Monday, 1 September 2014

Draycote Water, Warks.

Monday 1st September 2014
Can you believe its September already, my Grandson's first day at school. Amazing.
Anyway decided to give the patch a rest today and with prolonged showers forecast thought I'd give Draycote Water a try. T.M. had already found a Shag. So you never know your luck something interesting might well turn up. I began walking round in light drizzle, but the rain got progressively heavier as the morning wore on.  I met the two Keiths looking for the Shag but it had disappeared, although a young Cormorant held our attention for a while. We went our separate ways and I walked round to Toft Bay. The hedges were alive with birds mainly Yellow Wagtails about 25 or so but also Yellowhammers, Pipits and Finches. I took shelter in Toft before heading back but still got a good soaking before reaching the Visitors centre. After a coffee and with the rain easing I walked round towards Rainbow corner, just before the overflow I saw the Shag on the rocks. The heavens opened again but not before I'd taken a few snaps.

A selection of images from Draycote Water
Juvenile Shag, Draycote Water
Juvenile Cormorant, for comparison
Juvenile Common Tern
Pipit sp
JuvenileYellow Wagtail
Common Tern
Juvenile Green Woodpecker

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Patchwork

Thursday, Friday,Saturday 28,29 & 30th August 2014
With an appointment at Cov and Warwicks hospital in the afternoon birding time was limited but a quick visit to Shustoke confirmed the Little Gull was still present in company with a single juvenile Common tern.
Little Gull, Shustoke Res.
Friday started at the Anchor bushes nr Hartshill including a stretch of the Coventry canal. A late Swift was with Swallows over the area of Judkins Quarry, Nuneaton and a large number of Mistle thrushes were in stubble fields to the east of the canal towards Caldecote Hall but there were few migrants to be seen in the bushes and hedges. Driving towards Mill pool, Alvecote a Hobby was seen from the car and a Redstart was seen briefly in the Teal pool hedge.
On Saturday the morning started well with a Green Woodpecker in the garden, only the second record of the species in the garden. A walk near Mancetter Quarry proved fruitless with only 2 Chiffchaffs and a Willow warbler to show for the slog up the hill. I ended up at Alvecote after checking a few hedges on route. The Teal pool hedge came up trumps with a female/juv Redstart as did the hedges at the back of the Pretty Pigs pool with a further 2 Redstarts incuding an elusive male. 6 Little Egrets were counted around Mill pool and Railway pool.
Redstart, Alvecote pools
Little Egret, one of 6 around the pools

Friday, 29 August 2014

A few images from the last week

29th August 2014
Plenty of signs of migration locally with Redstarts in particular being found at a good number of sites but also Spotted Flycatchers starting to move.
Spotted Flycatcher near Anchor pub, Hartshill(one seen on same twig 2 years ago but not a breeding site)
Hare laying low in stubble near Hurley
Hare
Juvenile Little Gull at Shustoke Res.
Little Gull
Black Tern, adult
Four Swifts were also seen at Shustoke reservoir.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Whinchats

Tuesday 26th August 2014
After a blank day on the patch yesterday it was great a find a couple a Whinchats showing well near the River Anker today. I cant remember so many sightings of Redstarts and Whinchat at various sites along the Anker valley between Nuneaton and Alvecote. Other birds of note around Caldecote were flocks of Mistle Thrush 40+, Linnet 30 and House Sparrow, again around 30 along Leathermill Lane.
Whinchat, Caldecote
Whinchat
Whinchat
Whinchat

Swallow, Mancetter
Swallow
Swallow

Friday, 22 August 2014

The search for Migrants

Friday 22nd August 2014
Over the past couple of days I've been checking up on local sites looking for Migrants. You dont have to go too far to find a bit of habitat that might attract a Wheatear or a Redstart and its great finding your own birds. Caldecote meadows and Alvecote pools have produced 4 Redstarts between them this week plus a Hobby yesterday at Caldecote Hall. Nothing spectacular but its local and keeps the interest going.
Hobby, Caldecote Hall
Lesser Whitethroat

Somerset

A few images from a non birding break on the Somerset/Dorset border. After the Birdfair it was off to the depths of rural England for a visit to see some long time friends. It was a cultural/social visit rather than a birding trip but the bins were never far away just in case.
On our first full day we all went to Ham Hill Country Park with fantastic views across the South Somerset North Dorset countryside. After a bit of a walk we found ourselves at a pub, would you believe it? In fact this became something of a trend.Walk, Beer, Beer, Walk. or the other way round.
Day 2 we went to the seaside: beach, picnic, walk, beer, walk.
Day 3 the men went to Cadbury Castle for a bit of Iron Age culture and you guessed it a beer while the ladies went shopping. We also saw a few birds; Raven, Nuthatch, Wheatear, Coal tit, Green Woodpecker, Blackcap and Willow/Chiffs.
Could be the Scillies
View from Ham Hill
A pub
Old Harry
Beer
More Beer
Strange goings on, on Cadbury Castle

Strange goings on indeed, walking round the top of this former Hill top settlement we came upon a group of people involved in some sort of ritual. The leader spoke in Spanish and the ritual involved facing south and holding up feathers and later blowing bubbles. We left them to it, speculating on might they might do next and what it all meant.
Wheatear nr Rimpton, Somerset
Wheatear
Another garden visitor

Friday, 8 August 2014

Redstarts, Terns and Cows

Friday 8th August 2014
Getting into a bit of a routine with this Garden v. Birding lark. Half a day of each seems to be a sensible compromise at the moment. Actually today, to be honest, has not been typical. A third at Alvecote looking for Redstarts, a third gardening, working up a thirst for the final third at the Weddington Soc.Club Beer Fest. Have to support the local beer festivals. Small scale compared to some but alot of effort put in to make it happen. Today was a bit of a fact finding mission. I found I liked Wood Farm Brewery's Hopps & Dreams and found a new Brewery (the closest to home yet) Ellis's from Hinckley, Leics. with their Conny Quaser Bitter. Both excellent beers. The fest continues thru till Sunday so I may well be visiting again but I'll be walking next time.
Bullocks !
Common tern, Alvecote pools
Weddington Social Beer Festival