Thursday, 27 February 2014

'Siberian' type Chiffchaff at Hartshill Sewage works.

Thursday 27th February 2014
A few images of the possible Siberian Chiffchaff on the river Anker near Hartshill. Opinions vary as to whether the two birds present today are in fact Siberian Chiffchaff or just pale intergrades. Visually the birds are very similar to the Siberian Chiffchaff identified at Ladywalk Nature reserve last year but the all important calls sounded to me very similar to those of a normal Chiffchaff. Having said that, my hearing and knowledge of bird calls leave a good deal to be desired so I will have leave it to others to make the definitive decision.
Chiffchaff, Hartshill sewage works,Nr. Nuneaton

Around and About

Wednesday 26th February 2014

A few images from visits to Middleton Lakes and Sutton Park today but generally a quiet day in the area.
Long tailed Duck, Powells pool, Sutton Park
Long tailed Duck
Stonechat, Middleton Lakes RSPB
A visit to the river Anker at Hartshill Sewage works produced 3 Chiffchaff, c4 Goldcrest , a Grey Wagtail and a nest building Wren.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Its not raining !!

Friday 21st February 2014
Not really happening at the moment. Been doing a bit, so to speak but its hard going when your highlight in a week's birding is a Siskin. Perhaps its getting over the euphoria of a successful twitch. The reality of getting back to bush bashing on the local patch. I havent yet resumed the level of motivation inspired by the thought that there might just be something waiting to be discovered. Your own special find and maybe a place in local birding history. Good birds are being found away from the coast, youve just got to keep at it. Anyway I managed to dip a Kittiwake at Draycote but got a couple of photos on the way back at a feeding station near Bretford.
Marsh Tit. Nr. Bretford

Saturday 22nd February 2014
A few images from around the Tame valley today
Peregrine, Hams Hall
Hume's Yellow browed warbler
Peregine and Raven
Raven showing off
Great spotted Woodpecker, Coton lakes
Great spotted Woodpecker

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Birding the Tame valley, part of it anyway.

Thursday 20th February 2014
Been pottering around the Tame valley this week trying to add a few birds to the County year list but its been slow going. 4 Green Sandpipers in the outlet channel off Edison Rd. Hams Hall was noteworthy and  a single Siskin on the feeders at Ladywalk today was a first for the year. Birds are beginning to move though with Oystercatchers and Shelduck appearing at various sites and many species showing signs of courtship behaviour. A Jack Snipe was seen at a regular site and getting close views of the Hume's Y B warbler at a deserted Edison Road bridge site was a surprise bonus. A total of 9 Moorhens were also noted on the river Anker at this site.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Singin' in the rain

Monday 17th February 2014
Having been 'stuck in' for the weekend a much needed local walk was called for and even though there was a steady drizzle falling it was great to be out. I did a circular walk from Woodford lane following the river Anker to Witherley and returning following a path across the fields. Not a particularly long walk but in the heavy mud probably enough, with plenty of river bank, stubble fields, hedges and rough ground to check. The first part of the river bank was well lined with dense bushes overhanging the water. There were at least 5 Goldcrests and a single Chiffchaff in the bushes. In the trees were a flock of 65 or so Redwing. I was keen to locate any Tree Sparrows seen in previous years but none were spotted. Birds which were seen included Skylarks - singing in the rain, Mistle Thrush 3, Redwing 60, Reed Bunting 3, House Sparrow 2,The best sight though was a flock of about 40 Yellowhammers commuting between the fields and treetops.
River Anker near Witherley

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Myrtle warbler in the Sunshine

Tuesday 11th February 2014
A rare sight this year- the Sun, appeared as John H., John B., John T and myself headed North up the A1 to County Durham in the hope of seeing a Myrtle warbler. As we parked up on the outskirts of a housing estate in the village of High Shincliffe the sun was bright in the sky although it was still very cold. After a short walk we arrived 'on site' to find several birders focussed on an area of bushes and trees by the side of the road. They were giving directions. This was very encouraging and it wasnt long before we were following the various instructions. It was annoying to hear cameras clicking next to you when you hadnt seen the bird yourself. I suppose its only a matter of seconds before we did get our first sighting, it just seemed like a lot longer. Anyway there it was just the other side of the road feeding on a Coconut, partially obscured by bushes. Over the course of the next few hours we got much better views as the Myrtle warbler toured various parts of the estate before returning to the Coconut bushes. I deliberately hadnt taken my camera, I was beginning to wish I had as the bird showed higher in the trees as the day warmed. The number of birders steadily grew and most took a break from the warbler to go and see the 3 Waxwings just 400 yards or so up the road. It was also good to see a few Tree sparrows in nearby hedges. Many thanks to John H. for driving, a very enjoyable day.
Myrtle warbler 'Twitch', High Shincliffe

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Draycote Water in the Gloom

Thursday 6th February 2014
Got in a couple of hours at Draycote Water before the rain set in for the afternoon. There was no sign of the Slavonian Grebe unfortunately but all the long stayers were there. All rather distant with the exception of the Long tailed Duck. Other birds included ; Kingfisher, Chiffchaff and Tree Sparrow.
Long tailed Duck with Tufted Duck, Draycote Water
Long tailed Duck

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Hume's Yellow browed Warbler - a few more images

Tuesday 4th February 2014
Having failed so miserably with the shots of the Hume's Y B Warbler I took last week I thought I'd embarrass myself even more my having another go today. There were only a handful of enthusiasts on site so finding the bird would be a bit more challenging. It would typically go missing for quite long periods and seemed to be less vocal than on previous visits. On such a warm, sunny day it was surprising it didnt spend more time in the trees or in the tops of the Brambles but it only showed in the Hawthorn bushes a couple of times while I was there allowing more hit and miss photography!
Hume's Yellow browed Warbler, Hams Hall Dist. Park, Nr. Coleshill
Hume's Yellow browed Warbler, note the faint crown stripe
Hume's Yellow browed Warbler
Humes Yellow browed Warbler
Humes Yellow browed Warbler

Monday, 3 February 2014

February around and about

Saturday 1st February 2014
As I travelled up the A5 it was decision time: carry on to Brownhills for another and hopefully a closer look at the wintering Glossy Ibis or turn off on to the M42 and have another look at the Hume's Yellow browed Warbler. I carried on. When I got to the horse paddocks I was met by some very professional looking photographers with Liverpool and Scots accents. They were taking up some very uncomfortable postures on the ground with the bird only a few metres away. I declined to get my knees or coat muddy but clicked away like a good 'un anyway.
 Glossy Ibis, Brownhills, West Mids.
Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Sunday 2nd February 2014
On Sunday it was back to Hams Hall. As I pulled up on the bridge, birders on the bridge were focussed on the river bank below. I quickly joined them to watch the Hume's Y B warbler in Brambles on the river bank near the bridge. The bird was only a couple of metres from the main body of birders but as the bird stayed low in the foliage it was out of their view. There was a great atmosphere with so many familiar faces from all parts of the County and beyond.
Monday 3rd February 2014
An overdue visit to Brandon Marsh produced my first local Oystercatcher of the year and a stunning adult Yellow legged Gull but not a lot else of note.