Thursday, 7 December 2017

Hawfinches mainly

Thursday 7th December 2017

The main focus of the past 2 weeks has been the continuing search for local Hawfinches with mixed success. A trip to Staines Reservoir with John H. for the 'American' Shore Lark was fruitless but there was some compensation in seeing 16 Parrot Crossbills at Camberley not far away.A trip to Draycote Res. produced Long tailed Duck, Shag and Oystercatcher but the Black necked Grebe couldn't be found.
     Highlight of the fortnight was finding a Hawfinch at Caldecote Hall but it hasn't been seen since. Other Hawfinchs have also been seen at Ansley and Berkswell. Also of note was witnessing the demise of a White Dove at Warton. I was hoping to see Merlin but watched distantly as a male Sparrowhawk plucked the still flapping dove. Gruesome stuff but there was only going to be one winner.


Hawfinch, Ansley

Hawfinch - dwarfing the Greenfinch next to it.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Hawfinch - Burbage, Leics.

21st November 2017

Managed to get decent views of a single Hawfinch feeding, although I did have to travel a few miles into Leicestershire to see it. To Burbage Common to be exact. The Hawfinch was feeding in a Maple tree.
Hawfinch, Burbage Common, Leics.

Hawfinch

Hawfinch

Hawfinch

Sunday, 19 November 2017

'That was the week that was'

Friday 17th November 2017

A week when things got back to normal even though Hawfinch mania was still in vogue. Desparate to see birds 'perched up' rather than just flyovers, not that I wasn't delighted to see flyovers at Hartshill, I've spent the week searching any local spot that looked promising but all to no avail. The highlights of my week have been 3 Stonechats at Caldecote and the dance of the 13 Pied Wagtails at Bentley Wood. The latter was an interesting spectacle. The birds jumped up from the ground in a field of Corn stubble usually about 4 feet, presumably after insects. It was more like the ritual dance of some bird of paradise. The first and probably only pair of Fieldfare in the garden apple tree was a good end to rather a disappointing week.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Warwickshire on a roll.

1st November 2017

As the events at Draycote became history, the new month began with something of a bang as far as Warwickshire Birders were concerned. How much more excitement could we take? Compensation some would say for the hours of searching in a very landlocked county for little reward.So when first a Dartford Warbler was found with Stonechats at a reserve between Coventry and Leamington and then a Lesser Yellowlegs was seen at a sensitive site near Maxstoke it was time for some celebration.
Although not up to the standards of the previous day Draycote did attempt something of a comeback with Long tailed Duck and Common Scoter the next day. Unfortunately not quite in the same league as Rutland Water with its Cory's Shearwater but than perhaps size does matter when it comes to Reservoirs.
Dartford warbler, Bubbenhall

Lesser Yellowlegs, Nr. Maxstoke

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs


Sunday, 29 October 2017

Rare visitor to Draycote Water.

Sunday 29th October 2017

October birding has been unusually local for me this year following the annual trip to the Shetland Isles. Attention  focussed on the local hills and a rather special day at Draycote Water. Daily visits to the Mancetter Quarry hill had produced very little apart from an apparent increase in numbers of Woodpigeons, Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Meadow Pipits.
  However reports of local sightings of Hawfinches, a little further along the ridge at Hartshill Hayes caused a relocation. A different strategy was called for as it became apparent that a major eruption of Hawfinches was underway. The following days saw frequent 'vis. migging' sessions from the favoured vantage point on the edge of the Hayes, which gave great views to the east. Flocks of Thrushes and Finches, mainly Redwing and Chaffinch but also smaller numbers of Skylark, Siskin, Fieldfare with the odd Brambling and Meadow pipit picked out by Warks. Bird Obs. whose hearing and knowledge of bird calls is considerably better than mine. Sightings of incoming Hawfinches though did not occur until the 5th attempt when 5 birds were seen.
  News that a Razorbill was at Draycote water had me heading off a little further afield. The bird looked in good enough condition as it swam and dived around the fishing boats and pontoons but the half closed eyes suggested the bird was on its last legs.The bird was found dead the next day. The extremely rare visitor to the Midlands and the supporting cast of Grey Phalarope and Shag were well appreciated by the gathering of notable Birders from Warwickshire and the West Mids and at least a couple from the East Mids.

Razorbill, Draycote Water

Razorbill

Shag

Grey Phalarope

Friday, 13 October 2017

Back on the'patch'

Friday 13th October

Both the Caldecote and Mancetter walks have been very quiet. I had a single Swallow on the Caldecote walk yesterday and a flock of 30 Goldfinches on the Mancetter walk. On the Webs count at Alvecote pools there was a Goldeneye as well as the 2 Cattle Egrets and 2 Stonechats.
I also visited Draycote Water where there was a Rock pipit, and 2 Goosander as well as the long staying Little Stint, Ruff, Ringed plover and Dunlin. Unfortunately I failed to connect with the Greenshank.
Little Stint with Dunlin, Draycote Water

Ruff, Draycote Water

Cattle Egret, Alvecote