I was feeling a bit brighter today so my plan was to target Cannock Chase for a couple of birds. My first place was going to be the rifle range but approaching Rugeley it was getting a bit foggy. Reaching the sharp left hand bend where you enter thr rifle range area it was almost a pea souper, I couldnt see ten yards ahead let alone a Great Grey Shrike in some trees. A bit of umming and arring and cursing and I headed for Freda's Grave to see if it was any better. It was, slightly. I cut my losses and parked and had a walk. Here the fog was not too bad so I had a steady walk around the area. Birds noted were Chaffinch, Robin, Carrion Crow, Wren, Jackdaw, Great Tit, Blackbird, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Dunnock, Magpie and Green Woodpecker. Hardly going to set the birding world on fire. Where now?
I was passing so I parked up and took the plunge. Fortunately the fog was very patchy and most of the time around the shooting butts area there was pretty good visibility. Birds noted were Great Tit, Robin, Chaffinch, Coal tit, Long-tailed Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Song Thrush, Woodlark (year tick), Woodpigeon and 2 Mistle Thrushes. I was a bit suprised to find a Woodlark in mid February so had a good look at the bird to make sure it was said species, which it was, and later I was told that this is about the right time for them to start coming back. Nice.
With breakfast being needed it was a a quick dash home then back out to the good old faithful site for a slow walk around. At least here there was a bit less fog. Birds noted were Robin, Chaffinch, Tree Sparrow, 155 Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Black-headed Gull, Lapwing -the flock was up to around the 1000 mark today but were very flighty around the area, Dunnock, Magpie, Wren, Reed Bunting, Starling, Buzzard, Mute Swan, Grey Partridge, 103 Fieldfare, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Moorhen, Kestrel, Great Tit, Pied Wagtail, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll (site tick) - a few were in the trees with Siskins and a couple of Cormorants passed over. At the pool I added 15 Teal, 9 Tufted Duck, 28 Pochard, 145 Wigeon, Canada Geese, 12 Mallard, 2 Oystercatchers and some Long-tailed Tits.
I was feeling a bity tired now and in hindsight should have called it a day but I decided to head to Branston gravel pit for the first time this year. On arrival I saw localbirding Richard just finishing his session there, reeling off a nice list he had recorded and I set off hoping for a year tick in the form of a Green Sandpiper which he had seen today. Birds noted around this excellent site were Robin, Chaffinch, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Fieldfare, Coot, Tufted Duck, Teal, Mallard, Blackbird, Wigeon, Oystercatcher, Grey Partridge, Canada Geese, Shelduck, Little Egret, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Great Tit, Pied Wagtail, Carrion Crow, Cormorant, Wren, Dunnock, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Redshank, Pheasant, Buzzard, Green Sandpiper, Stock Dove, kestrel, Starling and Green Woodpecker. Not too bad really, just missed a Ruff which Richard had noted but got the Green Sandpiper for my year list.