Wednesday, 28 November 2012

One of those days.

Tuesday 27th November 2012
Turned out to be one of those days at Shustoke yesterday. The northerly winds seemed to be bringing with it a few 'northern' species. I needed a bit of exercise so a walk round Shustoke Res. seemed like a good plan particularly as a Great northern Diver had been seen there the previous day. The Diver was soon located between the Sailing Club and the Eastern shore. I walked round to try and get a better view but the diver was still a long way off from shore. As I watched a drake Smew flew in to join the Pochards and Tufted duck, it only stayed a short while before circling the western end and heading off towards Coton. The images seem to indicate the bird was either slightly oiled or had been hit by bad weather or both. I completed my circuit without passing another soul which is unusual but there were a couple of probable birders way over the other side. I was surprised and slightly annoyed to find, on getting home, that in fact 2 Great northern Divers were on site. I thought I'd given the pond a good going over but it just goes to show. It now appears that there was also a female Scoter there. About time I cleaned my bins I think.
Smew, Shustoke Res.
Great northern Diver

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Part of the flock of Waxwings on Capper Lane, Lichfield
Interesting reg to pass by as I was watching the Waxwings and rather appropriate. I half expected some celeb from the Birding hierarchy to emerge but in fact it was a lady who bred Parrots!
Monday 26th November 2012
A collection of shots from the Waxwing flock around Lichfield, Staffs. There were several groups in the area but the total was probably between 100 and150 birds.


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Staffs Birding

Saturday 24th November 2012
South Staffordshire offered a bit of varied birding in a limited area which was what was needed with heavy rain forecast around Lunchtime. A Great Northern Diver off the dam at Blithfield Res.was an easy start but the Great grey Shrike on the Chase proved much more elusive. If the keen eyed JA couldn't find it it wasn't there. As the skies darkened the rain began to fall but there was still one call to make on the way home and with luck I wouldnt even have to get out of the car. In Lichfield a flock of Waxwings had been seen regularly over the past few days on an industrial estate. Sure enough they were still there in trees close to the road in the pouring rain, occasionally dropping down to feed in a Rowan tree.
Great Northern Diver, Blithfield Res., Staffs.
Great Northern Diver
Great northern Diver
Waxwing, Lichfield, Staffs.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Waxwings arrive

Spent the morning getting freaked out by the light show from the NationGrid lorries opposite the house. They're re-laying gas pipes through the whole estate so the traffic can be a bit chaotic at times but the National Grid boys are throughly professional and very well organised.They didnt miss a beat even during the heaviest rain this morning. It was a great relief when Dave Hutton alerted me to some Waxwings sighted on the other side of Nuneaton.The rain had eased by mid day so it was a relief to have an excuse to get out of the house. There was no sign of the birds when I arrived but it wasnt too long before 3 Waxwings flew in to a tree quite close to a heavily berried Rowan. The Waxwings were very wary of the 3 Blackbirds ans single Redwing which were also feeding on the berries. After 2 failed attempts to land in the Rowen the birds flew off, but I doubt if that will be the last of them with so many berries left.

Waxwings, Nuneaton

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Paddyfield birding

Tuesday 20th November 2012
Set off with the intention of looking for the Long tailed Duck at Drayton Basett after checking the estate bushes for Waxwings and also popping in to Stoney Delph to see if the Pintail was still there. It wasnt. Pressed on to Middleton with the rain starting to fall and the skies to the west looking threatening. I passed a couple of couples and a chap from Derby. Nobody had seen either the LTD or the Sandpiper but there had been reports of the Sandpiper being seen in the morning. I carried on as the rain started to come down. By the time I reached the 'new workings' it was raining steadily and visability was poor. For once I'd got my trusty 'scope with me and started to assemble it with a view to scanning the water's edge near the pump. No need. I wiped the water off the lens and checked to see if I could see anything at all. Sure could, there was the White rumped Sandpiper motionless back to the prevailing weather. A bit of luck. The rain was now sheeting down, the backs of my jeans were already soaked, it was time to get the front soaked and head back. On reaching the Fishers Mill bridge there was a lot of bird movement. Fieldfare, Redwing, and a large flock of, maybe 60 Chaffinches flying from the canal side hedge into the stubble field and back. I saw 2 Bramblings in flight but there may well have been more with more birds on the ground further into the field. It would have been great to work through the flock but with the rain and wind continuing it was time to call it a day.

Middleton Lakes RSPB

Good views of the White rumped Sandpiper yesterday despite the damp conditions but no such luck with the Long tailed Duck, which showed very well apparently in the SW corner of Fishers Mill pool 10 minutes before I got there. If I hadnt taken a detour to look for Waxwings I'd have seen it. I followed up reports that it had relocated to the far side of north pit but there was no sign. Some consolation in getting good views of the W R S and a flock of some 9 Dunlin flew through but with the rain continuing I decided to squelch my way back and relocate to the cafe after checking some stubble and hedges for Brambling.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

White rumped Sandpiper in Staffs.

Thursday 15th November 2012
White rumped Sandpiper, Drayton Bassett, Staffs.
White rumped Sandpiper
White rumped Sandpiper
W R Sand.- size comparison with Pied Wagtail
After disappearing for nearly 2 hours midday the White rumped Sandpiper flew in to some islands near the front edge of the scrape to give good views. Also on site 2 Green Sandpipers and a Stonechat.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

White rumped Sandpiper at RSPB Middleton lakes

Wednesday 14th November 2012
The north pit of the RSPB reserve at Middleton Lakes has been partially drained to allow work to be done on the ajoining pit. It has created  suberb wader habitat which has attracted 3 Redshanks and a White rumped Sandpiper at the moment. Although distant the bird fed, flew, preened and even swam while I was there and I'm indebted to those friends who allowed me the use of their telescopes. Which were a good deal more use than my camera.
White rumped Sandpiper, Drayton Bassett,Staffs.
Early Birders
Local resident wondering what was going on, went largely unnoticed

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Short eared Owl at Sutton Cheney.

Monday 13th November 2012
A few more images of the Short eared Owl at Sutton Cheney last weekend.
Short eared Owl, Sutton Cheney, Leics
An extraordinary image of the hunting technique of the Short eared Owl. The wings are turned through 90 degrees while the head is held fixed on the target.
Short eared Owl
Short eared Owl
Short eared Owl
Short eared Owl
Short eared Owl

Monday, 12 November 2012

From the sublime to the ridiculous

Monday 12th November 2012
From the joy of watching the grace and agility of a local S E Owl in the late afternoon sunshine to the resignation of watching a dull duck on a grey, wet day in Sussex. I drove down to Pagham in Sussex with John Terry to see a Hooded Merganser. It was high water when we arrived and the bird was visible but distant. The skies were heavy and rain was soon upon us. The Merganser disappeared so we took sanctuary in the car after nearly an hour we emerged as the rain eased off but there was still no sign until a single duck flew in to join a group of Wigeon. After preening on the bank it flew in close to the sluice but then almost immediately flew a little way further out. At least we had seen it. To me there was nothing to suggest it wasnt a wild bird but then what do I know?I'll leave it up to those who know about such things but I do know I wont be chasing another one even if its whistling the star spangled banner!
Hooded Merganser, Pagham, Sussex
Hooded Merganser
Hooded Merganser

Sunday, 11 November 2012

No Apologies

Sunday 11th November 2012
Short eared Owl
No apologies for putting up another image of the Short eared Owl which remains hunting fields near Sutton Cheney, Leicestershire.

Friday, 9 November 2012

North Norfolk

9th November 2012
Sunset over the North Norfolk coast
Just returned from a couple of days in North Norfolk.The intention was to enjoy a  few gentle walks along various coast paths but an accident requiring a visit to an A and E Dept in Kings Lynn put pay to that. So it was a question of a driving tour around the various villages and harbours. It was never intended as a 'Birding' trip but when a Waxwing flies across the road in front of you, its impossible to ignore. Other casual sightings included Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Merlin, and Snow Bunting. I must admit I did have to search for the Buntings but did find 5 on the beach at Holme. Surprised not to have seen Barn Owls or Pink footed Geese on our travels but then like I said it wasnt a birding trip.
Black tailed Godwit, Titchwell
Black tailed Godwit
Bar tailed Godwit

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Short eared Owl up the road

Saturday3rd November 2012
Short eared Owl, nr Market Bosworth, Leics.
Took my Dad out for a bit of a drive in the country and came across a Short eared Owl quartering a marshy field somewhere near Market Bosworth. I managed to get a few images as the bird hunted successfully near the lane.
Short eared Owl
Short eared Owl with prey
Short eared Owl
Short eared Owl