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.