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.