Thursday, 26 September 2013

Express Relief

26th September 2013
Did the extended walk around the patch today. Suddenly feeling a bit self conscious about my profile so I did it twice, and just to check I hadnt missed any thing the first time. So now I can enjoy my pint of Goats Milk tonight in the sure and certain knowledge the calories consumed will have been used up on my little trek. Anyway birds, not a lot to be truthful. A Raven, 1 Swallow, 30+ Goldfinch, 6 Common Buzzard on the ground in a potato field, including one largely white individual. Small groups of Linnets and a few Skylarks heard on the ground but not seen, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 3 Mistle thrushes. I thought I might have seen a Little Owl but it turned out to be a tailless Kestrel, the lack of tail gave the bird a very broad winged appearance. At least thats my excuse.
 Now as often happens at some point I felt the call of nature. Miles from habitation that shouldn't present any problem. I checked there was no-one following me. No, all clear. I looked at the path ahead across a deserted field, nothing, I could proceed. Which I did, only for my relief to be rudely interrupted my the 08.25 out of Euston hammering past a few yards away.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Not a lot about in the Midlands

Tuesday 24th September 2013
Travelled round a number of regular N.Warks sites but without much joy. There were a good number of Hirundines at Shustoke Res in particular and 91 Wigeon were counted on Cliff pool at Kingsbury Water Park. At Alvecote the long staying Black tailed Godwits were still present but nothing else of any great interest.
Black tailed Godwit, Alvecote pools,Warks.
Coffee anyone?

Monday, 23 September 2013

No Yellow broweds yet?

Monday 23rd Sept. 2013
After finding 'the bushes' at the patch a virtual bird free zone I decided to go for the full tour, that is, the circular walk around Caldecote Hall. When I got a call from Steve H saying there was a Common Scoter at Shustoke I aborted the walk and headed for Shustoke where the sleeping Scoter was soon located. Not the most exciting bird but a dam sight more interesting than anything I'd come up with. I continued on to Alvecote pools where I was surprised to find 4 Black tailed Godwits still on Mill pool there were also 5 Little Egrets dotted around the same pool.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Another day another Redstart

Wednesday 18th September 2013
Not too much travelling today. At the patch there was no sign of the Common Redstart, just 2 or 3 Chiffchaffs.
At Teal pool, Alvecote there was a single Black tailed Godwit, with two more flying over Mill pool from the direction of the Pretty Pigs. A Hobby was also seen over Mill pool and a Redstart was on posts along the hedge at right angles to the orchard beyond Laundry Lane.
Black tailed Godwit
Common Redstart

Monday, 16 September 2013

A quiet day in the Tame valley

Monday 16th September 2013
Disappointing day really. With a strong WNW blow I thought there might be a chance of something getting blown in but to be honest the wind wasnt really that strong although I suppose its what is happening around the coast thats more important. Any road up, I started at Shustoke Res., there were good numbers of Hirundines, particularly Sand Martins with a smaller number of House Martins. A Peregrine went through heading towards Ladywalk but that was about it. At Coton there were a few Herring gulls and a Hobby over the Railway lines. Checking over the bigger waters in Kingsbury Water Park produced a Goosander but little else.
 Migrant Hawkers at Coton lake

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Pectoral Sandpiper, Brandon Marsh N.R. Warks.

Sunday 15th September 2013
I hate choosing carpets so I went to Brandon Marsh this morning to bolster my flagging spirits and County year list. The sight of a Pectoral Sandpiper on the main island on East Marsh had the desired effect and carpets were instantly forgotten. Unfortunately the bird was quite distant and even with George's monster lens, photography was difficult, but taking up the challenge I've included a couple of images anyway.
Pectoral Sandpiper, Brandon Marsh
Pectoral Sandpiper

Saturday, 14 September 2013

A day of two halves

Saturday 14th September 2013
I spent the morning at Blithfield Reservoir, Staffs. After viewing the Common Crane in Tad bay it was round to Blithe bay and the causeway to see what else was around. In fact there were a good many birds around. Yellow wagtails, Meadow pipits and Linnets were quite numerous. There were 3 Greenshank, at least 5 Ruff, 20+ Dunlin, a similar number of Ringed plover and a single Little Stint. The place deserved more time but I had a date back in Tamworth and then decisions to be made in Nuneaton.
Common Crane, Blithfield res., Staffs.
Common Crane
Common Crane
Yellow wagtail
Meadow Pipit
Little Stint
Little Stint
After being dragged, kicking and screaming round Carpet shops in the early afternoon I spent the remainder of the afternoon enjoying the relative peace and quiet of 'the patch'. I mingled with the resident sheep but carpets were never mentioned. I don't know how many times I'd searched the bushes in the last few weeks but I was beginning to despair that I was not going to get a Redstart this Autumn. So it was quite satisfying to finally see one today. There was also a Peregrine making some half hearted attempts to catch Feral pigeons.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

No weather for Cricket

Tuesday 10th September 2013
A fresh North westerly wind meant an extra layer was needed in the field today. At Caldecote 2 Peregrines circled high up, but the bushes and fields were generally quiet. At Shustoke Res there were a couple of hundred House Martins and perhaps half that number of Swallows. While at Alvecote there were still 6 Black tailed Godwits spread out over various pools, as were the 4 Little Egrets. A Mandarin and Garganey had been reported but I'm afraid I couldn't locate them. I picked up a hitch hiker at some stage as a Speckled Bush Cricket had found its way into the car. I've no idea where it came from although I had stopped at a Garden centre earlier.
Speckled Bush Cricket - Leptophyes punctatissma
Buzzard, in potato field Caldecote
Black tailed Godwit, Alvecote pools

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Migration around the Tame valley

7th September 2013
After a slow start the birding improved through the Day. Shustoke and Coton pool were very quiet although good numbers of House Martins were seen in both locations. A Ruff in front of the hide at Cliff pool got the day up and running. There were also other migrant warblers in the Elderberries around Broomey croft : Blackcap, Garden warbler and Lesser Whitethroat. At Bodymoor Heath there were a number of Herring gulls, while at Middleton Hall lake and the RSPB car park were two Hobbies an adult and a juvenile.
Ruff, Cliff pool, Kingsbury W.P.
Lesser Whitethroat, Broomey Croft, Kingsbury W.P.
Lesser Whitethroat
Herring Gulls
Hobby, juvenile, Middleton Hall
After a 1/4 of a Pork pie lunch it was on to Alvecote pools. The fields and hedges at the end of Laundry lane are always worth a look and today one section of hedge and a pile of rubble was a magnet for migrants with 2 Wheatears, a Common Redstart and 3 Common Whitethroats with a Spotted Flycatcher not far away and a Hobby feeding over the pools.
Wheatear, Alvecote
Common Whitethroat
At Mill pool there were 2 Dunlin, while on Teal pool were 11 quite confiding Black tailed Godwits.
Black tailed Godwit, Teal pool, Alvecote

Black tailed Godwit
Black tailed Godwits
Black tailed Godwit
Black tailed Godwit
Black tailed Godwit

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Alvecote pools

Thursday 5th Sept 2013
After a fruitless look around 'the bushes' at the 'patch' I moved on to Alvecote pools. Roy was just finishing his stint (if you'll excuse the expression). He'd had a juv. Ruff on Teal pool which was still there with 2 Common Snipe and a Green Sandpiper. There were Little Egret dotted about all over the place 7or 8 at least. A Hobby was seen high over the pools and 5 returning Wigeon were on Mill pool but that was about it.

Ruff, Teal pool, Alvecote
Little Egret

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Spotted Crake at Ladywalk N.R.

Tuesday 3rd September 2013
After a days gardening I was ready for some action so when the message came through that a Spotted Crake had been seen at Ladywalk N.R. it wasn't long before I was on my way. I was warned that the Mosquitos might be a problem and despite covering all my exposed bits they still got me. Anyway on reaching Riverwalk hide there was no sign of the Crake and it was nearly an hour before it emerged from the reeds on the opposite bank from the hide. The crake then stayed in the area of the cut reeds for some time.The bird had a damaged left wing but despite this would 'attack' the 3 or 4 Common Snipe also in the vicinity. As a bonus a couple of Greenshank flew in to accompany a Green Sandpiper.
Spotted Crake, note the drooping left wing. Ladywalk N.R.
Spotted Crake
Greenshank with Green Sandpiper