Sunday, 14 April 2013


WeBS count day today and I was errrr fishing!!! I had a winter league match but with forecasts not looking bad hopefully the fish will be feeding.  Well they were but the weather was horrible, blowing a gale constantly and several showers in the afternoon along with varying temperatures.  I had yet another crap day only catching three small roach.  My course fishing has severely gone down hill and my poor record for the winter league on a carp fishery is nil carp in five matches and for this reason I have decided not to partake in the last match this year or next winters matches, me and carp do not get on.  I have another summer match this Saturday on the Staffs and Worcester canal, hopefully this will go better, at least my pole is fixed.
Once home I decided to take the dog for a walk and head around Whitemoor Haye for the last hour and a bit and it didn't half pay off.  As soon as I parked up I could see lots of things on the edge of the pool near the entrance to the Whitemoor lakes centre and on checking them out with my bins they were wagtails, and lots of them.  I walked up closely and counted 30+ Pied Wagtail, 12 Yellow Wagtail and at least 6 White Wagtails, our continental friends.  Also mixed in with them were 3 Reed Buntings and 4 Mipits.  Other birds of note this evening were 30+ Mallard, 5 Teal, 2 Oystercatcher, 40+ Sand Marin, 30+ Swallows and 1 House Martin, 2 Oystercatchers, 18 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 2 Gadwall, 1 Goldeneye, 38 Wigeon, several displaying Skylarks, 1 Redshank, 2 Grey Partridge, 1 Golden Plover and a few Yellowhammers and Tree Sparrows.  

Saturday, 13 April 2013


My first free Saturday in a long time and I had planned to catch up on a few birds missing off my year list however things did not go to plan.  I headed out to Whitemoor Haye at 07.30 for three hours and birds of note included 6 Mute Swan, 18 Mallard, 33 Tufted Duck, 20 Yellowhammer, 6 Redshank, 23 Wigeon, 8 Gadwall, 1 Pochard, 12 Swallow, 6 Teal, 4 Oystercatcher, 15 Tree Sparrow, 6 Grey Partridge, 1 Corn Bunting, 1 Little Owl, 1 Merlin and I heard a Willow Warbler too.  Not a bad session but after a hard week at work plus yesterdays bike ride I was quite shattered today.  Tomorrow I also have a fishing match so I decided to have a rest this afternoon and also sort out my tackle.

Below are the latest photos.
Meadow Pipit

Corn Bunting

Little Owl


Brown Hare


Friday, 12 April 2013


After work I had a bit of a conundrum.  The weather was half decent for a bike ride but that also meant good for birding.  Saturday I would be birding so about 18.00 I headed out on my bike.  There was another good reason why I took the bike out too, my drinking colleagues were heading off to our favourite establishment the Mucky Duck so my ride took in Whitemoor Haye, Lichfield, Fradley and then the Mucky Duck before heading home, finaaly riding 21.6 miles.  Nice.  On the beer front I sampled 3 pints of Tribute from the St Austells brewery, bloody gorgeous.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


The weekend started on Saturday 6th with a days work followed by a swift 24 mile bike ride including popping in to the "Mucky Duck" to test a couple of pints (for quality control purposes obviously!!!) 

Sunday 7th I was a bit unsure but decided to head over to the Chase again to catch up on some spring specialties however I decided to head off on a 7 mile ride which turned into 16, whata mistaka to maka. Once again various sites were visited and miles were walked.  Most birds I was after I dipped on yet again but we did find 7 Common Crossbills, the odd Lesser Redpoll and loads of Siskin. I was back home late afternoon, made myself a tea, sat down and immediately fell to sleep.  Not a bad afternoon for some but whilst I was dreaming of beer and Bobolinks my pager was going off with a Bearded Tit half an hour down the road found by Martyn Yapp.  Bugger.  Also three Avocets were five minutes down the road at Croxall GP.  I finally come to around fiveish, had some tea and headed off to Croxall to check out the Avocets thinking I would not have time to drive to Dosthill, find the birders and hopefully find the bird but guess who forgot the clocks went forward a week and we had more light in the evenings????  A quick look round Croxall did not produce the Avocets and as I had the dog I could only do the main lake, Julian Allen was heading off round by the river so I left him doing that and I headed for Whitemoor Haye.  I concentrated on the lake area and birds included 12 Mute Swan, 2 Oystercatcher, 8 Wigeon on the main lake but where I was standing I could just see a small section of the far lake where there were roughly 150 Wigeon feeding on the grass, 7 Teal, 28 Tufted Duck, 9 Gadwall, 6 Mallard and wait a minute, 3 Avocets in the middle of the lake.   I spotted them just as Julian appeared and drove past so I waved him down and soon he was with me enjoying the visitors.  This is the first time I have ever seen them swimming and it was an amazing sight.  other birds were 5 Goldeneye (one drake) and a Redshank.  Ten minutes later the Avocets took off high heading north.

Monday was work but Tuesday 9th I spent the evening at Whitemoor Haye as it looked like the Bearded Tit had departed and birds of note were 25 Mallards, 4 Oystercatcher, 13 Meadow Pipits by the new centre plus the odd one elsewhere, 2 Gadwall, 3 Pochard, 24 Tufted Duck, 2 Teal, 35 Wigeon and a Treecreeper just behind me on a tree.  Around the lanes I added 8 Mute Swan, several vocal Skylarks, 4 Corn Buntings (probably two pairs), 35+ Yellowhammers, 8 Tree Sparrows, 2 Reed Buntings, 1 Little Owl, a vocal Grey Partridge, 200+ Fieldfare, 2 Chiffchaffs and 8 Golden Plovers.  A lovely evening but was wondering if I should have been at Dosthill!!!!!  As it happened it was seen in the morning but not since.


Saturday, 6 April 2013


No birding today as been working until about 15.30 then I decided to head out on my bike and managed to clock up 23 miles, not bad.
During my non-blogging period I have been birding with a friend heading out on trips for birds such as the Yorkshire Roller.  He had a camera for digi-scoping and was producing some fantastic results so I treated myself to one and I think it is a stunning camera.  It is a Panasonic Lumix DMC LX3.  Bit of a mouthful but a cracking little camera, I even do not have to have a bracket to hold the camera to the lens, they are all hand held.
I have attached some recent photos.

17-2-13 - Fallow Deer, The Chase

24-2-13, Oysterctacher, Gailey Reservoir

24-2-13, White-fronted Goose, Gailey Reservoir

24-2-13, Yellowhammer, Whitemoor Haye

24-2-13, Golden Plover, Whitemoor Haye

2-3-13, Yellowhammer, Whitemoor Haye.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Whats been happening then.

Well its been a busy last few days for the Alrewas birder.  Tuesday 26th saw myself and my drinking associates jump on a train and head off to Sheffield to taste the many real ales that were on offer at famous drinking establishment such as The Fat Cat, Kelham Island Tavern and the Sheffield Tap.  Some cracking ales were had and definitely a place to go and visit again. 

Wednesday 27th I was up nice and early but doubting I was legal to drive I headed off on my bike to check out the gravel pits.  First stop Alrewas gravel pit and not much was on offer apart from the expected ducks, including 402 Wigeon and 8 Goldeneye.  Next I had to pass through the National Arboretum which the highlights were a few Chiffchaffs.  A quick look at the usually quiet Junction pit and I was not disappointed, there was not a lot there.  Then it was under the viaduct to check out Croxall where the river had been dug out and widened to create habitats (I call this Croxall wides) and there was a couple of Redshanks, a couple of Oystercatchers, some Teal and an absolute bonus, a drake Garganey which flew from one of the small islands and flew upstream past me before gaining height and heading for towards Alrewas gravel pits.  I did pop back to Alrewas gravel pits but a scan with the scope could not relocate it.   6 Redshank were in the field opposite the entrance to the arboretum.  On to my favourite site, Whitemoor Haye and a very close huge female Sparrowhawk was a great start before adding several Meadow Pipit, 2 Oystercatchers, around 5 Tree Sparrows, 22+ Yellowhammers, 1 Little Owl, 63 Golden Plover, 2 Shelduck, many Fieldfares, and a Ringed Plover that was on one of the flooded areas in the old pig field. 
A very enjoyable mornings birding.

Thursday 28th was back to work but Friday 29th started with a 20 mile bike ride.  Those who knew me may be surprised but I have been doing this for about four months with the last month extending my rides.  Once the ride was done it was a trip to Nottingham to swap a part for my bike and then it was off to Whitemoor Haye.  as well as the usual's I added 6 Grey Partridge, over 10 Tree Sparrow, 20+ Skylarks, 5 Buzzards, over 250 Fieldfares, 2 Shelduck and a Redshank.  A quick look at the field opposite the arboretum produced 8 Redshanks then it was off to Branston gravel pits.  Birds of note included 14 Shelduck, 72 Coot, 42 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Egret, 62 Teal, 2 only Gadwall, 1 only Shoveler, 2 Redshank and 3 Little Ringed Plover.

Saturday 30th saw our first works summer fishing match although it was bloomin freezing and it did not go well as I broke my pole whilst setting up.  Rubbish.  That was unusable but fortunately I also took my small quiver tip rod and managed to snare an 11oz chub.  Not a record breaker by far but with only 8 of us fishing, coming 8th still saw me get some valuable points.

Sunday 31st and I decided to head for a couple of sites around Cannock Chase for some specialist birds however it was not my day and I missed everything I went for however a Woodcock lifted form a small standoff trees as I passed, that was a bonus.

Monday 1st April and in the afternoon I was off to a rugby match so in the morning I decided to once again check out the local gravel pits.
Highlights at Alrewas gravel pits were 166 Wigeon, 2 Oystercatchers, 12 Teal, 23 Coot, 54 Tufted Duck, 6 Gadwall, 6 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Chiffchaff, several Meadow Pipits and Reed Buntings, and a single Great Spotted Woodpecker.  On to the arboretum and there were over a dozen Chiffchaffs present, 2 Goosanders on the river and over 300 Redwings were making quite a noise in the trees.  I am assuming they are preparing for their flight home.  Junction pit was the best it had been for a long time with birds including several Reed Buntings, 6 Cormorants, 2 Grey Herons, 2 Great Crested Grebes that were displaying to each other and which I failed in trying to photograph, several Bullfinch, 4 Coot, 2 Teal, 4 Mallard and a large juvenile gull which I struggled to ID in the field but which I have photo'd and I will check out my gull bible to try and get a positive ID!!!!.  A quick look at Croxall wides and noted 3 Ringed Plover, and 1 Shelduck of note.  I did then head around to Croxall to have a look around however I was halted in my tracks when I noticed a guided walk taking place where the birders drive around the site rather than walking to the hide.  I will say no more apart from I did note some Redwings, and 2 Goldcrests.  Off to Whitemoor Haye and bird of note included 16 Mallard, 4 Gadwall, 7 Pochard, several Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Tree Sparrows, Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers and a single Little Owl.  A quick stop off at the field opposite the arboretum produced 3 Redshank and a single Little Ringed Plover.  In the afternoon I went to see England under 16's V Italy under 17's.  An enjoyable if not very cold afternoon however it was a little disappointing with the lack of a real ale marquee as advertised and the hog roast queue was a mile long.  After watching Italy win 24-20 we went to a pub and made up for the lack of ale at the rugby.