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. 


Monday, 10 February 2014


With being out and about on Saturday it was down to patch work today.

Whitemoor Haye.
17 Coot, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Tufties, 8 Wigeon, 1 Goldeneye and 390+ Lapwing about.

National Arboretum.
2 Jays, several Goldcrest and loads of Redwing.

Croxasll GP (viewed from arboretum).

2 Oystercachers.

Alrewas GP.

6 Wigeon, 45 Tufties, 6 Goldeneye, 2 Grey Heron, 60+ Coot, 1 Pochard, 1 Gadwall and about 4+ Chiffchaff.

8-2-14, Marshfield, Gloucestershire.

The midweek arrival of a Red-flanked Bluetail in Gloucestershire had my mobile ringing and by Friday plans were afoot to get down to see the bird.  Firstly I had a bank visit but we managed to get away at around 09.30 and we were on site for about 12.00 The bird showed brilliantly and was a real cracker.  It will  take some beating for the bird of the year however as I write this on the Monday evening I a,m looking at a stunning Yellow-rumped Warbler up in Durham.  I wonder!!!!!!!!!
Pictures of the Red-flanked Bluetail to follow.


I decided to spend the day around the local pits along with my mate to see what was about.

Alrewas GP.
5 Coot, 6 Great Crested Grebe, 44 Tufties, 7 Goldeneye, 2 Mallard, 1 Long-tailed Duck and 1 Smew.   Later on during the day the probable Siberian Chiffchaff was relocated along with a second one so I popped back to see it.

National Arboretum.
Not a lot was a round but we did spend 30 minutes checking out the Redwing flock looking for Brambling.  No luck but watching the 1000+ Redwings was fun.

Whitemoor Haye.
41 Wigeon, 15 Tufties, c1000 Lapwing, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Green Woodpecker, 20+ Tree Sparrows, about 30+ Yellowhammers and 1 Little Owl.

1-2-14, Whitemoor Haye

With work most of the day it was an afternoon visit to Whitemoor Haye to see what was around.
27 Coot
9 Tufted Duck
1 Goldeneye
30+ Yellowhammer
19 Tree Sparrow
about 1600 Lapwing.


I own a property in North Wales and it had some issues so me and my maye went up to sort everything out but first we had to address the issue of my mate not having ever seen a Buff-bellied Pipit so it was off to Burton Marsh to get the bird for him. We were on site all of five minutes when someone found it amongst the Meadow Pipits.  Great to see again.
From here it was off to sort my property out and then we head for Pensarn near Abergele for some long lasting Surf Scoters.   Today they were not showing, plenty of Common Scoter but it was too choppy to find any Surfs.  From here it was off to Rhos-on-Sea for some Purple Sandpiper.  Sadly these were illusive and with the weather turning we headed home but as we approached Stoke the weather was picking up again.  With my mate never having seen a Lesser Scaup we headed for Tittesworth reservoir and the Lesser Scaup was showing on the opposite side to the car park.