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.

5-9-10, Whitemoor Haye.

After a long day yesterday, I was up suprisingly early, earlier than I should have been. My plan today was easy. Nothing. sit, sit and a bit more sitting but the dogs needed a walk so it was off to Whitemoor. Birds noted were Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Wren, Robin, Lapwing, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Jackdaw, Black-headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Stock Dove, Canada Geese, Linnet, Dunnock, Mallard, Mute Swan, Sparrowhawk, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kestrel, Corn Bunting, Blackbird, Herring Gull, Yellowhammer, Common Whitethroat, Pied Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Swallow and Starling. That was around the rough track. at the lake I added Grey Heron, Greenshank, Sand Martin and House Martin. A nice start to a hopefully chilled out day.

A big break of doing nothing in between.

5-9-10, Branston Water Park.

I did a very good job of doing nothing for most of the day. the dogs need a walk and I fancied somewhere different so I headed for Branston Water Park. I have not been here this year yet so i was overdue a visit. Unfortunately it was very quiet considering it was early evening. Birds noted were Canada Geese, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Swallow, Gadwall, Blue Tit, Cormorant, Goldfinch, Magpie, Blackbird, Long-tailed Tit and Wren. Very poor list for here. There was an apparent lack of small birds.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

5-9-10, News

After getting up at 3am yesterday, driving down to Somerset to fish a fishing match, which I did rubbish in, and then getting back for 10.00 pm, today I am going to chill. I have just returned from Whitemoor, which I will tell you about later.
For me, one thing in my birding life I would love to acheive is find a special bird at one of the local places I visit a lot. Last weekend I had the next best a way. On Friday a Spotted Crake was found at Willington. Last weekend, after not being able to get on the third platform I remember heading past platform 2, deciding to have a quick look and, as a Spotted Crake had been seen somewhere else that day or the previous day, I remember thinking to myself that this would be a great place for a crake. Five days later and one was there. therefore, I nearly found the Spotted Crake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have had a pain in the groin (dont worry, its not too graphic), for the last few months and whilst playing golf last Thursday I was struggling to walk on the last holes. I had a doctors appointment on friday and it looks like I have torn my groin ligaments. Thats what playing football does for you when overweight and getting on a bit. This means no long stomps over the pits. I have just walked around whitemoor which is 1.7 miles and I am ok but starting to feel it at the end. I have four weeks to rest it and do minor activities only. What do you mean hooray?!!!