Saturday, 31 December 2011

31-12-11, Update.

Since xmas day I have actually been out and about, only locally, but not doing as much as usual due to family commitments, girlfriend, pre-arranged sessions etc. I will catch up with these and a quick 2011 review as soon as possible but for now I will wish you all a very happy bird-filled new year and all the best for 2012. I am hoping to be out all day tomorrow around the local sites and then use Monday for specials. Enjoy.

Monday, 26 December 2011

25-12-11, Whitemoor Haye.

My sister is a midwife and she worked Christmas Eve night so In was asked to disappear for the morning whilst she could get a few hours kip. No sweat. First stop Whitemoor Haye and around the pool area I noted Robin, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pheasant, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Goldeneye, Wren, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Great Crested Grebe, Mute Swan, Woodpigeon, Black Headed Gull, Goldfinch, Tree Sparrow, Grey Heron, Cormorant and Lesser Black-backed Gull. Onto the lanes and I added Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Great Tit, Yellowhammer, Fieldfare, Chaffinch, Linnet, Canada Geese, Redwing, Dunnock, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Kestrel and Starling.
Most of the morning was taken up here and I was now on a short time scale so i decided to try and nail a couple of birds nearby, one for the year list and the other cause it has been quite showy.

Blithfield Reservoir.

A Black Redstart has been present for a few days and having missed one at Gailey and one near Belvide this was my chance. Due to xmas lunch not far away I only concentrated on looking for the redstart. I reached the bay pretty easily and then spent about an hour checking the two ditches and the fence all around but failed to find said bird. I eventually left, had a quick look around the causeway and then headed off. Birds I did see were Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Linnet, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, mallard, Black Headed Gull, Cormorant, lesser Black-backed Gull, Goldeneye, Wigeon, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Redwing, Coot, Lapwing, Greylag Geese and Great Crested Grebe.

Upper Longdon.

Last site of the day was a clear felled area just out of Upper Longdon where a Great Grey Shrike had been very showy recently. It was kind of on the way home,,,,ish so I went to have a look and it must have been a whole fifteen seconds when I found the bird perched on a large tree stump. I fired off a few photos before going home where I had a very nice dinner before having a long, long chat with Mr Jack Danials!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

25-12-11, Merry Christmas,

To all of my readers I wish both you a Merry Christmas, ho ho ho!!!!! I will be out birding this morning and I will catch up hopefully later.

24-12-11, Whitemoor Haye.

A quick visit before off to town and birds noted around the pool area were Mute Swan, Lapwing, Canada Geese, Carrion Crow, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Goldfinch, Black Headed Gull, wigeon, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Buzzard, Wren, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Dunnock, Starling, Magpie, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Grey Partridge, Greylag Geese and Golden Plover. On to the lanes and it all went a bit quiet. I added Robin, Blackbird, Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow and Pheasant. Before heading home I had a quick look once again over the pool area and managed to find a few Teal.
Mute Swan count was 314

Monday, 19 December 2011

18-12-11, Whitemoor Haye.

After I had completed my WeBs count I had a bike ride around Whitemoor Haye to check out my local patch. Birds noted around the quarry pool were Starling, Redwing, Robin, Cormorant, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Black Headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Little Egret, Greylag Geese, Wigeon, Mallard, Canada Geese, Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Blue Tit and Great Spotted Woodpecker. On to the lanes and I added Woodpigeon, Buzzard, Meadow Pipit, Tree Sparrow, Great Tit, Dunnock, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Mute Swan (292), Grey Heron, Lapwing, Stock Dove, Golden Plover, Fieldfare, Chaffinch, Peregrine and Pheasant. A great bird-filled day.

18-12-11, WeBS Count Day

It was the Wetland Bird Survey count today. As of yet I havn't totalled my sightings so I will list what birds were seen on my travels.

Alrewas GP - Robin, Long-tailed Tit, Carrion Crow, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Mute Swan, Fieldfare, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Redwing, Black Headed Gull, Magpie, Coot, Teal, Great Crested Grebe, Wren, Pied Wagtail, Wigeon, Mallard, Pochard, Blue Tit, Redshank, Rook, Jackdaw, Grey Wagtail, Lapwing, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Tit, Cormorant.

National Arboretum - Woodpigeon, Fieldfare, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Starling, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Magpie, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Little Egret, Lesser Redpoll, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Wren, Coot.

Junction Pit - Pied Wagtail, Bullfinch, Grey Heron, Black Headed Gull, Mallard, Teal, Little Egret, Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Croxall GP - Teal, Goosander, Little Egret, Cormorant, Coot, Tufted Duck, Blackbird, Mallard, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Redwing, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Gadwall, Grey Heron, Carrion Crow, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pochard, Wren, Goldeneye, Bullfinch, Wigeon, Black Headed Gull, Fieldfare, Redwing, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Robin, Rook, Canada Geese.

Barton Marina Lake - Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Great Crested Grebe,. Little Grebe, Black Headed Gull, Canada Geese.

17-12-11, Local gravel pits

Wow, my first proper weekend off in months so birding was right on the menu and I had a plan. Adding Black Redstart to the year list would be nice so I was going to Gailey and then Belvide before back to local birding however before I was due to head off I popped down to the local shops to get a birthday card for my Godson and I could hardly stand up, the pavements were sheer ice and the roads were not much better. My mom walks the dog around Whitemoor Haye and she soon returned as the roads were like skating rinks. This and also I had an issue with the brakes on my car I decided to change my plans and stay local. I dont want to bore you with too much detail so will list the birds per site.

Alrewas GP - Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Goldfinch, Mute Swan, Teal, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Black Headed Gull, Great Tit, Woodpigeon, Pochard, Moorhen, Wren, Grey Heron, Mallard, Goldeneye, Chaffinch, Redwing, Coot, Little Grebe, Greylag Geese, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Magpie.

National Arboretum - Buzzard, Great Tit, Fieldfare, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Lesser Redpoll, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron, Goldfinch, Treecreeper, Linnet, Goldcrest, Mallard, Canada Geese, Wren, Magpie, Pheasant, Moorhen, Carrion Crow, Mute Swan, Redwing, Dunnock.

Junction Pit - Cormorant, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Bullfinch, Mallard, Teal.

Whitemoor Haye - Fieldfare, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Redwing, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Black Headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, Magpie, Mallard, Canada Geese, Bullfinch, Pheasant, Woodpigeon, Buzzard, Blue Tit, Starling, Grey Partridge, Lapwing, Dunnock, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer, Mute Swan, Jackdaw, Golden Plover, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Linnet, Pied Wagtail, Wren.

15-12-11, Rudyard Lake.

A drake Eider turned up at the weekend on the lake. There are various posts on Bird Forum about the bird possibly being an escapee or something but it looks like the bird is the genuine article. Funnily enough I had to do a site visit to Rudyard (!!!!!) so whilst I was there I couldnt resist adding to my Staffordshire list. Unfortunately I forgot my bins but I could make out the bird in the middle of the lake.

12-12-11, Whitemoor Haye.

Christmas shopping day today but managed to get around Whitemoor Haye first. Birds noted on and around the pool were Wren, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, Black Headed Gull, Pheasant, Robin, Starling, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Siskin. Around the lanes I added Tree Sparrow, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Long-tailed Tit, Little Owl, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, 246 Mut Swan, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Buzzard, Kestrel, Linnet, Fieldfare and Cormorant.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

7-12-11, Alrewas GP.

Back to slogging it out on the local patches and I decided to have a stomp around a few gravel pits. First stop was the gravel pit near the A38. Birds noted were Great Tit, Fieldfare, Mute Swan, Robin, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Mallard, Black Headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, Coot, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Redwing, Stock Dove, Meadow Pipit, Wigeon, Green Sandpiper, Teal, Wren, Carrion Crow, Dunnock, Redshank and Goldeneye.

Junction Pit.

A quick look at this pit which for the last tweleve months has been pretty rubbish. And it continues. Birds noted were Woodpigeon, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Grey Heron, Mallard, Teal and Pied Wagtail.

National Arboretum.

As I was passing through the arboretum I had a look around to see what was occuring. Birds noted were Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Lesser Redpoll, Wren, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Great Tit, Mallard, Fieldfare, Pied Wagtail, Sparrowhawk, Woodpigeon, Cormorant, Black Headed Gull and Bullfinch.

Whitemoor Haye.

The last three sites were pretty well sheltered but when I walked into Whitemoor and out of the shelter of th etrees and hedges it turned rather blustery but not as bad as the other day. On enetering Whitemoor I noted Fieldfare rather lots of them feeding in a field, about 400-500, plus a few Redwing, Blackbird, a hunting Sparrowhawk, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Magpie, Goldfinch, Great Tit and Carrion Crow. A short walk to the lake and I added 38 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Cormorant and another 6 noted flying over later on, Black Headed Gull, 41 Tufted Duck, 19 Wigeon, 17 Teal, 128 Pochard and 4 Mallard. On to the lanes and I added Pheasant, Starling, Wren, Robin, Skylark, Little Owl, Tree Sparrow, 191 Mute Swan, 89 Golden Plover, between 500 and 600 Lapwing - I did try and count them but they were always on the move but I did get to about 200 so estimated the rest, Dunnock, Grey Heron and a pair of Bullfinches.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

5-12-11, Chew Valley Lake.

A certain rare wader has been present on this site for a few weeks and I have been thinking about com ing down to this bird although I have been so busy recently this was one of the first oppurtunities. I set off at five o'clock and was down there about 07.30 just as it was getting bright enough to see. I parked on the small causeway as I was unsure about access to the hide and anyway the bird had been visible from here during its stay though distant. Birds noted were Black Headed Gull, Mute Swan, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Mallard, Grey Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Moorhen, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Teal, Pintail, Cormorant, Common Gull, Stock Dove, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Jackdaw, Grey wagtail, Woodpigeon, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pheasant, Tufted Duck, Water Rail and Wren. I had been joined by another chap at this point and although we had seen a flock of small waders fkying about they were too distant to identify correctly. Another car pulled up and a chap told us that we were able to go to the hide so we put our gear away and drove to the car. The other chap set off for the hide whilst I was messing around and when I arrived in the hide he had already found the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. I opened the shutters just as the small wader flock flew off, Dunlin. It was not long before they returned and soon enough I was also feasting on a SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER. It was near enough to observe the chestnutty colours on the back and head, the big supercilium and the peachy throat band but not enough to photo with my slr and I also bought the wrong lens peice to digiscope although I did get a couple of record shots by holding the camera over the scope lens. Other birds noted were Gadwall and Sparrowhawk. A very good couple of hours spent here with plenty of birds to look at but best of all another lifer.

This is the best image I could muster whilst digi-scoping out of the hand, not bad I dont think. The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper is just right of centre right next to a Lapwing.

5-12-11, Clee Hill.

Another 2.5 hours driving and I was on a very cold, windy and sometimes snowy hill in Shropshire. A Desert Wheatear had been present for sometime. This was is a female and as I had seen a cracking male at Burniston in East/North Yorkshire in 2007 I thought it would be nice to get the female and hopefully the odd photo. I parked up and waited out a breif but severe snow storm, then out of the car, gear on and then wondered where the hell to look. Fortunately a couple of birders were at hand to send me to the bird and ten minutes and one fall later I was enjoying a female Desert Wheatear. A chap with a huge camera and lens was on site and he told us to stand near him and the bird would come to us. I had heard stories of the big lens brigade chasing this bird all over the slopes to get a decent shot but this chap told us it would come an it did. At one point it flew within 12 feet of us and I fired off a few photos. Cracking. Other birds noted on this cold old hillwere loads of Ravens and the odd Carrion Crow. Well worth the visit.

A cracker of a bird.

4-12-11, Whitemoor Haye.

Working till mid afternoon and then decided to take the dog around Whitemoor Haye. Big mistake as as I set off it started to drizzle and the further I walked the heavier the rain and it was also breezy and very cold. By the time I had reached the swans I had had enough so about turned and hot footed it back to the car. And in good Alrewas birder tradition as I parked the car up at home it stopped raining but I had had enough by then. Birds noted on this damp trip were Robin, Carrion Crow, Lapwing, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Canada Geese, 179 Mute Swan, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Mallard, Magpie, Dunncok, Little Owl and 4 Great Crested Grebes and 1 Tufted Duck on the lake.

3-12-11, Fradley Junction Nature Reserve

Another weekend working but I did again see the female Goosander on the lake today.

3-12-11, Whitemoor Haye.

At lunchtime news broke of a Hen Harrier at Whitemoor Haye. Nice one and even nicer was it was lunchtime so I dashed over their but the bird had not been see since so I decided to head there after work to catch the last bit of light. Birds noted driving around the lanes were Fieldfare, Magpie, 180 Mute Swan, Carrion Crow, Yellowhammer, Woodpigeon, Black Headed Gull, Kestrel, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, Little Owl, 14 Grey Partridge, Lesser Black-backed Gull, and Lapwing. Onto the pool and I added 18 Wigeon, 12 Tufted Duck, Canada Geese, 2 Pochard, 1 Goldeneye, 10 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Teal, 6 Mallard, Dunnock and a single Little Egret.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

30-11-11, Fradley Junction NR.

I was working with some volunteers today and when we had finished I saw local birder and RSPB local group leader Bob Russon and he told me a Goosander was on the feeder reservoir. As I was heading home I parked up and had a walk to the reservoir and I was soon looking at a female Goosander which was swimming around the reservoir. An unexpected bird for the small pond. Also worthy of a mention, I drove through Whitemoor Haye on the way to a job and saw a couple of birders and they were counting the Golden Plover in the field near Fine Lane where he guessed there were about 100 birds. I then carried on towards Whittington, passed a field and there was at least 200 Golden Plover in there too. Superb numbers.
I am writing this early Friday 2nd December and saw 7 Bewick's Swans where at Whitemoor Haye yesterday. Hopefully they will stay for a bit as I cannot get there till Satrurday morning and need them for the site year list.

29-11-11, Whitemoor Haye.

A few long days in the office has seen me driving homes via the lanes rather than dicing with idiotic drivers and the Weeford Island on the new A5, A38 roundabout where people are not sure what lane to go in so treat it as a free for all. Its an extra five minutes to go the back lanes to Whittington, Whitemoor Haye then home although I have to put up with the odd idiot push biker who doesnt think they have to move over to let vehicles through - I will say no more. Tonight I was rewarded with views, in my headlights, of a Barn Owl hunting over the roads and fields as I drove home, my first for the year here.

27-11-11, Whitemoor Haye.

A bit of a different day from the last few visits with a very strong wind blowing very hard across Whitemoor Haye and birds were very hard to find with most of the small stuff hiding from view. Birds noted around the lanes were Wren, Kestrel, Black Headed Gull, Fieldfare, Carrion Crow, 412 Lapwing although when returning to the car another two flocks flying over had at least another 800 to a 1000 at a guess, Meadow Pipit, Woodpigeon, Little Owl, Blackbird, 155 Mute Swan, Dunnock, Stock Dove, Skylark, Magpie, Chaffinch and Linnet. Rubbish really. On the lake it got a bit better. Noted were Mallard, Canada Geese, Pied Wagtail, Teal, Wigeon, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Goldeneye, Pochard, Goldfinch and Tufted Duck. It was a nightmare trying to count the ducks as the swell on the lake was massive and birds were in view one second and gone the next so I gave up after counting to 1!!!! Better days have been had here thats for sure.

25-11-11, Whitemoor Haye.

I had a long weekend off but one and a half days would be taken up with the love of beer and the fun of the Brum German market, in other words an afternoon and evening drinking and then the next day recovering but first the morning was free and it was a cracking morning. Birds noted by the lake were Robin, 11 Great Crested Grebe, Carrion Crow, Siskin, Great Tit, Starling, Woodpigeon, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Bullfinch, Redwing, 63 Pochard, 32 Tufted Duck, 109 Mute Swan, 46 Mallard, Magpie, 4 Wigeon, 1 Redshank, 1 Grey Heron, Fieldfare, Lesser Black-backed Gull and a few Meadow Pipits. There were birds everywhere around the lake and in the small woodland behind, it was hard to get away and do the rest of the site. Around the fields and lanes were Pied Wagtail, Buzzard, Lapwing, Canada Geese, Corn Bunting, Pheasant, Skylark, Stock Dove, 12 Golden Plover, Blue Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Kestrel, Greenfinch and a few hard to find Tree Sparrow.

Monday, 21 November 2011

20-11-11, Whitemoor Haye.

After a late night which didnt involve too much beer (this time) I was up early, threw the curtains open wide and hey presto, thick fog. An hour later including egg on toast and not much change. This morning was my only birding chance this weekend as worked all day Saturday, out Sunday afternoon and off barbel fishing on the Monday. Anyway I headed off with the dog and we had a quite chilly walk round. Birds noted were Blackbird, Robin, Black Headed Gull, Dunnock, Carrion Crow, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, 98 Mute Swans from what I could see through the fog, Tree Sparrow I counted around 65 at the regular feeding area, Goldfinch, Linnet, Pheasant, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Wren, Woodpigeon, Magpie, 41 Golden Plover, Lapwing, Fieldfare, Redwing, Skylark, Mallard and Meadow Pipit. At the lake I could only see a solitary Tufted Duck.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

20-11-11, News.

Never fear, or actually do fear, as I am back with renewed grrrrrr to keep this blog rolling. Not going to go into detail but a few things went wrong during the summer regarding my birding hobby, gave myself a good kicking and now ready to enjoy the winters birding. The odd thing has changed which I am sure will become apparant to regular readers if you have not all deleted the link to this blog already.

Since I have been off the blogesphere I have not stopped birding. One aim this year is to visit my local patch, Whitemoor Haye, at least 100 times. I am on course for that. I think this is very important for my birding, yes I do go and I enjoy going to see birds at other sites that have been found by other birders but I hope I return the favours by trying to find stuff at Whitemoor. Obviously I will never repeat the Woodchat Shrike from 2010 but this year I have found my own Arctic and Black Terns and a few Whinchat. Nowt special but ernjoyable. Whitemoor Haye has obviously been the main place I have been visiting with nothing special found since the last entry. I had a small break in Norfolk and very enjoyable it was too. No lifers but a few year ticks including a self found Snow Bunting which was particularly enjoyable. I feasted on Yellow-browed Warblers and twitched but failed to see a Radde's Warbler. I was only there two days and on the way home I connected with the White-rumped Sandpiper at Rutland Water. Within the last couple of weeks I have managed to nail a couple of lifers. The first was the Squacco Heron at Attenborough nature reserve which was a smart bird, and then the Steppe Grey Shrike near Telford, again, another cracking bird. One thing I have been want to learn is why birds are are this and not that - a Steppe Grey and not a Great Grey. We all do it every day with the obvious birds - why is it a House Sparrow and not a Dunnock. I hope that is easy to all but the shrike is obviously more difficult and I wanted to know what I was looking for to say yes it is a Steppe Grey and not a Great Grey. This was a good oppurtunity and information did take some finding but some on-site birders help out too.

Recently work has been very busy and also my private life is quite busy so birding is quite limited. Its bad enough with weekend birding only but when I am working weekends and busy on days off birding has to take a back seat unfortunately. The busy period wont last so more time will soon be found, along with some days off in December.

I have been out this morning to Whitemoor Haye and I will update later although it was a tad foggy.

Monday, 26 September 2011

26-9-11, Updates.

Apologies for a lack of recent updates but, for several reasons, I have been umming and arring as to whether to carry on with this blog, however, I have mentioned my quitting to a few folk and they wanted me to carry on. Hmmm, its still in the balance as to whether I carry on or not but for now I will give you an update on my recent birding.

17-9-11, Whitemoor Haye. A visit to the pool and of note were 9 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Greenshank.
18-9-11, Whitemoor Haye. This time it was the whole place and birds of note were 18 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Egret, 1 Greenshank, a couple of Chiffchaffs in the trees near the lake, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Garden Warbler and 8 Grey Partridge.
19-9-11, Whitemoor Haye (again). The pool again and of note were 2 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank and 2 Little Egret. I must point out that if I did post a message for todays birding I was going to go on about hoping to get my first Phalacrocorax aristotelis for Staffordshire and this would stop any childish remarks, must keep this blog clean. Proberbly lost in time now.
19-9-11, Croxall GP. Of note, 1 Willow Tit, a few Chiffchaffs, 1 Snipe and 1 Redshank.
21-9-11, Whitemoor Haye. On and around the pool, 5 Great Crested Grebe.
23-9-11, Whitemoor Haye. All around and of note 4 Teal, 8 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Grey Partridge and 1 Sparrowhawk.
24-9-11, Croxall GP. Of note was 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, 2 Little Egret, 1 Snipe and several Chiffchaff.
24-9-11, Whitemoor Haye, all around and of note 16 Great Crested Grebe and 9 Grey Partridge.
24-9-11, Branston GP. Birds of note were lots of Dabchick, 5 Little Egret, 1 Ringed Plover, 14 Curlew, 3 Snipe, 9 Green Sandpiper, 1 Water Rail, 1 Peregrine and a single Black-tailed Godwit.
25-9-11, Alrewas GP, National Arboretum and Junction pit all produced nothing of note bar 3 Greenshank, 1 Snipe and 2 Green Sandpipers at Alrewas gravel pits.
25-9-11, Whitemoor Haye. The main highlight was finding 3 Black Terns on the main lake, my second time I've seen these gorgeous marsh terns here, also 1 Greenshank.
26-9-11, Croxall GP and of note, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, a few Chiffchaff, 2 Little Egrets and a cracking juvenile Arctic Tern which appeared for a few minutes before heading off up the river.
26-9-11, Whitemoor Haye and Branston Water Park, nothing of great note.

There, up to date now.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

9-9-11, Whitemoor Haye.

The weekends birding was looking bleak due to fishing matches and work so I headed out tonight to see what was around the pool area. Birds noted were Carrion Crow, Grey Heron, Robin, 2 Common Sandpipers, 1 Ringed Plover, 6 Greenshank, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Canada Geese, Black Headed Gull, Stock Dove, Magpie, Pochard, Linnet, Swallow, Woodpigeon, Tree Sparrow, Starling, Kestrel, Blackcap, Lesser Black-backed Gull and a nice adult Arctic Tern.

8-9-11, Belvide Reservoir.

News filtered through on Wednesday of a Sabine's Gull found at Belvide. This is, in my opinion, proberbly the prettiest gulls we see on our shores (or to be precise, off our shores), closely followed by the Little Gull. They are rarely seen inland but with th correct weather can turn up anywhere. I couldnt make the Wednesday night and reading my WMBC book, most birds hung around for a day only so I was very suprised and excited to see the bird found on the Thursday and promised myself I would head out after work if still present. It was and I was on site by 5pm watching my first Staffs Sabine's Gull and whasr a cracker it was. Steve Nuttall and Martyn Yapp had posted some fantastic pictures on their own blogs but the photo I thought was cracking was one taken by Steve Seal where the bird was flying and the tricolor colours looked fantastic. Although it was Belvide, I was not bothered about any other birds, just feasting on this amazing gull although I did see a juvenile Arctic Tern plus the odd Sand Martin. Cracking.

4-9-11, Whitemoor Haye (am)

Its another mad time at the moment at work so birding is patchy at the moment. Saturday 3rd was WICAC day (waterways industry course angling championships). British Waterways came 4th from 12 teams so not too bad, I was 27th out of 50+ entries so, again, not bad. I should have been going to Chatsworth today for the annual game fair but I was knackered and even had a lie in but I got down to Whitemoor eventually and had a walk around. Birds noted at the quarry pool were 10 Great Crested Grebe, Swallow, 28 Tufted Duck, Robin, Mallard, Pied Wagtail, 4 Greenshank, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Wren, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 3 Common Sandpiper and Woodpigeon. Whooppee. Onto the lanes and I added Stock Dove, Tree Sparrow, Moorhen, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting, Kestrel, Little Owl, Buzzard, Dunnock, Yellowhammer, Starling, Blue Tit, Skylark, Wheatear, Great Tit, Collared Dove, Rook, Canada Geese, Magpie, Pheasant, Blackbird, Grey Partridge and Goldfinch.

4-9-11, Whitemoor Haye (pm).

The one visit was going to be it for me for the day and I sat down to crack open a bottle of beer when the pager alerted me to 2 Curlew Sandpipers at Whitemoor. Hot off the heels of the Black-necked Grebe, this would be another site list. I put my opened beer bottle down, grabbed the dog and headed for the quarry pool. The Tame Valley birder was on site and had found the 2 birds and within seconds of arriving had added Curlew Sandpiper to the Whitemoor Haye site list (well done Tom). Other birds noted were 7 Greenshank, Canada Geese, Black Headed Gull, 3 Ringed Plover, Swallow, Mallard, 13 Great Crested Grebe, kestrel, Tufted Duck, 4 Common Sandpiper, Woodpigeon, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Ruff, Goldfinch, Tree Sparrow, 1 Ruddy Duck, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Buzzard, Magpie, Pochard, Mute Swan, House Martin, 1 (although 2 had been seen earlier) Dunlin, Lapwing, Linnet and Magpie.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

28-8-11, Gailey Reservoir.

A summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe has been present here fo a few weeks now so I thought it was about time I got over there to see it. I was there nice and early, met up with a chap with a big lens on his camera and strolled in between the upper and lower reservoir. Ten minutes of scanning had produced nothing. Had it gone? I just wished I had read a certain blog as he describes the grebes pattern and we would have found it easier. It was soon relocated, resting with its head tucked into its wings and drifting towards the gull island. For some time it stayed resting but eventually it came to life and headed towards the south east corner feeding. Birds noted were Swallow, Green Woodpecker, Swifts, Black Headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Pochard, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Little Grebe, Robin, Cormorant, Red-necked Grebe, House Martin, Chaffinch, Carrion Crow and Blue Tit.

28-8-11, Belvide Reservoir.

I was in the area so I decided to check out Belvide. A walk around the site produced Robin, Woodpigeon, Chiffchaff, Carrion Crow, House Martin, Great Tit, Teal, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Mallard, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Nuthatch, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Wren, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coot, Dunnock, Cormorant, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Greylag Geese, Jackdaw, Swallow, Magpie, Ruff, Greenshank, Shelduck, Little Ringed Plover, Starling, Common Sandpiper, Yellow Wagtail, Long-tailed Tit, Lapwing, Knot, Shoveler, Whinchat, Coal Tit, Tree Sparrow, Greenfinch, Blackbird and Willow Tit.
Not a bad session and I rerally enjoyed a short while in the new hide overlooking the feeders in the plantation. Very good.

28-8-11, Whitemoor Haye

I wanted to be home for the grand prix at 13.00 so I managed a quick twenty minutes at the lake at Whitemoor Haye. Birds noted were Goldfinch, Swallow, Mute Swan, Black Headed Gull, Pied Wagtail, Great Crested Grebe, Greenshank, Carrion Crow, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Blue Tit, Lesser Black and Black Headed Gull, Great Tit, Stock Dove and Robin.
A bit rubbish really. The sun was very bright causing a heat haze so visibility was not brilliant. During the grand prix a phone message and pager message got me heading back to Whitemoor Haye "Black-necked Grebe on the pool at Whitemoor Haye". I was there in five minutes and met Steve Richards who had found the grebe and soon I was on it. Bloody superb but bloody annoying. Whilst I was feasting on my third Black-necked Grebe of the weekend, Steve found 2 Hobbies hunting over thegravel pits. Absolutely brilliant. Other birds noted were Greenshank and Common Sandpiper and I managed to get back for the end of the grand prix.

28-8-11, Alrewas GP.

After the grand prix and the 8-2 mauling of Arsenal by Man City (ouch) I decided to head out to Alrewas pit to see if I could find and waders or grebes. As some of you will be aware, this pit had a Red-necked Grebe a few years ago so you never now. Birds noted this evening were Woodpigeon, Robin, Carrion Crow, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Blue Tit, Black Headed Gull, Grey Heron, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Linnet, Sand Martin, Lapwing, Pied Wagtail, Mallard, Buzzard, Long-tailed Tit and Lesser Black-backed Gull. Rubbish really.

28-8-11, Junction Pit.

It was getting to late to bird the arboretum or Whitemoor Haye again so I pedalled over to Junction pits to see if anything was on it. Another waste of time. Birds noted were Magpie, Pheasant, Woodpigeon, Canada Geese, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Black Headed Gull and Great Tit.

I went home.

27-8-11, Whitemoor Haye.

I was covering on call for a couple of hours this evening so I headed to the quarry pool at Whitemoor Haye to see what was about. Birds noted were Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Carrion Crow, Black Headed Gull, Swallow, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pochard, Great Crested Grebe, Canada Geese, Starling, Mallard, Greenshank, Pied Wagtail, Common Sandpiper, Wren, Robin, Sand Martin, Sparrowhawk and Stock Dove. A quick drive around the lanes and I added Little Owl, Grey Heron and Woodpigeon.

27-8-11, Blithfield Resevoir.

I decided to invade someone elses local patch today. A few decent waders had been seen the previous day so I thought I would be utterly rude and crash the party. Birds noted were Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Wren, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Mallard, Black Headed Gull, Teal, Canada Geese, Cormorant, Shoveler, Greylag Geese, Lapwing, Great Crested Grebe, Chiffchaff, Greenshank, Coot, Snipe, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Mute Swan, Barnacle Geese, Grey Heron, Swallow, Blackcap, Blackbird, Nuthatch, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Little Gull, House Martin, Buzzard, Common Tern, Goldcrest, Gadwall, Redshank, Black-necked Grebe, Common Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Tufted Duck, Swift, Yellow Wagtail, Magpie and a possible Yellow-legged Gull.
Not a bad four hours, proberbly my best session here covering Tad and Blithe Bay, the causeway and the dam. Unfortunately I missed a couple of Little Stints in Blithe Bay. I scanned as much as possible when I was there but no show. Later I was told they showed up after a heavy rain storm and then flew off again after another heavy shower. I was on the causeway at the time. Wrong place, wrong time.

27-8-11, Branston GP.

I had been at home minutes when the pager showed a Pectoral Sandpiper was present at Branston pits on a flash. I could not go straight away but I was available mid afternoon and made the short ride. Once at Branston pits I noted Chaffinch, Robin, House Sparrow, Pheasant, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Greenfinch, Linnet, Coot, Mallard, Great Crested Grebe, Canada Geese, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Teal, Dunlin, Pied Wagtail, Oystercatcher, Moorhen, Ruff, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Reed Warbler, Common Sandpiper, Goldfinch, Shelduck, Curlew, Snipe and Stock Dove.
This visit was laden with mistakes. I had left my phone and pager at home and I headed off to Branston assuming the bird was on Sandy pit. Once at Sandy pit a couple of birders were present looking at what they thought was the Pectoral Sandpiper. It was pretty distant and views were not brilliant with it constantly feeding but it looked good. Another bad mistake. I headed off to Long-tailed Duck pit and then over the conveyor belt to check another pool, all the while unaware of the flash not far away. Whilst scanning the last pool I decided to head over to the two birders and query the sandpiper. Something was bugging me. I approached them and said I was not happy with the bird, I think its a Dunlin. Another wader turned up, a possible Wood Sandpiper but also views were distant so id was not confirmed.

26-8-11, Croxall GP

I was home at a nice time from work and with nothing planned, after tea me and the dog headed for Croxall hoping for some wader action, however I had not accounted for one factor, the recentg rain falls. Birds noted were House Martin, Carrion Crow, Long-tailed Tit, Woodpigeon, Coot, Tufted Duck, Robin, Reed Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Starling, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Mallard, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Blue Tit, Little Grebe, Pied Wagtail, Shoveler, Black Headed Gull, Great Tit, Canada Geese, Goldfinch, Magpie, Stock Dove, Rook, Chaffinch, Wren, Blackcap and Chiffchaff. A bit poor really and hopefully you will have noticed no waders. Unfortunately during some works at Croxall they connected the reserve to the river via a small stream opposite the main hide. This means when the river is in flood the pool floods. Not the best of ideas. With high water levels there was nowhere ideal for waders. I didnt hang around too long.

26-8-11, Whitemoor Haye.

I decided to spend the last hour of sunlight at Whitemoor Haye and concentrate on the quarry pools. Birds noted were Swallow, Carrion Crow, Wren, Pied Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Linnet, Canada Geese, Mallard, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Mute Swan, Greenshank, Robin, Tree Sparrow, Black Headed Gull and Common Sandpiper. Not bad I suppose but not brilliant. With not much else showing I had a quick drive arfound the lanes and added Blackbird, Magpie, Buzzard, Green Woodpecker, Dunnock, Common Whitethroat, Wheatear and Little Owl.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

23-8-11, Whitemoor Haye.

No birding over the weekend due to fishing matches, Birdfair and beer drinking so as it was acracking evening weather wise I had no option but to go birding. The last few visits I have been keen to find Whinchat. They are returning from their breeding grounds to their wintering destinations and the last three years I have found Whinchat at Whitemoor. I started at the uarry lake and noted Robin, Greenfinch, Jackdaw, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Swallow, Carrion Crow, Black Headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 30 Tufted Duck (one with two young, there was a discussion on Birdforum about breeding Tufties and for the first time they have been noted in several areas around Staffs, Whitemoor Haye can be added now), 14 Pochard, Yellow Wagtail, 23 Lapwing (+25 flew over later), Buzzard, 8 Great Crested Grebe, 32 Mallard, 3 Greenshank, Starling, Wren, Pied Wagtail and 2 Common Sandpiper. On to the lanes and I added Tree Sparrow, 2 Little Owl, Common Whitethroat, 3 Whinchat, Long-tailed Tit, Yellowhammer, Dunnock, Pheasant and Grey Partridge calling. I was well made up with finding not one Whinchat but at least three. I saw 2 females/juveniles then another bird turned out to be a scruffy male. Cracking. I did manage a photo of one of the females through my phone, its not great but might try and upload it later.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

16-8-11, Whitemoor Haye.

Naff all on TV so I decided to grab the dog and go down to Whitemoor Haye. I decided to concentrate on the quarry pool only hoping for a bit of wader action. Birds noted were 25+ Grey Paretridge some flew over the main road as I turned up and then then was a party of birds which included adults and at least ten young, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, 3 Mute Swan, Swallow, 16 Mallard, Canada Geese, Pied Wagtail, 9 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Common Sandpiper, 10 Tufted Duck, 3 Greenshank, Linnet, circa 400 Black Headed Gulls, Great Tit, 40+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Greylag Geese, Wren, 3 Pochard, 2 Shoveler, 3 Lapwing, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Sparrowhawk, Blue Tit, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Buzzard and a couple of Common Tern.

16-8-11, News.

Just a couple of things to catch up on. Whilst in the office today I had a quick look at a blog where the blogger had gone to Branston pits to see the Wood Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank and found them. I now realise what pit they were on and its a bit of the pit I did not check for fear or frightening the birds. Never mind.
On the Bird forum front the thread to read is Birding in Staffordshire. Ive never had such a laugh, the next time a big un turns up in Staffs there will be fights galore between the birders.
All in all tragic but funny.

Monday, 15 August 2011

15-8-11, News.

I had to chuckle to myself whilst I was tucking into my ready brek this morning as I read bird forum. This blog is the most social I ever get, Ive just got rid of my facebook account as I really hated it, especially emails like someone has poked you. Never looked at twitter and never will and I signed up to Bird forum ages ago but Im not really one to get involved in a discussion. I checked the Staffs rare birds post and the arguments on there are laughable. there has been a heated discussion on there about putting up posts to entice the Ospreys to possibly nest there. this thread has now led to Staffs birders be being called all sorts of things, and this is from other Staffs readers. Well worth going on for a laugh. Get out birding I say, the long dark nights will be here soon, you can argue then and keep me entertained.

14-8-11, Branston GP.

I have not been here for ages and a couple of nice birds were noted here the previous day so it was worth a visit. Birds noted were Magpie, Chaffinch, Wren, Woodpigeon, Great Tit, Carrion Crow, Robin, Common Whitethroat, Blue Tit, Hobby, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Linnet, Chiffchaff, Lapwing, Canada Geese, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, 7 Little Egret, Black Headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Common Sandpiper, Blackbird, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Mute Swan, Buzzard, Goldfinch, Kestral, Blackcap, Pied Wagtail, Common Tern, Teal, Shelduck, 7 Curlew, 3 Green Sandpiper, Moorhen, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Starling, Swallow, Greylag Geese, Grey Heron, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jackdaw and Long-tailed Tit.
The most observant of you would have noticed no sign of the reported Wood Sandpiper or Spotted Redshank. I spent a long time checking each pit and there was no sign of either bird and the Curlew and Green Sandpipers were on the sandy pit. I was on site for 06.00 to about 10.30, maybe they came in later on or Im just crap.

14-8-11, Undisclosed site.

I did visit a private gravel pit where there is no access (naughty boy) but apart from some music it was very poor in birds.

After here I went home to watch the footy and then planned on checking out Whitemoor after the Man Utd/West Brom match but I was called out all afternoon and early evening. Typical.

13-8-11, Croxall GP.

With several similar sites enjoying the return of ther waders I thought it would be worth an early visit to Croxall. Birds noted were Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Common Whitethroat, Cormorant, Blackbird, Tufted Duck, Coot, Mute Swan, Wren, Carrion Crow, Mistle Thrush, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Blackcap, Magpie, Robin, Song Thrush, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Mallard, Little Egret, Canada Geese, Kestrel, Teal, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Willow Warbler, Kingfisher, Long-tailed Tit, Rook, Starling, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Riinged Plover, Moorhen, Black Headed Gull, Dunnock, Swallow, Barnacle Geese, Green Sandpiper, Redshank, Linnet and Reed Warbler.

13-8-11, Whitemoor Haye.

Over the road to Whitemoor and birds noted were Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Buzzard, Mute Swan, Swallow, Carrion Crow, Long-tailed Tit, 5 Greenshank, Black Headed Gull, Canada Geese, Mallard, Common Tern, Tufted Duck, Swift, Tree Sparrow, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Blue Tit, Robin, Starling, Pochard, Cormorant, Pheasant, House Martin, Skylark, Yellowhammer, Yellow Wagtail, Common Whitethroat, Linnet, Sand Martin, Little Owl, Stock Dove, Jackdaw, lesser Black-backed Gull, Collared Dove, Dunnock, Corn Bunting and Goldfinch.

12-8-11, Whitemoor Haye.

With nothing to do Friday evening I grabbed the dog and headed down to Whitemoor to do some birding/dog walking. A visit to the quarry pool and I noted Blackbird, Magpie, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Carrion Crow, 3 Greenshank, Pied Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Black Headed Gull, Mallard, Great Crested Grebe, Sparrowhawk, Common Tern, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldfinch, Cormorant and Starling. From here it was on to the lanes and I added Tree Sparrow, Robin, Yellow Wagtail, Corn Bunting, Buzzard, Little Owl, Common Whitethroat, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Linnet, Rook, Greenfinch, Jackdaw, Stock Dove, Pheasant and Skylark.

12-8-11, Croxall GP.

An hour spare before sunset so I opted for Croxall nature reserve. Fortunately there was no one else on site so a nice time was had. Birds noted were Wren, Tufted Duck, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Canada Geese, Common Whitethroat, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Coot, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Rook, Dunnock, Magpie, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Common Tern, Redshank, Little Egret, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Reed Warbler and Swallow. A nice evenings birdwatching.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

8-8-11, Croxall GP.

A nice Monday off and I kickstarted the day very early at Croxall, the best time by far as no public around this time. I walked up to the hide and birds noted were Blue Tit, Wren, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Willow Tit, Blackbird, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Willow Warbler, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Woodpigeon. I spent an hour in the hide and added Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Grey Heron, Sedge Warbler, Lapwing, Pochard, Black Headed Gull, Great Tit, Rook, Common Whitethroat, Redshank, Common Tern, Dunlin, Blackcap, Cormorant, Common Sandpiper, Moorhen and Robin. Not bad. On to the east side to see wehat I could add. Magpie, Chaffinch, Stock Dove, Garden Warbler, Kestrel, Starling, Green Sandpiper, Swallow, Sand Martin, Greenshank and a couple of fly over Skylark. Back to the main side and another half an hour in the main hide and I added Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Canada Geese and 3 Barnacle Geese. Now thats a good session.

Whitemoor Haye.

A quick drive over to Whitemoor and I decided to start at the quarry pool. Correct move. Birds noted were Swallow, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Robin, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Tree Sparrow, Blue Tit, Starling, Mallard, House Martin, Greylag Geese, Sand Martin, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Greenshank, Wren, Great Tit, Yellowhammer, Common Whitethroat, Grey Heron, Pied Wagtail, Jackdaw, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Buzzard. Blimey birds everywhere. Onto the lanes I there would be not many more I could get. Birds added were Rook, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Sparrowhawk, Magpie, Little Owl, Linnet, Blackbird, Dunnock, Stock Dove, Pheasant, Corn Bunting and Yellow Wagtail. Not a bad session at all.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

7-8-11, Holyhead Harbour.

Finaaly a couple of days off and I really needed a visit to a certain island to get a couple of its specialist birds plus more year tick. The island...... Ynys Mon. After work on Saturday I drove up to North Wales to stay with some friends before an early start on Sunday to go to Anglesey (just in case you still did not know where I was going). First stop on Holyhead Wwas the harbour and birds noted were Herring Gull, Black Guillemot, Oystercatcher, Lesser Black Backed Gull and a couple of Magpies.

South Stack RSPB.

I love coming here, its not the biggest seabird colony but with Chough and Black Guillemot local plus crippling views of Peregrines and other birds such as Black Larks making an appearance I think this is a fantastic place to come to. I was on site nice and early and the weather was not bad either. A walk around the area and a seawatch and I noted Chough, Herring Gull, Stonechat, Fulmar, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Linnet, Gannet, Kittiwake, Wren, Peregrine, Manx Shearwater, Shag, Razorbill, Guillemot, Puffin, Great Black-backed Gull, Blackbird, House Sparrow and Tree Sparrow.

Arnefield Reservoir.

I was very unsure as to where to go next, drive around Anglesey doing a bit of sea watching but expecting not a lot, visit other reserves such as Conwy RSPB to get the regulars or something else. I went for Conwy as its a great place, lots of birds and also has a cafe. I was about ten minutes to getting to Conwy when I thought about the Western Bonelli's Warbler near Glossop. I changed my mind and an hour later I was in the rain at Arnefield reservoir. This bird has been here a few weeks now but as time has gone on it has been more difficult to see, the last time it was located was 09.00 on the Saturday. I was not expecting much. Birds noted were Swallow, Goldfinch, Swift, Lapwing, Chaffinch, Collared Dove, House Martin, Wren, Grey Heron, Willow Warbler, Bullfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Blackbird, Siskin, Dunnock, Woodpigeon and Lesser Black-backed Gull. No warbler and I was not bothered about it as I was not expecting to see it but it was worth a go apart from getting a soaking.

River Dane south of Flash.

From Arnefield reservoir I was unsure as to where to go, I knew I was heading home but I was not quite ready to finish my days birding. As I was just in Derbyshire I thought of a bird which is numerous around this county, the Dipper. I knew of a few sites in Derbyshire but after driving arouns, I ended up at an old favorite, the River Dane near Flash which is actually in Staffordshire. A walk along the river produced Swallow, Blue Tit, Grey Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Mallard, Buzzard and a Dipper. The Dipper was a bit tricky to find, nothing on the way down but on the way back to the car, just about leaving the river one appeared on the rocks before flying away. I was ready to go home now.

6-8-11, Croxall GP.

I was working today but I was up early and could spare a couple of hours for birding. As we are now in August the birding should start picking up with the return of breeding waders, migrants starting to leave and sea birds on the move. Exciting times. After the other night at Croxall being rather disappointing I fancied a morning session as no one would be up at a silly time. I was right but I was soon joined by another silly time birder. Birds noted during this much improved session were Wren, Mute Swan, Chaffinch, Mallard, Canada Geese, Dunnock, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Blue Tit, Tufted Duck, Coot, Chiffchaff, Carrion Crow, Great Crested Grebe, Garden Warbler, Magpie, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Black Headed Gull, Redshank, Teal, Lapwing, Goldfinch, Kingfisher, Cormorant, Pheasant, Grey Heron, Blackbird, Jay, Little Egret, Common Tern, Great Tit, Song Thrush, Greenshank, Swallow, Seock Dove and Greylag Geese.

5-8-11, Whitemoor Haye.

Another nice evening with not much to do so another visit to Whitemoor. Usually I park up to walk the track first but today I fancied a change.. Birds noted around the quarry pool were Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Mallard, Common Sandpiper, Yellow Wagtail, Yellowhammer, Lapwing, Song Thrush, Linnet, Pied Wagtail, Canada Geese, Common Whitethroat, Greenshank, Tufted Duck, Magpie and a juvenile Little Ringed Plover. On to the lanes and it was a bit of a struggle. Birds noted were Goldfinch, Swallow, Robin, Tree Sparrow, Blue Tit, Little Owl, Pheasant, Jackdaw, Rook, Kestrel, Chaffinch, Wren, Green Woodpecker and Starling. I decided to have a quick look over the pool on the way home and I added Grey Heron and Mute Swan.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

3-8-11, Whitemoor Haye

With utter rubbish on the TV I headed out with my dog for a bit of birding. I walked around the Whitemoor Haye lanes and noted Swallow, Greenfinch, Tree Sparrow, Carrion Crow, Rook, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Blue Tit, Peregrine, Kestrel, Linnet, Mallard, Moorhen, Little Owl, Pied Wagtail, Buzzard, Chaffinch, Yellowhammer, Goldfinch, Magpie, Yellow Wagtail, Corn Bunting and Skylark. It was a real struggle with only the crows being showy and vocal, everything else was hiding. On to the quarry pool and it didnt improve at all. 16 Lapwing and a single Green Sandpiper to add, plus a Robin and a Black Headed Gull flying over. There was still an hour of light, no point staying here so it was off to Croxall.
Of note, work has really intensified at Whitemoor Haye quarry pool, the buildings must be nearly done, now a massive adventure playground is being built plus they have machine raked or ploughed the whole left hand side of the main lake. October sees the centre open so by then I am assuming a fence is going to be built around the site which will block views from the usual place. RIP Whitemoor Haye lake.

Croxall GP.

Jai deteste Croxall. A bit harsh you might say but it is horrible, so mistreated. This could be a cracking nature reserve if is wasn't for one thing, people. As I had the dog I walked up to the hide, birded for all of five minutes (see later) and the back to the car not even waiting for dusk (I spent dusk at home with a bat detector listening and watching up to 6 bats flying around the garden). Birds noted were Tufted Duck, Pochard, Blackbird, Common Whitethroat, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Coot, Goldfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Carrion Crow, Black Headed Gull, Wren, Teal, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Mallard, Greenshank, Shelduck, Blue Tit, Dunnock and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Again it was very quiet and I suppose a chap walking his three dogs one of which was a small terrier which obviously had little man syndrome and just wouldn't shut up, then there was a foreign family with three noisy kids but the noisiest was the father constantly shouting, oh yes they were enjoying a barbeque (I doubt they took that home). And finally the reason I was in the hide for all of five minutes, a couple appeared out of nowhere, saw lots of little birdies on the water and thought they would go and look, oops theyv'e flown away silly birdies. I was scanning through about 100 Black Headed Gulls when they, plus the waders and ducks present up and went and didint come back. I swore, got my stuff and went home.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

2-8-11, Blacktoft Sands RSPB.

My first day off and I needed to catch up on some birds. My first plan was the Western Bonelli's Warbler but there had been no news of this bird for a couple of days so I decided to head to Blacktoft Sands for another lifer, the Marsh Sandpiper. I arrived just as the reserve opened and my target bird had been spotted from the Xerox Hide. No messing, I headed staight to the hide in search of my quarry. Birds noted were Woodpigeon, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Hobby, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, Pheasant, Magpie, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Common Whitethroat, Greylag Geese, Mallard, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Moorhen, Teal, Reed Warbler, Whinchat, MARSH SANDPIPER, Spotted Redshank, Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Grey Heron and Lapwing. I found the bird quite easily in with the Godwits and the Spotshanks, even a couple of elderly chaps came in the hide and I pointed out the bird which was sleeping but they said it was too big and not the bird until it lifted its head up and the chaps looked a bit sly and slopped off. Around the rest of the reserve I added Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Black Headed Gull, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Knot, Shoveler, Snipe, Wren and Collared Dove. Time for another lifer.


Those of you who keep track of this blog will remeber my day out after three lifers and I missed them all, the next bird being one of them. For some reason a White-tailed Eagle has been present in east Lincolnshire for a few months now. I missed it the first time and so this time I was desperate, in fact I was nearly prepared to spend the rest of the day here, I mean without going to west Scotland when would I get a chance of anothe Sea Eagle? I arrived before mid day and hung out with another birder. It was very hot and the odd bird sung or showed but no sign of the eagle. The other chap was preparing to leave when a huge bird came from nowhere, flew across the fields and landed ina tree. It was miles away but it was huge. We both got good looks of the bird and were 90% sure due to size alone. We could see it in the tree and a Carrion Crow handly sat next to it, the eagle was three times the size, it was massive. Then to cap it off a Buzzard flew past and it too was tiny. The WHITE-TAILED EAGLE was in the bag. Unfortunately the heat haze and the tree leaves were making it almost impossible to see the plumage and markings. Other birds noted were Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Herring Gull, Black Headed Gull, Yellowhammer, Swallow, Carrion Crow, Buzzard, Canada Geese and Moorhen. Quality, two out of two. Time for a third.

Welbeck Raptor Watchpoint.

On the way home I could make a slight detour to this raptor watchpoint where Honey Buzzards have been showing quite often. I arrived just after three and one had showed very well an hour earlier. Doh. The chaps already there were very cherpy and helpful and within minutes one of the chaps came running over and put me on a HONEY BUZZARD. It was very high in the sky but when I got the scope onto the bird I could make out the markings and the small head. I kept the scope on it for several minutes when it started its dispaying movements in the shape of wing clapping above the birds body. For the next ten minutes we all watched the bird doing loads more wing claps before it disappeared behind a tree. Brilliant. Three out of three. Other birds noted were Woodpigeon, Buzzard, Swallow, Blue Tit, Black Headed Gull, Pheasant, House Martin and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

A brilliant day, ace to get a full house especially after dipping the last three birds I ventured out for.

2-8-11, Hello.

I am back and I have lots of stuff to catch up on. The last seven weeks has been incredibly busy with fishing and golf matches, festivals and weekend working but I am nearly through this and back to free days. My first free day in all that time was today which I will tell you about later. Now we will catch up on what I have been doing and I will just give you the place name and bird list to keep it simple.

11-6-11, circa Alrewas.

Blackbird, Magpie, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Black Headed Gull, Starling, Wren, Blue Tit, Swift, Chiffchaff, Mute Swan, Song Thrush, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Pheasant, Carrion Crow, Mallard, Cormorant, Coot, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackcap, House Martin, Canada Geese, Dunnock, Tufted Duck, Swallow, Reed Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Moorhen, Sedge Warbler, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Common Tern, Reed Bunting, Stock Dove, Linnet, Buzzard and Skylark.

17-6-11, Cannock Chase - Whitehouse Car Park.

Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Woodcock, Green Woodpecker, Cuckoo, Pheasant, Blue Tit, Tree Pipit, Mallard, Nightjar, Tawny Owl.

18-6-11, Whitemoor Haye.

Pied Wagtail, Tree Sparrow, Swallow, Chaffinch, Wren, Swift, Skylark, Mallard, Carrion Crow, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Oystercatcher, Dunnock, Corn Bunting, Common Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail, Magpie, Jackdaw, Blue Tit, Reed Bunting, Buzzard, Pheasant, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer, Lapwing, Linnet, Greenfinch, Cormnorant, Kestrel, Black Headed Gull, Sand Martin and Robin.

3-7-11, Whitemoor Haye.

Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Swallow, Wren, Skylark, Tree Sparrow, Greenfinch, Rook, Dunnock, Swift, Jackdaw, Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Linnet, Mallard, Yellow Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Little Owl, Chaffinch, Common Whitethroat, Great Tit, Stock Dove, Buzzard, Black Headed Gull, Goldfinch, Magpie, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pheasant, Robin, kestrel, Grey Partridge, Greylag Geese, Lapwing, Canada Geese, Blackcap and Song Thrush.

10-7-11, Alrewas GP.

Black Headed Gull, Wren, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Dunnock, Greenfinch, Song Thrush, Mute Swan, Woodpigeon, Reed Warbler, Lapwing, Mallard, Great Crested Grebe, Carrion Crow, Tufted Duck, Robin, Reed Bunting, Blue Tit, Stock Dove, Linnet, Pied Wagtail, Starling, Buzzard, Swift, Grey Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Canada Geese, Common Whitethroat and Common Tern.

10-7-11, National Arboretum.

Song Thrush, Blackcap, Woodpigeon, Bullfinch, Dunnock, Black Headed Gull, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Cormorant, Swallow, Carrion Crow, Goldfinch, Oystercatcher, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Grey Heron, Wren, Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Chiffchaff and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

10-7-11, Junction Pit.

Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, Black Headed Gull, Moorhen, Mallard, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Wren, Blackbird, Great Crested Grebe and Tufted Duck.

10-7-11, Croxall Wides.

Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Common Tern, Moorhen, Mallard, Reed Bunting, Sand Martin, Little Ringed Plover.

10-7-11, Whitemoor Haye.

Swallow, Yellowhammer, Carrion Crow, Linnet, GoldfinchGreenfinch, Grey Partridge, Skylark, Canada Geese, lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Tufted Duck, Sand Martin, Grey Heron, Wren, Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Corn Bunting, Rook, Common Whitethroat, Tree Sparrow, Little Owl, Swift, Chaffinch, Pheasant, Blackcap, Magpie, Yellow Wagtail and Mute Swan.

10-7-11, Home.

3 Ravens over.

12-7-11, Whitemoor Haye.

18+ Grey Partridge.

13-7-11, Whitemoor Haye.

Black Headed Gull, Tree Sparrow, Swallow, Corn Bunting, Swift, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Rook, Sparrowhawk, Cormorant, Yellow Wagtail, Skylark, Common Whitethroat, Jackdaw, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Owl, Blackbird, Yellowhammer, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Wren, Great Tit, Grey Partridge, Mallard, Dunnock, Pheasant, Grey Heron, Tufted Duck, Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Redshank, Mute Swan, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Kestrel and Stock Dove.

22-7-11, Whitemoor Haye.

Swallow, Corn Bunting, Woodpigeon, Skylark, Carrion Crow, Buzzard, Linnet, Tree Sparrow, Jackdaw, Yellow Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Dunnock, Common Whitethroat, Wren, Chaffinch, Little Owl, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Rook, Peregrine, Great Tit, Yellowhammer, Goldfinch, Cormorant, Robin, Pheasant, Magpie, Blackcap, Grey Partridge, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Tufted Duck, Starling, Mallard and Black Headed Gull.

29-7-11, Whitemoor Haye.

Carrion Crow, Swallow, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Tree Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Black Headed Gull, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Yellowhammer, Skylark, Sedge Warbler, Linnet, Yellow Wagtail, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Stock Dove, Blackbird, Little Owl, Chaffinch, Common Whitethroat, Great Tit, Rook, Pheasant, Magpie, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Lesser Whitethroat, Robin, Red-legged Partridge, Starling, Mallard, Mute Swan, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Lapwing, Tufted Duck and Pochard.

30-7-11, Boddington Reservoir.

Common Tern, Black Headed Gull, Mute Swan, Goldfinch, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Woodpigeon, Mallard, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Blackbird, Little Tern, Little Egret, Canada Geese, Buzzard, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Heron and Carrion Crow.

31-7-11, Whitemoor Haye.

Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Swallow, Tree Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Corn Bunting, Woodpigeon, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Rook, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Canada Geese, Buzzard, Stock Dove, Blue Tit, Little Owl, Jackdaw, Skylark, Common Whitethroat, Linnet, Dunnock, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Goldfinch, Blackcap, Greenfinch, Mallard, Grey Partridge, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Lapwing, Redshank, Snipe and Cormorant.

1-8-11, Rufford CP.

Common Crossbill - viewed from the 14th tee at Rufford Park Golf Club. Bonus.

Well thats me up to date. Not much but managed to add a couple of year ticks plus a nice inland Little Tern whilst I was fishing.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

22-6-11, Updates.

Hi Im still alive. June and July is silly season for me (not Scilly season) as I have loads on, both work and private life. Also I have been bitten again by the fishing bug and have been having a few nights on the rivers and canals. However I have been out a couple of times so when I get more time I will update.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

10-6-11, Derbyshire Kestrels v Durhan Dynamos.

Not bird news (Kestrels in the title mind) but had an evening at my first T20 cricket match. I am not a huge fan but dont mind watching the odd bit of cricket. Couldnt go to a test though, yawn. It was a good night really with lots of boundaries and music etc. Derbyshire posted 182 in their innings, not a bad score I was told but Durham came in and started well and were doing all right but had a poor couple of overs leaving them needing 15 off the over. Some stunning bowling and Derbyshire ran out winners by 5 runs. An enjoyable night and will try and get there again, this time incorporating a few real ale taverns.
On call for a week so birding will be limited. Just hope the robin hangs around for a week!!!!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

9-6-11, Whitemoor Haye.

Before I go onto tonights gentle walk around Whitemoor Haye, this weekend I was planning to pop up th A1(M) (I think) to Harlepool to catch up with the mega that is a White-throated Robin however I popped into work this morning and was begged (well almost) to cover on call for a week. Mmmmm, what do I do? Hartlepool or some half decent money for my holiday to Lesbos next year? It was a difficult decision but I plumped for the on-call, thinking that maybe the bird would not stay around. Theres always next weekend!!!!

Onto tonights birding and me and the dog went for a walk around the lanes and noted Woodpigeon, Swift, Wren, Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Swallow, Starling, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Rook, Stock Dove, House Martin, Oystercatcher, Grey Heron, Skylark, Common Whitethroat, Kestrel, Yellowhammer, Black Headed Gull, Buzzard, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Skylark, Goldfinch, Linnet, Yellow Wagtail, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Garden Warbler, Magpie, Robin, Lapwing and Mallard. A look at the pool and around the adjacent trees and I added Tufted Duck, Canada Geese, Song Thrush, Shelduck (which had about eight chicks with it), Sand Martin, Great Crested Grebe, Dunnock, Blackcap, Great Tit, Collared Dove, Jackdaw and Pied Wagtail.

There has been lots of, lets say, discussion on what birds can be mentioned on blogs due to recent activity on birdforum regarding Pied Flycatchers. It has now been decided that bloggers should not mentio any catagory A birds during breeding season in the hope that eggers will not get any news on breeding cat A birds. I understand why these rules have come in but I think it has gone a tad too far. Soon we will be reporting about the odd Blue Tit, Great Tit and maybe a Mallard. There was also the night I went to find the Wryneck on Cannock Chase. Four birders were very vocal about Dartford Warblers in Staffs (cannot mention where cause of eggers). I was about forty feet away from these people as the openly and quite loudly talked about exactly where they had been watching the birds. They did not know me from Adam. Yes there has to be some control of pictures and blogs but banning people from mentioning the birds is, in my opinion, a bit too far. However I have removed one bird from tonights list that I have seen and is on the cat 1 list.

Monday, 6 June 2011

6-6-11, Alrewas GP.

As I worked Saturday I had today off so after doing a few things first thing I headed off from the house, walking dalong the A38 then I was at Alrewas pits. Birds noted were Robin, Black Headed Gull, Swift, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Mute Swan, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Reed Warbler, Magpie, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Starling, Jackdaw, Coot, Lesser Black-backed Gull, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Swallow, Long-tailed Tit, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Stock Dove, Blue Tit, Chiffchaff, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Great Tit and Buzzard.

National Arboretum.

Onto the arboretum and birds noted were Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Willow Warbler, Swift, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Common Whitethroat, Sand Martin, Swallow, Mallard, Oystercatcher, Wren, Starling, Carrion Crow, Garden Warbler, Grey Heron, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Sedge Warbler, Jackdaw, Reed Bunting, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer and Stock Dove.

Junction Pit.

A quick scan over Junction Pit (where the water levels seems to be a bit higher of late) and I noted Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting, Canada Geese, Great Crested Grebe, Greylag Geese, Common Tern, Buzzard, Coot, Linnet and a couple of Tufted Duck.

Croxall Wides.

I was not going to go to Croxall today as I was a bit knackered and had to finish the arboretum before a slog around Whitemoor so I had a nice seat and a good scan around the river wides at Croxall. Birds noted were Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Sand Martin, Swift, Black Headed Gull, Grey Heron, Redshank, Starling, Common Tern, Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Chaffinch, Lapwing, Coot and Shelduck.

I decided to knock Whitemoor on the head as I was too knackered so I went home and had a kip!

5-6-11, Croxall GP.

Working all day Saturday and with todays forecast wet I got up early and made the most of the dry morning and headed to Croxall to see what was about. Birds noted on the main side were Sedge Warbler, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, Mallard, Garden Warbler, Reed Bunting, Swift, Blue Tit, Wren, Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Black Headed Gull, Robin, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Carrion Crow, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Reed Warbler, Song Thrush, Coot, Pheasant, Swallow, Blackbird, Blackcap, Magpie, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Canada Geese and Gadwall. Through to the east side and I added Cormorant, Rook, Redshank, Mute Swan, Lapwing and Little Egret. There was very little showing from the east side so I soon headed back under the tunnel to go back to the car. On the way I added a single Common Tern and a single Greenfinch.

Whitemoor Haye.

With no rain clouds in sight I went to the usual patch to see what was about. I was also quite keen on hearing the Quail which has been present for a few weeks but which I have not yet heard let alone seen. The main reason for this is it has always been windy and with the noise from the hedgerows and trees its been difficult to make out a weak 'wet-my-lips'. Birds noted around the quarry pool were Yellowhammer, Chiffchaff, Black-headed Gull, Mallard, Canada Geese, Gadwall, Swallow, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Lapwing, Greylag Geese, Wren, Linnet, Skylark, Starling, Great Crested Grebe, Swift, Mute Swan, Carrion Crow, Oystercatcher, House Martin, Shelduck, Redshank and Buzzard. From there it was park the car up and head off round the lanes. Birds added were Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, Rook, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Jackdaw, Robin, Stock Dove, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting, Common Whitethroat, Sparrowhawk, Greenfinch, Magpie, Collared Dove, Garden Warbler, Blue Tit and Pied Wagtail. Not a bad haul of birds from Whitemoor considering the time of year it is.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

5-6-11, Long-tailed Blue.

Do I have any fans of butterflies which read my blog? Reason being I found a butterfly in my kitchen tonight and the curious nature of me needed to know what it was. I photographed it, headed for my reference books and stumbled on Long-tailed Blue. More work on tinternet and it turns out to be a very rare butterfly which is mainly recorded from late July to September.

I managed to get the shot below for records and have emailed the local wildlife group so that a record could be made but if anyone knows who keeps records of moths and butterflies then I could get directly in touch with them.

Excitement over. I emailed Birdguides incase they wanted some insect news and they have replied saying the pupae most likely came from some vegatables and then turned into a butterfly in the house. Oh well, never mind.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

31-5-11, Lesbos birding.

Hi. As 99% of my birding is done on my own I have been rather reluctant about going abroad. However, a recent chat with a fellow blogger has got me thinking about taking the plunge and booking a week in Lesbos next early May. I have been doing a bit of homework but if anyone has got any tips/hints/books/spare cash/anything which could help me on this epic voyage then it will be most appreciated.

Monday, 30 May 2011

30-5-11, Wet yet Wonderful.

After a great afternoon and evening out in Lichfield on the beer I was going to use Monday to catch up with blogs and other birding stuff. That was until I woke up, had a look at birdguides (pager is not working right at the moment) and noticed a Lesser Yellowlegs had been found at Uttoxeter gravel pits, a site I have never been to. There was no way I could drive in the morning so I caught up with this blog the about 12.30 I headed off to the quarry. I parked up, was given directions on where the footpath was and soon I was on site with a few other birders with the rain gently falling. Birds noted were Sand Martin, Shelduck, Mallard, Common Tern, Black Headed Gull, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, Wren, Chiffchaff, Goosander, Mute Swan, Goldfinch and Song Thrush. A cracking bird, well worth getting a bit wet for.

29-5-11, Croxall GP.

I was not going to bird today but the dog needed walking so off we went. I decided to check out Croxall first. Birds noted were Garden Warbler, Swift, Canada Geese, Mallard, Skylark, Cormorant, Oystercatcher, Blackbird, Moorhen, Chiffchaff, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Reed Bunting, Great Tit, Reed Warbler, Blue Tit, Black Headed Gull, Song Thrush, Goldfinch, Rook, Woodpigeon, Common Whitethroat, Greylag Geese, Carrion Crow, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Sand Martin, Common Sandpiper, Mute Swan, Lapwing, House Martin, Gadwall, Little Ringed Plover, Pied Wagtail, Pheasant and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Whitemoor Haye.

Onto Whitemoor and a walk around the lanes produced Starling, Woodpigeon, Tree Sparrow, Magpie, Wren, Corn Bunting, Swallow, Rook, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Skylark, Oystercatcher, Reed Bunting, Common Whitethroat, Little Owl, Stock Dove, Mallard, Yellow Wagtail, Yellowhammer, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Dunnock, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Buzzard, Pheasant, Jackdaw, Grey Partridge and Blue Tit. On to the pool and I added Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, House Martin and Sand Martin.

28-5-11, Croxall GP.

Back to the grind and local patch birding. I headed to Croxall first thing to sit in the hide and see what was about. Birds noted were Common Whitethroat, Canada Geese, Blackcap, Swift, Shelduck, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Coot, Black Headed Gull, Sand Martin, Chaffinch, Pheasant, Lapwing, Common Tern, House Martin, Ringed Plover, Mallard, Pied Wagtail, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Buzzard, Oystercatcher, Starling, Magpie, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Great Tit, Stock Dove, Goldfinch, Swallow, Rook, Song Thrush, Skylark, Dunnock, Little Ringed Plover, Mute Swan, Linnet, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Garden Warbler. Not a bad session but not too much activity on the mud.

Whitemoor Haye.

Just down the road to Whitemoor and a look over the quarry pool produced Stock Dove, Gadwall, Oystercatcher, Buzzard, Swift, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Black Headed Gull, Lapwing, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Redshank, Linnet, Skylark, Chiffchaff, Canada Geese and Wren. Pretty quiet and a walk around the lanes did not produce much either. I added Tree Sparrow, Rook, Woodpigeon, Corn Bunting, Reed Bunting, Cormorant, Common Whitethroat, Yellowhammer, Goldfinch, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Owl, Blackbird, Bullfinch, Kestrel and Pheasant.

Friday, 27 May 2011

27-5-11, Swanton Novers NNR.

It was time to head home so I deicded to visit a couple of sites on the way home but first I wanted another go at looking for Honey Buzzards. Swanton Novers raptop watchpoint is near to Great Ryburgh but the birds here are a lot trickier to see however they had been seen the previous day in the morning so I was slightly optomistic. Birds noted during two hours here were Pheasant, Skylark, Common Whitethroat, Sparrowhawk, Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, Carrion Crow, Goldfinch, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellowhammer, Swift, Linnet, Swallow and Black Headed Gull. Again another no show but thats birding I'm afraid.

Welney Wildfowl Trust.

I decided to have a look around this reserve. For sometime now a cracking White-spotted Bluethroat had been present. I had no news of this bird for sometime but I wasn't getting much news out of my pager anyway but it was worth a look. Birds noted were Goldfinch, Pheasant, Reed Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Swallow, Wren, Mallard, Lapwing, Avocet, Woodpigeon, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Great Tit, House Martin, Shelduck, Coot, Pochard, Little Ringed Plover, Pied Wagtail, Swift, Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Black Headed Gull, Starling, Black-tailed Godwit, Jackdaw, Mute Swan, Snipe, Whooper Swan, Little Egret, Corn Bunting, Blue Tit, Cuckoo and Grey Heron. Although I was not expecting to see the Bluethroat, I actually missed it by twenty seconds. I was walking up the path and was twenty metres from a small group when they started looking through their bins and then started waving me. A quick look through my bins got me nothing so I broke into a small jog but as I reached the group the bird flew away. Thats not the end of the story though as yet another caravan on the way to Welnet drove at 35 miles an hour along the roads and wouldnt let cars get passed. Thats two birds this year that I have missed due to caravans. Nuff said.

Rutland Water.

I didnt want to get stuck in bank holiday traffic so I headed to Rutland Water to spend a few hours before heading home early evening. I started in the Lyndon reserve with the main aim being seeing Osprey. Birds noted were Swift, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Dunnock, Sedge Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blackbird, Mute Swan, Coot, Chaffinch, Cormorant, Red-legged Partridge, Robin, Chiffchaff, Carrion Crow, Great Tit, Hobby, Woodpigeon, Sand Martin, Shelduck, Lapwing, Osprey, Swallow, Mallard, Great Crested Grebe, House Martin, Egyptian Geese, Jackdaw, Black Headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Common Tern, Pied Wagtail, Goldeneye, Gadwall and Moorhen. From Lyndon it was on to theEgleton reserve and I added Rook, Ringed Plover, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Dunlin, Wigeon, Sanderling, Greylag Geese, Turnstone, Oystercatcher, Wren, Magpie, Song Thrush, Shoveler, Little Egret, Canada Geese, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Long-tailed Tit. Not bad but I was dissapointed not to have seen the Temminks Stint that was on Lagoon 4 from the Dunlin hide. I was in there ages but failed to connect with it. After Rutland it was home time and the end of my mini trip to Norflok and back. It was a good trip with lots of good birds and I managed plenty of photos too. Nice.

26-5-11, Choseley Barns.

I have never birded in Norfolk during the spring/summer months and so not used to long hours of daylight for birding. I skipped breakfast and decided to be at Choseley really early. I hung around for a bit and birds noted were Woodpigeon, Red-legged Partridge, Chaffinch, Yellowhammer, Skylark, Wren, Common Whitethroat, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Pied Wagtail, Black Headed Gull and Pheasant.

Titchwell RSPB.

Down the road a little and I was at Titchwell RSPB reserve. I really enjoy coming here and was on site for about 07.00 and I was the only one in the car park!! In fact I was on site until about 09.30 before I saw anyone else around, amazing. Birds noted were Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, Avocet, Pheasant, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Jay, Blue Tit, Collared Dove, Dunnock, Black Headed Gull, Reed Warbler, Redshank, Swift, Swallow, Mute Swan, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Sedge Warbler, Canada Geese, Coot, Canada Geese, Pochard, Tufed Duck, Marsh Harrier, Linnet, Brent Geese, Black-tailed Godwit, Reed Bunting, Pied Wagtail, Herring Gull, Shelduck, Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Starling, Carrion Crow, Great Tit, Moorhen, Skylark, House Martin, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Ringed Plover, Wigeon, Lapwing, Dunlin, Greenshank, Sand Martin, Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Little Egret, Curlew, Knot, Sanderling, Cormorant, Common Scoter, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Fulmar, Yellow Wagtail, Blackcap, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Cettis Warbler, Stock Dove, Jackdaw, magpie, Red-crested Pochard, Pintail, Kestrel and Eider. Bucket loads of birds and great fun.

Cley NR.

It was mid afternoon by the time I got to Cley, payed up then headed off to the hides before doing the east bank. Birds noted were Jackdaw, Black Headed Gull, Dunnock, Swift, Woodpigeon, Oystercatcher, Sedge Warbler, Starling, Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Greylag Geese, Mallard, Pheasant, Little Egret, House Sparrow, Swallow, Marsh Harrier, Lapwing, Mute Swan, Reed Bunting, Sand Martin, Gadwall, Reed Warbler, Shelduck, Avocet, Great Black-backed Gull, Greenshank, Redshank, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Stint, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Moorhen, Skylark, Goldfinch, Little Ringed Plover, Little Gull, Coot, Common Gull, House Martin, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Great Tit, Linnet, Common Sandpiper, Blue Tit, magpie, Wren, Tufted Duck, Hobby, Curlew, Bearded Tit, Whinchat and a cracking male it was too, Sandwich Tern, Knot, Fulmar, Meadow Pipit, Blackcap, Greenfinch, Spoonbill and Knot. Another great session here. I was in the small hide on Pats Pool (sorry, dont know the name of the hide) at about 18.30 when I wondered if there was a time I needed to be off the reserve. I popped out the door and my car was the only one in the car park. Ooops, would I be locked in?? It was too late so I went back in the hide and carried on. Five minutes later a chap came in, no gates are on the car park. I asked where everyone was and he said "proberbly sitting at home next to their pagers". I was quite amazed, one of if not the best reserves in the country and void of birders by 18.00!!! I hung around for a while more before heading off.

25-5-11, Paxton Pits NR

I had a week off work however I had to pop in on Tuesday afternoon to attend a training session but Wednesday morning, very early, I was on the way to Cambridgeshire before having a couple of days in North Norfolk. Paxton Pits was my early destination for one thing only, and a very shameful one thing too. I have never seen a Nightingale before, heard them but not seen them. A bit embarrising really but I have just never been anywhere where they existed before. On arrival I was quite excited at finally nailing the bird and I was told I would definately see one here. I headed along the path and immediately heard two sing but couldnt see anything. Then I arrived at a rustic fence which was to prevent people walking around the bushes where the Nightingales favoured. I hung around for about half an hour but no sign. Was I going to dip this bird? The shame. Nothing was showing and the singing had stopped so I headed on along the path. Good idea. In a small gap three NIGHTINGALES were chasing each other for half a minute before flying off. Walking further on and I soon realised there were Nighingales everywhere and I even managed to get a record photo too, great fun. Other birds noted were Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Dunnock, Black Headed Gull, Cormorant, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Bullfinch, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Wren, Long-tailed Tit, Mallard, Mute Swan, Song Thrush, Robin, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Tern, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Jackdaw, Great Tit, Rook, Blue Tit, Tufted Duck and Collared Dove.

Weeting Heath.

Next site was about three quarters along the road however my timing was awful and it took about two hours with the morning rush hour traffic around Cambridge. As most will know, Weeting Heath is one of or the best sites to see Stone Curlew and having only ever seen one at Marsh lane NR on the 5th of May, 2007 I wanted to see one on its breeding ground. On arrival there was no-one around and just guessed on going to the hide to the right of the centre. Only a couple of minutes in the hide and a Stone Curlew was in the distance and in the heat haze, no photo oppurtunities here. Other birds noted were Chiffchaff, Carrion Crow, Coal Tit, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Pied Wagtail, Rook, Lapwing, Mistle Thrush and Woodpigeon.

Lakenheath RSPB.

Just down the road is Lakenheath RSPB reserve, home to the Golden Oriole. I came here in July 2007and saw my first one bringing food to the nest. From the car park I headced along the river to the back of the reserve before walking back down the track through the middle hoping for any sight or sound of the Orioles. Birds noted were Chaffinch, Shelduck, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Mute Swan, Coot, Mallard, Cuckoo, Garganey, Wigeon, Gadwall, Carrion Crow, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon, Blue Tit, Wren, Pheasant, Black Headed Gull, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Skylark, Hobby, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Egyptian Geese, Cormorant, Chiffchaff, Canada Geese, Swift, Blackcap, Bittern and Great Spotted Woodpecker. No Orioles but a male was doing his contact calls through the poplars. I hung around for about an hour to see if the bird showed but with no success but fun listening to the calls.

Great Ryburgh.

Another bird I have never seen is a Honey Buzzard, well apart from a bird I saw at Flamborough Head a few years ago when I saw the back end of a bird flying away being mobbed by other birds, Buzzard size with flat wings. I got on it before it glided out of view and couldnt make a positive identification but I was sure, from the jiss, that it was a Honey Buzzard but not sure enough to claim it. Great Ryburgh is a raptor watchpoint, and very good for Honey Buzzards. It was early afternoon so I decided to hang around for a couple of hours here. Birds noted were Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Gadwall over, Common Whitethroat, Yellowhammer, Lapwing, Greylag Geese, Pheasant, Wren, Rook, Greenfinch, Swallow, Cuckoo, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Black Headed Gull, Skylark, Grey Heron, Egyptian Geese, Swift, Marsh Harrier and Lesser Black-backed Gull. No show on the Honey Buzzard front but not expecting to see one so not too bothered.

Stiffkey Marsh

It was late afternoon and I was tired now after an early start so I had a walk along the marshes at Stiffkey, not expecting much but you never know. Birds noted were Black Headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jackdaw, Wren, Blackbird, Dunnock, Redshank, Herring Gull, Blue Tit, Lapwing, Pied Wagtail, Shelduck, Little Egret, Chaffinch, Mallard, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pheasant, Meadow Pipit, Oystercatcher, Linnet, Chiffchaff, Avocet, Common Whitethroat, Skylark, Red-legged Partridge, Greylag Geese, Reed Bunting, Great Tit, Swallow and Greenfinch.

Stiffkey Fen.

Last site of the day and I decided to pop down to the fen just down the road from the marshes. Birds noted were Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Oystercatcher, Chiffchaff, Avocet, Black Headed Gull, Shelduck, Mallard, Jay, Cettis Warbler, Redshank, Moorhen, Wigeon, Ringed Plover, Woodpigeon, Garden Warbler, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Common Tern, Pied Wagtail, Greylag Geese, Lapwing, House Martin, Sedge Warbler and Yellowhammer.

A great day out, very long but lots of birds. Time for some Woodfordes Werry.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

24-5-11, Croxall GP.

This wasn't the plan for today. I was going to take my mother to Middleton RSPB, had a quick look on tinternet to see if there was an opening time orf new car park etc. To begin with the website says the site is opening at the end of the month, I thought it opened mid May, and no access till 10am. Whats that all about?? I had to be at work for 12.00 so we knocked the idea on the head and I came to Croxall instead. A walk upto the hide and a scan produced Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Canada Geese, Swift, Oystercatcher, Coot, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Dunnock, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Black Headed Gull, Reed Bunting, Mallard, Great Tit, Cormorant, House Martin, Mute Swan, 17 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling, Grey Heron, 2 Ringed Plover, 3 Little Ringed Plover, Stock Dove, Starling and Magpie. Through to the east side and a quick look in the hide and I added Buzzard, Rook, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Gadwall and a single Common Tern along the river. Back towards the car and I added Pied Wagtail, Blackbird and a very showy Garden Warbler. Nice.

Whitemoor Haye.

On to the patch and I had a look at the pool from the Tamworth road as I could look along the pool. I noted Stock Dove, Carrion Crow, Wren, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Coot, Greenfinch, Black Headed Gull, Lapwing and plenty of Swifts. A drive around thge corner, park up the car and then off around the lanes and I added Swallow, Tree Sparrow, Shelduck, Skylark, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail, Corn Bunting, Common Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail, Yellowhammer, Kestrel, Blackbird, Linnet, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Reed Bunting, Long-tailed Tit, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Mallard and Magpie. Onto the pool and I couldnt add anything else. Off to work for a couple of hours now:-(

Blithfield Reservoir.

During the training I had my pager on and I was suddenly awoken with news of a Red-necked Phalarope at Blithfield. Cracking. It would bve a welcome addition to my Staffs and year list. As soon as the van was parked up the car was motoring through Kings Bromley, Hamstell Ridware, Abbots Bromley then on to Blithers. The bird was in Tad Bay so I headed through the gate and past the feeder station full to a, I assumed, full hide. I opened the doors and it was empty!!!! Then I remembered there is another hide to the right. I decided to have a scan from this hide as I could see the majority of the shoreline. Birds noted to this point were Chiffchaff, Hobby over the car park area, Robin, Great Tit, Mute Swan, Black Headed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Yellow Wagtail, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Coot, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Blackcap, Pheasant, Cormorant, Garden Warbler, Gadwall, Shoveler and Shelduck. There was no sign of the Phalarope along the shoreline then I noticed a slack bit of water. A quick scan and there was the Red-necked Phalarope. Distant but superb and by looking at the plumage it was a smart female but I could be very wrong. Superb. After feasting on then bird in the hide all on my own I headed around the point and into Blithe Bay before heading home. Other birds noted were Buzzard, Swift, Teal, Wren, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Spotted Flycatcher (year tick), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Lesser Black-backed Gull and a couple of Long-tailed Tits. Quality. Then it was back home to get the car ready and pack for a couple of days in Norfolk. Come on.