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