Friday, 11 March 2016

March 4th to March 11th.

4-3, Worlds End.
One more week to catch up on and it started with an 04.30 pick up, 2 hour drive to Worlds End and an hour and a half sitting watching Black Grouse -in the car - in the freezing cold wind - with the window down - by eck it was cold.  So why? Well, do it and see. They are amazing birds and definitely worth the early morning, two hour drive and coldness to be with them.  Awesome. 

The hills on the far side of the moors were quickly disappearing with snowy conditions so we decided to turn and burn and with snow forecast in North Wales we decided to head closer to home.

4-3, Belvide Reservoir.
My mate has just joined West Mids Bird Club and fancied a visit to Belvide.  In general it is pretty quiet here at the moment but the Scaup was easy to find and we had an enjoyable couple of hours.

4-3, Whitemoor Haye.
The usual birds were around including the WhooperSwan but the bonus was a Woodcock which I flushed whilst looking for Treecreeper, which didn't show.

8-3, Whitemoor Haye.
I was off work for a bit with a chest infection but I needed to get out for a walk so had aslow stomp around the patch and with the Whooepr Swan being there it had clocked up its 100th day on site. 2 Snipe in the ditches were a bonus too and a single Redpoll in a hedge was cracking.

11-3, Whitemoor Haye.
Back to work and a cracking early evening walk around the patch produced not a lot.  No sign of the Whooper Swan, I wonder if it has took advantage of the calm weather and headed north?  There is lots of water at the moment and I am really disappointed for the activity centre as they cannot do much as it is flooded - and if you believe that you believe anything. What do they expect, building on flood plains, tossers.

Anyway, up to date now and off early for a mini adventure tomorrow before getting home and feasting on England v Wales 6 nations decider.  Not going to say who I want to win but I just cannot wait for it.

February in brief.

1-2, Elford.
Corn Bunting.

9-2, Chasewater.
Mediterranean but still no Glaucous or Iceland Gulls :(.

11-2, Stubbers Green
An unexpected Common Sandpiper.

11-2, Whitemoor Haye.
11 Grey Partridge, 150 Wigeon, 600 Lapwing, 2 Oystercatchers,  and the Whooper Swan.

13-2, Church Broughton.
Black Redstart.

20-2, Whitemoor Haye.
Treecreeper was a nice year tick.  2 Oystercatchers, 26 Siskin, Shelduck and the Whooper Swan were of note.

20-2, Alrewas GP (A38 pit)
5 Chiffchaffs were by far the highlight.

27-2, Fradley Junction.
A female Goosander was on the lake but the best birds were the flock of predominantly male Bramblings in a field by Middle lock.

27-2, Whitemoor Haye.
3 Ravens were nice, the Treecreepers were still there, 4 Oystercatchers, a Lil Egret and theWhooper Swan were in support.

28-2, Whitemoor Haye.
Circa 25 Siskins were still around along with 131 Wigeon, 2 Goldeneye and Treecreeper.

28-2, Draycote Water.
A return trip to try and get the Scaup and White-fronted Geese and they were not hard to miss this time.     

Rest of January

Unfortunately my computer had a bit of a breakdown however it is back and I have been birding so a bit of a catch up really. 
16-1, Fradley Junction.
Did my monthly guided walk around Fradley, quite busy with Goosander on the lake and a Nuthatch for the year.
16-1, Whitemoor Haye.
Two Whooper Swan were with the Mute Swans, where has this one come from, a Raven was a nice year tick for WH and 2 Gadwall were on the pool.
16-1, circa Alrewas.
A bit of an eventful walk with my mate and his dogs saw us stalking a small pool which had about 200 Teal on it at dusk. Things were about to get much better when a Peregrine drifted over and lifted the Teal (okay, could have been us as well) and then had a go at them. We then went owl hunting with no luck.
Late news of a 3rd Whooper Swan today found by Julian Allen, wow.  Hope they stay.
17-1, Whitemoor Haye.
900 Lapwing, 30 Siskin, 60+ Skylark, 4 Gadwall, only 1 Whooper Swan :(, 2 Teal, 80 Goldeneye.
23-1, Whitemoor Haye.
1 Sparrowhawk, 700 Lapwing, 2 Ruff, 1 Whooper Swan.
24-1, Whitemoor Haye.
700 Lapwing, 150 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 60 Golden Plover, 2 Great Black-backed Gulls, 1 Whooper Swan, 1 Lil Grebe, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Oystercatcher, Shoveler.  Busy day.
24-1, Uttoxeter Quarry. 
A Ring-necked Duck was holding court and found by Mr Powell.  When I turned up it was showing at the furthest point possible and it was quite a good hike but well worth it.  It was showing with some female Tufties and allowed a good comparison.   Writing this on 11-3 and I believe it is the same bird that is currently at Tittesworth reservoir. 
27-1, Draycote Water.
With a day off I decided to go further afield than Whitemoor Haye to mop up a few year ticks.  A very showy male Smew was a great bird but missed Scaup and White-fronted Goose plus a couple of Great Northern Divers (not needed for the year) but theweather was pretty horrid and almost impossible to scope.
27-1, Ladywalk Reservoir.
Only one bird was expected here and that was the Bittern.  I did get it but I was in the wrong hide, the Bittern hide!!!!! when it did a lap of the reserve and showed brilliantly from the River hide, typical.  Got it though.
27-1, Whitemoor Haye.
Couldn't resist coming back to the patch!!  2000 Lapwing were the main highlight.  No sign of the Whooper.
29-1, Chasewater CP.
First visit of the year for the gulls and not a very good roost was did get the Ring-necked Parakeet which was sadly a year and Staffs tick.  Thanks to the friendly people there I was put on to Yellow-legged Gull, and Caspian Gull.  I do not know how people find them.
30-1, Hornsbere Pool
A day out in Gloucester saw me and my mate at a few birding sites to nail some good birds.  First site was where 2 Penduline Tits were hanging out, these would be a lifer for my mate. After a couple of hours and a few false alarms the birds finally showed up on the reed mace and showed well.
30-1, New Fancy View RSPB.
Kind of fell on to this reserve by mistake but thought it may be worth a go and was rewarded with brief views of a Goshawk.
30-1, Parkend.
Dida couple of sites here before falling on our prey, the Hawfinch. Always good birds to see, cracking bill Gromit.
30-1, Canop Pools.
Just down the road from Parkend and I was told it was a very reliable site for Mandarins and hey presto, 8 were on the pool.
30-1, Kempsey.
Time was getting on so we decided to head home but drop in on the site in Worcester as it had been giving brilliant views of Short-eared Owls, worth a go.  Eventually found where to go but there was lots of disappointed people slowly heading to their cars as it was starting to get to dusk.  We decided to tough out the cold and were rewarded with brief views of one bird.  It was enough though, two happy birders headed back up the M5 home.  Great day out. 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

12th January

Bonus bird today.  Site visit down in South Wales near Abergavenny and I had my fair share of Red Kites to stare at.  Well lush birds!!!!!

Monday, 11 January 2016

9th January

Broad Lane is Heswall, The Wirral, had become a temporary home for a Pallas's Warbler, a tiny Asian warbler.  Having not seen this species before I was on the road at 06.00 and on site just before 09.00 (I know it is only 2 hours from Alrewas but it was lashing down with rain so a breakfast was enjoyed).  The bird had shown in heavy rain but briefly but that was good news, it was till around, and so the wait was on before it showed again.  Show it did thank god, 2 hours later, and so a PALLAS'S WARBLER was in the bag.  To begin with it showed on the right hand side hedge on the floor briefly, I didn't get on it then but the it flew to the right hand hedge and continued to act like a Goldcrest as it fed and flittered along the face of the hedgerow enough to get on it and see the orangy yellow supercilium, and yellowy white wing stripes but sadly no pale rump. 
As well as the super warbler, bloody load of Goldcrests and the odd Chiffchaff.
I would have liked to bird the Wirral for more birds as it is a fantastic place for some winter birding but I was told of a private site in Cheshire where a Black-necked Grebe had been present for a few weeks.  On finding the lake I failed to find the bird but added Raven and Jay to my year list.  The bird was present n the Sunday as my contact had it. :(
I decided then to come back in to Staffs to end the day at Swallow Moss but before then I had time to check out a site for Dipper, which I dipped on, before heading to Knotbury for Red Grouse. I got out of the car, scanned the local fields for anything and spotted a bonus Little Owl sitting on a stone wall, a nice year tick.  A walk around the track and it wasn't long before a Red Grouse flew past me.  That's was enough as time was getting on and I wanted to get to Swallow Moss before dusk. 
On the way to Swallow Moss my year list grew one with the sighting of a Short-eared Owl hunting near Flash.
I arrived at Swallow Moss and was there until dark but only managed to get Starlings, Pheasant and a Wren.
A great days birding. 

6th January

My last day off before back to work so I loaded up my bike and did my favourite circuit of gravel pits.
Whitemoor Haye.
30 Siskins were still present but quite mobile, 600 Lapwing, 1 Redshank calling from the pig field, several Tree Sparrows and Yellowhammers, Goldeneye, Tufties and the Whooper Swan still in the field.
National Arboretum.
After getting a puncture and getting my mom to pick it up and take it to my house I continued on foot.  Nothing special in the arboretum but did add Redwing and Mistle Thrush to the year list.
Junction Pit.
Seconds after arriving the Cetti's Warbler blasted its unforgettable song, this must be the third year this bird has been present.  Has it got a mate? I wouldn't have thought it would hung around if it didn't attract a mate so there maybe a breeding pair there we don't know about!!  2 Snipe were chilling o the bank and five Redshank flew over and appeared to drop in.
Croxall Wides.
Grey Wagtail was the only bird of note on this very flooded corner of the arboretum/river Trent.
Alrewas GP.
4 Goldeneye, 116 Tufties, 10 Gadwall, 7 Teal, 18 Mallard, 41 Coot, at least 3 Chiffchaff and several Goldcrest - new for the year.  

Thursday, 7 January 2016


Black-tailed Godwit - Titchwell RSPB

Purple Sandpiper - Sheringham

Shoveler - Titchwell RSPB

Barn Owl - Titchwell RSPB

Shag - Rudyard Lake

Red-necked Grebe - Trentham Gardens

Ehyptian Geese - Hickling Broad

Shorelark - Thornham

Twite - Thornham

Hoopoe - Wall Heath (Taken 1st Dec)

Whooper Swan -Whitemoor Haye
Rough-legged Buzzard - Choseley Barns

Carrion Crow, Titchwell RSPB


5th January

Staffordshire had some quite nice birds around so me and my mate, Tony, decide to mop up these whilst they were still present.
Rudyard Lake was the first destination for a long staying Shag and it wasn't long before we saw it on a boat before getting absolutely ridiculous close views of this bird.
Next destination was Trentham Gardens for a Red-necked Grebe and again it was not long before it was seen at the far end of the lake and, again, great views were had.
Next site was the southern tip of Staffordshire for a long staying bird and one which has a surprise bird for the winter, a Hoopoe.  Again this bird was showing well.
Since the Little Owls abandoned Whitemoor Haye I have no regular site for Little Owls until Tony showed me a site near Yoxall last year however the birds were not showing today. 
3 out of 4 aint bad.

4th January

Just a check around Whitemoor Haye today and birds included Siskin (these have been present for a couple of months now, seen in the small woodland by the quarry entrance), 25 Wigeon, 850 Lapwing, 33 Mute Swan, 1 Whooper Swan, Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, Fieldfare, and a Sparrowhawk.

3rd January.

Last day and the forecast was not good so there was only one site to visit and that was Titchwell RSPB.  Pretty much the same birds as on January 1st but it was an enjoyable couple of hours until news of a bird I would have loved for the year list, a Pallid Harrier.  This bird had been showing in a field near Flitcham well before New Years Day but the it suddenly disappeared, no doubt leaving lots of listers disappointed.  Anyway, on arrival, the view had only been a flyby and there had been no sign for over an hour. An hour later there was still o sign and with the rains coming I headed back but not before adding a Brambling to my list.
With a pretty good trip home in constant rain it stopped as I approached the village so I decided to check out the patch, Whitemoor Haye,  The Whooper Swan was still present, a smart male Peregrine was sitting on a rock and then I was treated to a Merlin being pestered by some crows.  Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, and, amazingly, Tufted Duck were year ticks (yep, no tufties seen whilst in Norfolk).

2nd January.

Next morning the plan was to go to Buckingham Marsh RSPB for geese however reports from the previous day said they were very distance and with some showing near Cley I decided to take the risk of finding these and so instead I decided to go to Sea Palling for a Cattle Egret.  This was my big mistake of the holiday as I didn't know where Sea Palling was but thought it was near Cromer when in fact it was the next village along from Hickling where Stubbs Mill is.  What was even more painful was that the bird was not seen again since January 1st, gutted.  That was one of he birds I really wanted from the trip.  Hey ho, that's birding!!!
Well it was off to Cley to look for the Bean Geese, well Kelling to be exact, but on the way I fancied |Sheringham and was delighted to see Purple Sandpiper as well as Red-throated Diver, Gannet and Fulmar.
Now for these Bean Geese at Kelling and after an drive around the village I soon found a field full of Pink-footed Geese and eventually found 4 Bean Geese.  Nice. 
Next, with my digs at Hunstanton for the night, I went for the Rough-legged Buzzards once again as they had been reported showing well only minutes ago.  Once on site I was soon on one of the birds and was treated to a Barn Owl too.  I got talking to another birder and he told me about the Twite and Shorelarks at Thornham.  These were too good to miss.
The Twite showed brilliantly I the car park, the Shorelarks also showed brilliantly but were a bloody good walk and the only time in three days I got slightly wet. Worth it though.
I still had about an hours daylight so decided to head to Hunstanton to watch night fall.

2016, New Year, New Attitude!!

Well well well, its been sometime since I last posted on this blog and I have decided to have yet another go.
In the last couple of years I have been birding and I have been tweeting, just not been blogging but I fancy another go so here we are.  If there are any readers out there, let me know by leaving a comment, I know I will not be doing it for nothing then.
Last year was pretty disappointing on a birding front but that was down to circumstance, I received the keys for my house on August 1st, a lit of hard work had to be done so the birding was put to the side along with biking, fishing and beer consumption however it sure has been worth it as I am writing this in my lounge watching my TV and cooking my dinner. Yeah baby.
This year I intend to beat last years totals which were three lifers and about 180 bird for the year so where better than Norfolk to start off a new year.

1st January 2016.
With the forecast looking okay for a couple of days the hotels were booked and I was on the way to Titchwell RSPB when I saw my first bird for the year and I cannot complain with what it was, a lovely Barn Owl near Norfolk Lavender centre, Heacham (Hunstanton).  On arrival at Titchwell RSPB at 07.00 yes, it was dark, but birds were singing but they couldn't be counted as I have a rule for the first bird of the year has to be seen that is for one bird, a Cetti's Warbler.  It is possible to be three feet from a small bush with the bird singing away for ages and the bird would not be seen so, in my rule book, I don't have to see it.
Birds seen included Marsh Harrier, Barn Owl, Avocets, Pink-footed Geese, Water Rail, Pintail, Water Pipit, Rock Pipit, Peregrine, Common Scoter and Chiffchaff.
I was heading for Norwich but news came through of a Rough-legged Buzzard at Choseley but being there 30 mins with no sign for an hour I headed off.
My main destination was Stubbs Milll fro the harrier/crane roost.  After seeing a Barn Owl near to Hickling Broad, Stubbs Mill saw plenty of Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Cranes and a female Hen Harrier.