Monday, 23 February 2015

Shopping or Birding

Monday 23rd February 2015
I don't mind taking my wife shopping in Tamworth, no I really don't. While Jan sorts out what she wants to buy and take back to M&S, I can go and do a bit of Birding. Today the Birding wasnt that exciting but still a dam sight better than traipsing around looking vaguely at clothes designed to make you feel, smart, with it etc. Anyway I went for a stroll round K.W.P. A couple of Oystercatchers were on the pontoon at Broomey Croft. Looking like a couple of doormen at a fashionable London store.
Oystercatcher,Broomey Croft

Didn't really see anything of note on the other pools before I was heading back for the shops and then home. After lunch I was pondering my next move when I got a text from Steve H. He had just found a drake Mandarin at Ladywalk. So, that was the afternoon sorted. All those essential jobs I was going to do would have to wait another day. From Hide B the Mandarin was on the far shore, asleep and facing away. Not very impressive to say the least. Eventually though, during a heavy shower all the Mallards and the Mandarin took to the water and showed well. The group seemed unsettled for some reason and after a few minutes flew to land on the river near the Bittern Hide.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Local birding

Sunday 22nd February 2015
Local birding has proved rewarding this week, particularly the patch walk around Caldecote Hall. I was joined by Steve Haynes yesterday as we were keen to check out the flocks of Buntings and Finches in the stubble adjacent to the river off Leathermill lane. There are in the region of 60 Linnets there at the moment, with smaller numbers of Chaffinch and Reed Buntings. Even with scopes the birds were distance so finding something interesting amongst them proved very tricky. A couple of Common Buzzard loitered in nearby trees and a Peregrine made a Merlin like low pass over the field creating panic with the birds on the ground.
We continued walking around 'the circuit'. The wintering Stonechat was in its regular area and Nuthatch and Treecreeper were seen in the bits of woodland. Birds of the day though were probably a pair of Grey Partridge which I hadn't seen in the area for a couple of years. Nearby at the Woodford road bridge we saw 5 Chiffchaffs, Grey wagtail and a few Goldcrests, in all we had seen around 50 species.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Dreary weather

9th, 10th, 11th February 2015
Birding this week has involved a bit of walking, but with little reward in terms of birds. In fact it was rather depressing to walk around so much farmland near Burton Hastings and see so few birds in the fields and hedges. Apart from a flock of 300+ Woodpigeons, a few Robins, the odd Dunnock and a couple of Reed Buntings it was distinctly quiet. I also had a good walk around the Curdworth/ Wishaw area but whereas the previous week had seen Grey Partridge, this visit produced only Thrushes, mostly Fieldfare, but also Mistle Thrush, Redwing and Song Thrush with Skylark and a single Meadow Pipit. At Cliff pool, Kingsbury there was a couple of Shelduck, 16 Common Snipe and an Oystercatcher. A change of scene was called for and a visit to Wasperton produced 30 odd Corn Buntings and perhaps 50 Yellowhammers. I popped in to Brandon Marsh on the way back where I saw another Oystercatcher and a couple of Water Rails. On one of the greens of the Golf course near the Carlton hide there was a 'cluster' of 18 Moorhens.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Tame valley Birds

Saturday 7th February 2015

A few images from yesterdays Birding in the Tame valley
Common and Green Sandpipers near Edison Rd bridge, Hams Hall

Green Sandpiper

Water Rail

Barn Owl

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Tame valley Great Northern Diver

Wednesday 4th February 2015
Started the day with a walk round the Caldecote patch. The stubble and winter wheat held large numbers of Skylarks and Thrushes with a few Reed Buntings and Linnets in the hedges. The highlight though was a Merlin being mobbed by a crow before getting bored with the attention and disappearing in the direction of Woodford Lane. Near the river there were even more Thrushes, 4 species in fact and a 50+ flock of Linnets. On the return leg along the flood plain was a Stonechat.

Stonechat, Caldecote

After a cuppa I moved on to Kingsbury Water Park. I made my way around to Cliff pool. I'd just passed The 'canal' hide when a large bird landed near the small island on Canal pool. I raised my bins expecting a Cormorant but was stunned to be looking at a Great Northern Diver. I fumbled about to get out my bridge camera. When I looked up a second later the bird was gone. Assuming it had dived I scanned the pool, but the sun came about making viewing difficult so I moved back to the canal side. Still no sign of the Diver on the water but I did see the bird again as it was now circling the pool. Oh how I wished I'd got my 'proper' camera with me. The bird seemed reluctant to leave the area but finally headed of towards the south end of the park. After a quick Tweet I tried to phone Steve H, but he beat me to it. He was at Lea Marston so we decided to check out the larger, largely ice free lakes including Coton and Shustoke. In fact I was making my way around to where the hide used to be at Coton when I got another phone call 'ABORT, ABORT', it was getting to be a cross between a military operation and Top Gear. Steve had just seen the Diver take off from Coton lake do a circuit and head off North West towards Birmingham? and that was that, the little adventure was over, but at least someone else had seen it.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Winter birding in Warwickshire

Tuesday 3rd January 2015

The last few days has involved some local walks and visits to Brandon Marsh and Draycote Water. The walks took me along the River Anker between Atherstone and Polesworth. With the help of local conservationist and guide John we explored riverside stubble fields surprisingly rich in birdlife. Large flocks of Skylarks in particular but also good numbers of Linnets, Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers as well as a colony of some 25 Tree sparrows. Other birds included a single Goosander  a few Common Snipe and a Little Owl. Draycote is enjoying a bit of a purple patch in terms of wintering birds, with long stayers, a pair of White fronted geese, a single Pink footed Goose, at least one female Pintail and a drake Smew. All showed well today. as did the recently arrived Black necked Grebe and 3 Ravens.

Black necked Grebe, Draycote Water
Female Pintail
Pink footed Goose
Pink footed Goose
Pink footed Goose
White fronted Goose
White fronted Goose
Kingfisher, Brandon Marsh
Water Rail
Another flight shot, a Meteor I think, Brandon Marsh