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.