch, Shoveler, Skylark, Goldeneye, Black-headed Gull, Magpie, Goosander and Gadwall. The main pool was half frozen so the ducks were present but I assumed there would be more on the river as like last week. Through to the east side and I added Rook, Kingfisher, Coot, Redshank, Little Grebe, Jackdaw and Dunnock. Very little was on the river so it was back to the car and off to Whitemoor.

Whitemoor Haye.

The quarry pool was mostly clear so I had a quick look here. Birds noted here were Black-headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Lapwing, Pochard, Redshank, Goldeneye, Starling, Mallard and Chaffinch. I was going to walk around the lanes but it was very icy under foot so I took a slow drive around instead. Other birds noted were Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Mute Swan, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Magpie, Kestrel, Skylark and Great Tit.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

13-12-10, News.

No birding this weekend but last Tuesday I had a Barn Owl flying through Whitemoor Haye whilst out working. My first there. Dont worry about the lack of birding though, holiday this week although I am off to Wales for more decorating today but just waiting for dawn then will be off to Whitemoor Haye first.
I have also made a decision on my birding next year and plans already in place for the first two days of next year. Really looking forward to it. Will tell more in my review in a couple of weeks.

13-12-10, Whitemoor Haye.

I wrote the above pretty early and then waited for it to be bright enough to do some birding. It took ages this morning for some reason but eventually I was there and the birds were showing, slowly but surely. Birds noted were Magpie, Black-headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Starling, Lapwing, Tree Sparrow, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Curlew, Blackbird, Mute Swan, Robin, Wren, Merlin, Meadow Pipit, Mallard, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Wood Pigeon, Buzzard, Fieldfare, Pheasant, Jackdaw, Yellowhammer, Pied Wagtail, Long-tailed Tit, Canada Geese and Stock Dove. Although we had witnessed a thaw over the weekend, the quarry pool was still 99.9% frozen, just a small patch by the inlet was ice free.
Off to Wales now.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

5-12-10, Croxall GP.

It was just a couple of sites today before chilling out for the afternoon. I decided to go to Croxall first after last week going to Whitemoor Haye so early and not getting many birds. It was just getting light in Alrewas so i set off and, passing Whitemoor haye, the fog came in. Doh. I carried on to Croxall and was planning on sitting it out but as I got there it wasn't bad at all. The complete lake was frozen so any ducks or geese seen would be fly-overs or on the River Tame. So it was from the car park up to the hide. Birds noted were Canada Geese, Fieldfare, Goosander, Black-headed Gull, lesser Black-backed Gull, Blackbird, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Carrion Crow, Marsh Tit, Redwing, Blue Tit, Grey Heron, Wood Pigeon, Goldfinch, 30+ Greenfinch, and about 15 Lapwing on the ice. It was not worth going into the hide so it was straight through to the east side. Again the lake was completely frozen so I decided to head around the back of the lake towards the river hoping for the ducks including, hopefully, a Smew, fingers crossed eh. Birds noted were Rook, Skylark, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Teal, Mallard, Goldeneye, Kingfisher, Coot, Greylag Geese, Redshank, Little Grebe and a couple of Pheasants. There was some great numbers of ducks on the river in the new wides, not suprising really as every bit of still water is frozen. At one point a group of about 30 Goldeneye flew down the river plus a few already on the river. From here back to thye car all I added was a Jay.

5-12-10, Whitemoor Haye.

With the pool completely frozen bar a small patch by the inlet I just concentrated on the lanes. Birds noted were Tree Sparrow, Wren, Starling, Carrion Crow, Black-headed Gull, Buzzard, Lapwing, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Magpie, Robin, Wigeon heard in the distance from the river, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Wood Pigeon, Fieldfare, 11 Grey Partridge, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Canada Geese, Skylark, 312 Mute Swan, Long-tailed Tit, Snipe and a Pied Wagtail.
I was looking at a group of 6 Lapwing when I noticed a bird move from the edge of the scope, then another, then another one. Skylark and in total 55 feeding in the field. Superb. It was a day for another big group of birds too. As I approached the field with the swans in a group of Wood Pigeon flew over and there was easy 2500 to 3000 of them, if not more, they just kept coming. Unbelievable.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

4-12-10, Back garden.

On call for another week so I0 was planning on doing a couple of local sites at least today but the weather weas not the greatest. I was up about 4am and walking around Tescos at 6am, took the dog for a walk at 7am around the back fields and went home for brecky. Unfortunately it was very foggy throughout so it would have been a waste of time going out. A bit later it started to clear up but I was called out, then it started raining and hasnt stopped all afternoon. I did however decide to make a load of fat cakes for the birds - mixing bird food, raisons, and crushed nuts in with melted suet and mold in yogurt pots. Whilst doing this and watching TV, I was doing a garden list as there was good numbers of birds. Birds noted were Collared Dove 5, Starling 22, House Sparrow 8, Blue Tit 3, Chaffinch 4, Great Tit 2, Blackbird 6, Black-headed Gull 7 flew low over, Wood Pigeon 5, Coal Tit 3, Brambling 1 with 1 Siskin and made a few visits during the day, Dunnock 3, Pied Wagtail 1 and 3 Robins. No sign of the Zebra Finch today but that doesnt mean its not around anymore. See you tomorrow.

3-12-10, News.

I was sitting at home after work, mid afternoon, when mother shouted me to have a look at the bird on the bird table. I got up expecting to see a House Sparrow or Chaffinch when I saw what my mother had seen, a Zebra Finch. No doubt an escapee from somewhere but a very nice bird for the garden. It made several visits to the table for the rest of the afternoon but I kept missing it hence no photo for you.

Monday, 29 November 2010

28-11-10, Whitemoor Haye.

After yesterdays big trek around various sites I was left pretty knackered. That and some things to do today meant just a little bit of birding today. First port of call was Whitemoor Haye and after a very cold night and the sun still not up over the horizon, the birds had not come out to play. It was very quiet. Birds noted were Wren, Robin, Carrion Crow, Tree Sparrow, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Black-headed Gull, Blue Tit, Lapwing, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Cormorant, Skylark, Mute Swan 4, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Buzzard, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch and Great Tit. Well quiet. Onto the quarry pool and things were not different. there was a group of about 15 Black-headed Gulls standing on the ice, huddled together and then 30 or so Wigeon on a small gap in the ice and that was it. Home time and shopping!!

28-11-10, circa Alrewas.

After doing various bits I sat down, turned the telly on and noticed the East Anglian derby was on. Could be a good match I suppose, took one look outside and decided the dog needed walking. Armed with only my camera (left my bins in the car by mistake) I headed off towards the fields around the River Trent and around Alrewas. A pleasant walk, a few photos took and birds noted were Black-headed Gull, Starling, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Carrion Crow, Collared Dove, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Redwing, Goldfinch, Fieldfare, Grey Heron, Long-tailed Tit, Mallard, Moorhen, Snipe, Kestrel, Wren, Mute Swan, Robin, Canada Geese, Chaffinch and Jackdaw. See you next weekend.

Saturday, 27 November 2010


I think many of us was surprised as we all got out of our pits this morning to discover snow on the ground. It was only around the inch mark but I for one love a bit of snow. It transforms our countryside for the better. Its just a shame our transport network has a total meltdown with anything over a centimetre of snow. I love the cold weather, the colder the better, and couldn't wait to kit up and get birding. I am on call now for a couple of weeks so am stuck with local birding, so I decided to leave the car at home, put on my wellies and stride out into the sunrise.

Alrewas GP.

First stop the gravel pit by the A38 and access here is getting worse. They have blocked the access by the lay-by and now if you go in via the sewage works and walk around the small pool, there is a brand new post and barb wire fence. Why? It makes no sense. I am going to have to find the old Salters Way route on the internet and find the correct route in. To the birding and there was plenty of wildfowl on the lake and also passing over as the distant guns started the killings. Birds noted were Pochard, Coot, Tufted Duck, Wren, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Shoveler, Moorhen, Mallard, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Grey Heron, Black-headed Gull, Wigeon, Great Crested Grebe, Carrion Crow, Meadow Pipit, Cormorant, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Robin, Chaffinch, Snipe, Lapwing, Starling, Redwing and Fieldfare. A nice start. Over the railway and into.......

National Arboretum.

The birding on this site has been pretty slow this year so I decided to take in a lot more of this site than I usually would. Birds noted were Pied Wagtail, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Skylark a flock of around 150 flew low and straight over my head and over towards Croxall GP, Redwing, Blackbird, Robin, Snipe 30+ birds were seen lifting from in between the trees as I walked round, in various areas, Fieldfare, Blue Tit, Black-headed Gull, Wren, Pheasant, Mallard, Teal, Chaffinch, Goosander several pairs were either on the river, flying overhead, or singles flying along the river - a good day for them, Moorhen, little Grebe, Canada Geese, Cormorant, Goldfinch, Greylag Geese, starling, Sparrowhawk, Lapwing, Jay, Magpie, Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Great Tit, Goldcrest, Grey Heron, and a single Mute Swan on the river. A pretty good list for here but some of the birds were hard work. I have never seen those numbers of Skylarks in one go before. It was amazing as they flew low and directly over.

Junction Pit.

As usual I checked out Junction Pit and found the water levels still very low so nothing was on the sandy side. On the pool there was only very low numbers of Reed bunting, Blackbird, Mallard, Goosander, Goldeneye, Coot, Wood Pigeon, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Grey Heron, Carrion Crow and a Pheasant calling. I bet there wasnt twenty birds in total. Rubbish.

Croxall Wides.

As I was only a few yards from the viaduct I decided to have a quick look to see if anything was on the wides. Another waste of time with only Black-headed Gull, a few Snipe and a couple of Lapwing.

Croxall GP.

Usually, after the arboretum I would head over to Whitemoor Haye as, having already walked a few miles in wellies, fatigue would usually be setting in. But today I strode on in the direction of Croxall as, whilst in the arboretum, I noticed a big flock of Lapwings so I thought it would be worth a look. Upto and from the first Hide I noted Wren, Chaffinch, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Fieldfare, Goldfinch, Buzzard, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Mistle Thrush, Dunnock, Grey Heron, Coot, Lapwing, Blue Tit, Teal, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Robin, Goosander, Canada Geese, 10 Dunlin, 7 Redshank, Goldeneye, Canada Geese, about 23 Snipe around the lake edge, and Magpie. through the tunnel and into the east side and I walked around the whole edge of the reserve adding Jackdaw, Skylark, Long-tailed Tit, Cormorant, Rook, Pintail a drake was on th river - was this the same bird that was at Whitemoor Haye last Monday as its an unusual bird around here, Meadow Pipit and Wigeon. Heading out of the reserve I added Greenfinch and Bullfinch. Well worth the visit, even though I was outnumbered by fishermen!!!!

Whitemoor Haye.

It isnt easy walking miles in wellies. Fortunately I have muck boots which are great boots to walk in, even though my feet were starting to hurt and I still had about three miles to walk all around Whitemoor before a mile back home. With gritted teeth I persevered. Birds noted were Grey Heron, Blackbird, Redwing, Chaffinch, Robin, Wren, Carrion Crow and Dunnock on entering Whitemoor Haye. At the pool I added Teal, lapwing, Mallard, Wigeon, Magpie, Pochard, Great Crested Grebe, Goldeneye, Cormorant and Black-headed Gull. From the pool I wlked around the rough track and added Starling, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Skylark, Blue Tit, Sparrowhawk, Meadow Pipit, Kestrel, Mute Swan 254 of them, Golden Plover, Goldfinch, Buzzard, Grey Partridge 5, and Tree Sparrow. On the way out I had a sit down on the barriers by the pool, had another quick scan and added Redshank, Snipe, Dunlin, Linnet, Greenfinch, Canada Geese and to finish off, a fine male Bullfinch.
after the huge group of Skylarks in the arboretum, I came across another flock as I was counting the Mute Swans. This time there was around 60 feeding in the same field. Fantastic. Hometime now as im knackered.

Monday, 22 November 2010

22-11-10, South Ferriby, Lincolnshire.

I had an extra day off after working last week and I had a choice of where to go. Rutland Water held Lesser Yellowlegs, Smew, Grey Phalarope and Long-tailed Duck. There was also a Rough-legged Buzzard in North Lincolnshire. It was a bit late in the year to worry about increasing the year list so there was only one choice and that was the lifer. I arrived at dawn and parked opposite a dog and cat kennels overlooking lots or arable land and a cement works. There weather was not the nicest with lots of showers but after an hour it started to brighten up. Another hour later and there was no sign so I went for a small drive west were I found a lane that went down to a bridge. I drove down it checking the fields in case it was feeding on the ground. Still no luck so it was back to were a began. After three hours of looking with no results I headed back down the motorways. Birds noted were Wren, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Curlew, Blackbird, Great Tit, skiens of Pink-footed Geese (year tick), Kestrel, Pied Wagtail, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Carrion Crow, Pheasant, Wood Pigeon, Fieldfare, Linnet and Blue Tit. Oh well, its proberbly better to go and dip rather than not go at all.

22-11-10, Cannock Chase - Rifle Range.

The chase has been throwing up some nice birds recently so I picked up the dog and went hunting. Around the rifle range a Great Grey Shrike and a Black Redstart had been present the previous day so this was the place to have a good walk around. I noted Magpie, Carrion Crow, Raven, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Pheasant, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Wood Pigeon, Jay, Treecreeper and Yellowhammer. No sign of either bird today. Time for tea and cake.

22-11-10, Cannock Chase - Marquis Drive.

Its nice hear. Seating, shelter, feeding station and a cafe for a cup of tea and a bit of cake. Not many birds though, I noted Carrion Crow, Magpie, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Bullfinch, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Wood Pigeon, Greenfinch and Goldfinch.

I was getting a bit tired now so it was home time but I decided to have a quick drive-thru of Whitemoor Haye.

22-11-10, Whitemoor Haye.

I was going to mainly concentrate on the wildfowl on the quarry pool but, to begin with, I headed for the swans. I noted Black-headed Gull, Magpie, Starling, Carrion Crow, Robin, pheasant, Blackbird, Mute Swan 228, and Lapwing. On to the quarry pool and the I added 33 Mallard, 70 Wigeon, 62 Pochard, 14 Teal, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 1 male Pintail, 15 Tufted Duck, 5 Goldeneye, 1 Redshank, Canada Geese, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wood Pigeon, Buzzard, Linnet, Kestrel and Blue Tit.

a bit of a mixed weekend really, the high of the Pied-billed Grebe, the low of the Rough-legged Buzzard, and who knows about the Laughing Gull.

21-11-10, Whitemoor Haye.

A good night out on Friday night led to me resting for the day yesterday so I was fresh this morning. Unfortunately I had to go to work in the morning for a couple of hours but I managed to get round Whitemoor first thing. Birds noted were Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Tree Sparrow, Carrion Crow, Pheasant, Blackbird, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Lapwing, Chaffinch, Grey Partridge, Canada Geese, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Redwing, Merlin, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Linnet, Great Black-backed Gull, 279 Mute Swans, a single Whooper Swan, Grey Heron, Greylag Geese, Black-headed Gull, Great Tit, Yellowhammer, Buzzard, Green Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail, Cormorant and Fieldfare. It was getting on a bit so I didnt have time to have a good look over the lake, just a quick glance and I noted Mallard, Pochard, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe and Goldeneye. Not a bad haul.

21-11-10, Whitemoor Haye.

Back from work and it was back to Whitemoor to check out the pool. Birds noted were Wigeon, Mallard, Pochard, Redshank, Goldeneye, Teal, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Black-headed Gull and Blackbird. I then decided to have another look at the swans and added Grey Partridge, Kestrel, Buzzard, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Dunnock, Chaffinch, 286 Mute Swans, Magpie and Starlings. No Whooper swan in sight but there are several hollows in the field so proberbly in one of those.

21-11-10, Willington GP.

I had a good reason for coming here and this will become apparent later. Also some Bewick's Swans and a Cetti's Warbler had been present recently. I walked up to the top platform and then back before a small walk around the pond near the train track. Birds noted were Black-headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, Robin, Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Great Tit, Cormorant, Shoveler, Canada Geese, Goosander, Lapwing, Redwing, Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Mute Swan, Magpie, Goldeneye, Wigeon, Moorhen, Carrion Crow, Wren, Goldfinch, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Fieldfare, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Green Woodpecker. I would have gone to the canal scrape but I wanted to get to Foremark reservoir for the gull roost and was running out of time.

21-11-10, Foremark Reservoir.

A Laughing Gull was reported last night at Foremark so there was only one place to be late afternoon. After a managed to get through the broken entrance gate, I joined the quite large group of birders hoping to see the latest American gull to grace Foremark, after the Franklin's Gull only a month earlier. Birds noted were Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Grey Heron, Great Black-backed Gull, Cormorant, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Fieldfare, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Blue Tit, Redwing, Wren, Dunnock, Little Grebe and Carrion Crow. No Laughing Gull but I kept myself busy trying to find the present Yellow-legged Gulls but they are impossible (for me anyway) when they are on the water. There was also a couple of Caspian Gulls around, one of which I got onto but I was not sure of its id myself so not noted. I had no problem with the Common Gulls which I think are the prettiest birds out of the gulls. Home time now and back to the gull book to get learning.

19-11-10, News then birding.

To start with, the answers to the bird groups.

Herons are a seige.
A fling of Dunlin
A cover or raft of Coots
Choughs are chattering
A charm of Goldfinches
A band or a party of Jays
A conspiracy, unkindness or constable of Ravens
A congress or murder of Crows
Goshawks are a flight
And a concentration of Kingfishers.

19-11-10, Hollingworth Lake CP.

News broke of a Pied-billed Grebe over a week ago but I was working last weekend so couldnt go. I was checking the pager and internet every day and the bird was still on the lake. These birds are reknowned for long staying. Boy was I glad of that, I really need a life tick to keep my list going. I was up at 04.00 and was confronted with thick fog. I set sail by 05.00 and all the way above Manchester was thick fog. I arrived by 07.30 though, in one peice, and set about heading towards the south east corner. It wasn't long before I was feasting my eyes on the PIED-BILLED GREBE. It was hanging around by the reeds just off the road. Unfortunately I couldnt get any decent phots as it was always behind some vegetation. It then started heading off over the other side of the bay and a regular observer told me it would head to the hide to feed in the bay so we hot footed it round to the hide. We were there some twenty minutes but no sign of the bird so I headed back to the bay were I first saw it and it was still there under some trees on the far side, enjoying some sun. A cracking bird and the sun bought out its rufous neck. The band on the bill had faded a little. Other birds noted here were Robin, Wren, Jay, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Black-headed Gull, Canada Geese, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Bullfinch, Dunnock and Mallard. After watching the bird for a bit it was time to get off to Wales. My house is still empty so I needed to turn the heating on to protect the pipes for the winter. My best image of the Pied-billed Grebe.

19-11-10, Kinmel Bay.

A foggy drive through Cheshire and then into a clear Wales. I had a bit of time to spare and decided to head for Kinmel bay where a Snow Bunting was present yesterday. It was worth a walk and a bit of sea-watching. Birds noted were Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Oystercatcher, Cormorant, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Sanderling, Common Scoter, Knot, Ringed Plover, Starling, Wren and Great Crested Grebe. Nothing special but a nice hour.

from here it was to my house to sort out the heating and then start heading home. I headed for Astbury Mere where a Great Northern Diver had been present for some time. Unfortunately, a) I couldnt find it and b) it was thick fog everywhere. Home time.

Monday, 15 November 2010

15-11-10, News.

A bird free weekend as I was working all weekend. I was going to give the answers to the quiz tonight and post a few more up but I cannot find my paperwork. Will try tomorrow. Friday I am off for a mega so fingers crossed it stays around a bit longer and a long weekend should see plenty of birding and beer.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

9-11-10, Fun.

No birding for a bit so its play time. Have a go at matching the bird with their name when they are in a group. For example Flock of birds. get it. Remember, its just for fun.

1 - Chattering
2 - Cover or raft
3 - Congress or murder
4 - Fling
5 - Charm
6 - Flight
7 - Seige
8 - Band or party
9 - Concentration
10 - Conspiracy, unkindness or constable

And the birds.

a - herons
b - dunlin
c - coots
d - choughs
e - goldfinches
f - jays
g - ravens
h - crows
i - goshawk
j - kingfishers

Good luck and I will post the answers next week foolowed by some more. If you want to send them me to check then no probs.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

7-11-10, Whitemoor Haye.

Another rubbish nights sleep plus the right amount of beer last night and I was up nice and early to head to Whitemoor where, due to the wing, it was much fresher. I had a slow steady walk around the lanes, with the birding being very slow to start. Birds noted were Tree Sparrow which I hung around for about half an hour to photo but they were not showing well enough, Robin, Lapwing, Starling, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Magpie, Jackdaw, Skylark, Blue Tit, Black-headed Gull, Canada Geese, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock, lesser Black-backed Gull, 232 Mute Swans and a single Whooper Swan, Buzzard, Pheasant, Great Tit, Redwing, Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Meadow Pipit, Yellowhammer, Grey and Pied Wagtail and Greenfinch. The last five birds all came by the field entrance where there was a huge heap of muck which has now been spread on the fields leaving some puddles and mud. the Grey Wagtail was a nice bonus too. I keep records and lists of every site and visits and I looked through the usual sites a couple of months ago and was wandering if I had mixed up a Grey Wag with a Yellow Wag. Onto the pool and it was not as bright as yesterday so I could pick out all of the birds. These included Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Pochard, Great Crested Grebe and Tufted Duck.

7-11-10, Branston GP.

Ive been wanting to get to this site for ages as the birding is always good, and also a possible American Golden Plover was seen here not long ago. Heading up to the forst view point I noted Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Wood Pigeon, Starling, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Greenfinch, Black-headed Gull, Chaffinch, Blackbird and Buzzard. The first view point is at the corner of the main lake. There were many birds feeding around the edges plus a large group flying around the lake. Birds noted were Coot, Lapwing, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Teal, Golden Plover there must have been about 200 flying around the lake before heading off plus another 50+ birds in with the Lapwings, Greylag Geese, Skylark, Shelduck, Canada Geese, Wigeon, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, gadwall, Goldeneye, Wren, Robin, Grey Heron and Mallard. Off towards Sandy Pit before back to the car and I added Magpie, Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Bullfinch, Moorhen, 13 Curlew on Sandy Pit (same number as on my last visit a couple of months ago - coincidence or do this group just stay here), Kestrel, Blue Tit, Rook, Reed bunting and Pied Wagtail. A nice visit and I actually bumped into another couple of birders. A first here having ever only see Dave Scattergood here.

No birding next weekend as I am working everyday but I have a long weekend after so might go somewhere.

6-11-10, Whitemoor Haye.

With the on set of Autumn/Winter its down to just weekend birding. A few busy days had caught up with me and with an almost sleepless night on Friday night it was just a couple of sites today as i had a busy Saturday night ahead. After a very mild week it was nice to leave the house at dawn with the weather feeling very fresh. Whitemoor Haye first and I parked up at the house and headed off along the roads. Birds noted were Wren, Tree Sparrow, Robin, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Mallard, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Buzzard, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Linnet, Skylark, Pheasant, Lapwing, Stock Dove, Great Tit, Grey Partridge, Dunnock, Magpie, Blue Tit, Mute Swan, Yellowhammer, reed bunting, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Kestrel which didnt want its photo taken. No Whooper Swan today with the Mute Swans. Onto the lake and with the sun being very low and very bright today I could make out loads of birds but only what sp[ecies on a small part of the lake cause of the brightness. I did make out Tufted Duck, Pochard, teal, Great Crested Grebe and Lesser Black-backed Gull and Redshank plus Goldfinch in the trees behind.

6-11-10, Croxall GP.

A quick dash home for some breakfast then it was off to Croxall to see what was about.A walk up the main track got me Dunnock, Wren, Coot, Chaffinch, Carrion Crow, Robin, Magpie, Skylark, Long-tailed Tit, Wood Pigeon, Mallard, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Grey heron, Black-headed Gull, Redwing, Blackbird, Redshank and Lapwing. Instead of going into the hide I headed straight for the east side and walked to the hide. After looking at a birdless pool for tem minutes I headed back to the main hide adding nothing from venturing under the railway line. From the main hide I added Goldeneye, Wigeon, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Pheasant, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail and about 20 Snipe. I had a good look through the Snipe but couldnt find any Jack Snipe unfortunately. Nothing was added on the way back to the car so it was off shopping, a quick hours rest watching the first half of Wales v Australia in the rugby before heading out to do the local fireworks dispaly and partake in consuming a few fine ales afterwards. Good fun.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

31-10-10, Alrewas GP.

There may have been an extra hour in bed during the night but my body clock doesn't work like that and I was up before dawn. In fact I was at Alrewas gravel pit as dawn broke. It was very nice but rather gloomy. I had my bike with me with all of my camera gear and I was looking forward to a full on birding and photography morning. Birds noted here were Pied Wagtail, Coot, Mute Swan, Mallard, Chaffinch, Wren, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Black-headed Gull, Robin, fieldfare, Long-tailed Tit, Starling, Tufted Duck, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Dunnock, Pochard, Wigeon, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Pheasant, Moorhen, Reed Bunting, Great Crested Grebe, Meadow Pipit, Cormorant, Green Woodpecker, Magpie, Teal, gadwall, Stock Dove, Chiffchaff yes I know but I have had these winter here, Redwing and Buzzard. A great list for this site and a great start to the day. I also had a small raptor high over head, flew with three wing beats then a glide. On speaking to someone it was thought to be a Sparrowhawk.
I did have a go at digi-scoping. The Meadow Pipits were showing really well and stood for about an hour to get a good photo without success. I finally tried to photograph a Pied Wagtail but it was just too gloomy and dark. Bit of a waste but good fun watching the Mipits.

31-10-10, National Arboretum.

Through the tunnel and I was in the arboretum grounds and a steady walk provided me with Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Black-headed Gull, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Stock Dove, Wren, Pied Wagtail, Redwing, Great Tit, Mallard, Black-headed Gull, Kingfisher, Cormorant, Goldfinch, Teal, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Greenshank flew over from Croxall, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Skylark, Pheasant, Reed Bunting, Moorhen, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest and Bullfinch.

31-10-10, Junction Pit.

As it was still early I was hoping for a few birds on here. On arrival I was in for a shock, there was no water. Junction pit is basically a rectangulr pool with a line of trees through the middle making two squares. As you view with the river to your back, the left hand pool is usually half water and half sand/silt. This pool attracts waders and gull. the other half is all water attracting ducks and geese. Today, all that was attracted were Moorhen, Canada Geese, Mallard, Teal, Black-headed Gull, Snipe overhead, Redwing and Coot. Rubbish.

31-10-10, Whitemoor Haye.

Last site for me today as I am chilling out for the rest of the afternoon. I took a casual walk around Whitemoor. First birds were seen as I biked up the lane - Carrion Crow, Robin, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Goldfinch and Magpie. Then it was on to the pool. I noted 28 Mallard, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 49 Pochard, 14 Tufted Duck, 12 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 4 Goldeneye, 2 Ruddy Duck, Wren, a single Mute Swan, Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird and Wood Pigeon. From here it was a steady walk around the lanes and I added Dunnock, Starling, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Buzzard, Lapwing, 14 Golden Plover, Blue Tit, Grey Partridge, a single Whooper Swan in amongst 176 Mute Swans, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pheasant, yellowhammer, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Greylag Geese, Greenfinch, Tree Sparrow, Great Tit, Kestrel and Jackdaw. A nice couple of hours around here and a nice list.

The Whooper Swan at Whitemoor Haye.As I was heading home, I saw these Grey Partridge in the field opposite the national Arboretum entrance. Nice.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

30-10-10, Croxall GP.

I decided a bit of a change today and headed for Croxall first thing. Reason why in a bit. I was there for sunrise, waited until I could see then headed off into the reserve. I took a slow walk up to the hide but didn't go in. Then a walk on the east side before heading back to the main hide. A small stint in there then back to the car. Birds noted were Chaffinch, Wren, Carrion Crow, Robin, Magpie, Blackbird, Starling, Wood Pigeon, Long-tailed Tit, Goldfinch, Cormorant I took a rough count of these guys as most took off from the river with some landing in the reserve and the rest flying over, total 110, Dunnock, Redwing, Mallard, Grey Heron, Coot, Snipe, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Black-headed Gull, Jackdaw, Fieldfare, Pied Wagtail, Canada Geese, and about 200 Lapwing on the main side. Rook and Blue Tit only on the east side. Redshank 8, Dunlin 9, Teal, Shoveler 14, Reed Bunting, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Greylag Geese, Gadwall, Moorhen, Skylark, Mistle Thrush, 3 Goldeneye and Meadow Pipit from the main hide. Back to the car and I added Song Thrush, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker and some Great Tits. A quality start to the day.
Unfortunately for the rest of the day it was working on the house and car MOT-ing. I did pop to Whitemoor Haye on the way to see if the Whooper Swan was with the Mutes but it wasn't at 10 am, however it turned up later.

30-10-10, Foremark Reservoir.

I decided to race to the gull roost to look for the Franklins Gull. As previously mentioned, I missed this bird at Chasewater a few months ago and I really needed another lifer for this year. As I was driving to the reservoir good news came through with the gull being seen at 15.00. As I arrived, bad news, it had flown off. Oh well here comes yet another wait. There was a fair few people on site. Whilst waiting I had a look what was around. Birds noted were Black-headed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Buzzard, Cormorant, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Coot, Tufted Duck, Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron, Common Gull, Mallard, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Meadow Pipit, Kingfisher and Song Thrush. It was getting near 17.00 when someone shouted it was flying past the tower and within seconfds i was on to a nice FRANKLINS GULL, lifer 304 for me. I managed to get some digi-shots as the sun started to disappear and enjoyed the bird until I decided to head back. Nice.

The Franklins Gull can be seen with the dark hood, white ring (look hard) and the slightly darker scapulars than the Black-headed Gulls around.

The Foremark Reservoir gull roost below

Friday, 29 October 2010

29-10-10, News

I looked on birdguides last night (pager battery ran dead, got no replacements), and a Franklins Gull had appeared first at Willington and then at Foremark to roost. Having missed the Chasewater bird I was going to Foremark tonight. That is until I had a phone call asking to go on call for the weekend. I wish I could say no but I cant and so I cant go and see the Franklins Gull either. Looks like some local stuff for me over the weekend as well as jobs and car MOT and tax.

25-10-10, Whitemoor Haye.

I had booked this day Monday off and my plan was to do some local pits. that was until I was drafted in completely destroying my bathroom at home ready for a brand new walls, ceiling and suite. deep joy, I did manage Whitemoor first thing and noted Magpie, Tree Sparrow, Starling, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Meadow Pipit, Lapwing, Chaffinch, Jackdaw, Reed Bunting, Black-headed Gull, Mute Swan, Wood Pigeon, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Grey Partridge 14, Skylark, Wren, Buzzard, Yellowhammer, Pheasant, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Redwing and Fieldfare. I did try to find the Whooper Swan but I was about two hundred metres away from reaching the lane where you could see the birds and the local farmer must have took a disliking to the flock as he ran up to them waving a red flag to get rid of them, and get rid of them he did. Thanks for that. I also stopped off at the quarry lake but couldnt distinguish any birds as the sun was so low and bright on the water but I could see 20+ ducks.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

24-10-10, Parkgate RSPB

After getting a few things sorted at the house it was time to head home. I had been watching the tide times and today it was about 13.20, give or take. It was also forecast at 9.5 metres or near there. This could possibly be good for Parkgate. For those who dont know this place, Parkgate is on the Wirral facing the North Wales coast. What once used to be a port where boats would moor up to load, offload cargo, it is now been reclaimed by nature and all you can see is marsh. this is until there are spring tides or just very high tides. Then the sea water races over the marsh and for a time Parkgate is like it used to be with sea water lapping up to the sea wall. when these tides happen, all life within the marsh has to fight for survival and it can get rather gruesome. Hen and Marsh Harriers, Merlin, Short-eared Owl, Kestrels and even Grey Herons and Little Egrets have a field day eating what they can. Many a Water Rail has been seen taken by the Grey Herons but it is all of the shrews and voles which the birds feast on and it can be spectacular.
I decided to head there for high tide time and see what was about, hoping the tide would breach. Unfortunately it didn't quite make it so not the spactacle it could have been but I noted Wood Pigeon, Littel Egret, Black-headed Gull, Mallard, Skylark, carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Starling, Jackdaw, Linnet, Buzzard, kestrel, Grey Heron, Wren and a Sparrowhawk.

24-10-10, Frodsham Marsh.

I suppose this site will always be a bit special for me as it was the scene of my very first twitch and where i got the bug for birding properly. I was always interested in birds and remember in primary school joining the bird club and our teacher, Mrs Bates (whom I still see birding out and about and have been out birding with), led us down a path in the village which led to fields pointing out the birds. Ive blamed her ever since!! But whilst I worked for BTCV Cymru a couple of the guys were birdwatchers and I started to get back into it. Then on 18th May 1999 my boss asked me if I would like to go and see a Broad-billed Sandpiper at Frodsham Marsh. I agreed, the bird was noted and I have never looked back. In fact I was twitching a Marsh Warbler at Conwy RSPB only a month later.
So back to today and on arrival I decided to check out the River Weaver that flows around the marshes. Birds noted were Black-headed Gull, Robin, Wren, Cormorant, magpie, Tufted Duck, lapwing, Teal, Little Grebe, Pintail, Pochard, Mute Swan, Skylark, Redshank, Meadow Pipit, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Shelduck and Goldfinch. There are usually more waders when I visit here, quiet really. Then it was off on a drive around the settling tanks. The tanks are where the dredgings are tipped from the Manchester Ship Canal and there are quite a few huge tanks and it has had some good birds in the past, notably (on a personal scale) Dotteral on 7th April, 2002. It is walkable but there is also a very long road around the perimeter. I drove. It was basically drive, stop, drive and stop, looking down into the large tanks to see what was on the mud. In years gone by there was much more water and lots a more birds. Today there was just mainly Lapwing and lots of mud. I did add Kestrel, Curlew, Linnet and Great Black-backed Gull. Not much birding wise but its always nice to go back and visit.

24-10-10, Whitemoor Haye.

It was then a long drive back home. I was thinking about one of the flashes I have visited in the past around Crewe but headed home instead. Shame as a White Stork had been present at Elton flash for part of the day. Oh well, I had to put up with the Whooper swan that was with the Mute Swans. A quick look there before the lake were it started to lash down so home. Birds noted were the Whooper and Mute Swans, Lapwing, Starling, Dunnock, Magpie, Dunnock, and Robin around the lane hedges and Grey Heron, Carrion Crow, 6 Mallard, Pied Wagtail, 2 Tufted Duck, Black-headed Gull, 6 Pochard, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Teal and 5 Wigeon.

Monday, 25 October 2010

23-10-10, Llanfairfechan.

After getting my jobs done in the morning I was free to bird the afternoon. and I didnt have a clue where to go. I could blast over to Anglesey for a Glossy Ibis, or the Greast Orme for Lapland Buntings. As high tide was near I headed for Llanfairfechan, and excellent sea-watching area in the winter. I viewed from the promenade before walking west. Birds noted were Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Oystercatcher, Cormorant, Jackdaw, Great Crested Grebe, Great Black-backed Gull, Mute Swan, Mallard, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Blackbird, Purple Sandpiper, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Wren, Meadow Pipit and Lesser Black-backed Gull. Again not much but the Purple Sandpipers were a suprise. They were on my wanted list and I thought I would have had to scour the rocks at Rhos on Sea for them but when 8 of them flew past there was no need.

23-10-10, Glan Y Mor Ellan Nature Reserve.

From Llanfairfechan I walked west and kept going. dont know why. My intention was to go to Morfa Madryn nature reserve but I never got that far. I came across this nature reserve. It was basically a footpath in a figure of eight with the insides wetlands with lots of birds. A basic description but you can get the gist. I walked through the middle and back and noted Black-headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Oystercatcher, Starling, Wigeon, Mallard, Redshank, Little Egret, Curlew, Pintail, Teal, Shelduck, Meadow Pipit, Robin and Chaffinch. Not many but its a nice place.

23-10-10, Aber Valley.

I have seen this place in my guide to North Wales birding loads of times and fancied going here for ages. Now I had an excuse. I needed Dipper for the year and this was, apparently, a good place. It was a dodgy to the very top car park, very narrow roads and steep in places. when there though I went for a small walk around the base of Carneddau (I think thats what its called) before heading back and stopping frequently to check the river. Birds noted were Robin, Blackbird, Buzzard, Fieldfare, Carrion Crow, Goldfinch, Song Thrush, Wren, Dunnock, Black-headed Gull, Magpie, Jackdaw and Chaffinch. An interesting place and one I would like to visit when its good birding. No Dipper though.

23-10-10, River Clwyedog.

From a large valley to a tiny tributary of the River Clwyedog. I was off to see my friends were I was to spend the night and as i drove past this, barely 3 foot wide stream, I saw a Dipper in the stream. That will do nicely.

Upcoming news

I had to go back up to wales to do a few more jobs on the house but on this trip I had some time for a bit of birding. At the very beginning of the year I decided to let birds come to me and if I get themn for the year then great, if not then no worries. I have enjoyed the birding this year but my year list was looking a bit poor. 165 upto these visits. I would expect, with the amount of birding I do, to see 200 in the year so I am well down. I suppose missing a week in Norfolk does have an effect. The mission for these couple of days is to mop up a few I need in places I know can deliver.

22-10-10, Inner Marsh Farm RSPB

Arrived here spot on 09.00 as it opens. Nailed a bit of breakfast and then off along the path down to the hide. Lots of birds were encountered on the way, noting Rook, Jackdaw, Robin, Wren, Goldfinch and Chaffinch in the car park and Carrion Crow, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Lapwing, Linnet, Starling, Fieldfare, Greenfinch, Blue Tit and Magpie walking down to the hide. Once in the hide I set up in the far corner to the door and added Teal, Golden Plover, Grey Heron, Raven, 3 Curlew Sandpipers, Black-headed Gull, Shoveler, Pintail, Greylag Geese, Shelduck, Mallard, Gadwall, Coot, Canada Geese, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Mute Swan, 2 Whooper Swans, Wigeon, Snipe, Moorhen, Pheasant, Dunnock, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Buzzard, Kestrel, Redshank, Blackbird, Sparrowhawk, Jay and as I was just about to leave the hide a mgnificant ring-tailed Hen Harrier flew from over the hide across the number 2 pool casing chaos before heading away from the reserve. back up to the car park and I added Redwing, Long-tailed Tit and Pied Wagtail. A successsful visit with three year ticks but this is my second visit here on the trot without Water Rail. Whats occuring?

22-10-10, Point of Ayr RSPB.

High tide had just passed whilst the forty minute drive between Inner Marsh Farm and Talacre. I parked on the beach car park, knowing the water would not be coming in any more, and insteade of walking the long trek to the hide as the hide is no-more, I waalked along the beach as far as possible to the point and sea-watched from there. Birds noted were Cormorant, Black-headed Gull, Redshank, Shelduck, Sanderling, Skylark, Herring Gull, Meadow Pipit, Carrion Crow, Curlew, Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret, Common Gull and Lesser and Great Black-backed Gull. Not great but a year tick in the form of the Sanderling.

22-10-10, Mercury Industrial Estate.

A weird destination for the last site of the day. This is a large industrial area, the infrastructure was put in place ie the roads, but only half of the plots had been built on, the others left as rough land. Here is a favorite place for Short-eared Owls. A few years ago I had my first Richards Pipit here along with a few Seo's. Birds noted were Black-headed Gull, Starling, Kestrel, Swallow, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Herring Gull, Grey Heron, Dunnock, Robin, Pheasant, Chaffinch, 12 Mallards flew over, Blackbird, Blue Tit and Pied Wagtail. I was there an hour or so and as the light started to fade so it starting drizzling so no chance of any owls today.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

20-10-10, News

2 Whooper Swans were reporte at Whitemoor Haye yesterday. I would have thought they would be really early records. Im sure someone out there nows the earliest birds have been seen here. Its another weekend in Wales for me coming up but I am hopfully going to Inner Marsh Farm on Friday before heading to some other birding spots. I might also get some birding in over the weedend too. Fingers crossed.

17-10-10, Alrewas GP.

There was a sighting of a Marsh Harrier on Friday at Croxall. As it is these days I didn't react to it. Would be a nice year tick and Staffs tick for me. Anyway, it was also spotted on Saturday at Alrewas GP. I hatched a plan and headed out just before dawn to get on site. The bike was loaded by 06.30 and I was off. I arrived ten minutes later it was just getting light but I couldnt see a bloody thing. Fog, thick fog. Aaaaaargh. I couldnt see twenty metres in front of me let alone a Marsh Harrier. I hung about as the sun came up and managed to hear the following. Magpie, Coot, Robin, Wren, Meadow Pipit, Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird, Dunnock, Greenfinch, Skylark, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Reed Bunting and Pied Wagtail. I also managed to just make out a pair of Mute Swans. I decided to head over to the arboretum, slowly, and then hope the fog would lift, do the other sites and re-trace my steps. On the way to the arboretum the fog did start lifting and I added Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Mallard, Pheasant, Teal, Snipe and a Grey Heron. On the return trip the fog had dispersed but I only managed to add Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe and Pochard.

17-10-10, National Arboretum.

The fog situation had starting to disperse so as every minute went by, the more I could see. During my walk through the arboretum I noted Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Dunnock, Starling, Chaffinch, Canada Geese, Cormorant, Robin, Wren, Skylark, jackdaw, Tufted Duck, Meadow Pipit, Mallard, Great Tit, Pheasant, Mute Swan, Black-headed Gull, Jay and Reed Bunting.

17-10-10, Junction Pit.

As usual, a quick look at Junction Pit. You never know what might be on here, very wadery (if there is such a word). Birds noted were Blackbird, Moorhen, Blue Tit, Black-headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Lapwing, Wren, Mallard, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Wood Pigeon, Grey Heron, Jackdaw, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Long-tailed Tit, Lesser Black-backed Gull, and Magpie.

17-10-10, Croxall GP.

From the arboretum it was a quick bike ride over the Tame and inti Croxall nature reserve. A slow wander and a visit to the hide got me Robin, Long-tailed Tit, Skylark, Wood Pigeon, Mallard, Coot, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Teal, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Pied Wagtail, Magpie, Linnet, Jackdaw, Mute Swan, Reed Bunting, Snipe, Redshank, Pochard, Litte Egret, Kingfisher, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Dunnock and Bullfinch. A bit quiet compared to other visits, there was also quite a few dog walkers ignoring the no dogs signs around the reserve.

16-10-10, Whitemoor Haye.

After a bit of a lie in and a few jobs I eventually dragged myself around the lanes. Birds noted were Kestrel, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Starling, Carrion Crow, Skylark, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Dunnock, Green Sandpiper, Mute Swan 22 only as big machinery was ploughing nearby and these flew off minutes later, Black-headed Gull, Robin, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Magpie, Yellowhammer, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pheasant, Lapwing, Linnet, Stock Dove, Blackbird, Reed Bunting and Mallard. Onto the pool and I added 3 Pochard, 2Tufted Duck and 6 Great Crested Grebe. Again this area was being disturbed by a big tractor mowing the grass around the pool.

16-10-10, Fradley Village Pond.

I have visited this site once before, during the summer, and also Mr Blurred Birder has, I believe, been here. It is situated just north of the small complex of shops in Fradley south and in between the village and the giant Tesco distribution centre. Last time I visited here I only walked around the lake but after reading Blurred's blog I had a wander. Birds noted were Black-headed Gull, Goldfinch, Mute Swan, Dunnock, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Coot, Pochard, Blackbird, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Skylark, Long-tailed Tit, Wood Pigeon, Great Tit, Robin, Wren, Pied Wagtail, Bullfinch, Snipe, Grey Heron, Meadow Pipit, Wheatear, Kestrel, Magpie, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Moorhen and House Sparrows. Well worth the wander and definately worth coming back.

16-10-10, Whitemoor Haye.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

15-10-10, Belvide Reservoir.

After an enforced absent (at my favorite time of year too!!), I am back and I decided to head over to Belvide. I was there just after dawn and, although nothing special around, I had a nice morning with plenty of species. Birds noted were Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wren, jay, Nuthatch, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Robin, Wood Pigeon, Blue Tit, Jackdaw, Black-headed Gull, Pied Wagtail, Pheasant, Teal, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Coot, Cormorant, Pochard, Mallard, Goldeneye, Reed Bunting, Lesser and Great Black-backed Gull, Magpie, Dunnock, Great Tit, Willow Tit, Chaffinch, Swallow, Rook, Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Meadow Pipit, Tree Sparrow, Coal Tit, Lapwing, Fieldfare, Skylark, Canada Geese, Wigeon, Shoveler, Starling, Buzzard, Gadwall, Greylag Geese, Grey Heron, Golden Plover, Peregrine, Rock Pipit (year tick), Goldcrest, Bullfinch, Collared Dove and Greenfinch. Nice.

15-10-10, Whitemoor Haye.

I was going to go to Blithfield afterwards but a) I was going mainly for the Rock Pipit which I got at Belvide, and b) I am a bit knackered after the previous weeks decorating. A quick visit home for food and the dog and I was soon at Whitemoor. A walk around the roads got me Goldfinch, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Meadow Pipit, Pheasant, Grey Partridge, Mute Swan 80, Canada Geese, Linnet, Blue Tit, Wren, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Starling, Stock Dove, Kestrel, Chaffinch, Skylark, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Buzzard, Yellowhammer, Mallard and a very nice Merlin first chasing a Meadow Pipit before the hunter became the hunted when a Carrion Crow had a go at it. Onto the quarry pool and I added Pied Wagtail, Great Crested Grebe (I didn't count them but there was at least 15, loads for here), Wigeon 2, Coot, Pochard and Tufted Duck.

Monday, 27 September 2010

27-9-10, News

I learn things everyday. When I was birding at Whitemoor on Saturday I noted that no Swallows were seen. Was that it and what made them go? I read a local birding blog (clues are there) where it mentioned the strong north westerleys we were having, aiding the hirundines. Simple really but I just didn't think about it. I was working for most of Sunday so no birding. a dog walk out tonight through Whitemoor and I was a little suprised to see a single Swallow flying over the fields. Thinking about what Richard had mentioned, had this bird missed the oppurtunity? Was it a juvenile getting ready for the long flight? We will never know but safe journey friend.

I have nearly finished a mammoth 20 days at work, plus an evening job with no time off. I have a small event on Saturday and that is it. I could go to Spurn or Flamborough, or even go for the Yellow-bellied Warbler. Great, I need to go somewhere as I am missing Norfolk this year. Then I had an email reminding me I am on call from Friday. Oh well, local birding resumes at the weekend.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

25-9-10, Whitemoor Haye.

More work today but an early start at Whitemoor produced Wood Pigeon, carrion Crow, Stock Dove, Mute Swan, Blue Tit, Jackdaw, Wren, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Mallard, Robin, Great Tit, Lapwing, Canada Geese, Meadow Pipit, Black-headed Gull, Tree Sparrow, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Linnet, Yellowhammer, Magpie, Skylark, Grey Partridge, Pheasant, Sparrowhawk, Grey Heron, Pied Wagtail and Starling. On the way home I popped in at the quarry pool and added Great Crested Grebe, tufted Duck and Pochard. Work time.

24-9-10, Willington GP.

With all of my extra curricular work I had a few hours owing me. I had booked today off but I decided to go in in the morning and have the afternoon off. Then I had a meeting at 13.00 at Willington. I decided to go in my own car, do the meeting and then headed for Willington. I have been wanting to come here for ages as a Pectoral Sandpiper has been present for some days but Ive been on call for two weeks. This would be a nice bird to get after getting mt first ever last year. I arrived on site and decided to head straight to the canal scrape. Birds noted were Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Long-tailed Tit, Mallard, Swallow, Coot, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Little Grebe, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Teal, carrion Crow, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Linnet, Buzzard, Ruddy Duck, Wood Pigeon, Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Starling, Ruff (year tick) and a couple of Stock Dove. No sign of the Pectoral Sandpiper. It was seen in the morning but reported as illusive, and so it proved. A chap who was there reported a Black-necked Grebe. I had a good look and asked where he saw it. "Out there somewhere" was the reply!!! Hmmm. From the scrape I headed for the platforms with said chap it tow. I added Moorhen, Wigeon, Lapwing, Little egret, Shoveler, Reed Bunting, Canada Geese, Grey heron, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Kestrel. A nice afternoons birding.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

18-9-10, Whitemoor Haye.

As previously mentioned, I was working today therefore at the beginning of the week I cancelled my seat on the pelagic trip from Bridlington. No sooner I had done that when I phone call came and asked if I would do on call for another week. Might as well I thought as I was working anyway. Half an hour later and a phone call to cancel the planned event for Saturday. Having forgot what had happened previously, I recieved another phone call to cancel the planned event on Saturday. Great I can go on the pelagic. Superb. I then remebered I had agreed on call and I couldnt find anyone to do it for me. I was not meant to be on that pelagic and (I am writing this on Sunday morning) as they saw a probable Belaeric Shearwater that just sums my luck up. I am thinking of putting all of my on call dates on the blog. When I am on call birding seems to pick up. Back to the blog and I only had the first thing in the morning to bird. A walk around the rough track at Whitemoor produced Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Robin, Wren, Swallow, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Jackdaw, Duynnock, Lapwing, Canada Geese, Black-headed Gull, Magpie, Sparrowhawk, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Blue Tit, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Pheasant, mallard, Kestrel, Blackbird, Mute Swan, House Martin and Starling. Not a bad list considering it was really quiet and only a couple of species were numerous, the rest were very shy this morning. As usuall a quick look at the quarry pool which was blinding with a bright low sun but I added Tufted Duck and 8 Great Crested Grebe. Not brilliant but a nice gentle start.

18-9-10, Croxall GP.

With time to spare I drove straight round to Croxall. A walk up to the main Hide produced Robin, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Mallard, Canada Geese, Moorhen, Black-headed Gull, Coot, Lapwing, Magpie, Kestrel, Meadow Pipit, Swallow, Wood Pigeon, Tufted Duck, Long-tailed Tit, Lesser Whitethroat, Cormorant, Starling, Great Crested Grebe, Teal, Wren and Sand Martin. Through to the east side and I added Goldfinch, Rook, Greenfinch, Common Whitethroat, Bullfinch, House Martin, Meadow Pipit and a single Little Egret. Back to the car and I added a single Redshank. Nice.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

12-9-10, Croxall GP.

No birding yesterday (Saturday). I live with my parents, still, in a big old house and we are changing the antiquated heating system so Imy job was to clean out a load of sheds for storage and then get the carpet up in my bedroom. I am also on call for work so I can't go far anyway. I was up early this morning and I headed off on my bike and headed for Croxall to find some waders. Birds noted were Chiffchaff, Grey Heron, Black-headed Gull, Chaffinch, Wren, Magpie, Long-tailed Tit, Pied Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Goldfinch, Coot, Mallard, Moorhen, Greylag Geese, Carrion Crow, Rook, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Lapwing, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Blue Tit, Cormorant, Swallow, Great Tit, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Shoveler, Greenfinch and Teal. These were both seen and heard on the main side and fron the main hide. I then headed under the railway line to the east side. The hedgerow along the railway line is usually great for warblers fueling up to head to their wintering grounds. Today is was a quiet and I only noted Common Whitethroat and Dunnock. Other birds noted on this side were Redshank, Jay, Starling and Sparrowhawk. Back out of the reserve and I added Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kestrel, Jackdaw and 2 Little Egrets flying over towards Whitemoor Haye. Nice.

12-9-10, Whitemoor Haye.

Next stop was the usual Whitemoor. I stopped at the pool to begin with before heading around the rough track and then back home. Birds noted around the pool were Mute Swan, Swallow Tufted Duck, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Black-headed Gull, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow. Quiet really so I headed off around the roads. Birds added were Robin, Tree Sparrow, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Starling, Stock Dove, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, Magpie, Canada Geese, Blue Tit, Reed Bunting, Grey Partridge, Linnet, Skylark and Chaffinch. Not the best of visits but thats the way it goes.

12-9-10, Alrewas GP.

In between the grand prix and the Sunday afternoon footy matchI decided to head out to the nearby gravel pit rather than sit and watch rubbish. It was a bit windy but I perserveared and was rewarded immediately. On entering the land I quickly found a smart Spotted Flycatcher. A first for me on this site. Other birds noted were Long-tailed Tit, Blue and Great Tit, Black-headed Gull, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Swallow, a smart Hobby (another site first I think) I was right under it as it was flying around the sewage works, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Great Crested Grebe, Wren, Collared Dove, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Canada Geese, Lapwing and Starling. I managed to get a few phots of the Spotted Flycatcher, again on my phone. I must carry my proper camera with me again.

Sorry the photos are not much quality.

Next Saturday I am booked on the Yorkshire Belle to look for skuas and shearwaters. I booked this about 4 months ago. Unfortunately I have a volunteer group working on the Saturday afternoon. As it is my job to look after volunteers I have to accompany them therefore I am going to have to miss the trip. Well gutted, but it doesnt end there. I have booked a week off in early October for my annual trip to Norfolk. I now have to go to my house in Wales and decorate it as it is not selling in its current state. Its not in a bad state, just needs a tickle. I absolutely detest painting but thats the way it goes. My year list for this year is going to be rubbish. With my job, the next day off is on October 3rd so the birding will be a bit thin on the ground for the next few weeks.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

9-9-10, Whitemoor Haye, 05.30.

If this post was titled it would be called 'The morning after the night before.' After getting up really early to walk the dogs I had parked my car up by half five and had a quick walk to where the shrike was showing last night. I was entertained with several Grey Partridges doing their calls which remind me of an old 35mm camera winding on. As daylight broke I was slowly joined by other birders anmd we all scoured the hedges for the bird. by 07.45 I left with no other sighting and no sighting throughout the day. It had gone. Other birds noted in this short session were Canada Geese, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Whitethroat, Dunnock, Blue Tit, carrion Crow, lapwing, tree Sparrow, Linnet, Swallow, Reed Bunting, Great Tit and Pheasant. A Hobby and a Whinchat were seen during the day. nice.

Well thats it. I have found a stunning bird. theres nothing I can do now. Ebay tomorrow for my birding equipment and then I will start looking for a new hobby for me to master.............................yep, I'm kidding.

9-9-10, Whitemoor Haye.

There was no way I was going to sit at home and watch tv, as soon as I was home me and the dogs were out for a very slow and deliberate walk around the track in the very faint hope the shrike might show. Birds noted were Jackdaw, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Black-headed Gull, Mute Swan, Stock Dove, Blue Tit, Mallard, Kestrel, Great Tit, Pheasant and Reed Bunting. Over to the quarry pool and I added Pied and Yellow Wagtail. Well no Shrike but what a couple of days.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

8-9-10, Whitemoor Haye.

Before you read anymore of this post please scroll down and read the second paragraph from the post on 5-9-10 titled news, about finding a special bird.

Have you read it.

Fresh in your mind.

Ok I will continue.

I walked the dogs with a mate of mine straight after work. it was a nice early evening and there was a fair few birds around so I went home, dropped the dogs off and fed them, then headed straight out to Whitemoor to check out the quarry pool for Black Terns. Birds noted here were Carrion Crow, Robin, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Swallow, Magpie, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Wren, Tufted Duck, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kestrel, Wood Pigeon and Goldfinch. Nothing special here. I noticed lots of gulls in a nearby filled and went to have a look at them but as I got closer they flew into the next field by the entrance to the rough track. I decided to stretch my groin ligaments and go and have a look. Why? I dont know. I am not the biggest fan of gulls but something made me go and have a scan. I found a gap a
nd was scanning the gulls. I noticed they were all Lesser Black-backed Gulls including juveniles as well as adults. there was nothing else so I slung my scope over my shoulder. As I did I noticed something on a wooden post. I didnt think it was a bird, proberbly a seeding flower head but I had a look through the scope anyway. you never know do you! There sitting on the post was what I thought was a Spotted Flycatcher at a very quick glance but I noticed something. I looked again. A shike. It was a bloody shrike. Well I thought it was a shrike. I got on the phone to the Blurred Birder to ask him. A few expletives later and he made some phone calls to some local birders he knew. I definately needed help on this one. as soon as I put the phone down the bird flew off. Aaaaaaarrrrrgh what do I do? I started hunting for it and found it ten minutes later. then a chap who maretin had got hold of turned up and I got him straightonto the bird. he took one look at it and said Woodchat Shrike. Nice. but as he looked at it he then thought Red-backed Shrike. I had already put out probable juvenile Woodchat Shrike out on the pager so I changed it to possible. I didn't knowwhat it was but one feature that was annoying this chap was the white panel on the wings. Only Woodchat Shrike had this. Mmmmmm. then another birder turned up, Eric Clare. He wasn't to sure. Phone calls were made, I took some rubbish photos on my camera but the ID was still not known. It was now starting to get dark and Richard from Local Birding turned up but the bird never showed, gone to roost. Another couple of birders turned up, well known too but not by me. They took a look at the photos on the phone and said it was a definate juvenile Woodchat Shrike. Wow wee. Remember the September 5th post about finding special birds. It had come true. then I was told if accepted this would be a Stafdfordshire first. get in there. What a bird for a) Whitemoor Haye, b) Staffordhsire and c) little old crappy me. COME ON. I will be at Whitemoor at sunrise tomorrow to find it again hopefully. Might see some of you down there.

These are the images I managed to capture of the Woodchat Shrike at Whitemoor. I didn't go armed with a camera and my 2 megapixel camera was the only thing I had to hand. Better than nothing though. Enjoy.