Monday, 27 February 2012

26-2-12, Whitemoor Haye.

After the highs of last weeks twitch is was down to the usual stuff. Saturday consisted of work and then having a few beers whilst watching Wales put one over the English then Sunday was more work but I managed to get around Whitemoor before having a rest. Birds noted were Wigeon,Mallard, Rook, Redshank and a single Oystercatcher around the pool. There was a few ducks present until a group of at least twelve peole walked from behind the quarry having a small walk around the quarry. Out of bounds for birders, obviously ok for Gypsies hunting hares and robbing diesel and the people from the outdoor centre by the lake.
Birds added around the lanes were Blue Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Starling, Carrion Crow, Robin, Woodpigeon, 177 Mute Swan, 4 Grey Partridge, Herring Gull, Wren, Blackbird, about 70 Golden Plover however I spoke to a couple of odd chaps hanging round the lanes at Whitemoor (!!!!!!!!!!!!) and they had seen a couple of much larger flocks, about 350 Lapwing, Magpie, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer, Stock Dove, Reed Bunting, 2 Little Owl, Kestrel, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Fieldfare, Jackdaw, Greenfinch, Great Tit, Black Headed Gull, Moorhen, Pheasant, Meadow Pipit and a few Dunnocks.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

18-2-12, Rhiwderin.

There was really only one place to be this weekend and that was on a cold, wet and windy bryn bach or small hill to the non educated. Yep it was a normal day on the outskirts of Cardiff where a Yankee warbler had turned up along with most bloggers!!!! A group of us headed down to the village early Saturday in full excitement but this was soon extinguished after a couple of hours on site in strong wind and rain, not good conditions and the bird remained hidden. With the conditions deteriorating more then group made the decision to do a bit more birding in the area but birds noted here were Dunnock, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Nuthatch, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Siskin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Song Thrush, Buzzard, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Goldcrest, Magpie and Black Headed Gull. The forecast was to brighten up later so it was off to the car and on to another site.

Cosmeston Lakes CP.

This was a small nature reserve just west of Cardiff and was a temporary home to a Lesser Scaup. Within minutes of arriving the Lesser Scaup was found in with the Tufted Ducks over the far side of the lake so we headed off to get a better look.

Unfortunately my digi-scoping skills deserted me this weekend so this was the best shot I got of it but it was a real cracking full plumaged male bird. After feasting on it we headed back to the car when one of the group found a bonus Mediterannean Gull.
There was also a Whooper Swan on site but if this was gonna be claimed as a year tick then I was going to have the Tawny Owl that had just flown down from a tree and landed on a chaps hand who was, and I am sure very glad he was, wearing a thick glove on one hand!!!!! Other birds noted here were Mute Swan, Coot, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Canada Geese, Robin, Pochard, Great Crested Grebe, Magpie, Common Gull, Moorhen, Jackdaw and Herring Gull.

Cardiff Bay.

With the weather still rubbish we headed for Cardiff Bay where a Bonapartes Gull had been present. We parked up by the barrage and had a walk but we failed to locate a helipad whwre the bird was present, let alone the bird itself. But here the weather was rubbish. Birds noted were Black Headed Gull, Curlew, Cormorant, Pied Wagtail, Rock Pipit, Turnstone, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull and Carrion Crow. Oh well, at least there were a couple of year ticks in there. We was at the far end of the barrage when news come through that the star bird had been seen briefly. That was enough.


The car park was now closed as cars couldnt get in or out of the car park so we parked up in a side street, over a stile a in minutes we were with the gathering masses all trying to look in a small ditch adn it was not long before a small browny green bird with an obvious yellow chest quickly popped onto a perch before dropping down again,a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. This was a 1st winter male blown in from America and it was a real stunner. Like a muppet I had bought all of my gear bar my bins, and all of the gear bar my bins were no good. I tried some photos but the bird was very mobile, only perching for a milli second before back down on the ground. It was chasing small flies and many people commented on the flycatcher like feeding. We watched the bird for about 30 minutes before it had had enough and started feeding along teh hedgerow. As we headed back down the hill to the car park it had moved 200 yards in the space of a couple of minutes and the masses were in hot persuit. We went home. Many thanks to the driver and his navigator for the day, great fun.

Monday, 20 February 2012

12-2-12, Alrewas GP.

Im a bit late putting out these posts so I will keep them to the point. It was WeBS weekend and so it was the usual lakes counting birds however with a quick big freeze there could be a slight problem. First pit was the gravel pit by the A38. Birds noted were Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Goldfinch, Redwing, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Wigeon, Pochard, Robin, Collared Dove, Cormorant, Coot, Mallard, Dunnock, Canada Geese, Carrion Crow, Black Headed Gull, Fieldfare, Magpie, Wren, Chaffinch, Redshank, Pied Wagtail, Lapwing, Gadwall, Grey Heron, Goldeneye, Shoveler, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Grey Wagtail, Teal, Greylag Geese, Great Crested Grebe and a bonus Kingfisher.

National Arboretum.

Birds noted were Chaffinch, Redwing, Lesser Redpoll, Canada Geese, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, Mallard, Teal, Goosander, Fieldfare, Starling, Kingfisher, Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Black Headed Gull, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Woodpigeon, Long-tailed Tit and Woodpigeon.

Junction Pit.

A very frozen pit but birds noted were Chaffinch, Great Tit, Mallard and Blue Tit.

Croxall GP.

Another 99.99% frozen pool but there was a small patch of water around the edge which held a few ducks. Birds noted were Little Egret, Shelduck, Chaffinch, Redshank, Mallard, Teal, Buzzard, Cormorant, Wren, Kingfisher, Redwing, Blackbird, Great Tit, Woodpigeon, Dunnock, Long-tailed Tit. Grey Heron, Snipe, Mute Swan, Magpie, Meadow Pipit, Canada Geese, Fieldfare, Robin, Kestrel and Starling.

Undisclosed Pit.

Birds noted were Goosander, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Coot, Canada Geese, Cormorant, Little Grebe, Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit, Smew, Skylark, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Lapwing and Mute Swan.

I will try and crearte a table to give the count numbers and paste it onto a posting if that is possible.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

19-2-12, News.

Unfortunately been a bit busy over the past week with work and twitches but whilst inn the pub at the debating table, i was forced to use my phone to go on tinternet and was suprised to see a link to a document called "White Wagtail split from Pied Wagtail". Is this true? Can anyone confirm this document? I loves an armchair tick???
news of the last couple of weekends birding to come but to tease!!!!

Smew on a gravel pit
Lots of Shoveler and Goosander to report
A beutiful Common Yellowthroat
A bread eating Whooper Swan and a cracking Lesser Scaup
A nearly bird of the day Goldcrest
But first, bed.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Rutland Water Photos.

Dunlin on the North shore

A funny sheep but well wrapped up against the weather

One of the many paths.

Barb wire and fencing covered in frost 1 inch thick!!

Another shot along the paths.

More frost on a branch.

Another shot of a path.



Great Tit





More frost on barb wire

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

11-2-12, Rutland Water.

With all of this superb cold weather I fancied a nice mini trip out. The Western Sandpiper had not been reported and to be honest, with all of the dodgy roads around, I didnt want to travel to far so I decided to head for Rutland Water. A good day can get you plenty of birds here and ideal to give the year list a good kick up the arse. I was eventually on site about 08.50 (after breaking down in Melton Mowbray) and it was bloody freezing, easily minus double figures with at least four inches of snow still on the ground. Fantastic. I started at the Egleton reserve and headed around Lax Hill before trying the lagoons but I was hampered by two things, fog and ice. Birds noted were Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Robin, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, Redwing, Dunnock, Greenfinch, Kestrel, Wren, Moorhen, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Mallard, Black Headed Gull, Bullfinch, Green Woodpecker, Egyptian Geese, Wigeon, Coot, Shelduck, Gadwall, Meadow Pipit, Pochard, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Goldeneye, Teal, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Dunlin, Nuthatch, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Pheasant, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Pintail, Greylag Geese, Goldfinch, Fieldfare, Linnet, Song Thrush, Black-tailed Godwit, Starling, Lapwing, Knot, Water Rail, Reed Bunting, Siskin, Long-tailed Tit and Rook. Next stop was the Lyndon reserve for Smew and Scaup, or so I thought!!! I turned down the fairly clear track and kept driving downhill towards the car park, no shut signs or no entry signs etc. I rounded a bend and strainght on to ice and snow and I was thinking it would be a struggle to get out. This became very evident when I reached the car park and it was shut. Doh. I managed to turn the car in a gateway but that was as far as I was going. I was well and truely stuck. In nearly twenty years of motoring this was the first time I had ever got proper stuck. A phone call to the reserve centre and I was eventually freed after a couple of hours driving through the car park then along the track adjacent to the bird hides and on too the roads. I decided to give up looking around here and tried for another bird in another part of the reserve. Not having seen a Long-tailed Tit for several years the one that has been in the north arm for sometime was well needed. I parked up near a carpark and was soon watching, at long range, a cracking Long-tailed Duck. I also added in this area Woodpigeon, Buzzard, Goosander, Buzzard and Little Grebe. With not much else to find I headed home. It wasnt till later that evening Birdguides mentioned a Black-necked Grebe that was seen not far from the Long-tailed Duck but my pager wasnot working properly that day and so I never got that message. I went home.

Foremark Reservoir.

I was heading down the A50 and there was still a bit of daylight left so I decided to divert to Foremark reservoir to look at the gull roost. I arrived just as dusk was falling and noted the following. Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Black Headed Gull, Cormorant, Carrion Crow, Mallard, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Blackbird, Wren, Pheasant, Goldeneye and Pied Wagtail. Having only done this roost once when the Franklins Gull was present, it seemed a difficult roost to check out as the birds were spread over a very wide area meaning it was hard to keep scanning through and try to be thorough when the birds are well spread and mobile. This could have been the reason why no one else was present. I went home.

Monday, 6 February 2012

6-2-12, Stubbers Green.

With a day off I decided to do something weird, go and photograph and study some gulls. Gulls are a major weakness to me and it is more than time I did something about it. After taking the dog to the vets I was at the gull heaven for about 10.45. The sailing pool 95% frozen and there was a few gulls on the ice but not many. Then the photographs began although they are not very good as A) my camera is a bit old, B) I am rubbish and C) there was a misty haze every now and again that came over the lake but I had a go and photographing the species.

To start with, a Black Headed Gull.

Then comes along an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull. So far hopefully so good.

A couple of Herring Gulls.

Common Gull.

Not really sure what this gull was!!!!!!!!

From the size alone I figured this was a Great Black-backed Gull. Looking at Gulls by Olsen and Larsson its hard to put an age on but possibly a 3rd winter!!!!!

Another chap was on site who was pretty good with gulls and gave me some advice whilst looking for gulls and he was a bit interested in this juvenile due to the lack of contrast between the wing coverts and the breast so I took a photo to see what others think.

This was another gull the chap was interested in. Lesser Black-backed body but the wing tips look long and as it is in adult plumage the legs are not yellow but pink. He thought proberbly a Herring x Lesser Black-backed hybrid. Again opinions welcome.

And finally a couple of shots of one of the Caspian Gulls that have been freqenting Stubbers Green. I had a handy chat with the chap on why this was a classic Caspian. Very interesting and hopefully I will remember these next time and find my own.

The complete bird list for the area was Shoveler, Black Headed Gull, Coot, Tufted Duck, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Mallard, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Great Tit, Caspian Gull, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Fieldfare, Goldfinch and Starling.

Whitemoor Haye.

Onto the local patch and the pool was still completely frozen so it was on to the lanes and birds noted were Magpie - about 20 in total were seen including a group of 13, Robin, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Black Headed Gull, Starling, Great Tit, 4 Mallards flying over, Goldfinch, Wren, Dunnock, 322 Mute Swan, a single Corn Bunting singing, 3 Grey Heron, c20 Lapwing, Lesser Black-backed Gull, a Kingfisher which flew out of the ditch, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, 16 Fieldfare, Yellowhammer, Chaffinch, 2 Little Owls, Reed Bunting, 18 Golden Plover, a single Song Thrush, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Pheasant, Canada Geese and and a couple of Pied Wagtails.


Twas dentist time at 16.00 but walking through afterwards I noticed a few Pied Wagtails on top of the shops roofs in the arcade, about 30 in total. Then passing Argos byu the car park there must have been another 90 to 100 birds on the roofs. I have seen pictures of urban roosts in trees with masses of Pied Wagtails and I would love to see this spectacle and hopefully its occering in Lichfield.

I went home.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

5-2-12, Whitemoor Haye.

By-eck the forecasters do it right. Saturday afternoon we had a right royal dumping of the white stuff so didn't bother popping to Whitemoor Haye and todays fishing match has been cancelled. With family commitments now the order of the day, including some beer, I only had time for a local patch visit. As is now the reality there was nowt on the pool so I continued to park the car up and walk around the lanes with girlfriend and dog in tow. I was not expecting much on the birding front because A) loads of snow, B) a very happy, constantly yapping hound and C) a chatty girlfriend playing with a yappy hound but it trurned out ok, not a bad bird list. Birds noted were 2 Bullfinch, Carrion Crow, c 30 Tree Sparrow, Robin, a couple Fieldfare, 6 Grey Partridge, Woodpigeon, c40 Golden Plover, c500 Lapwing, Black Headed Gull, Wren, c 1000 Starlings, 6 Snipe sheltering in the ditches as the pools were well frozen, a year tick too, Blackbird, 121 Mute Swan, 2 Grey Heron, several Reed Butings, loads of Dunnocks, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Pheasants, several Yellowhammer, 30+ Skylarks flew over when diturbed by a dog walker in a field along with c250 Redwing, Goldfinch, a single Buzzard, Linnet, Great Tit, Magpie and nearing where the car was parked a raptor came across the fields and started chasing Skylarks. I got the scope the scope on the bird and for several minutes I was watching a superb adult male Merlin. Very enjoyable. Off to the pub now.
Below are a few photos taken along the way.
The Whitemoor Haye lanes.

The views over to Sittles Farm where the masses of Mute Swans usually gather.

Tree Sparrow in a hedge.

Robin in a hedge next to Tree Sparrows (see above)

Some of the c1000 Starlings.

3-2-12, Whitemoor Haye.

Slowly the nights are drawing out allowing the odd bit of post work birding. I likes that!! I had about an hour before it was too dark so a very quick look on the pool, which was frozen, produced nothing so I concentrated on the lanes. Birds noted were Magpie, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, about 400 Lapwing, 40-50 Mallard which were seen in flight over the far side of the quarry/river, upset by shooters, a massive 392 Mute Swan, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Fieldfare, Tree Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Yellowhammer, a single Grey Heron, 2 Little Owl, 131 Jackdaw seen flying to roost fron the pig farm, 2 Pied Wagtail, Pheasant, Starling, a single Golden Plover, and Wren.
Work again tomorrow then a fishing match on Sunday so no more birding this weekend unless I can get to Whitemoor Haye after work tomorrow although the forecast is snow. If that comes true I might watch England v Scotland.