Sunday, 30 August 2015

Prague - August 2015

August 24th-28th 2015

Enjoyed a short visit to Prague in the Czech Republic with friends. After the short flight we had a taxi ride to our apartment near the centre of the city. It was a short walk to most of the places of interest. Arriving late afternoon our priority after off loading the luggage was to find somewhere to eat and drink. The drinking bit was easy enough. There was a small brewery with a beer garden just round a couple of corners. So we had a very pleasant introduction to Prague with a couple of pints of 11 per cent unfiltered home brewed Pilsner Lager. During the next couple of days we toured the city. The weather was hot and sunny. No binoculars of course but I kept my eyes open for the few birds that were to be seen in the parks and wooded areas of the city. Best bird of the 20 species seen was undoubtedly a White backed Woodpecker, the rest were familiar species with the exception of Black Redstarts which seemed to be fairly common.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

A bit of Ruff

19th August 2015

Stretched my legs a bit further afield yesterday with a visit to Draycote Water, and very pleasant it was too. Not too many folk about so a gentle stroll around to the valve tower and back produced a Ruff, 2 Dunlin, 4 Common Tern and a Common Sandpiper although there were at least 4 scattered around the Res. I understand. Met up with Bob Hazel for the return leg. In the afternoon it was back to the local patch at Caldecote.There were the usual Buzzards and good numbers of Robins with a couple of Chiffchaff
in the bushes but little else, although 4 Swifts were seen over the river.



Monday, 17 August 2015

Migration Watch continued

Monday 17th August 2015
Focussing on just a few local areas has its good and bad points. It can be pretty dispiriting going to the same venue nearly everyday and seeing the same Common Buzzards, Corvids etc but on the other hand you do see changes starting to happen, new birds on the block: Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps gathering, probably local breeders but starting to disperse ready for the big move. Another plus is finding your own stuff. Today 'on the patch' north of Caldecote there was a marked increase in numbers of Chiffchaff - up to 8 whereas a few days ago there was only 2/3 seen.The Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats, however, seem to have moved on. Around Caldecote itself, today was momentus, well not Mega but I thought 2 Whinchats was pretty good. There was also a party of 5 Linnets and a single Yellow wagtail. I've also been to Alvecote a few times but apart from the Greenshank a few days ago its been quiet with last week's storms raising the water levels. Similar story at Shustoke apart from the Common Sandpipers. So its a question of sticking at it waiting for that moment when you find that Wryneck creeping about on the pasture.

Chiffchaff, looking a little hot and bothered




Monday, 10 August 2015

Local migration Watch

Monday 10th August 2015

After a slight mishap following a local Beer Festival birding has been restricted to a few easily  accessible local sites. First signs of a bit of moment at the Caldecote meadows was an increase in the numbers of Whitethroats in the Hawthorne bushes with a couple of Chiffchaff and a Willow warbler. Today the cast had changed to include a Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat as well as Chiffchaff and Whitethroat again. No sign of any Redstarts or Spot Flys yet though.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Mid summer Birding continued

Sunday 2nd August 2015

Sorry the blogs have deteriorated to weekly summaries but there's not much point in wittering on when there's not a lot to witter about. Done the usual rounds this week : Alvecote, Bentley, Kingsbury, Shustoke, Coton etc. with a couple of trips to Brandon Marsh.
Shustoke produced the'Bird of with week', an adult Dunlin ( says it all really). While Brandon had a couple of Hobby and 3 Green Sands. Common Sands continue to pass through with at least 3 at Shustoke Res. this week.
Dunlin, Sustoke Res.


Common Sandpiper, Shustoke

Spotted Flycatcher

Green Sandpiper, Brandon Marsh
and finally - it seems Severn Trent Water are running out of patience with those few but persistent dog walkers who refuse to adhere to the rules and let their dogs roam freely, even in some cases encouraging their animals into the water. This spy in the sky can apparently be easily adapted to vapourise persistent offenders, the dogs that is, vapourising their owners would require an act of parliament I understand.

We're watching you !

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Mid-summer Birding

28th July 2015

Have visited nearly all my usual local haunts over the past week but very little to go on about. No more doggy stories thank goodness and the paths have been very quiet so nothing to chunter about. In fact those folk I have bumped into here and there have been very chatty and amiable.
Seem to be a few Hobbies about, 3 today, 2, an adult and a juv. at Alvecote and one at Cliff pool Kingsbury. Also at Alvecote today were 3 Little Egret and a couple of Common terns and 50+ House Martins.On the Caldecote walk 2 Yellow wagtails were seen and on the Rothern's farm walk, Mancetter, there were 2 Ravens. 2 Ravens were also seen beyond the Orchard at Alvecote but the Redstart proved extremely elusive. An Avocet at Brandon Marsh was a good Warks. year bird on the same pool as 4 Green Sandpipers and a single Common Sandpiper was seen at Shustoke on the piles of algae and weed. Talking of weed I spent almost as much time today pulling up Himalayan Balsam as I did Birding. A drop in the ocean I know but I suppose every bit helps. So that's about it for the past few days, still struggling with the new phone so tweeting is on hold but I'm hopeful of getting all coms back in full working order shortly.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A dog called Jack

Wednesday 22nd July 2015

Now call me a grumpy old man but some things do annoy me. Yesterday it was fly-tipping on my Caldecote walk and today dog owners in the countryside. Before I go any further I should say some dog owners, probably a very small proportion but today I saw at best a very silly dog owner. The person who will be sexless released the two large dogs on entering the field I was in checking for migrants. The field is used as pasture for both Sheep and cattle. Not surprisingly on seeing the small herd of curious Bullocks the dogs or at least one of them went crazy. The shouts of 'Jack' rang out, the shouts ranged from appeals to the dogs better nature in a pleading tone to threatening screams of panic induced hysteria. I couldn't see what the dogs were doing but I did see the rather large person climb a barbed wire fence into the next crop field presumably in pursuit of Jack. The Bullocks looked on in apparent amazement or perhaps it was indifference anyway they just looked on as cows do. Luckily for me I'd pretty much finished my mini patch walk. If I was just starting then I really would have been grumpy. Nothing to report on the bird front except Chiffchaff and a single juvenile Bullfinch.
Earlier in the day,before the rain, I went to Alvecote. There was a Little ringed Plover on Mill pool and a Redstart in hedges on the Staffordshire side.

Little ringed Plover, Mill pool Alvecote