Sunday, 31 October 2010
As I sit huddled by the fire with my cocoa waiting for the first trick or treaters to ring the door bell I wonder what would happen if I really got into the 'spirit' of the thing, got dressed up in rags, wore green makeup -(bit like the way I look when I'm out birding) and made incoherrant goulish sounds as I open the door. The idea of scaring the socks of the little darlings and striking a blow for miserable old farts everywhere is quite appealing, and yes I was young once. Just a thought.
Anyway, more info has come to light regarding the neck ringed Greylag goose seen on the Hayle estuary yesterday, care of the Cornwall Bird-Watching and Preservation Soc. website. After being ringed in Southern Sweden in 2000 the bird has been sighted at various locations in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark over the years and has been tracked at various places in Eastern Scotland and eastern England this year before making its way to its present location on the Hayle estuary.
Nice to see both Hen Harrier and Great grey Shrike visiting the County over the last couple of days.
The total number of species reported in Warwickshire this year now stands at - 199
Saturday, 30 October 2010
Haloween or not October is going out with a bang in a birding sense. An American Bittern near Zennor in Cornwall was the possible prize for an overnight drive to Trewey Common, 1 mile south of Zennor. Neil Howes had rung to ask if wanted to go and although there had been adverse reports of the bird being flushed and not being seen since midday we decided to go for it. We got a bit of sleep in the car as we waited till dawn. It was a cold, clear night and as more cars turned up we emerged to take up station on the roadside where we could view a pool the bird had been seen near, early the previous day. As the skies got brighter the silhouette of a bird was seen to fly from the pool and drop into some reeds. The view was inconclusive. The gallery grew and suddenly a Bittern got up from the reeds and flew over some conifers and across the Common, disappearing amongst the Gorse bushes. It had not been flushed. Birders spread out along the tracks around the Common and one or two found themselves in amongst the Gorse bushes. Again the bird flew up and gave prolonged flight views as it gained height and appeared to be heading well away before it was attacked by a Peregrine Falcon. In improving light as the Bittern tumbled and dropped to avoid the Peregrine it was possible to see the colouration of the upper wings and confirm we were looking at an American Bittern. The drama continued as the Peregrine made frequent swoops on the Bittern which was finally forced to the ground near some buildings with large gardens. Most of the birders including Neil and myself dispersed at this point well satisfied with the views they had had. It was time for Breakfast. Despite further searching the bird was not seen again for several hours. Other birds in the area included Greenland White fronted Geese (4), several flocks of Golden plover and many Raven.
After breakfast we had a brief look round Marazion and then the Hayle estuary. Star birds were a confiding group of Whooper Swans(2 adults and 1 juvenile) and a neck ringed Greylag goose from Sweden. Information courtesy of Lee Evans who with one quick phone call found out the origins of the goose. Impressive stuff indeed.
I would like to add that the behaviour of the hundred or so Birders at Trewey Common was excellent and self regulated, an example of Birding at its best.
Thursday, 28 October 2010
Thursday 28th October 2010
Close inspection of the birds off Farborough bank revealed nothing out of the ordinary, as I scanned from Farborough spit I was beginning to have doubts. I had to walk half way down Toft bank to find the Slavonian Grebe(176), a rather scruffy individual but a Slavonian Grebe non the less.
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Yesterday's birding was confined to a tour round the housing estates on the eastern side of Nuneaton. If I'd been looking for cul de sacs I'd have been well chuffed but looking for a reported flock of 30 Waxwings was a different matter. They'd obviously moved on in the few minutes between the pager message and getting on site, a near miss.
Today Lady Luck was smiling. I decided to have another crack at Draycote Water. As I said a couple of days ago birds ARE still moving. My good friend Tony Shepherd saw a Gannet yesterday following the river at Walton a few miles east of Stratford upon Avon. So Draycote seemed as good a bet as anywhere. The luck bit was that for once I was in the right place, just beyond the inlet going towards the valve tower to see the birds in question. I'd just left Kevin Grewcock and had just been looking at a Common Sandpiper at the inlet. When I picked up a distinctive call I didnt recognise. No surprise there, my knowledge of calls isnt as good as it should be, but I knew it was something I wasn't familiar with. I counted 7 birds. They certainly were not Skylarks, but a similar size. I carried the sound round with me for the rest of walk round the reservoir. At various points I stopped to phone people up who might be able to help. Pete Forbes tried to play the call through his mobile phone but it didnt work. I even went to Brandon Marsh for some advice but although the receptionists tried their best to help their computer wasn't wired for sound, so not much good. I had a quick look round the reserve (Green Sandpiper and lots of Common Snipe) then I went home to check out calls. 2 hours later I hadnt found a satisfactory clip of the flight call, just the song. But, looking in various books, the rrrrrt quite loud rasping sound perfectly described what I heard and strengthened my view that I'd seen 7 Lapland Buntings flying over Draycote Water. Its just a shame I was the only observer of this very rare visitor to the County. I shan't submit the record until I've heard a better recording of the flight call, but I'm pretty sure it will confirm the ID.
Monday, 25 October 2010
Sunday, 24 October 2010
LGRE has suggested 'a premature end to Autumn ?' and perhaps a few stalwarts visiting the Scilly Isles this week might agree with him if the NW winds persist.
Ok, maybe not the headline birds to go shooting off to the East coast for and maybe wader passage is petering out and local reservoirs are quiet BUT there's still plenty of bird movement and plenty to see. I woke this morning to see a strange shape pass by the window. No it wasn't a flash back of JA in his under garments on some dawn mission in the Shetland Isles. This shape moved with everchanging grace across the skyline. It was a flock of birds, well over a hundred or so but far too distant to identify. They held a distinctive broad cresent shape, similar to flocks of waders over the shoreline. My guess would be Golden plover, I dont think Starlings would hold such a well defined shape for so long.
Did I say 'plenty to see' ? - I did a local walk around Merevale/Grendon area. It was a beautiful day and, according to the pager the cloudless skies should have been full of birds. Waxwings dripping from every bush, Rough legged Buzzards drifting by. Yeah, yeah, I didn't even see any Redwings or Fieldfares in the bushes, and the stubble fields were empty; except for the large number of game birds wandering from one feeder to the next. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
Wednesday 20th October 2010
Monday, 18 October 2010
Bearded Tit is an infrequent visitor to West Midland counties. So when one was found at Napton Reservoir in Warwickshire I was eager to add it to the County year list which had again ground to a halt. Conditions were good when I arrived with watery sun and only a light breeze. I had to wait almost half an hour before the first brief flight view. I was joined my Mark Phillips who heard the bird call as it flew again. That was it for the next 4 hours. We were joined by Terry Southgate and Mo, Dave Hutton, Colin Potter and Andy Hale but as the wind got up the bird refused to show. People had better things to do than to stare into a Reed bed for 4 hours and only Andy and myself stuck it out for the duration. We were rewarded with some excellent flight views of an adult male Bearded Tit (173) in the early afternoon.
On the way back I stopped at Draycote Water but it was very quiet with just a handful of Meadow pipits on the banks and a single Goldeneye seen on the water but I only walked to Toft bay and back so there may well have been much more along the North shore.
Year listing will become increasingly desparate as the months slip by but, as I missed a lot of 'winter' species early in the year; Geese and Owls for example, I'm hoping to top the 180 target for Warwickshire
Total No. of species reported in Warks so far this year = 195
Friday, 15 October 2010
Friday 15th October 2010
Thursday, 14 October 2010
Red flanked Bluetail
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
Moving on again we popped on to Fetlar. It was only slightly out of our way and had the attraction of having a Blyth's Reed warbler. The bird had favoured a Dock plantation otherwise known as the garden of a Bod, which we were told was some kind of Hostel. Anyway it provided suitable habitat for the Blyth's reed warbler which we duly saw with the help of a local birder.Now I have to say at this point I was getting seriously dehydrated and to make matters worse there had been a cock up on catering front as my supplies of pies various, but mainly pork, had been exhausted AND, would you believe it, the only shop on Fetlar was closed on Thursdays.
Arghh! Still couldn't complain, It isnt every day you get to see Lanceolated warbler and a Blyth's Reed warbler.
Presumed 'Greenland' Redpoll
Lapland Bunting, through the car windscreen. From this image its easy to see where the name Longspur comes from.
Monday, 11 October 2010
Sykes' warbler, Channerwick
Sunday 3rd October 2010
Sunday, 10 October 2010
Saturday 2nd October 2010 - Part 2
Buff bellied Pipit
The cliffs, Eshaness
Buff bellied Pipit
Buff bellied Pipit
Buff breasted Sandpiper, Eshaness