Monday, 29 April 2013

Blackcaps arrive in numbers

Monday 29th April 2013

Blackcap, Canal pool, Kingsbury W.P.
There were good numbers of Blackcaps in the areas of the Tame valley visited today, whereas Willow warblers seemed quite few and far between. Also on Cliff pool was a single Dunlin, pair of Redshank  3 Little ringed Plovers and a single pair of Common Tern.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Migrant watch at Brandon Marsh N.R.

Saturday 27th April 2013
Spent the morning at Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve near Coventry with the aim of catching up with migrant warblers. As I walked towards East Marsh hide I wondered if it had been a bad decision as the return of a cold wind seemed to have subdued the birds and barely a sound was heard. From the hide at last some activity - Cettis warbler could be heard and a Common Whitethroat flitted through the tops of the Brambles. On the East marsh islands were a couple of Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper as well as the Redshanks. Eventually a 'new' warbler appeared in the Reeds, a Sedge warbler. On the fringes of the Newlands reedbed were Reed Warbler obligingly showing in a tree with a Lesser Whitethroat. A Cuckoo could be heard from the Golf course but there was no sight or sound of Grasshopper warbler.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Patch tick

Friday 26th April 2013
Walked my usual circuit around Caldecote Hall this morning. There were just 4 Wheatears on the Potato fields and a few Linnets and Reed Buntings near the river. As I crossed the Sheep fields near the end of the walk heard a Wood warbler singing from near the main hall. It showed briefly before disappearing into trees in the Hall gardens.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Whiskered Tern at Blithfield Reservoir, Staffs.

Wednesday 24th April 2013
Quite an eventful day. Some record images of the Whiskered Tern at Blithfield Res. Staffs.
Whiskered Tern, Blithfield Res.Staffs
Whiskered Tern
Whiskered Tern
Whiskered Tern
Whiskered Tern
Whooper Swan, Blithfield Res.
Whooper Swan
Little Gull, Shustoke Reservoir

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Another day another Wood warbler

Tuesday 23rd April 2013
Had a Lesser Whitethroat at the Community Nature Area at Windmill Hill, Nuneaton and Blackcaps at several locations in the search for Summer migrants today. The shortened Caldecote walk produced 6 Wheatear and 2 Yellow wagtails as well as a small group of Linnets and the usual Skylarks and Stock Doves. Spent a good deal of time in the area between Bodymoor Heath and Middleton Hall but it was pretty birdless. At Cliff pool, Kingsbury Water Park another Wood warbler was found in the group of trees just outside Skan hide showing well throughout the day.
Wheatear, Caldecote
Wood warber, Cliff pool, Kingsbury W.P.
Wood warbler
Wood warbler
Wood warbler

Monday, 22 April 2013

A day of three halves

Monday 22nd April 2013
Plenty of action around Caldecote today. The ploughs were out preparing the fields for a crop of potatoes. 5 Wheatear, 7 Yellow wagtails and a White wagtail showed well on the ridges. In the afternoon I was visiting but instead of spending the evening watching my team edge ever nearer to the Championship it was off down the A5 again in search of a Grey Plover. Not the most exciting specimen   but a good County year bird.
Yellow wagtail, Caldecote
Yellow Wagtail
White Wagtail
Grey Plover, Ladywalk N.R.
Grey Plover

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Wood Warbler, Ladywalk N.R.

Sunday 21st April 2013
Didn't have much time today but managed to find the Wood warbler high up in the Birches at Ladywalk N.R. The bird was fairly mobile and not very vocal giving out occasional trills but not getting into full song. There were also a few Willow warblers and Blackcap around as well as the more numerous Chiffchaffs. On the way home popped into Shustoke Res.; just 3 or so Common Terns and the persistent Kittiwake still on site. I was also shown an area near Hurley with up to 18 Northern Wheatear in the same field, quite a sight.
Wood warbler, Ladywalk N.R.


20th April 2013
Spent the morning mooching around an area between Hartshill and Caldecote as my normal route along the river Anker was being used for a sponsored Dog-walk. Saw my first Common Whitethroats of the year display flighting in the warm sunshine. There was also an elusive female Redstart in the Sheep field bushes. A fox popped out of the Gorse to have a look at me and a few Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood Butterflies were on the wing.
Common Whitethroat

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Quick look at Mill pool, Alvecote

Friday 19th April 2013
Not much time for Birding today but did see and hear Curlew in full voice near Fenny Drayton just over the border in Leicestershire. At Mill pool, Alvecote there were 2 Common Sandpiper, a Yellow wagtail and 12 Shelduck.

Friday, 19 April 2013

The Thursday club's official visit to Lichfield, Staffs.

The Thursday Club enjoyed a cultural visit to the home of writer, Samuel Johnson Lichfield, Staffordshire as we continue in our endeavour to widen our appreciation of the Midlands Brewing Industry. Having previously visited Rugby, Warwickshire and Oakham in Rutland. We started our tour at The Acorn or was it The Oak ? I cant remember which came first. After a pint of Belhaven Stout at The Acorn Chairman Bruce and myself went next door to the Pig and Truffle for a pint of Tribute, from the St Austell brewery, Cornwall, bringing back memories of trips to the Scillies. The happy band met up again and we all ventured forth to visit our next pub The Oak owned by The Joules Brewery in which I enjoyed a pint of Joules Blonde. After that came The Duke of York, followed by  the Horse and Jockey where we enjoyed pints of Wye valley Brewery's HPA and Wood Breweries Parish Bitter. The afternoon was concluded with the traditional curry.
The Acorn, Lichfield, Staffs
The Acorn
The Thursday Club
Selection of beers at The Oak
The Duke of York
All smiles
The Horse and Jockey
Another good pint
Good pint at the Horse and Jockey
Tea time - the perfect combination
The last pint
It was a very pleasant and relaxed day out, nobody got lost or fell into ditches the only minor problem occuring at the end when four of us missed the last train back to Nuneaton. We were at the station in time to wave it goodbye as it pulled out but not in time to actually get on it. C'est la vie!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Whimbrel and Black necked Grebes in the Tame valley

Thursday 18th April 2013
Started the day at Dosthill lakes. 3 of the summer plummaged Black necked Grebes were together on the far side of the eastern Skiing lake. The fourth bird was some way away on the same lake. On Cliff pool there were 2 Little ringed plovers and a Common Sandpiper, while at Shustoke Reservoir the Kittiwake was still present along with up to 30 Common tern and 2 or 3 Arctic terns. As I pondered the next move I got a call from Steve C., there was a Whimbrel at Ladywalk N.R. From Riverwalk hide the Whimbrel in company with the long staying Curlew eventually came out on to the Marsh. Although the two birds were together the Curlew frequently 'had a go' at its smaller cousin.
Black necked Grebe, Dosthill lake
Common Tern, Shustoke
Arctic tern, Shustoke Res.
Whimbrel, Ladywalk N.R.
Whimbrel and Curlew

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Migrants on 'the patch'

Tuesday 16th April 2013
The day began with a hike around the Caldecote Hall 'patch'. There was no sign of the flock of  Redwings and Fieldfare that had been hanging on in the sheep fields but they had been replaced by about 10 Swallows. It also great to see a pair of Yellow wagtails on the freshly ploughed field. My next stop was the distribution centre at Piccadilly. The old slag heaps sometimes attract Wheatears but today only Skylarks and a single Meadow pipit could be found although a few kids on BMXs didnt help. At Cliff pool there was an LRP and a Green Sandpiper and  moving round to the other lakes a pair of Raven flew overhead. At Bodymoor Heath water there was another pair of Yellow wagtails in the Hydroplane area and 8 terns over the water. They were mostly Common terns with I or 2 Arctic terns. There were yet more terns at Shustoke reservoir again mostly Common with a few Arctics. There were also 2 House Martins amongst the Swallows.
Yellow wagtail, Caldecote
Skylark, Piccadilly
Little ringed Plover, Cliff pool, Kingsbury W.P.
Little ringed Plover
Common Tern, Bodymoor Heath Water, Kingsbury W.P.
Arctic tern, Bodymoor Heath Water - comparison of profiles of the two species, note the wings foward appearance of the Arctic tern because of the longer tail
Yellow wagtail at Bodymoor Heath Water

Monday, 15 April 2013

Good day for Migrants

Monday 15th April 2013
Having missed a couple of good birds over the weekend I was keen to make amends. A phone call saying the Garganey were still at Brandon Marsh had me heading for Coventry and it proved a good move. Willow warblers and Cettis warblers sang as I made my way to East Marsh hide to watch the pair of Garganey sleeping on one of the islands. Redshanks seemed to be all over the place displaying noisily. Other birds included Ringed plover and Common Sandpiper. The real excitement though was away from the water as first a male Pied Flycatcher and then 2 male Common Redstarts were found. I finished up at Baginton Airfield where there were at least 4 Wheatears. I must conclude by thanking Andy H. who very kindly lent me a memory card so that I could record some of the birds of the day.
Garganey, Brandon Marsh, Warks.
Pied Flycatcher
Northern Wheatear, Bagington Airport, Coventry