Tuesday, 27 January 2015


Tuesday 27th January 2015
Since returning from not so sunny Lanzarote I've been visiting Tips and Sewage outfalls, as you do. Finding something unusual at Hartshill or Hams Hall Sewage works is always a possibility and Hams Hall certainly has a good track record in recent years. Having been very lucky to catch up with the Kumlien's Gull at Bubbenhall Tip earlier with a little help from some of Warkwickshire's finest. I spent yesterday at Wishaw and then Middleton lakes. In the fields around Wishaw there was a flock of several hundred Golden plover and a slightly smaller flock of Fieldfare with a few Mistle thrush and Redwing thrown in.
Today I checked the river Anker at Woodford Lane. There had been a hatch of Midges with several species taking advantage in the bushes overhanging the river. There were up to 10 Chiffchaff, a similar number of Goldcrests and a count of 6 Wrens. It was then on to Hams Hall to check out the Sewage outfall there. I had the place to myself and it wasnt too long before a likely candidate for Siberian Chiffchaff appeared. This time I was with camera and was able to get a few shots.

Chiffchaff, Woodford Lane, nr Hartshill

'Siberian' Chiffchaff, Hams Hall
Siberian Chiffchaff
Siberian Chiffchaff
Siberian Chiffchaff
 Siberian Chiffchaff

Friday, 23 January 2015

Lanzarote, Ilas Canarias

Friday 23rd January 2015
Just back from a short break in Lanzarote for a bit of Winter sun. Didnt expect to do any birding so wasn't disappointed not to see many birds.Was disappointed not to see much sun though. The birds that there were, were seen along the rocky shoreline near the hotel. We went for a good walk most days and had a total of 15 species, (there were that many species in the garden when we got back home). With a bit more effort, ie going on a pelagic or driving around a bit I'm sure we could have added a few more but on this occasion that wasn't the aim of the exercise.

Yellow legged Gull, Larus m. atlantis



Laughing Dove

Common Sandpiper

Spanish Sparrow

Masked Lovebird - free flying cagebirds.
Other species seen: Raven, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Sandwich Tern, Little Egret, Kestrel, Collared Dove.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Siberian Chiffchaff, Hams Hall

Sunday 12th January 2015
Visited Hams hall distribution Park. The bushes,trees and undergrowth near the Edison Road bridge and between the Sewage out fall and the river usually usually host a number of wintering warblers at this time of the year. I was very lucky, when I reached the site, a number of birders were watching a Siberian Chiffchaff which was 'showing well' near the outflow channel. I didn't hear it call but I was assured that it had been calling and was definitely the Sibe. So lucky on two counts, turning up at the right time and having the bird IDed on call. The Sibe Chiffchaff continued to show well, often feeding low down under a Bramble patch but I didnt have the 'right' camera so was unable to get a very worthwhile image. OK, so that's never bothered you before I hear you say, so here we are:

Siberian Chiffchaff, Hams Hall

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Geese at Draycote Water

Thursday 8th January 2015
Gave Draycote Water another look today. Having walked a good bit yesterday I went a bit quicker today and broke into a jog for about 4 metres. It was the sight of John Js van screeching to a halt just ahead of me that got me excited. What did he know that I didnt? Were the Geese, spotted yesterday, still around ? The answer was in Bob Hazel's scope. I didn't do very well for Geese in the County last year so to see two species of wild geese together was a great start to the year in the county. Just need to find a few Owls now but that's another story.

Pink footed Goose, Draycote Water

White fronted Goose

White fronted Goose

White fronted Goose

White fronted Goose

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Punk Bird

Tuesday 6th January 2015

Smew, Draycote Water

Monday, 5 January 2015

Shustoke Res., Warks

Monday 5th January 2015

A couple of images from Shustoke Res. today.
1w Scaup, Shustoke Res.
1w Scaup
Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
 Grey Wagtail
White tailed Grey Wagtail
WTG Wagtail

Friday, 2 January 2015

Birds of the Western Palearctic in 2014 - stretching the limits.

Friday 2nd January 2015
A final look back at the birds of 2014. I've been lucky enough to be able to visit the extreme limits of the Western Palearctic region this year in my quest for birds. The Ural mountains of Russia in the East and the Cape Verde Islands in the South West. Both trips involved a certain amount of discomfort in the form of sea sickness and barely adequate camping arrangements but to be fair a degree of discomfort is necessary in the search for some of the rarest birds to be found in Europe, and the weather was great everywhere so can't complain really. Anyway I achieved a personal milestone in seeing 700 Western Palearctic species.
I've selected a Top Ten of my favourite images collected on these trips plus a couple of holiday 'snaps'.
Red billed Tropicbird, Cape Verde Islands

Grey Hypocolius, Kuwait

Great spotted Cuckoo, Cyprus

Afghan Babbler, Kuwait

Red footed Falcon, Cyprus

Lanceolated Warbler, Russia

Persian Wheatear, Kuwait

Alpine Swift, Cyprus

Black Redstart -  Kuwait

Whiskered Tern, Cyprus

Thursday, 1 January 2015

The UK Birds of 2014 - a personal Top Ten.

1st January 2015
Nationally my four 'new' birds were seen at widespread locations in both England (3) and Scotland  (1). The rest of my 'Top Ten' come largely from an autumn trip to the Shetland Isles and visits to North Norfolk. Unfortunately Short toed Eagle and Yellow billed Cuckoo don't make it as I failed to get decent photos of either. So, the rather less interesting Barred warbler and R B Fly do. I know many of these images have featured in the old Blog before but I make no apologies for putting them up again as they bring back a lot of great memories over the year. Hope you enjoy them too. Oh and a very happy New year to you all.

Siberian Rubythroat, Shetland Isles. A special bird.

Swainson's Thrush, Shetland Isles

White's Thrush, Shetland Isles

Myrtle warbler, Shetland Isles

Steppe Grey Shrike, Burnham Norton

Spectacled warbler, Burnham Overy

Red breasted Flycatcher, Shetland Isles

Barred warbler, Shetland Isles

Little Bunting, Shetland Isles

Yellow browed Warbler, Shetland Isles