Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Recent photos

Masked Shrike - Kilnsea

Brent Geese - Warham Green
Red-backed Shrike - Bempton Cliffs RSPB

Penduline Tit - Titchwell RSPB

Spotted Redshank - Titchwell RSPB

Wood Sandpiper - Blacktoft Sands RSPB

Common Cranes - Guyhirn

Roesel's Bush Cricket - Kilnsea.  This is the most northern record of this species recorded in UK

Sooty Shearwater - Skua/Shearwater Cruise, Bridlington Bay

Puffin - Skua/Shearwater Cruise, Bridlington Bay

Fulmar - Skua/Shearwater Cruise, Bridlington Bay.   Bird in front is a blue Fulmare

Purple Sandpiper - Bridlington Harbour

Fulmar - Bempton Cliffs RSPB

Kittiwake - Bridlington Harbour 

Ruff/Redshank - Blacktoft Sands RSPB

Grey Phalarope - Cley NR

Nuthatch - Fradley Junction NR 

Chaffinch - Fradley Junction NR

Nuthatch - Fradley Junction NR

Chaffinch - Fradley Junction NR

Treecreeper - Fradley Junction NR

Coal Tit - Fradley Junction NR

Coal Tit - Fradley Junction NR

Great Spotted Woodpecker - Fradley Junction NR

Long-tailed Tit - National Arboretum

Monday, 10 November 2014

Up to November 9th

Well it didn't take long to not update my blog.  Last time I blogged I was struggling with a bad back gutted that the third ever Masked Shrike had been found in Kilnsea.  So what has been happening since.  On a health note I am up and er running, well walking anyway, but back to normal and I have been out birding as ever.
22-9-14, Whitemoor Haye.
7 Little Egrets, 151 Cormorants, 28 Wigeon, 4 Ruff, 4 Greenshank, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Snipe, 4 Swallow.
27-9-14, Kilnsea.
A pre-organised trip saw me having a couple of days in East Yorkshire and the main question was whether the Masked Shrike was still present. Well, bang, yes.  It hung around and By 09.00 I was watching the third MASKED SHRIKE for the UK.  A right cracker.  Other birds included Pink-footed Geese, Grey Plover, Wheatear, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat and Water Rail to name a few.
Easington Gas Terminal.
Last year this held a Yellow-browed Warbler so as we were passing we thought we would give it a go.  Nowt special.
Hornsea Mere.
Spent an hour or so photographing birds in flight, great fun.  Again nothing special.
28-9-14, circa Bridlington.
Today we had booked ourselves on the Skua/Shearwater cruise from Bridlington.  Whilst waiting to board I noted Kittiwake, Turnstone and Sandwich Tern.  After the cruise we found a few Purple Sandpiper along the walls.
Skua/Shearwater cruise.
It was great to get out on the boat, not done it for a few years.  Not a brilliant trip for skuas bit notable sightings were Common Scoter, several Puffins, Sooty Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Shags, Little Gulls and some harbour porpoises.
Bempton Cliff RSPB.
With little reported nearby we headed for Bempton Cliffs RSPB as a Red-backed Shrike had been present and my mate needed this for a lifer.  5 minutes from parking and the bird was in the bag so we had a walk around the cliff tops with not much else to tell about.
29-9-14, Blacktoft Sands RSPB.
With little decent birds around East Yorkshire we headed home and decided to stop at this great reserve.  Notable birds were Wood Sandpiper, Tree Sparrow, Spotted Redshank, Snipe, Water Rail, Bearded Tit, Marsh Harrier and Pink-footed Geese.
2-1-14, Whitemoor Haye.
2 Greenshank, Tree Sparrow.
3-10-14, Whitemoor Haye.
29 Tufties, 7 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Ruff, 1 Greenshank, Tree Sparrow, Sparrowhawk.
4-10-14, Whitemoor Haye.
8 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Tufted Duck, 1 Greenshank, Chiffchaff and c40 Tree Sparrow.
5-10-14, Alrewas GP.
16 Great Crested Grebe, 112 Tufties, 27 Coot, 30 Mallard, 2 Teal, 6 Pochard, KingfisherChiffchaff, 1 Snipe, few Wigeon.
Croxall Wides - part of Croxall nature reserve but viewed over river from national arboretum.
1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Little Egret, Teal, Lapwing.
Whitemoor Haye.
83 Tufties, 4 Coot, 1 Green Woodpecker.
7-10-14, Denham Green (somewhere NW of London).
Red Kite, Ring-necked Parakeet, Grey Wagtail.
Whitemoor Haye.
3 Little Egret, 6 Tufties, 3 Pochard, 7 Coot, 1 Grey Partridge.
9-10-14, Whitemoor Haye.
1 Teal, 31 Tufties, 2 Pochard, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Coot, 11 Shoveler, 1 Little Egret, 1 Greenshank.
12-10-14, Whitemoor Haye.
News broke of a Shag at whilst I was at home just about to go out to check the pits so it was straight down to get a Staffordshire and site tick and a good one too.  It was soon located, viewed from the road.  Other birds included 8 Coot, 14 Tufties, 1 Raven, several Mistle Thrush and 5 Little Egret.     
National Arboretum.
Long-tailed Tits, Mistle Thrush, Raven, Teal.
Croxall Wides.
Teal, 1 Little Egret.
Alrewas GP.
9 Great Crested Grebe, 16 Mallard, 126 Tufties and 32 Coot.
17-10-14, Whitemoor Haye.
17 Great Crested Grebe, 16 Tufties, 1 Merlin.
18-10-14, Warham Green.
Over the previous few days there was big numbers of birds making landfall in Norfolk, Yellow-browed Warblers, Barred Warblers, Red-breasted Flycatchers etc plus an Isabelline Shrike.  Friday I ummed and arred but eventually gave up, managed to get some digs Saturday night and was on the road at 04.00 to try and nail the shrike.  Things don't always go to plan and after an hour at Warham Green it was pretty obvious the shrike had gone, in fact a lot of birds had cleared out and with high winds birding was going to be tough.  Rough-legged Buzzard being the only decent bird.
Cley NNR.
A Grey Phalarope had been present on a pool near the beach, I didn't really have time to go round the reserve so it was to the beach and then find the Grey Phalarope. This was not hard and a few photographs later I was off to the next site.
Salthouse Beach.
Lapland Buntings had bee reported here, I decided to have half an hour as you never know what might turn up, Snow Bunting, Shorelark, Lapland Bunting.  It was few years ago I had my pone and only Lapland Bunting on Salthouse Beach, the same day I twitched the White-crowned Sparrow in Cley-next-the-Sea.  Today In was also in luck when I found 2 Lapland Buntings on a fence.
Wells Woods.
This can be a great site this time of year however I aw very little.
Holkham Pines.
As with the last site this can be brilliant this time of year and indeed a Pallas Warbler, Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warbler had been seen and was seen whilst I was there however the tit flock was moving through the pines very quickly, wind assisted  and needless to say I never got on any of the birds.
Titchwell RSPB.
Having had a fairly disappointing day I decided to head for Titchwell to at least see several birds and do a bit of photography.  Notable birds were Black-tailed Godwit, Water Rail, Cetti's Warbler, 40+ Little Egrets, Spotted Redshank, Grey Plover, Mediterranean Gull, but what turned out tom be bird of the day was found whilst I was twenty feet away, a Penduline Tit.
19-10-14, Guyhirn.
After an enjoyable but disappointing day I headed home but wanted to visit a couple of sites on the way and I was told of this site the previous day.  I searched for the Chill Out cafĂ©, pointed by scope over the road and I was watching 7 Common Cranes.
Rutland Water.
I was hoping for Red-necked and Black-necked Grebes here.  No luck with them but I noted Great White Egret, Tree Sparrow, Marsh Tit, Green Sandpiper and a close Kingfisher.
20-10-14, Whitemoor Haye.
33 Mute Swan, several Tree Sparrow, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 21 Lapwing.
23-10-14, Whitemoor Haye.
22 Mute Swan, 40+ Tree Sparrow, 45 Lapwing, 5 Mallard, 21 Coot, 16 Tufties, 1 Shoveler.
25-10-14, Whitemoor Haye.
1 Little Grebe, 16 Coot, 111 Mute Swan, 120 Lapwing, 3 Grey Partridge.
26-10-14, Whitemoor Haye.
19 Little Egret, 120+ Cormorant, 188 Lapwing, 20 Tufties, 16 Great Crested Grebe, 15 Coot, 126 Mute Swan, 8 Mallard, 2 Teal.
National Arboretum.
Redwings, Goldcrest, Sparrowhawk.
Croxall Wides.
Teal, Green Woodpecker, Redwing.
Alrewas GP.
43 Tufties, 11 Mallard, 1 Green Sandpiper.
29-10-14, Whitemoor Haye.
45 Lapwing, 90 Mute Swan, 19 Coot, 17 Mallard, 7 Teal, 2 Tufties, 3 Great Crested Grebe, Tree Sparrow.
31-10-14, Whitemoor Haye.
Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, Grey Partridge.
1-11-14, Whitemoor Haye.
10 Tufties, 55 Pochard, 22 Coot, 39 Mallard, 7 Little Egret, Goldcrest, 98 Lapwing, 200+ Golden Plover, 12 Grey Partridge, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer.
2-11-14, Whitemoor Haye.
46 Coot, 6 Tufties, 15 Mallard, 188 Mute Swan, Tree Sparrow.
Alrewas GP.
Jay, 9 Mallard, 74 Tufties, 4 Coot, Mistle Thrush.
Junction Pit (pool within National Arboretum).
Cetti's Warbler.
Croxall Wides.
Pochard, Teal, Little Grebe.
8-11-14, Whitemoor Haye.
52 Cormorant, 3 Little Egret, 8 Great Crested Grebe, 84 Tufties, 156 Pochard, 66 Coot, 1 Little Grebe, 31 Mallard, 15 Wigeon, 211 Lapwing, Fieldfare, Redwing, Tree Sparrow.
9-11-14, Whitemoor Haye.
59 Tufties, 4 Wigeon, 43 Pochard, 58 Coot, 350+ Lapwing, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Teal, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Tree Sparrow.
National Arboretum.
Redwing, Goldcrest.
Junction Pit.
Cetti's Warbler.
Alrewas GP.
65 Lapwing, 5 Teal, 59 Tufties, 1 Goldeneye, 2 Mallard, 3 Coot, 4 Wigeon, 3 Pochard.

Once I have sorted them out I will get a few pictures rom the last few weeks and I will also try and keep this blog up to date much quicker.

Saturday, 20 September 2014


Whilst some really decent birds are showing up on the east coast,  Masked Shrike - Spurn, Yellow-browed Warbler - Flamborough, Barred Warbler - Holy Island, Red-breasted Flycatcher - Kilnsea, Olive-backed Pipit - Wells Wood and Gibralter Point to name just a few, I am stuck at home watching the light drizzle or mizzle fall nursing a really sore back.  Gutted.  Hopefully the Masked Shrike will hang around for a week, I am in East Yorkshire next Saturday birding for a couple of days hopefully.
Below are a few photos taken through the last few months.

Grey Plover at Titchwell RSPB

Grey Partridge at Whitemoor Haye

Tufted Duck at Fradley Junction nature reserve

Wren at Tictchwell RSPB

Yellowhammer at Whitemoor Haye

Yellow Wagtail at Whitemoor Haye

Spectacled Warbler at Burnham Overy Staithe

Redshank at Burham Overy Staithe

Little Terns (adult and young) at Burnham Overy Staithe

Marsh Sandpiper at Frampton On Severn. The bigger bird is a Ruff with the sandpiper to the right.  You may need a magnifying glass!!!

Robin at Middleton Lakes RSPB

Woodpigeon at Titchwell RSPB

Gadwall at Cley national nature reserve

Avocet at Cley national nature reserve

Garganey at Willington gravel pits.

Female Shovler and chicks at Cley national nature resrve

Drake Shoveler at Cley national nature reserve
Great White Egret at Branston Water Park 

Pacific Golden Plover at Middleton Lakes RSPB

Night Heron at Seaswood Pools

Little Egret at Croxall gravel pits

Whinchat at Middleton Lakes RSPB
Egyptian Goose at Rutland Water

Thursday, 18 September 2014

W/C 15-9-14

This start of this week I was away on a mini golfing holiday, mini as in length of break not the type of golf!!  Anyway we were up in Shipley in South Yorkshire and during one of the nights I lay awake enjoying a Tawny Owl outside the bedroom window.  I enjoyed the hooting however my golfing mates were not too keen.  Every night it was pretty vocal and as I am known to like birds to them all, I was moaned at big time.  Get a life boys.  We also had several Red Kites flying over.The highlight was not the golf, that was pretty pathetic, but I found a gorgeous ale, Ilkley Gold.  Absolutely stunning.

I was home Wednesday night and Thursday I fancied a bit of birding and wanted to catch up on a couple of waders, one being on of my favourite birds.  The destination was Middleton Lakes RSPB.  Birds noted included Willow Tit, several Chiffchaff, Wigeon, loads of Gadwall, several Little Egret, at least 6 Ruff, a cracking male Whinchat, 2 Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper (one of my favourite waders), Cetti's Warbler and at least 4 Hobbies, and great views too.

Friday, 12 September 2014

September up to Saturday 13th.

The first half of September has had me visit the local gravel pits quite a lot.  It felt like Whinchats were seen at almost every location in the country, with reports coming from everywhere.  I have previously seen them at WH and I was keen to find my own, I love these birds, one of my favourites I think however so far so bad.  I had a training course up at the Tees barrage and we stayed over so the next morning I headed to Hartlepool headland. The weather wasn't at all right for sea watching however I did see a Manx Shearwater at a distance, brilliant close views of a Kingfisher and also caught up on Eider

That's about it really, pretty much up to date now.  Birding has been limited as I have been quite busy with other things on during the summer but I have never lost sight of birding.  Hopefully from now I will try and keep on top of this blog and also I will put on a few photos I have taken.  You haven't missed that too much have you!!!!!!!!


The majority of August was spent around the local lakes with 5 Black Terns at WH being a real bonus.  Not a lot special was around as it was the time of year when birding goes a tad quiet just before the migration.  I had a great day at Birdfair spending loads of money and then at the end of the month a fishing trip to Gloucester was an ideal opportunity to catch up on a nice Marsh Sandpiper.


I was pretty busy with other things this month so birding was at a premium however I did take advantage of the odd situation.  I was in wales for a weekend drinking but had Saturday morning spare so I hired a car and shot off to South Stack RSPB and Holyhead harbour for a few year ticks. cemlyn would have been nice but I ran out of time.  Once again the rest of the month was local gravel pits however news broke on 26th about a Pacific Golden Plover at Middleton RSPB.  Blimey, I needed that but it was too late on the Saturday to get up there by the time I found out.  Sunday I headed for Whitemoor Haye but I was constantly checking my pager and as soon as news of the bird being present I was up there like a flash and soon after I had PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER in the bag.  A stunner albeit a bit distant.  The next day and my mate wanted to go, I was happy to go back and the bird was well close, great views, some decent photos.  Afterwards it was a small trip to Seaswood lake where a Night Heron had been present a while.  We were soon on it, a good nights birding. 


Only a day after returning from Norfolk when a mega bird turned up at Burnham Overy Staithe.  It stayed a while but a week later and it was too much, a car full was organised and a fun day was had ending with a SPECKTACLED WARBLER in the book. An evening on the chase and I heard several Nightjar but never saw any but saw a juvenile Long-eared Owl.  The rest of the month was full of visits to local gravel pits with nothing special found.


Well its been bloomin ages since I updated this blog.  I don't know if it is worth resurrecting but I do want to give it a go.  To catch up I am going to do brief accounts of each month up to the present day so lets start with may.

Got out and about in this month, visiting Whitemoor Haye (WH) pretty regular as well hovering up migrants such as Wood Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit, Whinchat and Common Sandpiper.  At the end of the month I spent a few days in Norfolk which resulted in a lifer for me, a female BLACK HEADED BUNTING.  Quality.  As well as that year ticks kept coming including Osprey, Stone Curlew, Nightingale, Little Gull, some cracking Hobbies, Bearded Tit and Grey Plover.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

April and early May.

Well Ive been pretty useless at updating my blog of late so I will try and do a brief write up of the last month and a bit.
April 4th saw me on a golf course and I watched a Goshawk hunting in a nearby wood.
April 7th, Whitemoor Haye and 2 Egyptian Geese still present along with regulars.
April 9th, Crickhowell, S Wales.  A site visit for work and several Red Kites to boot.
April 11th, The Pits. First Sedge Warbler at Alrewas GP, singing Willow Warbler in Arboretum, 2 LRP's and Corn Bunting at WH.
April 12th, Croxall.  A few warblers but no waders.  WH, first Willow Warbler, first Shoveler here for ages, 1 Treecreeper.
April 15th.  Interesting brief visit to Rye Meads RSPB
April 16th, W, First Yellow Wags of 2014.
April 18th  The Pits.  First Common Whitethroat and distant Gropper heard once but never found. Lesser Whitethroat and Redstart at Arboretum, Common Sandpiper on River at Croxall, nowt special at WH.
April 19th, Middleton RSPB, several Groppers, Glossy Ibis, Com Sand, Cetti's warb, Common Tern, House Martin, Oycs.  Dosthill Lake, Mediterranean Gull.  Willington GP, very showy drake Garganey, Garden Warbler and my first photo of a Cetti's Warbler.  WH, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Tree Sparrow etc.
April 20th, Warren Hills NR, Leicestershire, bit of a gamble for Ring Ouzel, not paid off.  WH, usual stuff.
April 21st, WH, Common Tern, Redshank, Sedge Warbler, Oycs, Tree Sparrow, Pochard, Yellow Wag, Corn Bunting.
April 22nd, Mancetter, brief look for Black Redstart seen on previous day, not located.
April 26th, WH, LRP, Com Tern.
April 29th, WH, Grey Partridge.  First visit to Tucklesholme GP, hmmmm.
May 5th, WH, Wheatear, Grey Partridge.
May 7th, Middleton RSPB, Reed Warbler, LRP, Whinchat, Avocet, dipped on Wood Sand and Barwit.  WH, Com Whitethroat, Redshank, Oyc.
May 11th, WH, White and Yellow Wagtail, Oycs, Redshank, Sedge Warb, LRP

That's me up to date, not a lot of birding done really, my mind has been on other things such as the odd fishing match and a fair bit of cycling but I will always be out somewhere birding.  You can always follow me on Twitter, god I never thought I would write that in here, I'm a changed man. look for Alrewas Birder.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

1-4-14, Coppiceside, Brownhills.

It was another day in South Wales for me so I was pretty knackered heading home but I decided to pop to see the Glossy Ibis once again as I was passing.  This great bird had been present through January, Disappeared shortly after but surprisingly turned up again a few days ago.  When it was present before I failed to get any decent images, this time I managed a few better photos than before.  A cracking bird. Photos to follow you'll be happy to now.


With a nice evening in prospect I loaded up the bike with all my gear and set off for the pits.

Alrewas GP.
No sign of the Long-tailed Duck this evening but 9 Coot, 2 Oystercatchers, 4 Mute Swan, 4 Moorhen, 65 Wigeon, 25+ Mallard, 50+ Tufties, 12 Gadwall, 3+ Chiffchaff and 20+ Teal.  Guess who, once again, did not look at the weather forecast!!!!!  At least half an hour hiding in a tunnel from the rain.

Whitemoor Haye.
Hooray, No people messing around on the lake so quite a few wildfowl present there and around the lanes.  21 Coot, 8 Gadwall, 3 Oystercatchers, 69 Tufties, 33 Mallard, 3 Redshank, 10 Wigeon, 2 Egyptian Geese, 40+ Mute SwanChiffchaff, 3 Fieldfare over, 2 Tree Sparrow and 7 Yellowhammer.

31-3-14, Kemerton, Worcesteshire

Today I had a site meeting in South Wales and I had a bit of time to get there.  There had also been two Taiga Bean Geese frequenting a small reserve near Kemerton in Worcesteshire, I just had to go.  I was on site early, walked up to the hide, scanned the lake but nothing obvious then on the way back a few geese I a field.  Bins up, lock on BOOM, Taiga Bean Geese.  I have only had Tundra Bean Geese so I was made up with this.
\that's half of the story though.  Looking at the geese I thought I ponly had one and it was associating itself with a Greylag Geese, even flying off with it.  It was only when a birder said they were both Bean Geese I learnt that the Taiga have variations of the orange colour on the beak and the Tundra types have the dark bill with an orangy pink tip as sometimes do Taigas.  Confused, me too.   


Belvide Res.
Saturday was a non-birding day as I was training for a hilly bike ride I have been suckered in to do:(  With a good forecast I was thinking of the chase to get some specialised heath birds however a very showy Firecrest was present at Belvide on the Saturday so I decided to get there early and hopefully tick that off before popping to the chase. 
You probably know by now the Firecrest did not show again after Saturday, I thought I got a quick call from it early morning but nope, not seen at all.  Rubbish.  I did do a bit of photography in the woodland hide and added a few Brambling to my year list, one target for on the chase, bonus.  Also the Tawny owl was in its owl box and the Long-tailed Duck on the water.  

Rifle Range.
After Belvide I popped up to the rifle range to see what was about.  Not a bad short session with birds such as Green Woodpecker and Siskin showing.

A new site.
With the slow demise of Whitemoor Haye I have been thinking of some new sites to check regularly.  I have decided to tackle Alrewas gravel pit more often as this has great potential but there is a site not far from home which I have always thought could be quite good, possibly only birded by a couple of people I know that do not live too close and has quite some potential with a range of habitats.  Not a bad list of birds was drawn up for the first visit.  Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Lapwing, Tufted Duck, Pochard and Gadwall all noted. 

Whitemoor Haye.

With time getting on and my energy levels rapidly lowering I had a quick look around Whitemoor Haye.  Birds noted 10 Mallard, 5 Coot, 19 Tufties, Meadow Pipit, Chiffchaff, Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow and Reed Bunting

28-3-14, Middleton Hall RSPB

Having not been here since it became an open RSPB site I decided to head over straight after work but guess who never checked the forecast.  As I arrived I could hear thunder in the distance and many people were heading for the car park as I was heading the other way.  If you have not yet been to this reserve well you have to enjoy walking.  There is a bit of birding on the way with birds such as Lesser Redpolls and regular birds visiting the feeders and then  the chance of anything on the good walk along the woods.  Over the canal and bang, wetland, reeds and muddy areas galore, this has great potential and I was looking forward to a bit of decent birding however that thunder was following me along with some dark clouds.  Eventually In came across a screen over looking scrapes and muddy islands with plenty of bird species.  This is where I spent most of my time keeping as dry as possible and trying not to get hit by some fantastic lightening.  Birdwise nothing special, plenty of wildfowl - Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Shelduck plus a handful of waders.  Little Ringed Plover and Jack Snipe had been recently reported but nothing seen, just Redshank, Dunlin and Ringed Plover.  Not a bad site but the only hide is miles away and the screens not very tripod friendly and of course no toilets.  Why do RSPB not like toilets?  Compost toilets are a brilliant green way to provide relief and friendly for the environment.  I doubt I will be bringing my mother, walk all of the way to the pools and then have to pop back for the loo.  Rubbish.
A site I will definitely try again though.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

26-3-14, Ladywalk NR

Today I had a site visit in Bath before going to our Gloucester office.  On the pager I noticed the Bittern showing at Ladywalk.  Now last year I had a nightmare with Bitterns.  In February I went to Hams Wall and heard them booming but no sight and I then in May I was at Lakenheath where there were loads booming but I saw none.  I was just never going to see one last year.  On the way home I decided I would have enough time to visit Ladywalk NR before the sun went down and so with a good trip back I arrived at the reserve at about 17.20.  A ten minute walk I was in a hide overlooking the feeders (sorry don't know any names) and within minutes  was watching a beautiful Bittern hunting in the reeds.  I was well made up.  Also noted were 5 Goosander, 2 Oycs and several Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler plus a constantly calling Green Woodpecker and a nice Willow Tit.

25-3-14, Whitemoor Haye

With my new role in CRT I am in my own car so on the way home I am free to go where I want ( I used to drive a tracked van and could only go straight home after work).  This means I can pop anywhere straight after work.  Yee haaaa.  Tonight I thought I would check the lake for any migrants and count the ducks.  Unfortunately there were boaters on the lake so ducks numbers were low.  7 Coot, 2 Shelduck, 16 Tufties, 13 Mallard, 1 Grey Heron, 5 Gadwall, 2 Oycs, 2 Redshank and 2 Mute Swans.  Woopeeee.  In recent weeks a speed boat and about six sailing boats have turned up on the lake and so I think this summer it will be as busy as Chasewater.  Deep joy.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Up to the weekend beginning 22-3-14

Hi folks or just folk.  Its been bloomin ages since I last updated this blog so I will do a quick update and give you the best of each site over the last few weeks.

27-2-14, Home.
Made up when a male Blackcap was feeding on the feeders in the back garden.

2-3-14, Alrewas GP
16 Mallard, 53 Wigeon, 8 Coot, 30 Tufted Duck, 4 Goldeneye, 9 Gadwall, 1 fem Scaup, several Chiffchaff, 1 Long-tailed Duck.

2-3-14, National Arboretum.
Several Fieldfare and plenty of Redwing.

2-3-14, Junction Pit.
4 Mallard, 18 Teal.

2-3-14, Croxall Wides.
2 Redshank, 2 Grey Wagtail.

2-3-14, Whitemoor Haye.
25 Tufted Duck, 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Mallard, 2 Gadwall, 411+ Lapwing, 1 Snipe, 1 Little Owl, 3 Goldeneye, 88 Golden Plover.

8-3-14, Whitemoor Haye.
34 Tufted Duck, 89 Wigeon, 2 Goldeneye, 17 Mallard, 35 Coot, 2 Shelduck, 2 Grey Partridge, 5 Tree Sparrow, 8 Yellowhammers, 1 Little Owl.

8-3-14, Fradley Junction NR.
3 Goosanders.

9-3-14, Worlds End.
12 Black Grouse.

9-3-14, Llanddulas.
Red-throated Diver, thousands of Common Scoter.

9-3-14, Pensarn.
On the 6th attempt I finally located several drake SURF SCOTERS in with thousands of Common Scoter.

9-3-14, River Dane near Flash.
Dipper, Grey Wagtail.

9-3-14, Knotbury.
Red Grouse, Curlew, Raven, Sparrowhawk.

11-3-14, Whitemoor Haye.
17 Mallard, 31 Mute Swan, 2 Oystercatcher, 31 Coot, 40+ Tree Sparrow, 15+ Yellowhammer, Treecreeper, 2 Shelduck.

11-3-14, Alrewas GP.
16 Mallard, 157 Wigeon, 26 Tufted Duck, 9 Gadwall, 2 Oystercatcher, 9 Goldeneye, 1 Coot, 8 Teal, 1 Long-tailed Duck, several Chiffchaff, Redwing.

12-3-14,  Hopwood.
Great Grey Shrike.

13-3-14, Branston GP.
Wigeon, Little Grebe, Teal, Gadwall, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Curlew, Shelduck, Water Rail, Ruff, Cetti's Warbler, Ringed Plover, Goldcrest, Green Woodpecker.

17-3-14, Elford.
Corn Bunting.

17-3-14, Whitemoor Haye.
24 Tufted Duck, 14 Mallard, 3 Gadwall, 13 Coot, 2 Oystercatcher, 4 Shelduck, 86+ Wigeon, 25+Yellowhammer, 14+ Tree Sparrow, 2 Snipe.

21-3-14, Whitemoor Haye.
35 Tufted Duck, 25 Mallard, 5 Coot, 2 Shelduck, 5 Gadwall, 1 Redshank, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Ringed Plover, 36+ Yellowhammer, 23+ Tree Sparrow, 12 Golden Plover, 2 Grey Partridge, 1 Little Owl, 3 Meadow Pipit.

22-3-14, Whitemoor Haye.
40 Tufted Duck, 19 Mallard, 4 Coot, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Shelduck, 1 Redshank, 8 Tree Sparrow, 14 Yellowhammer, 3 male Wheatear, 1 Corn Bunting, 3 Oystercatcher.

22-3-14, National Arboretum.
Chiffchaff, Jay.

22-3-14, Croxall Wides.
Little Grebe, Sand Martin.

22-3-14, Alrewas GP.
27 Tufted Duck, 14 Mallard, 18 Coot, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Wigeon, 10 Gadwall, 5 Goldeneye, Sand Martin.

23-3-14, Belvide Reservoir.
Nuthatch, Willow Tit, Chiffchaff, Goldeneye, Sand Martin, Oystercatcher, Wigeon, Velvet Scoter (my first Staffs bird), Scaup, Gadwall, Long-tailed Duck, Snipe, Water Rail, Tree Sparrow, Tawny Owl, Pochard, Teal, Shoveler.

23-3-14, Cannock Chase - Abrahams Valley.
Common Crossbill.

That's me up to date.  Sorry for leaving it so long and I will also aim to throw in the odd photo soon.


Friday, 28 February 2014


Well its been a rough couple of weeks.  On 12th Feb I woke up to some signs of a possible relapse of my MS, during the day it was pretty much confirmed however I was not able to get to hospital until 26th.  Since then I have still been pretty mobile but struggling with my balance and numbness however I managed on.

18-2-14, Chasewater.
I am rubbish with gulls but can usually to sort out the larger white winged birds but Caspian Gulls Ive got no chance.  Tonight was no different but I did manage an Iceland Gull, picked out a few Yellow-legged Gulls and a pair of Red-crested Pochard drifted past.

19-2-14, Whitemoor Haye.
Just a quick drive round the lanes and a look over the lake. About 100 Lapwing,   2 Oystercatcher, 9 Coot and 5 Mallard.  Not very exciting.

22-2-14, Whitemoor Haye.
An early visit before a mornings work.  23 Mallard, 1 Little Egret, 32 Coot, 2 Oystercatcher, 84 Wigeon, 14 Tufted Duck, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Cormorant, 2 Shelduck, 33 Lapwing, 3 Grey Heron, 8+ Tree Sparrow and several Skylarks and Yellowhammer.  It was a glorious morning and there was loads of Skylarks singing.  Cracking.

22-2-14, Gailey Reservoir.  The morning was spent putting up bat boxes but I did managed to spot the juvenile Great Northern Diver.

22-2-14, Chasewater.
I made a bit of an error today.  The weather was brilliant which I didn't plan, if I did I would have gone to North Wales as the sea would have been decent enough for Surf Scoter however I was having fun at Whitemoor Haye.  As the day went on the wind was strengthening and I was planning on doing Pensarn in the afternoon but the wind was ruining it so I decided to head for my third gull roost this year.  Although everything was reported later on I did not pick anything up interesting.

Health wise I was picking up and Monday hoping to cancel my hospital appointment.

23-2-14, Whitemoor Haye.
14 Tufted Duck, 20 Coot, 59 Wigeon, 23 Mallard, 66 Lapwing, 5 Goldeneye, 6 Cormorant, 2 Grey Partridge, 15+ Yellowhammer and 20+ Tree Sparrow.

23-2-14, National Arboretum.
Not a lot but there was a few Goldcrest around, loads of Redwings as usual and 2 Oystercatchers overhead.

23-2-14, Alrewas GP.
30 Tufted Duck, 6 Great Crested Grebe, 9 Coot, 4 Mute Swan, 9 Mallard, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 4 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall, 1 Scaup, 1 Oystercatcher, 4+ Chiffchaff and the single probable Siberian Chiffchaff.

23-2-14, Junction Pit.
1 Coot, 2 Mallard, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Mute Swan.

Today was not a lot of walking but I was absolutely knackered and my MS symptoms had come back with style.

26, 27, 28-2-14, Hospital.
It was decided I was to have some mega strength steroids pumped into me over the next three days.  Side effects have been pretty horrendous but I am writing this up having had my last dose.  I just need to catch up on some sleep which I have had none of since Tuesday, constant indigestion and sickness.  They are the side effects I can mention, I don't want to indulge in them all!!!!!!
However the good news is that my numbness is already disappearing but I am a bit wobbly so riding a bike is a no no.  next step is another MRI scan to check my brain, yep there is one in there as this is my third scan and then it looks like I am going to go on tablets.  Deep joy.

Monday, 17 February 2014


On the way home tonight via Whitemoor Haye and a small bird was perched on a lone straw bale that has been left behind on the Skylark field.  As I raised my bins I assumed Skylark, as it flew away I knew female Merlin.  Cracking, a nice year tick.


What a change, what a morning.  Blue skies, little wind and best of all no rain.  I was at Whitemoor Haye by 07.30.
Whitemoor Haye.
500+ Lapwing, 2 Tufties, 19 Coot, 42 Wigeon, 9 Mute Swan, 2 Oystercatchers (welcome back), 1 Goldeneye, 2 Mallard, 20+ Tree Sparrow, and 1 Grey Partridge.  That does not say a lot but it was a great morning with 20+ Skylark in full song and every other bird in full song posing to the opposite sex.
National Arboretum.
This place is not happening this year (see recent posts) but two Goldeneye on the river were rather pleasant and still good numbers of Redwings feeding under the trees.  Still no Redpoll or Brambling.
Alrewas GP.
Very high water levels still here but not many wildfowl per square metre,  shame as it is a pretty undisturbed lake bar the A38 and the nearby helipad.
Birds noted were 6 Gadwall, 54 Tufties, 32 Coot, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 4 Mute Swan, 6 Wigeon, 1 female Scaup, 6 Goldeneye, 6+ Chiffchaff and the probable Siberian Chiffchaff.  No sign of the redhead Smew but with water levels high there was plenty of trees that were submerged providing lots of cover.  Great fun here today.


Well the plan today was to head north and carry on my great run of form and get my fifth lifer of the year, a cracking Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Tuesday I was in Abergavenny on  work business, constantly checking the pager whilst watching for floods.  Wednesday morning I woke up and something was not right, I was dizzy, unsteady on my feet (yep just like a Saturday night after a few pints) and parts of my body quite numb.  I didn't take much to figure out I was have an MS relapse.  Bugger.  As the week went on it was pretty much confirmed and my chances of getting to Durham were faint, I couldn't drive far and travelling as a passenger would make me sick.
Saturday I decided to have a rest day but I did venture around Whitemoor Haye. 
I noted 2 Mallard, 21 Coot, 9 Wigeon, 1 Goldeneye, 6 Tufted Duck, 11 Golden Plover and 300+ Lapwing.
Fradley Junction.
There are a flock of swans at near to Fradley Junction and I am counting them and checking them out as much as possible.  Waste of time?  Maybe but last year I did the same thing to a flock just up the road and one day I found a Bewicks amongst them.  Today there were 39 Mute Swans.
Apologies if the correct terminology was not used, flock does not sound right.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Recent photos

Little Owl - Whitemoor Haye
Red-flanked Bluetail - Nr Marshfield

Red-flanked Bluetail 

Red-flanked Bluetail

Red-flanked Bluetail 

Raven - Marshfield
Red-flanked Bluetail video.  Hope it works.