Thursday, 26 December 2013

26-12-13, Its the pits!!!

First of all I am replying to some messages, its my blog, I set it up and I cannot reply to messages.  Unbelievable.  Tapper - the Crossbills are favouring a small group of pines in Budby south forest, follow the birders, there are loads of them there.  Rob - happy Christmas mate.

It seems ages since I broke up from work but with either the weather being rough or me too drunk to birdwatch I was unable to get out until Xmas day and as I was celebrating my 40th birthday the evening before I felt a bit rough to begin with then but the weather was good and I was not going to miss out on a bit of gravel pit birding on Xmas morning.

I have also had my eyepiece returned.  It was not easy and I did have to say a coupe of white lies but its back at last.

25-12-13, Alrewas GP.

4 Grey Heron
29 Coot
2 Wigeon
41 Tufted Duck
1 Pochard
1 Goldeneye
9 Mallard
5 Lapwing
1 Kingfisher

National Arboretum

1 Chiffchaff on river

Whitemoor Haye.

16 Tufted Duck
1000+ Lapwing
11 Coot
12 Wigeon
2 Little Owls


After a beer free Xmas day I had options.  Wales for Hoopoe and Buff-bellied Pipit.  Leicestershire/Rutland to grab a Velvet Scoter, Scaup and Black-throated Diver.  Humber Estuary and Sheffield for Ivory Gull and Two-barred Crossbill.  Each of the above was very tempting but I looked at the weather, the forecast was a lovely day, every man and his dog would be out today Xmas shopping or just out working off yesterdays meal .  I don't do bank holidays away from home too far so once again I concentrated on the local pits.

Whitemoor Haye.

I was on site for about 08.30 and I was greeted with dense fog.  Bugger.  I had a walk about but it was pretty useless, o couldn't even see the pool let alone count ducks, I could just hear Wigeon and Teal.  Around the lanes I also heard a Green Woodpecker and could see a Little Owl in its tree.


I popped home to wait until the sun burnt off the fog and was made up when a male Blackcap was feasting on some fat balls.  We have had a pair turn up for the past three winters.  Hopefully I will see it again next Wednesday.

National Arboretum. 

Very flooded but did see 2 Jay and heard 2 Redshank on the river edge.

Alrewas GP.

31 Mute Swan
3 Mallard
2 Cormorant
82 Tufted Duck
14 Goldeneye
9 Great Crested Grebe
17 Coot
several Mipits
2 Teal
2 Gadwall
1 Pochard
1 Smew (redhead)
18 Lapwing

Whitemoor Haye.

A second visit to end the day

8 Wigeon
c800 Lapwing
25 Tufted Duck
26 Coot
21 Teal
1 Little Grebe
2 Goldeneye
52 Golden Plover
250+ Linnet
1 Little Owl
30+ Tree Sparrow
10+ Yellowhammer

A decent end to the day and made up with finding a female Smew at Alrewas GP. 

With another deep depression heading towards the UK and the forecast for the next few days pretty rubbish I am not sure when I will be out next.

Monday, 16 December 2013

15-12-13, Peices of 14.

Budby South Forest.
Saturday was a working day for me but the night time was all play, well drinking!! Back to the birding and as I was not fit to drive early Sunday I employed my birding mate to do the driving, I just sat in the passengers seat and talked rubbish.  We were soon at our destination, Sherwood Forest, and in particular Budby south forest and our target was Parrot Crossbills.  14 birds (hence the title) have been present for a few days and as I have failed miserably with the two-barred variety, these were a must.
We parked in Sherwood Forest visitor centre and had a decent walk to find the birds but it was ideal to sober up.  We soon found the south forest and eventually the loads of birders present all surrounding a couple of pines and there at the top were several crossbills, several Parrot Crossbills. BOOM, get in there.
Male Parrot Crossbill.
Female Parrot Crossbill

Sherwood Forest.
After enjoying the crossbills we had a steady walk back to the car via quite an important tree nearby, the 'Mighty Oak' which is meant to be quite famous as Robin Hood lived or hid in it, sorry history is not my strongest point.  Anyway a mighty tree all the same, in fact there was several decent oaks around the forest and loads of birch that was a victim of the recent winds, by-eck there was some damage done.  Nowt much to add here but we did come a cross a woman feeding the birds, she does them daily, and when the food was put out it was a frenzy of birds.  Blue, Coal and Great Tits everywhere, at one point there was at least 20 Great tits queuing up.  Three Nuthatches were also having a good feed. 

Rufford CP.
The day was getting on a bit and after a quick food stop where we managed to miss a harsh shower we decided to head for Rufford park as both of us had not had Lesser Peckers this year.  In fact this site produced my one and only Lesser Pecker a few years ago.  Unfortunately we were not lucky today however we did see a Hawfinch at the tops of the trees and in the Yews there were loads of Redwings but not a lot else.
With not a lot of daylight left we headed home.



Tuesday, 10 December 2013


Well, as predicted it was a pretty uneventful weekend.  Saturday was a lock open day at Atherstone, quite fun but hard work and Sunday was a day of nothing but I did have a walk around Whitemoor Haye, still scopeless I must add.
Birds of note included
126+ Fieldfare
30+ Redwing
112 Coot
62 Tufted Duck
30 Mallard
84 Wigeon
250+ Golden Plover over
455+ Lapwing
4 Tree Sparrow
several Yellowhammer
400+ Woodpigeon
1 Mistle Thrush.
Nothing special I am afraid.
I have been asked to give some information on Whitemoor Haye as I bird it.
On the A513 out of Alrewas towards Tamworth, the arboretum is on your left. Turn right at the roundabout an drive past the Whitemoor Lakes centre.  On the left is what I call the quarry lake.  This can be viewed anywhere from the entrance to the centre to the entrance to the quarry.  A word of warning though, the centre get unhappy when kids are there, I check no-one is on the lake before I have a look however it is not against the law and there is a public footpath that runs right across the entrance.  The other side of the road is a small wood, don't ignore this, there can be some good stuff in there.  From the quarry entrance heading away from the arboretum (towards Whittington) you will be walking or what most birders do nowadays, driving around the lanes.  There is a sharp right hand turn with a rough looking track going straight on.  This is a 1.7 mile square walk and on a good day well worth it.  After the square you can keep heading towards Whittington past Sittles farm, check the hedgerows for House Sparrows, a nice addition to the site list, then round a sharp left bend and park on the next bend.  Here you can stand on the bank and check the far end of the pits.
A word of warning though, the gravel pits and fields are no go for birders.  Unfortunately people from the Whitemoor Lakes centre and poachers get away with walking around the gravel pits but birders are not accepted, the farmer has a few henchman who are happy to deal with birders but let poachers and the other people walk around.  Strange.
Quite a bit of information to take in but check as much as possible and you could have a good few hours here.  Time of day is, I find, very important.  First thing is cracking whereas afternoons can be dead.

Enjoy it, I do.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) I have a day off and was really tempted with Marshside for a Baikal Teal and then Nottinghamshite for Parrot Crossbills but I still do not have a scope.  Getting a bit nervous now as it is getting closer to Xmas, I really need it back before then.

Local pits tomorrow then!!!!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

01-12-13, Whitemoor Haye.

Very little birding this weekend.  Friday night was a Christmas party which was quite fun then Saturday I was working for the day.  Sunday morning I headed out on my push bike and rode 32 miles, this took me over the 1000 mile mark for this calendar year, tidy, then after the ride and my brecky I headed to Whitemoor Haye and noted the following.
1 Kingfisher, several Tufties, Coot, Mallard and Wigeon.  These could not be counted as a) I am still without a scope and most of the birds were distant and b) the sun was very bright and shining right on the lake making out the birds very difficult.  I could definitely make out 1 drake Goldeneye and also noted 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 44+ Lapwing, 20+ Skylark, 1 male Sparrowhawk and several Fieldfare.
Next weekend is also looking a bit of a non-birding weekend as I am working Saturday and then Sunday a few of us are heading to Derby shopping and maybe the odd cheeky beer.

26-11-13, Whitemoor Haye

A nice bit of a bonus whilst on my way home from work at dusk, I first had a Woodcock fly over the A513 at Comberford then as I was approaching the island for Whitemoor Haye on the A513 a Barn owl was hunting each side of the road shortly followed by a Woodcock heading to Whitemoor Haye.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Up to 24-11-13.

Birding these last few weekends has been a bit hit and miss and to add to injury I am only birding with my bins as whilst on holiday at Spurn the wind blew my scope over and it bent my eyepiece so that has gone in for repair, estimations are a four week turn round.  Ouch .  The weekend of 16th and 17th November was took up with work however I did finish decent on the Sunday and got down to WH for the last hour.  Birds of note were 5 Coot, 19 Tufties, 5 Pochard, 21 Wigeon, 1 Little owl and c220 Lapwing.   One count that was not good was 3 Mute Swan.  WH is an historic wintering area for swans, last year at this time we were in the 50's and the year before we were around the 100 mark.  Where are they?  Also where are the Goldeneye?  None yet!!!
With working the weekend I was given Monday and Tuesday off so I got out an about. 
circa Alrewas - biking up the A38 to the first pit I noted 400+ Lapwing and 66 Golden Plover in the field north of Alrewas.
Alrewas GP - 44 Lapwing, 72 Wigeon, 62 Tufties, 38 Coot, 6 Great Crested Grebes, 8 Mallard, 3 Teal, 3 Pochard, 3 Snipe, 18 Fieldfare, 8+ Chiffchaff  and 35 Golden Plover.
Croxall Wides - 27 Mallard, 8 Teal, 1 Redshank and 1 Little Egret.
Junction Pit - 12 Mallard, several Redwing.
Whitemoor Haye - 1 Goldeneye (if you ask them, they will come!!!!), 26 Wigeon, 21 Tufties, 4 Pochard, 621 Lapwing, 436 Golden Plover.
Croxall GP - 42 Mallard, 243 Teal, 1 Little Egret, 10 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Wigeon, 92 Tufties, 5 Grey Heron, 4 Shoveler, 4 Goosander, 3 Snipe, 19 Mute Swan, 2 Coot, 6 Bullfinch.
Whitemoor Haye - 5 Tufties, 4 Pochard, 29 Wigeon, 2 Grey Partridge, c600 Lapwing, c 90 Golden Plover.
circa Alrewas - 4 Red-legged Partridge, 200+ Lapwing.
Alrewas GP - 4 Grey Heron, 55 Tufties, 14 Great Crested Grebe, 24 Mallard, 1 Gadwall, 68 Teal, 9 Wigeon, 30+ Redwing, 20+ Fieldfare, 1 Sparrowhawk.
National Arboretum - several Fieldfare and Redwing, 40+ Linnet, 19 Mallard, 3 Little Grebe, 2+ Goldcrest, 3+ Jay.
Croxall Wides - 64 Teal.
Whitemoor Haye - 18 Tufties, 25 Wigeon, 1 Green 'pecker, 40+ Tree Sparrow, c550 Lapwing, c200 Golden Plover, c250 Linnet.
Today I had organised a trip out on the bikes with a work colleague.  we had planned to do about 20 miles but after 6 we were in a cafĂ© feeling knackered.  After a short cup of tea we got back on the bikes and enjoyed a good ride covering just over 15 miles in the hour.  Once home I got showered, changed and got down to WH.
Whitemoor Haye - 8 Mallard, 2 drake Goldeneye, 36 Tufties, 9 Pochard, 23 Coot, 53 Wigeon, 13 Cormorant, 436 Lapwing, 2 only Golden Plover, 250+ Linnet, 160+ Fieldfare, 20+ Redwing.
Okay so finally the Goldeneye have started to drip in, I was informed that there were good numbers on a private pit not far away but no numbers of swans yet bar 17 that are feeding around Croxall.  The next three weekends I am working one day so that only on day so birding will be limited again however I do have a solid two weeks off for Christmas, I was planning a New Year visit to Norfolk however there have been a couple of issues with my house in Wales that could be costly before I try to sell it so I will be staying at home but I will definitely get there in the Spring.  

Sunday, 10 November 2013


After a good evening of fireworks and lots of beer I decided to take the bike out and check out the local pits.
Circa Alrewas.
Before I reached the first destination as I biked up the A38 in the fields north of Alrewas I photographed four Red-legged Partridge.
Alrewas GP.
29 Coot, 3 Mute Swan, 48 Tufted Duck, 2 Moorhen, several Redwing, 1 Grey Wagtail, 12 Teal, 10 Great Crested Grebe, 48 Wigeon, 2 Grey Heron, 3 Pochard, 2 Gadwall, and 3 Little Grebe.
National Arboretum.
Not a lot really, a few Fieldfare and Skylark,  5 Mallard on the river and a couple of Goldcrests.
Junction Pit.
3 Lapwing, 1 Kigfisher, 5 Mallard and 21 Teal.
Whitemoor Haye.
14 Mipits were on the grass outside the outdoor centre, 14 Tufted Duck, 16 Coot, 452 Lapwing, 1 Mute Swan, 3 Tree Sparrow, 55 Golden Plover, several Skylarks and 11 Mallard.


With a few things to do today including working and setting up fireworks for this evenings village display I was at Whitemoor Haye around 07.30 for a couple of hours.  Birds noted were 4 Tufted Duck, 64 Mallard (34 of them flew from a small hidden pool), 10 Coot, 13 Wigeon, 1 only Mute Swan (four years ago I was counting 130 plus daily!!!!), 1 Redshank, 86 Lapwing, 2 Fieldfare, 60+ Tree Sparrow, 30+ Yellowhammer, 3 Reed Bunting, 1 male Merlin, 2 Buzzard, 210+ Golden Plover and a large flock of Chaffinch and Greenfinch.  A great visit with birds being very active.  Near the pig farm I watched a large flock of Greenfinch and Chaffinch, in the region of 300 birds.  I was hoping for a Brambling or two but none were found. 


With a full days work on the Saturday it left me just Sunday morning for a bit of birding. A Dusky warbler had been present at Marsh lane NR and was still present on the Saturday so as it was only a 40 minute drive I was off.  I had only been to here once before, when Stone Curlew was found and it was a lifer for me then, and I was surprised where it was as it is on the road I use to go to Hatton where we have offices and where I will be working from in my new job quite a bit, I will definitely be sorting out a permit for more visits in the longer days.
Back to today and I joined about six other birders looking for the bird and within one minute the bird was calling.  I had not done my homework and didn't have a clue of the call but a birder soon put me right and the bird was being quite vocal with lots of tick sounds.  The first hour was quite good, weather wise, with very little wind and as well as being vocal the bird was mobile but, at times, showy, enough for an ID but not a photo but who cares about that.  Dusky Warbler goes into my little book and Marsh Lane is a site I will hopefully be visiting a little more often.
Whitemoor Haye.
After the fun of a twitch I got back down to the nitty gritty and spent a couple of hours checking out the local patch.
Birds noted were 8 Mute Swan, 11 Wigeon, 31 Tufted Duck, 24 Coot, 211 Golden Plover. 679 Lapwing, 27 Stock Dove, 2 Sparrowhawks and several Tree Sparrows. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Recent Days.

You may be thinking "Has he gone to the Scilly's as he has not posted" Err, no.  Just been a bit lazy really.  Well not lazy but a bit busy thinking about it.
19th and 20th October saw me at fishing matches, yep all weekend.  was it worth it?  Was it @X@X!!!!  Rubbish really but on the bright side that is my last fishing this year so it has all been broken down and put away.
25-10, saw me and my work colleague taking part in a Champions day golf match, organiser of our golf society at the course and the winner (I was second actually as the winner could not make it) take part against other societies.  A good day, decent weather, but what about the golf I hear you say!!!

26-10, Whitemoor Haye.
I had a steady walk around the lanes and then checked out the lake before masses of kids took to screaming and paddling.
35 Tufted Duck
18 Coot
8 Pochard
19 Wigeon
4 Gadwall
A staggering and hard to believe 89 Stock Dove
1 Corn Bunting rattling its keys
243+ Lapwing
4 Mallard
1 Hobby which showed on a couple of occasions chasing pipits.
3 Buzzards
A few Tree Sparrow.

26-10, Branston GP.
33 Cormorant
471 Lapwing
12 Wigeon
6 Little Egret
9 Ruff
9 Shoveler
24+  Snipe
533 Golden Plover
2 Curlew
2 Redshank
1 Green Sandpiper.
A massive hoard of sloes which I need to harvest.

A 23 mile bike ride through the winds (quite pleased with that), watch Formula 1 or some of it as I went shopping for ingredients for the Xmas cake, back home to watch the rest of the gp, a trip to harvest previously mentioned sloe berries for this years sloe gin before eventually getting to Whitemoor Haye however it was a bit blustery so a drive around the lanes then a quick check over the lake and the highlights were
240+ Lapwing
6 Tufted Duck
10 Tufted Duck
1 Teal
3 Mute Swan.
Hmmmmmm, crap really.
After that it was home to make the Xmas cake (which has turned out cracking if you just know)
The change in the clocks will ruin any chance of birding in the evenings now, weekends only from now on and I am working on quite a few of them, however this is all about to change as I have got myself a new job, an ecologist for major projects associated with canals.  A staggering job which I cannot wait to start but will have to as I don't start until 16th December.  No more weekends bar the odd one.  More birding.  Happy days.

Monday, 14 October 2013

The past week and a bit.

Just a few days to catch up with.
Alrewas GP.
After work I decided to check out the local pits. Starting at Alrewas I noted the following. 
8 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Mute Swan, 2 Teal, 75 Tufted Duck, 1 Wigeon and 1 Greenshank.
National Arboretum.
1 Jay, 17 Mallard, 1 Grey Heron, 1+ Mistle Thrush, 1 Kingfisher and several Long-tailed Tits.
Croxall Wides.
13 Mallard, 13 Teal, 5 Mute Swan, 7 Cormorant.
Whitemoor Haye.
1 Greenshank, 2 Wigeon, 184 Coot, 31 Tufted Duck, 11 Great Crested Grebe, 22 Mallard, 8 Pochard, 11 Teal, 4 Shoveler, Mipits, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Grey Heron and 1 Red-legged Partridge.

Whilst at work in Etruria I heard four Fieldfares fly over.
Whitemoor Haye.
Once work was over it was a check of the lake followed by walking round the lanes.  Birds noted were 203 Coot, 80 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 41 Teal, 37 Mallard, 1 Cormorant, 200+ Lapwing, 2 Grey Partridge, 2 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, 3 Wigeon, 1 Grey Heron, and several Linnets and Tree Sparrows.

Whitemoor Haye.
Another check on the pool followed by the lanes. Birds noted were 147 Cormorants (a record by miles here), 11 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Egret, 134 Coot, 6 Mute Swan, 15 Mallard, 3 Gadwall, 3 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 30+ Skylark, 25+ Tree Sparrow, 20+ Yellowhammers, 240 Lapwing, 200+ Linnets, and 3 Buzzards.  

Nowt special really apart form the huge numbers of Cormorants on the lake, unbelievable. 

Sunday, 6 October 2013


Over the past few weeks I have forgot this is a blog about what I do as the Alrewas Birder, not just what birding I do.  Well to be honest I have mainly been birdwatching but I have had a few fishing matches which I have struggled surprisingly.  I used to fish the rivers as a kid and teenager and two weeks ago and yesterday I had matches on the river Soar hoping to do ok.  Result, absolute rubbish.  struggled in both and came near bottom in each.  Rubbish.  Because of these I have decided to give the winter league at Blythe fishery a miss.  I will miss the constant fishing over the winter months but I am not going to miss sitting in minus temperatures catching nothing, I can bird instead.  I will use the winter months to sort out my tackle (!!!!!!) , clean up and be refreshed ready for the new season next year.  I am also in talks to sell my house in Wales so watch out I may be moving to a house near you, if you live near where I live already that is.  Err, work, golf and ploughing matches have taken up the rest of my time.  I also have some exciting news but this cannot be revealed for several reasons but some people do know and if that is you please keep it to yourselves until I can tell all next week.
I am in a rich vein of luck at the moment and this continued this morning.  Whilst I was on a golfing holiday news came through of a Blue-winged Teal in Lincolnshire, then two then three so this morning I was off to Lincoln to find Boultham Mere and then find the birds but first I had to find the mere.  This was a bloody nightmare but after many deadends and three trips to Mcdonalds (to use Wi-Fi, not food!!!) I found the car park by the Superbowl, walked down a track and eventually found a hidden mere.  I soon found the hide and when I got set up and opened the shutters the low sun was right in my face making every bird look the same as well as a slight mist.  how the bloody hell would I find the teal, and to make it worse there were loads of ducks and lots of places for a duck to hide.  I settled down for a challenge and for ten minutes I checked out every duck I could.  Teal, Shoveler Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Mallard, you get the drift.  The sun was making this impossible.  I had a slight break and watched three birds mount a sunken island in front of the hide, checked them out with the scope and watched a bird flap its wing and show a hint of blue. BLOODY HELL, three Blue-winged Teals.  Boom boom boom.  I could not believe my eyes.  A huge mere, loads of hiding spots and my targets were the closest birds to me.  I fired off a load of photos as I couldn't believe it, who else would.  Nothing else of note, Lomg-tailed Tits and Jays in high numbers so I headed back to the car happy, very happy.

A panoramic photo, not a very good one, from the hide.  Note the high reeds, loads of open water and loads of hiding places.  This is the left hand side....

......and this is going towards the right.  Note the post on the left, that is near where the birds perched later. 
The first sighting the Blue -winged Teals, the third one is behind the bird on the right. 

The first proper views of why it is called a Blue-winged Teal.  Cracking.

 I will admit I have been a bit sceptical about these birds, I mean one Blue-winged Teal would raise eyebrows about where it came from but three together, on a small mere in Lincoln, these had to be escapees however nothing has been said and after a bit of homework last night it is not uncommon for these birds to turn up not alone.  I will pencil it in my black book for the time being.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Its photo time.

Just a catch up on some recent photos.
My first ever lightening photo over Fradley.

Night Heron - Thornton Reservoir

Great Black-backed Gull chasing and Osprey honest - Blithfield
Juvenile Swallow - Spurn
A few pictures of a guilty pleasure of mine, ploughing and hedgelaying matches!!


A tired Gannet - Filey Brigg
White-winged Black Tern (you can just see the white rump) - Attenborough NR

Turnstone - Bridlington

Wigeon - Filey Brigg

Common Scoter - Bridlington

Little Stint - Spurn
Waders various - Blacktoft Sand RSPB (can anyone get the three species or in fact see them????)
Red-breasted Flycatcher - Robin Hood's Bay
Snipe - Blacktoft Sands RSPB

Dunlin - Hornsea Mere

Monday, 30 September 2013


We decided to be on the harbour wall for 07.30 so we could get a good seat on the boat but looking out to sea it was rather choppy and there were a few doubts between the present birders regarding the chances of us going out.  This was soon a reality when the captain turned up and told us it was too rough to sail.  A bit of a disappointment but at least we had a day to chase more birds.  Problem was it was quiet, not a lot was being found or at least reported.  Before we left we had cracking views of a blown in Common Scoter and took photos of the cracking Turnstones around the harbour. After a decent breakfast we plotted our day and the first stop was Filey Brigg for Purple Sandpiper.  A great place but we failed with the Sandpiper but did get another close Scoter, a Wheatear and what was obviously a poorly/tired Gannet which was asleep on the rocks by the path.   Hopefully he/she is now on there way south with the others. A couple of birders mentioned the Red-breasted Flycatcher at Robin Hoods Bay and were we could find it.  This was a lifer for Tony and with not a lot else being reported we went for it.  Without going into too much detail the chaps said a mile walk to the trees and look up.  After a mile and a half we couldn't even find four sycamores let alone a red-breasted Flycatcher.  a few corners later and we found four trees, twenty minutes later I found the flycatcher, five minutes later Tony had it to.  We both fired off a load of photos and watched it for ages before we decided to get back to the car.  This had taken us deep into the afternoon but it was worth it.  Time was getting on so we opted for Whitby for two reasons, one was the ever present Eiders in the harbour and the other was fish and chips, we couldn't come up here without eating fish and chips.  Unfortunately the ever present Eiders were not present but the chip shop was.  Tea was eaten, we were both pretty knackered so we headed home.
A cracking weekend was had, we didn't do brilliant with the birds and we missed places such as Flamborough Head and Bempton Cliffs, you cannot bird on the east coast without going to these places but we were chasing birds not looking for them, selfish yes but hey, I do enough at home to be able to chase every now and again.
Once I get the photos sorted I will get some on here.  


This weekend me and a birding colleague were heading up to the east coast, the main reason is because we had a couple of seats booked on the skua/shearwater cruise out of Bridlington.  Another bonus was that I was meant to have been working on Saturday however this was cancelled, all that matters was when could my mate get a pass out for the weekend from his newly married missus, Friday night I got the answer, 07.00 Saturday morning, get in there.
A couple of hours driving and we were at our first stop, Blacktoft Sands RSPB.  This weekend was for chasing birds rather than staying in one place and the first destination was for one bird, a Pectoral Sandpiper.  Two hides into the visit and it was ticked off.  There was also Bearded Tits pinging away, Ruff, Dunlin, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank and a nice bonus in a flock (not sure of the technical term) of Pink-footed Geese flew low over as we were leaving.
Next stop, Spurn.  Midweek had seen a mass arrival of yellow-browed warblers along the east coast with many still seen Friday, we had to get one today.  Also the odd Red-breasted Flycatcher was being found, a real nice bonus and a life for my mate, but we had to find one first.  Approaching Kilnsea and the pager came alive, Yellow-browed Warbler at Easington, less than half a mile in the other direction.  Off we went.  A quick search and the briefest of views of Yellow-browed Warbler were had, not brilliant but I was enough, now Spurn. 
Arriving at Spurn we decided to head for the Warren near the tip of the point to look for any grounded migrants and as we paid to get along the point there was a bit of commotion by a bush.  We joined the birders and one had picked out another Yellow-browed Warbler.  We gave it 30 minutes but there was no sign, only of Richard from ad Paul from who were also enjoying the delights of the east coast, so we headed off to the point.  This was a pretty pathetic visit with a grand total of 11 Redwings, 1 Sparrowhawk and a couple of Great Tits seen.  Working our way up the point we stopped off at a hide but not a lot was gathered. Last visit at Spurn would be the canal scrape where we managed to nail the Little Stint and struggled to photograph it because of the photo-bombing sheep.
With the day getting on and the need to book in to the B&B we headed north and decided to take a look at Hornsea, this was after we managed to find it.  We turned down several roads which all seemed to lead to the same place until we found the right one.  A nice big mere but we didn't have much time as we were kicked out after about 40 minutes but there was four very showy Dunlin which were kind enough to have several hundred photos taken.
With time getting on we headed for Bridlington and the B&B.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Up to and including 27-9-13

Well September was planned to be a busy month and it didn't half go to plan, I don't think I have had a day at home this month, its been manic, maybe a bit too manic as I am finishing September in not the best of health however do not panic, I will survive.
I recently treated myself to a tablet and I opted for the Samsung 2.  It ain't bad really however I am struggling to get access to Alrewas Birder so I have not been able to update the blog, until now.
After Spurn it was back to local patch work with the odd bonus.

13-9-13, Whitemoor Haye.
7 Mute Swan, 8 Cormorant, 15 Mallard, 125 Coot, 148 Tufted Duck (300 flew over later on), 2 Pochard, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Black-necked Grebe (bonus year tick), 70+ Lapwing over and 6 Grey Partridge.

Alrewas GP.
149 Lapwing over, 38 Tufted Duck, 2 Kingfisher, 4 Mallard, 8 Coot, 1 Little Grebe and a Chiffchaff.
National Arboretum.
Several Mistle Thrush and Long-tailed Tits.
Croxall Wides (viewed from the arboretum).
23 Mallard and 14 Teal.
Junction Pit.
12 Mallard.
Whitemoor Haye.
57 Coot, 63 Tufted Duck, 12 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Mallard, 3 Greenshank, 12 Teal, 250+ Lapwing, 1 showy Hobby.

Alrewas GP.
circa 60 Tufted Duck, 1 Kingfisher, 20+ Great Crested Grebe, 15 Mallard and 1 Common Sand.
National Arboretum.
A few Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch and Grey wagtail.
Junction Pit.
2 Mallard (that really was all, rubbish really).
Croxall Wides.
1 Kingfisher, 5 Mute Swan, Meadow Pipit over, 1 Grey Wagtail.
Whitemoor Haye.
Due to lots of kids on the pool I didn't bother checking although a quick glimpse saw good numbers of Coot, 2 Little Grebe,  and 3 Greenshank plus the odd Tufted Duck.  Around the lanes I added several Tree Sparrow, Meadow Pipit, 5 Mute Swan and a Chiffchaff in a Long-tailed Tit flock.

26-9-13, Whitemoor Haye.
 5 Great Crested Grebe, 176 Coot, 27 Mallard, 45 Teal, 40+ Tufted Duck, 2 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Gadwall, 12 Lapwing, 1 Snipe, 8 Wigeon and 2 Little Grebe.

27-9-13, Whitemoor Haye.
119+ Coot, 16 Mallard, 24 Wigeon, 3 Pochard, 54 Tufted Duck, 2 Gadwall, 31 Teal, 7 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Snipe, 3 Shoveler, 1 female Pintail, 230+ Lapwing, several Tree Sparrow and 2 Grey Partridge.

That's the blog up to date, tomorrow it is an early start to get up to the east coast.  We are currently in the midst of a movement of Yellow-browed Warblers plus several Red-breasted Flycatchers and hopefully tomorrow we can connect with them plus the hope of the odd lifer.  Spurn is the starting point then we will follow the pager and then on Sunday I have tickets for the Skua and Shearwater cruise out of Bridlington. Cheerio for now.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

7-9-13, Spurn Migration Festival

Well it was here, a full days birding at Spurn all for the 1st migration festival ever held. I was booked on the sea watching in the morning and noted from the sea watching hide Manx Shearwaters, Bonxies, several Sooty Shearwaters, 5 Common Scoter, loads of Gannets, 1 Marsh Harrier heading south, Fulmar, 2 Red-throated Divers, Sandwich Terns and a Whimbrel plus 2 Whinchat that were perched on the fence behind the sea watching hide. From there it was back to camp for a bit of brecky. Now, without going into to much detail, I had a nightmare the night before with the inflatable bed so I had to shoot off and sort something out. Once back news soon broke of the Common Rosefinch that ha been trapped near the pub. I shot round the corner and was soon on a female/juvenile Common Rosefinch (lifer 325).  After that I had. Walk around the site when news came out about a Red-backed Shrike nearby. I was soon on site and the bird was perched on a fence before flying over to a barbed wire fence then it flew to the ground, picked up a bumble bee, flew back to the bared wire fence and put the bee on one of the barbs. Brilliant, watching the shrike take advantage of man using the fence as his larder.  After that high I decided to take advantage of the lighthouse being open at the tip of the spit and climb up to the top of the lighthouse and looked out over the spit. Totally amazing experience but I did not like going back down!!!!!
Th rest of the day was taken up with dipping on a Wryneck and a guided walk around Sammy's Point.  Birds added throughout the day were Garden Warbler, Yellow Wagtail, Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Greenshank, several Wheatear, Med Gull and Spotted Redshank. Oh and about 500+ Redshank roosting on a pool at high tide. Cracking.
Free camping and access all around Spurn plus guides on hand and some good birds, not a bad way to spend a day.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


Having looked around the blogs I regularly scan I saw advertised on Birding Frontiers a migration festival at Spurn.  Hmmmm, I thought, Spurn at the beginning of Autumn could be fun. I had only previously been there once before, a few years ago and I was rewarded with a Greenish Warbler in the pub car park. This looked like an ideal opportunity to have a weekend at Spurn purely birding. Great,  checked the calendar and bugger, work Saturday, golf match Sunday. I managed to get Saturday off and the ticket and camping was booked and finally on was on my way up in torrential rain however this was not going to be a straight forward trip to the east coast via A38, M1, M18 etc. I headed long the A50 to Long Eaton and then up to Attenborough as a White-winged Black Tern was present and would be a nice addition to the year list. After pulling up and parking the bird was showing on the lake next to the visitor centre but was showing better around by the sailing club. An hour later and I'd had good views of the bird plus some distant photos.
Back n the road and three hours later I was at Spurn, tent up, booked into sea watching and a migration walk and then I had a couple of hours spare so I went up to the sea watching hide. Several Manx Shearwaters, Bonxies, Gannets and Fulmars were all that showed.

Thursday, 5 September 2013


Well silly season is up on, silly and not Scilly as I am sure some posts will be saying soon, I ain't good or brave enough for the Scilly isles yet, maybe one day!!
Any way, silly season, why I hear you ask? Tomorrow I am heading off to Spurn point for the inaugural migration festival however it is looking like a couple of weekends too late but whatever it will be a bit of fun.  I am there until early Sunday morning then I head to Leeds for two days of golf. Back home Monday night, Tuesday is a day off but full of work and little fun then rest of the week busy at work.
Saturday I should have a fishing match but I am going to a ploughing match (anybody awake yet). Hopefully I might be able to get to Whitemoor Haye in the afternoon then early Sunday morning it is back up to Hull for a golf holiday until Wednesday night. Thursday I am thinking of blasting over to Norfolk for a couple of days, back home Friday night then Saturday I am representing CRT in the neural WICAC ( waterways industry course angling championship). Sunday I will be chilling but will get down to Whitemoor Haye. A week at work then off up north again, this time Bridlington for a skua cruise. That's September in a nut shell. So if anyone can keep an eye on WH that would be old, you may have better luck than me.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


With work yesterday I was unaware of the presence of a North American wader not too far away from home.  A Stilt Sandpiper had located itself at neumanns Flash near Northwich but I didn't look at my pager till I was at Whitemoor Haye.  Collins you plonker. No beer Saturday night and by 06.30 I was on the way to Cheshire.  I was on site around 08.00 but although I had been here before for something I didn't know where the flash was so guess who started off walking the wrong way.  Yep, me.  Now I am having a few problems with my phone, it turns on only when it wants too.  Fortunately I got it working, checked a map and soon saw the error of my ways, turned round and I was soon watching the flash from a path and before long I found a small wader on the edge of a small spit with loads of gulls, a Stilt Sandpiper, a lifer for me.  It was a kind of plump looking bird but constantly remained feeding in the water and did not show its long looking legs or fly.  There was also a couple of Ruff around too and not much else.
From Neumanns Flash I decided to head back around home and popped into Blithers for a chance of a Little Stint.  I mainly walked along Admaston reach to Blithe bay and noted loads of LRP's, at least 6 Ringed Plovers, 7+ Dunlin, lots of Yellow Wags, 3 Greenshank, 1 Ruff, a smart Whinchat, and a single Osprey.
Last stop for the day was Whitemoor Haye and not a lot was still present.  2 Little Egrets, a Greenshank, and a few Tree Sparrows.  Golly!!!!

On a positive front my laptop is now operational so hopefully I can start brightening up this blog with photos.

31-8-13, Whitemoor Haye.

Well it doesn't really get any better but I still find myself standing in the quarry entrance with the crappy warning from the security cameras telling me I have been identified as an intruder and scanning the shores hoping for waders and still very little is happening and, most probably, not going to happen.  This week has been affected with a lot of disturbance around the lake as I have been down there several times and people have been wondering around the shorelines during the evenings.  Croxall is pretty poor currently however it could be better place or a bird to take refuge than Whitemoor Haye.
Birds noted were 13 Mallard, several Yellow Wagtail, 2 Greenshanks (the only bright light), a juvenile Great Crested Grebe, a female Sparrowhawk, a couple og Grey Partridge calling and several Tree Sparrows and Common Whitethroats.

Monday, 26 August 2013

26-8-13, The bank holiday weekend.

Well it's been a bit of a mix of birding over the bank holiday, mostly the usual place, the odd twitch and also catching up on a few year birds.

23-8-13, Whitemoor Haye.
17 Mallard, 1 Greenshank, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Common Sand, 4 Great Crested Grebes inc 2 juvs, juv Great Spotted Woodpecker, juv Coot and a Little Egret.

24-8-13, Broomhead Reservoir.
This was a bit of a gamble as the forecast was pretty rubbish however when I to up at about 05.30 the weather was fine. No pain no gain, I was off. I turned off the M1 around 07.15 and that was when the weather turned for the worse, the very worse, it was biblical rain and the pads were horrendous. After a stop off at the Golden Arches I was on site about 15 minutes later and fortunately the rain had reduced o a strong drizzle. I was on the site or about 4 hours in total in various strengths of rain, plenty of Common Crossbills were seen but no sign of any two- barred crossbills. I was totally drenched and started to get cold so I gave up, this turned out not to be a bad idea as they were not seen until early evening and only very briefly.

Blithfield reservoir.
Black Terns were missing from my year list and a couple were present at a much drier Blithers so that was were I headed to next.
2 Black Terns, several Common Terns, 1 Curlew.

Whitemoor Haye.
3 Common Tern 1 juv, 30+ Mallard, 1 Common Sand, 2 Greenshank, 4+ Yellow Wags.

25-8-13, Whitemoor Haye.
After several beers the night before I opted for a couple of visits to Whitemoor Haye pool to see if anything had dropped in.
Errr, no. Nothing. 5 Great Crested Grebe inc 3 juvs, 18+ Yellow Wags, several Common Whitethroats and Tree Sparrows and that's about it.

A quiet  night in was needed tonight so I thought I would catch up on my year total and all of my records. I was surprised to find out I had so far. Seen 198 birds for the year, I was happy about that and I reckoned I could get another 15 without any twitching.

After yesterday's poor effort I fancied a few sites to catch up on some missing birds as well as local sites.
Croxall GP.
What can I say about this site? It's excellent, er no, we'll worth the visit, er no, don't bother coming er yep. It was pretty much lifeless. As I sat in the hide looking at 6 Tufties and 2 Great Crested Grebes I thought of other things that Croxall could be used for because it is rubbish a a birding destination.
1. A new local tip. Come and tip rubbish for free, no need to separate it out just throw it out of the window in the car park to add to the several bags that have started to congregate.
2. Illegal fishing. Why buy an EA licence and fish on a proper commercial fishery or canal when you can, as other are, and turn up and fish off the banks with no hassle.
3. Dog walking. Don't bother with the chase or parks or quiet lanes come to Croxall and let your dogs run free with all of the others.
4. A dog dump. Whilst doing three your dog can do a two and it can be left there with all of the others  to help fertilise the land.
5. A brothel hide. We can let out the hide where people can go and love (this is already popular looking at the litter in the hide??????
Just a handful of ideas that Croxall can be used for.
Anyway I did see a few Chiffchaffs, 15 Mallard, 6 Tufies, 150+ Lapwing, a few Great Crested Grebes, 4 Shoveler, 20 + Teal, 4 Little Egrets, 1 Kingfisher, 7 Snipe, and 3 Yellow Wags over.

Whitemoor Haye.
30+ Mallard, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 7 Great Crested Grebe including 3 juvs, 3 Grey Heron, 2 Common Tern, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Common Sand heard, 1 Raven over and a Chiffchaff.

Uttoxeter Quarry.
I have only birded here once when the Lesser Yellowlegs turned up and have driven past on many occasions and wondered where people parked.  Anyway after getting directions to park from Mr Powell I still failed so I parked on the main roadand hiked over the fields.  Again thanks to Richard I found the pool and was soon on a nice juvenile Curlew Sand (bird no 199 for the year) along with a Dunlin.  Also seen were 2 Green Sands, plenty of wildfowl (mostly Mallard and geese however it is nice to see after a barren Whitemoor Haye), and a calling Chiffchaff.

Just down the road from Utch is Blithers and a bird amazingly missing from my year list was a Ruff, slightly embarrasing.  several had been seen at Blithers over the last few weeks so I was almost certain to get my 200th for the year.  Birds noted were Hobby flying over on arrival, 1 female Goldeneye, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, a Ruff (yippee), 2 Osprey, 2 juvenile Black Terns, 2 Greenshank and a Raven over.

Not a bad bank holiday.  I would have loved to be on the east coast this weekend though, never mind.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


Well Whitemoor Haye is going through a very lean period at the moment, I popped down the lake and a drive around the lanes and not a lot was noted. A few Tree Sparrows around the pig field and the quarry entrance, a few House Sparrows by Sittles farm, the odd Common Whitethroat, a few Mute Swans and plenty of Lesser Black-backed and Black Headed Gulls heading to roost somewhere. I also heard a Common Sandpiper but these were a fair way out of sight being pushed down the lake with lots of activity from the outdoor centre.
Non-birding, I managed to get out on my bike on the 19th and did 12 miles averaging 15.7 mph, quite pleased with that as I have not been out for a bit. Then last night I was enjoying the great company of a few pints of Southwold brewed by Adnams. Bloody bootiful.
Back to birding and I have booked myself on the migration festival that is being held at Spurn on 7th and 8th September however I am going up Friday, staying Saturday then off to Leeds early Sunday for two Days of golf. Come on. The festival is not everyone's cup of tea but there is plenty set up to do and it's a place I have only visited once before. Just read Martin Garner latest posting on Birding Frontiers and on the same dates over the last few years there have been some great birds found, some which I am needing to grace my little black book. Looking forward to that.
Finally sorry for the lack of pictures, my laptop has now been dedicated to photos and no tinternet, my mothers computer decided it didn't like the Internet and we are waiting that to be fixed and I am typing this on an iPad 4 which as yet I cannot get photos on it as there is no USB slot however I am hoping this will be sorted soon. Then I will bore you to death even more!!!!

Monday, 19 August 2013

19-8-13, Mothing.

Hi, I need your help and expertise. I have for a long time fancied a bit of mothing in the back garde. We have two spot lights that light up our yard and when it gets dark and they turn on there are usually loads of moths and I want to know what's out there.
Has anyone got any experience of mothing?
Does anybody know of any literature on how to set up moth traps and in particular th aftercare of the moths?
Any help would be much appreciated.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Weekend ending 18-8-13

Well not a bad weekend for various reasons. On Friday after a crap day at work I dragged myself around the usual patch, Whitemoor Haye. It was bloody windy and with that the birds kept down. I did note 12 Mute Swan, 1 Grey Heron, 27 Mallard, 3 Yellow Wags, 1 Common Tern, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Common Sands and a few Tree Sparrows. On the Saturday I took my mom to Birdfair at Rutland Water and it was good fun, met Alan Davies from The Biggest Twitch who I know from living in Wales and birding at Conwy RSPB a fair bit, brushing shoulders with Bill Oddie, Simon King, Jonny Kingdom and Nick Baker as well. As just enjoying everything associated with birding. I really enjoy Birdfair as it usually gets me excited for the coming months however I am already raring to bird. Before we enjoyed the delights of Birdfair we went and watched the Ospreys for a bit to add to my year list.
Returning from Birdfair I had to partake in a cracking cup of Yorkshire tea and then I popped down to Whitemoor Haye.  A tad windy but no rain and I was not expecting much. Birds notes were 16 Mute Swan, 3 Common Tern, 1 Common Sandpiper (there was obviously a lot of people present at the centre looking at the car park and I reckon the birds had been pushed out of sight), 3 Mallard and 1 Lapwing. A bonus bird though was a single Greenshank that drooped in whilst I was there. The first Greenshank for a couple of years.
Saturday evening meant no beer as I wanted to be up early or a trip for another lifer. A family of Two-barred Crossbills had been resident at  Broomhead reservoir in South Yorkshire for a few days and I just had to go. I arrived on site by 07.15 and was soon standing in the clearing by the feeders. An adult was seen at 06.40 but none since and I hung around until about 11.30 with no other sighting. I did enjoy well over 100 Common Crossbills and a Spotted Flycatcher which I am delighted to add to my year list but no Two-barred Crossbill. A nice trip but a little disappointing. On the way home I popped in the guess where, yep, Whitemoor Haye to see what was around. 1 Greenshank, 6 Common Tern including 2 juveniles and a couple of Tree Sparrow were all I old muster. Rubbish.
The afternoon I went to a local car show at Orgreave on my bike and then went tto buy a wife at a local Thai Festival. Good fun was had and good beer drunk. You will be glad to know no wife was purchased but good food was.
Now I am going to cheer on the Europeans in the Solheim Cup after an amazing afternoons golf yesterday which put our girls in a 10.5 to 5.5 lead. For those of you who don't know the Europeans need 14 to retain the Solheim Cup and 14.5 to win it out right. Come on Europe.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Up to 14-8-13

Since adding the superb Night Heron to the black book I have had a few evening visits to WH plus a trip away to Tring to take part in a fishing match.

6-8-13, Whitemoor Haye.
11 Common Tern, 8 Mute Swan, 23 Lapwing, 23 Mallard, 18 Shelduck circled over before returning to the far pool including 15 juveniles, 2 Common Sandsand 1 LRP.

8-8-13, Whitemoor Haye.
18 Lapwing, 7 Common Tern, 2 Common Sands, 12 Mallard, 5 juvenile Shelduck, 2 Red-legged Partridge and 2 Oycs.

9-8-13, Whitemoor Haye.
7 Common Tern, 3 Common Sands, 7 Mallard, 4 juvenile Shelduck, and 1 Little Owl.

10-8-13, Marsworth Reservoir.
We fish at his reservoir because of the big bream that usually feed however for some reason the bream were just not having it except for one person who had a nice bag full. The rest of us were left to fish for roach but some fished for roach longer than others.  Fortunately I fished for roach after the first hour and had a nice net full and came 4th. Quality.  I also enjoyed watching many Common Terns flying around the pool but no Hobby unlike last year when a pair were around.

12-8-13, Whitemoor Haye.
20 Mallard, 6 juvenile Shelduck (I am now starting to wonder if these birds have bred here as the other day the were 3 adults flying around with 15 juveniles, I have only had adults on a hand full of occasions and no one knows what goes on on the far lake either), 7 Common Sands, 4 Common Tern and 6 Yellow Wag.

13-8-13, Whitemoor Haye.
27 Lapwing, 12+ Yellow Wag, 6 juvenile Shelduck, 5 Mallard, 1 Common Sand and 1 Common Tern.

14-8-13, Whitemoor Haye.
4 Common Sand, 3 Common Tern, 6 Yellow Wag and 15 Lapwing.

There are a few signs of the end of summer, it's getting a bit cooler (yippee), the nights are drawing in (boo), Lapwings, Starlings, Goldfinch and Linnets are flocking together, and the return migration has started.  God I love this time of year and this weekend is also Birdfair.  Me and my mother are going on Saturday and maybe I can find a nice present to have for my 40th!!!!!!

Monday, 5 August 2013

4-8-13, Thornton reservoir and local sites.

News broke of a Night Heron on a reservoir in Leistershire mid week but I had no chance of getting to see it due to work, hopefully it would stay.  I was up early Sunday morning and was on site for 06.30 and to my surprise I was on my own. I followed the site instructions and was soon down on the edge of the bay near to where the bird had been roosting however to my spires I rounded a corner and the bird was feeding in the mud in the bay.  I fired off a few photos before the bird got a bit too nervous and flew back to its regular perch for a preen.  I got it in the scope for a bit and had a good look before I left it to its own actions. A quality bird, my second lifer in 8 days and a bird which made up for the nearly bird at Atherstone last year which turned out to have been an escapee.
After that and after a bad night plus the weather forecast not being good I decided to chill out on a few local sites.
Whitemoor Haye.
Birds of note were 17 Mute Swan, 5 juvenile Shelduck, 3 Common Sands, 2 Oycs, 1 Grey Partridge, 2 Raven over, Yellow Wagtail and Tree Sparrow.
National Arboretumand Junction Pit produced nothing special.
As the river was a bit high after the rains there was not much wader activity on the river at Croxall reserve bar a Common Tern, Lapwing and a female Teal.
On to Alrewas GP and I noted 8 Lapwing, 6 Grey Heron, 24 Mallard, 256 Tufted Duck, 21 Mute Swan and 22 Great Crested Grebe.
After a snooze, women's Open golf and tea I headed back out to Whitemoor Haye after some showers hoping something had dropped in.  I noted 7 Common Terns including 2 juveniles, 5 juvenile Shelduck, 5 Common Sands, 2 Oycs, 1 Ringed Plover, Tree Sparrow, Common Whitethroat and Yellowhammer.  I also heard a bird that was perched in the small woodland opposite the quarry entrance so I went to find it but could not locate it even though it was quite vocal on occasions and quite loud.  I know quite a few calls but had never heard this but the call was loud,  reminded me of parakeets in London, and the call was not unlike a squeak out of a dogs toy. I have recorded it so will get some views off other birders.

3-8-13, Whitemoor Haye.

After the doldrums of July I was getting back ino the birding with the signs of the return passage so every time I can get to the local patch I will be there. Tonight I noted 205 Lapwing, 7 Common Sands, 21 Mute Swan, 4 juvenile Shelducks. Still, 2 Oycs, 6 Common Tern including 2 juveniles, the now regular Green Woodpecker, 5 Yellow Wagtails, 13 Mallard and several. Tree Sparrows.

2-8-13, Whitemoor Haye.

After some heavy rains in the area I headed down mid evening to check out if anything had took refuge on site. When I arrived Tom 'tame valley' Perrins was already on site and had counted 6 Common Sands, that was not a bad increase.  I had a look and a count and got 7 Common Sands, ideal.  Other birds of note included the 4 Shelduck juveniles still, 82 Lapwing, 7 Common Tern including 2 juveniles, 2 Oycs, Yellow Wagtail and a Grey Partridge.  I was on site until dusk and bingo, I founda small wader on the far bank but it. Was starting to get dark and getting a bit windy and couldn't get a proper id on th bird but it was very small, about a quarter to a fifth of the size of a Lapwing, was quite a dark bird with dark buff underparts. I was only On it for 20 seconds or so when it flew, which I managed to watch for a few seconds before losing it but I could see no pattern or any white on the wings and looked long tailed. Pass!!!!!

31-7-13, Whitemoor Haye.

A session down the pool area got me Tree Sparrow, 5 Mallard, 7 Common Tern including 2 juveniles, 2 Common Sands, 2 Oycs and 4 juvenile Shelduck. I doubt they have bred local but were happy feeding.

29-7-13, Whitemoor Haye, Blithers and back to Whitemoor Haye.

A bit of a bonus day out and with the weather looking ok apart from the odd storm I fancied Blithfield however I had to pop to work mid morning so the first couple of hours were spent at Whitemoor Haye.  Birds of note were 1 Common Sand, 3 Barnacle Geese, the Garden Warbler family, the juvenile Green Woodpecker, 1 Little Owl and a few Tree Sparrows.
In the afternoon I was at Blithers and I concentrated on Tad Bay, Blithe Bay and then Admaston Reach before retiring due to heavy rain. Birds of note were 15 plus Common Tern, 24 Dunlin, 7 Common Sands, 2 Oycs, me and a couple of birders located the Caspian Gull, many LRP's, 1 Ringed Plover, several Goosanders, 3 Greenshank and 1Little Gull.  A quality session.
On the way home I decided to spend the last hour at Whitemoor Haye as the rains had passed. birds of note were 2 Common Tern, 3 Barnacle Geese, 11 Lapwing, 2 Common Sands, 4 Yellow Wags and 4 Oycs.

28-7-13, Whitemoor Haye

It's back to good old patch work after the excitement of the Caspian Tern.  I was out early morning and also in the eveningtoday but The July blues were still lingering over the pool area with only the following of note.  21 Mute Swan, a juvenile Green Woodpecker, the Garden Warbler in its usual place and a few Yellowhammer and Tree Sparrow.  In the evening I noted 2 Common Sands, 1 Oyc, 219 Greylag Geese (I don't usually make a habit of counting geese but these were all pretty well spread out so I decided to practice counting!!!), 2 Common Tern and several Yellow Wagtail, Tree Sparrow and Yellowhammer.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

28-7-13, Photos.

Sorry to bore you but these are some photos over the last few months.  I'm never going to win any prizes for my photography but it reminds me of some very special days out watching lots of special birds.

Caspian Tern, Rudyard.  What a beast of a bird, a lifer was brilliant but in Staffs as well, can't beat it.
Caspian Tern, Rudyard Lake.  And another of the tern but this time in flight.

Barnacle Geese, Whitemoor Haye.  Four plastic jobbies turned up and stayed for about a month although were soon reduced to three. 

Guillemots, South Stack RSPB.  Can't beat a day out in North Wales, and a visit to Anglesey is a must.

Little Egret, Conwy RSPB.  A very different site since the last time I visited Conwy but enjoyable non the less.

Sandwich Tern, Cemlyn Bay.  Back on Anglesey and another destination not too be missed.  I can photo Sandwich Terns all day, love em. 

Willow Warbler, National Arboretum.  This fellow was very vocal and couldn't resist a digi-photo effort.

Stone Curlew, Weeting Heath.  Another digi-photo effort of a cracking species on a day when they showed brilliantly.

Stone Curlew, Weeting Heath.  Just to show how well they showed, this was taken with my Sony A65 with a 500mm lens.

Red-footed Falcon, Lakenheath RSPB.  Probably one of my favourite birds I have had the pleasure to watch.  This adult male was an absolute stunner and my photographs can never do it justice especially with some rubbish settings.

Hobby, Lakenheath RSPB.  Also showing incredibly well were several Hobbies and this was just one  of them I managed to capture on film. 
Red-backed Shrike, Cley NNR.  I've chased several of these to get them on my British list without success but at last I managed it.

Wood Sandpiper, Cley NNR.  This cracking bird was showing very well just off the East bank.  Stunner.

 Avocet, Cley NNR.  The Avocet is a very photographic bird indeed.

Avocet, Cley NNR.  Another Avocet but this time digi-scoped.
 Marsh Harrier, Cley NNR.  I have seen many of these but this day 4 or 5 birds were showing brilliantly.

Common Sandpiper, Cley NNR.  This little fellow was happily feeding right outside the hide a few times.  Lush.


Saturday, 27 July 2013

27-7-13, Whitemoor Haye errrr no wait a minute, Rudyard lake

I was up early after working the bar last night in a very busy canal festival and the first thing I did was check the internet for the Caspian Tern, flew off north-west it did.  Bugger.  I decided I would do some local sites before going to the Kings Bromley show.  after a shower and putting clothes on checked my pager and the Tern was back at Rudyard.  Sod WH, Rudyard here I come.  I know Rudyard well and was able to drive straight to the north end and down the lane and managed to find a place to park right next to where the a load of birders has congregated.  A few familiar faces were already in place and soon I was looking at my first Caspian Tern and what a stunner with a stocking orangey red bill, it was a brute of a tern.  My only slight disappointment was no Common Terns were present for comparison.  I managed a few photos as it stay stood on the mud for a good hour and a half despite the odd short fly around.  Eventually it decided it was hungry and we had great views of it in flight.  A cracking bird.  I'm now off to Kings Bromley show for the afternoon.

26-7-13, Whitemoor Haye.

With a nice day off I spent some of the afternoon walking around the local patch.  Birds of note included 50+ Goldfinch in several flocks, 3 Common tern, a couple of Yellow Wagtail including juveniles, 20+ Tree Sparrows, 1 Oyc, 2 only Mallards - the first I ducks I have seen here in a few visits, 3 Barnacle Geese still, 1 Common Sand, the Garden Warbler family, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Grey Partridge, 1 Redshank and a single Little Owl.

In the evening I was working at the local canal festival but had a quick look on Staffs Bird News and Birdguides and was surprised to hear of a Caspian Tern at Rudyard.  I was quite annoyed as I have not turned my pager on for a bit, that will teach me, and I was doing nothing and could have nailed it.  Bugger  Hopefully it will still be around on the Saturday.


Whitemoor Haye.
For the first time in a long time I managed to check out the pool then have a walk around the lanes.  Birds of note included many Common Whitethroats, several, Tree Sparrows, 3 Barnacle Geese, 1 Common Sands, 2 Oycs, a single Arctic Tern which was a real bonus and a site tick for the year, and a House Sparrow by the pig field.

The evening was good a so a phone call later and I was on the way for another evening of Nightjar watching with, hopefully, a bonus.  The evening was a little disappointing with very brief views Nightjars and no bonuses that we had hoped for.

Monday, 15 July 2013

15-7-13, Recent birding.

Those who know me will know my hate of hot weather, its just horrible and the last few weeks have been hell.  constant sweating, feel absolutely knackered, lots of weekend activities to do and because of these birding has been minimal.

20-6, Whitemoor Haye.
1 Gadwall, 1 Oyc, 3 Treecreeper (adult & 2 juvs), Garden Warbler, Corn Bunting and 2 Grey partridge.

24-6, Tiln, Notts.
An adult Melodious Warbler had been present for a few days and as I had a busy weekend doing nothing in Coventry the first time I could go was on the Monday evening.  A quick 1.5 hours and I was on site and quickly found the site however I was going to listen to my cd to try and learn the song of the Mel Warb but forgot however this soon was not a problem, process of elimination soon got me a song which started off Blackbird but then turned warbler.  Superb, now we just needed to see it but thios was proving difficult.  After fleeting glimpses I soon saw it perched on a low branch enough to see the bird and watch it sing for about 10 seconds before zooming off, enough of a view for a lifer.

25-6, Whitemoor Haye.
Back to the local patch.  14 Gadwall, 32 Mute Swan, 4 Barnacle Geese (!!!!!), Common Tern, 4 Oycs and 1 Little Owl.

25-6, ?.
With a great evening in prospect I headed for a location to watch Nightjars and Woodcocks.  Oooh, where could that be?  A pretty good night was had with outstanding views of both species however you can never choose who comes and stands with you, grrrr.

2-7, Whitemoor Haye.
No-one round here tonight :) and I noted a Quail singing in the cereal field between the quarry and the rough track (it was heard the next day in another field), 21+ Tree Sparrow, 2 Oycs 3 Barnacle Geese.

3-7, Whitemoor Haye.
3 Barnacle Geese, 22 Mallard, Common Tern, 1 Whooper Swan viewed from the gates to the Whitemoor Lakes centre, 4 Goosander, Corn Bunting, several Grey Partridge, 2+ Yellow Wagtail, several Tree Sparrow, 1 Little Owl, 1  Sparrowhawk, 3 Oycs.

10-7, Whitemoor Haye.
1 Redshank calling, 4 Grey Heron, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Barnacle Geese, 4 Oycs, Common Tern, Yellow Wagtail, Sedge Warbler.  

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

18-6-13, part 2

Back home and it was back to the local areas.
Sites and highlights were.
25 May, Alrewas GP.
Sedge and Reed Warbler and 7 Buzzards.

25 May, National Arboretum.
Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Kingfisher.

25 May, Junction Pit.
Garden Warbler

25 May, Croxall (from arboretum)
Common Sand, LRP, Sedge Warbler, Common Tern, Kingfisher.

25 May, Whitemoor Haye.
22  Mute Swan, Sedge Warbler, 4 Gadwall, 3 Redshank, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Red Kite, 1 Corn Bunting, Yellow Wagtail.

26 May, Croxall GP.
Garden, Sedge, Willow, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Oyc and Linnet.

26 May, Whitemoor Haye (am)
Blackcap, 2 Redshank, Tree Sparrow, 1 Oyc, 1 LRP, 1 Corn Bunting.

26 May, Whitemoor Haye (pm)
33 Mute Swan, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Redshank, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, 4 Oyc, 2 LRP.

27 May, Whitemoor Haye.
Blackcap, Tree Sparrow, Redshank, 3 Gadwall, 2 Oyc, Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler, Yellow Wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat, Corn Bunting, Shelduck.

31 May, Whitemoor Haye.
Blackcap, Common Tern, 8 Redshank, 12 Gadwall, 2 Oycs, Garden Warbler, Treecreeper, Grey partridge, Corn Bunting.

2 June, Whitemoor Haye.
2 Common Tern, 2 Oycs, 64 Mute Swan, 2 Gadwall, 15 Coot, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Partridge, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, 2 Redshank, 1 LRP, Sparrowhawk, tree Sparrow, Sedge Warbler, Shelduck.

4 June, Whitemoor Haye.
Yellow Wagtail, Gadwall, Tree Sparrow, 21 Coot, Common Tern, Blackcap, 1 Corn Bunting, Garden Warbler, 2 Oycs, Sparrowhawk, Redshank.

11 June, Whitemoor Haye.
40 Mallard, 4 Gadwall, Tree Sparrow, 1 Oyc, 1 Common Tern, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, 2 Grey Partridge, Yellow Wagtail.

13 June, Whitemoor Haye.
Yellow Wagtail, Tree Sparrow, 1 Oyc, 5 Redshank, 3 Gadwall, Treecreeper, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler.

15 June, Holyhead Harbour.
5 Black Guillemot, Oycs.

15 June, South Stack RSPB.
Razorbill, Guillemot, Chough, Gannet, Kittiwake, Puffin, Rock Pipit, Shag, Stonechat.

15 June, Cemlyn Bay.
Common, Arctic, Sandwich Terns, Mediterranean Gull, Red-breasted Merganser, Ringed Plover, Rock Pipit.

15 June, Conwy RSPB.
Reed, Sedge, Willow Warbler, Little Egret, Oycs, Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit.

16 June, Croxall.
Garden, Sedge, Reed, Willow Warbler, 5 Oycs, Pochard, 4 Redshank.

16 June, National Arboretum.

16 June, Junction Pit.
Reed Warbler.

16 June, Alrewas GP.
6 Grey Heron, 1Redshank, 1 Common Tern, Chiffchaff, 2 Gadwall, 1 LRP, Sedge Warbler.

That's me up to date.   

18-6-13, part 1

Firstly it is a quick apology for not putting out any posts recently as since returning from Norfolk I have been unable to get internet access until now.
Secondly it is with deep regret that I announce the passing of Jess my faithful dog.  Those who knew me and met me birding would know or have seen Jess.  In February she was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor and she finally passed away on Thursday May 23rd at 12 years of age.
On to the birding and Norfolk was highly enjoyable if not windy. 
Monday 20th May.
Paxton Pits.  The target was obviously Nightingale and a few sightings were ideal.
Weeting Heath.  Another obvious target, Stone Curlew and crippling views were had.
Lakenheath.  I had planned to have the rest of the day here as I was booked into a travel lodge just down the road and the obvious bonus was a stunning adult male Red-footed Falcon, one of the most impressive birds I have ever seen in my short and dull birding life.  I also got cracking views of Hobby and Common Crane.
Tuesday 21st May.
Choseley Barns.  I did not plan to stop here but my satnav took me past this place and on the way through I had Corn Bunting on the wires.
Titchwell RSPB.  Not everyone's favourite place but it is no doubt one of mine.  Highlights included summer plumaged Grey Plovers, great views of Marsh Harriers, and a Little Tern.
Holme Dunes NNT. One bird missing from my UK list (I have seen one in Spain) is a Red-backed Shrike and one had been present here for a while.  I was staying in Hunstanton for the next three nights so I spent the evening here.  I missed the bird by seconds at one point but enjoyed Tree Pipits, Avocets and Wheatears.    
Wednesday 22nd May.
Holme Dunes NNT.  I thought an early morning visit might do the trick after last nights failure.  Highlights were a Cuckoo, a fly through Turtle Dove and more Tree Pipits.
Doking.  Whilst on my way to my next venue I passed through the small village of Doking and a Barn Owl was perched on a road sign.  Nice.
Great Ryburgh.  This is a great site for Honey Buzzards although none had been reported as of yet I decided it was still worth a visit especially as Cley was my next destination and not open till 10.00!!!!!!! (for those of you doing the maths I was at Holme at about 05.00, nutter).  No Honey Buzzards for me.
Cley Marshes NNR.  This site has never really pressed my buttons, don't know why.  Real ale or lager, real ale.  Tea or coffee, tea.  Titchwell or Cley, Titchwell.  Sorry.  However Cley made sense today, in fact it was bloody superb.  Highlights were Avocets + chicks, stonking views of the following - Marsh Harriers, Common Sandpipers and Wood Sandpiper as well as Little and Sandwich Terns, a Little Gull and a few Bearded Tits.
Hunstanton.  Only one bird to target here, Fulmar, and two gave great views.
Thursday  23rd May.
The forecast for the next few days was grim so I made a decision, enjoy the best of the weather this morning at Titchwell and leave when the weather turned rubbish, cut my losses and go home.  Todays highlights was a Spoonbill and a Barn owl hunting over Thornham marsh but with the weather turning by mid morning I headed home.
Wolferton.  A quick look for a plastic tick in the shape of a Golden Pheasant but failed.
That was my Norfolk trip over and done with and it was when I got home that I learned my dog had passed away in the last 30 mins.  Gutted and I will never forget her.
R.I.P Jess
I will love you and miss you always.  

Sunday, 19 May 2013


I really needed to get things sorted as I am off to Norfolk for a few days but first thing I got out and spent a couple of hours around Whitemoor Haye and I managed to relocate the Turnstone on the east shore.  Other birds included several Whitethroat, Yellowhammers, Tree Sparrow and Blackcaps, a Garden warbler, 3 Redshank and 3 Sedge Warblers.  After popping to town to get some provisions for my trip I headed over to a site on the chase where I got ace views of a couple of Cuckoo, a Jay and a close Blackcap.
That's me done for a few days, ta ra.

Saturday, 18 May 2013


Bit of a bonus bird watch tonight but first the fishing.  Well, not bad really, joint 4th overall with 5 carp to 21lb 11oz and the bonus was it was not cold, didn't rain and the wind was not a problem.  Home about 17.30 so it was straight down to WH although the dog couldn't come as she was not well at all.  A quick drive around the lanes and then a session by the lake got me 127 Mute Swan, 1 Little Owl, several Tree Sparrow, Whitethroats and Blackcaps, a Grey Partridge calling, 2 LRP's, 4 Coot, 3 Redshank, 2 Oyc's, the Turnstone still present however it was disturbed by a group around the bonfire at 19.00 and I couldn't find it again, 4 Shelduck, 1 Common Sand, 3 Common Tern, 4 Gadwall and 2 possibly 3 Sedge Warbler.  

Friday, 17 May 2013


Of all the bird on my UK list, which is not that great anyway, one bird has always stood out as a bit dodgy, Temminck's Stint.  My first and only one was at Slimbridge in 2006(ish) and it was very distant and at best only a probable but nothing else was around except said reported bird.  This has always been a bit dodgy on my list and I've always wanted to get a better one so when one was found at Branston pits on Thursday evening I hoped all day on Friday that it was still there in the evening.  Come the evening and the pager gave me the good news of its presence.  After a good walk to the opposite side of the site and some good directions from fellow birders it took me about 5 seconds to get on to the bird, and very nice it was too, also my first for Staffs.  I watched and photod the bird until it was flushed by some plovers and I couldn't relocate it so I headed back and checked out the other pits.  Other birds of note included 1 Greenshank, many Shelduck, Sedge and Reed warblers, Shoveler Ringed Plovers, LRP's, Oycs and Green Woody.  
It was still early evening so I headed to Whitemoor Haye where I joined Tom Perrins (Tame Valley blogger) and we noted 1 Turnstone, Sedeg Warbler, 4 Shelduck, 1 Goosander, 2 Oycs, 2 LRP's, 2 Common sands, 2 Redshank and dozens of Mute Swans.
Im writing this early Saturday morning and I am off to a fishing match today but tomorrow I will be out birding with a new toy, my Sony Alpha 65 camera.  I had a play with it last night and it is a million miles better than the 100 so looking forward to clicking away.