Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Wednesday 30th January 2013 After a game of musical dustbins at home first thing, I ventured to the Dosthill area of the Tame valley in search of the Great White.It was a very pleasant morning despite the gusty wind.Plenty of Skylarks and Reed Buntings around the Water Skiing pits but the best bird was a Jack Snipe which typically got up from under my feet before dropping down in the long grass 20 metres ahead. The 2 Long tailed Ducks were in their favoured area, while a Peregrine was playing havoc with Woodpigeons, Corvids and everything else over the fields behind the Malthouse pub. As for the Great White Egret not a sniff but it may well be hunkered down in some ditch out of the wind. I'll tell of the story about the bins another time maybe.
Monday, 28 January 2013
Monday 28th January 2013 A visit to Ladywalk car park before the rains began resulted in views of both the Siberian Chiffchaff close to the river bridge and Mealy Redpoll at the car park feeding station.
Saturday, 26 January 2013
Friday 25th January 2013 My day usually begins watching birds fly past my bedroom window. Something is usually happening, either in the trees I can see or flying over. Today the interest was Starlings. At first light they start flying over in small groups varying in size from 5 to 20 birds but most about 12. They come in, presumably from their roost site, from the South East and congregate in the top of a very tall Poplar tree on the boundary between the houses and open countryside maybe 500 metres away. The whole process takes 10-15 minutes.There were 10 groups today, involving perhaps 150 birds. The next part of my birding day involved sheep. A friend of mine had noticed a bird getting up close and personal in a sheep pen at his farm. It was clearly a Dunnock but had few features such as a whitish chin and paler head than the other Dunnocks around the yard I took a few photos just in case. It was always going to be a funny looking Dunnock but if you dont check things out. Saturday 26th January 2013
Thursday, 24 January 2013
Thursday 24th January 2013 No Gondolas on the River Tame, at least not at Hams Hall but plenty of activity on the river banks from the bridge next to Ladywalk Nature Reserve car park. At least one Siberian Chiffchaff was seen and another probable. Other birds seen included Kingfisher, Meadow pipit, Song Thrush, Grey wagtail, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll and Sparrowhawk. In the Cotoneaster bushes at the car park entrance a female Blackcap was feeding on the tiny berries with a large flock of Fieldfare
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
Wednesday 24th January 2013 Another walk in the snow around the Caldecote area. A different route took in some marshy areas which produced 6 Common Snipe but not much else.Other birds included 4 Reed Buntings,Kestrel,4 Mallard and a few Moorhen. The only other creature of note was a Tortoise, at least I thought it was. Turned out to be a Rabbit. I'd heard a vast expanse of snow could make you see things, bit like a mirage in the desert but colder.
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
22nd January 2013 After several frustrating days of inactivity I managed to get out and 'do a bit'.Didnt venture very far to be honest but it was good to get the wellies on and get a bit of a walk. I did a circuit round Caldecote Hall near Nuneaton. Most of the avian activity was close to the River Anker with 6 Cormorant and 3 Goosander but also Dunnocks and Reed Buntings. The fields were a snow covered wasteland with only 2 Skylarks trying to feed where a clump of grass penetrated the snow exposing a bit of bare earth. A Sparrowhawk dive bombed the ground presumably trying to flush prey from its snowy shelter.Not much else though apart from the usual stuff and the odd Fieldfare and Redwing. So it was something of a relief when I got a message from SH about a Common Scoter at Shustoke. After picking up my Dad we headed off and soon found the Drake Scoter before heading home as the temperature started to drop.
Friday, 18 January 2013
Friday 18th January 2013 One of those shall I bother days, cos not much to report. Spent all day out yesterday but didnt see a sausage. Pork pie, but not a sausage. The Day was largely based around Ladywalk N.R. area with a drive round to other N.Warks venues to look for Little Owl, Brambling and so on but not a .......The rest of world, those birders who could brave the sub-zero temperatures were having a great time proving Warks isnt such a birding backwater with good views and photos of Firecrest and Siberian Chiffchaff and even Hen Harrier and drake Pintail in the vicinity. Me? zilch except a pair of Peregrines. Todays enforced garden watch has so far produced 11 Fieldfares and 2 Common Gulls drifting around the estate with a few Black headed Gulls but the feeders are pretty quiet at noon.I INTERRUPT THIS BLOG WITH A NEWSFLASH - A Pied Wagtail has just landed in the Ash tree.Unusual in my garden but I dont think its worth telling RBA.
Tuesday, 15 January 2013
Tuesday 15th January 2013 I was lured away from the Cricket by a sunny day, the prospect of finding Warwickshire's one and only Waxwing and confirmation that the presumed Ladywalk Siberian Chiffchaff was now two actual Siberian Chiffchaffs.Unfortunately the fact that there were now 2 birds did not double the chances of seeing them. I and several colleagues spent a couple of hours not seeing them. Ladywalk had much else to offer mind you incuding Water Rail,Peregrine, Willow and Marsh tit which I did see and Bittern and Mealy Redpoll which I did not see. Having had a good look round I was informed that one of the Chiffchaffs had been showing between the river and the double gate. Apparently this second bird was ringed as confirmed by some rather distant shots I managed to get. I've put probable as the images may or may not be of one of the two birds seen earlier and confirmed as Siberian Chiffchaff by Alan Dean.
Saturday, 12 January 2013
Saturday 12th January 2013 Didnt have much time for Birding today but did get to Ladywalk NR to look for the 'Siberian' Chiffchaff which has been ranging between the car park and the bottom gate in the vegetation on the banks both sides of the river. I was extremely lucky to find Dave Hutton and Paul Hyde on site.Dave said the bird had been quite vocal and it wasn't long before the bird in question was relocated. We were joined by Steve Haynes and eventually we all enjoyed good views. Unfortunately I couldnt get involved with the discussion of the birds calls because my ears arent good enough but the consensus was that the call was distinctive and quite different from the other Chiffchaffs in the area.The debate will no doubt go on but it looked and I'm told sounded like a pretty good candidate.
Friday, 11 January 2013
Friday 11th January 2913 Visited the stubble fields of Burton Hastings today. Used to be quite a good site for winter birds in the past with a regular flock of Golden plover,Stonechat and more occasional sightings of Grey Partridge and even Merlin. Today, not a lot. A flock of 23 Meadow pipits and a smaller number of Skylarks were the best I could come up with.In about 3 miles of hedges there were a few Blackbirds and Reed Buntings single Wren, Yellowhammer, Mistle Thrush, Blue tit and Goldcrest. Visability wasnt great in fact the fog increased as the walk went on but even so not much in the way of variety or numbers. As the fog became heavier I had a strange moment, yes I know, another one. Any road up as the fields became evermore featureless I heard a bell, at least I thought I did. A single distant note carried through the fog. Was it my new phone telling me something irrelevant, was it some breed of Alpine cattle complete with bell? About 15 minutes later it sounded again, a little closer I thought. I had visions of the rigging of some sailing ship, perhaps the Marie Celeste herself briefly coming into view through the swirling mist before disappearing again. The bell tolled again, Bloody 'ell, I knew I was close to the canal but this was getting ridiculous....and then it dawned. Nuneaton Golf Club wasnt that far away. Perhaps they used a bell as some form of signal to bring players in or to act as a homing beacon in fog so that players out on the course could find their way back to the bar. Perhaps someone could tell me if this is the case or will the tale be confined to the rubbish bin of birding folklore.
Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Wednesday 9th January 2013 The Firecrest at Edison Road, Hams Hall near Coleshill showed very well mid morning in the partial sunshine along the river.
Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Tuesday 8th January 2013 The day started with a visit to Draycote Water and not far along Farborough Bank was the long staying drake Smew. The bird was preening obviously getting ready for a photo shoot.That was the highlight of the day though really. Brandon Marsh was quiet apart from a large flock of Lesser Redpoll with a few Siskin mixed in so it was on to Hams Hall to look for the Firecrests. No luck and there were noticably fewer Chiffchaffs around the sewage outfall than on previous recent visits.