Thursday, 30 December 2010
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.
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
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.
Starling, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Robin, Wren, Black-headed Gull, Mallard, Great Tit, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Teal, Carrion Crow, Redwing, and Coot.
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.
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.
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.
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
We will see what the rest of the week has to offer weather wise but its not looking top good.
Monday, 27 December 2010
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
Not bad species wise but it was difficult birding around this site.
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
Monday, 20 December 2010
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
Friday, 17 December 2010
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.
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
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, 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
Monday, 29 November 2010
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
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.......
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.
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.
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.
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!!!!
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, 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.
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.
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
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
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, 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, 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
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
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
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
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, 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.
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
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, 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.
Saturday, 16 October 2010
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
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
Sunday, 19 September 2010
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, 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.
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
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
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.