Friday, 12 May 2017

Never seen that before !

Friday 12th May 2017

Not the sort of thing you expect in Warwickshire. I'm sure it does happen, particularly on breeding colonies on the coast but I cant recall seeing Common terns 'bombing' a couple of Hobbies. Not just dropping their droppings but actually aiming them. No hits were seen but plenty of near misses. The birds in question were at Mill pool, Alvecote.

The Target, Hobby, Alvecote

Pair of Hobbies

Shelduck with well disciplined brood

Little Gull, Middleton lakes RSPB

So far, May has been largely unspectacular for me, missing most of the wader species passing through, but with all the regular breeding Warblers showing well, I can't complain. Also a good spring for Raptors with Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Osprey and Hobby all seen at localish sites.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Migration report - April

Wednesday 3rd May 2017

Been rather too busy trying to catch up with migrants moving through or arriving at their local destinations to keep up with daily accounts -excuses, excuses. I've focussed on localish  sites in the main with mixed success. A summary so far, by no means a complete record just the birds I've managed to see:
Shustoke: Arctic, Black terns,Swift.
Alvecote (Warks) - Dunlin, Blackwits, Garganey, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Little Gull1w, Whinchat .
 Maxstoke -  Redstart.
Mancetter,- Wheatear, Osprey,
 Seeswood -Ring Ouzel, Kingsbury (Cliff pool) -  Little Gull1w, Black Tern.
Brandon - Red Kite, Cuckoo,
Caldecote - Wheatear.
Thanks to those 'finders' who passed on info.

Images of some of the April  birds not featured in the Blog previously:

Eygptian Geese, near Brandon

Black tailed Godwit, Alvecote pools

Whinchat, Alvecote

Wheatear, Mancetter

Black tern, Shustoke Res.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Migrant Fest

Wednesday 19 th April 2017

Just a few of the birds at Middleton lakes RSPB today :

Green Sandpiper, Fisher's Mill

Green winged Teal

Black tailed Godwit


Grasshopper warbler

Grasshopper warbler

Green winged Teal

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Migration report

Tuesday 18th April 2017

The group of Fieldfares built up to 11, last seen at Mancetter on the 14th April. On Monday 17th there were a pair of Wheatear in the sheepfields at Mancetter and an influx of 16 Common Tern at Shustoke res. with large numbers of Hirundines including several House Martins.

Wheatear, Mancetter Quarry

Pair of Wheatear

Friday, 14 April 2017

Home and away

Friday 14th April 2017

After a few days away in East Yorkshire it was good to have a good  local bird to enjoy on the doorstep.
Daybreak across the North Sea from our hotel bedroom

Just as well, cos with strong westerlies there were few migrants to be seen with the exception of several hundred Sand Martins on Hornsea Mere, although the cliffs at Bempton were getting busy.
'Sword fighting' display on the cliffs.

Ring Ouzel, Seeswood pool

Ring Ouzel with Blackbird

Ring Ouzel
Bird of the day was the 1w Ring Ouzel found by Dave Hutton on his local 'patch'
Back on the Hill at Mancetter Quarry the Thrush flock including 11 Fieldfare were still in the same tree but little else was noted.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Migration Report - the last couple of days

Saturday 1st April 2017

A few local images from the last few days.
Garganey, Middleton Lakes R.S.P.B


Great WhiteEgret, Middleton Lakes

Swallow, Mancetter

Wheatear, Mancetter

Wheatear , Mancetter

Redshank, Alvecote

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Red necked Grebe steals the show

Tuesday 28th March 2017

Always a bit of a dilemma. Shall I local, shall I head for the Tame valley or shall I head east for Brandon Marsh and Draycote ? Unfortunately the easterly wind had swung back to more southerly but it was worth a punt for a wader or Little Gull. At Brandon Marsh there were 3 new birds: a Black tailed Godwit, a Ringed plover and my first Swallow of the year.

Black tailed Godwit, Brandon Marsh N.R.

Draycote water though was less productive. Although the long staying Red necked Grebe, now in summer plummage, put on a good show in the sunshine.

Red necked Grebe, Draycote Water

Red necked Grebe

Red necked Grebe

Monday, 27 March 2017

Garganey the highlight

Monday 27th March 2017

After a birdingless weekend it was good to get out and about again. First stop was the Mancetter Hill which produced a site first in the form of a Grey Partridge and then on to Shustoke where I spent some time scanning through the seemingly hundreds of  fly catching Black headed Gulls looking for a Little Gull. (One was found later in the day apparently). Coton was quiet as was Kingsbury Water Park (What are they doing to that place). Looks more like Pype Hayes, B'ham than a country Park.
Moving on to Middleton Lakes I scanned Fisher's Mill. As the Garganey hadn't been reported to my knowledge and the fact that a previous visit had been fruitless I wasn't hopeful. So I was delighted to see the pair at quite close quarters. Alas no camera but always great to see. I also got a flight view of a Cetti's warbler at Fishers Mill.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Migration Report

Wednesday 22 Marsh 2017

It rained all day but at the end of it I'd seen a few new birds for the year. Nothing amazing but its always good to see the first Wheatear of the year. At Wolston there were 3 Wheatears and 5 Little ringed Plovers, another year tick for me. At Brandon Marsh there was a Green Sandpiper and several Redshank but no sign of the Pintail seen on Monday.

Green Sandpiper, Brandon Marsh

Green Sandpiper

Little ringed Plover, Wolston

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

A gander at the Geese

21st March 2017

Excellent couple of days Birding. Enjoyed a chat with some old mates, and I do mean old, in the East Marsh hide at Brandon, while watching a 1w Caspian Gull, drake Pintail, 20+ Sand Martins and the first Dunlin of the year. After picking up Jan we then stopped on the way home to see my first Grey Partridge of the year, Thanks to Paul C.
Today began at Alvecote pools where no less than 4 Jack Snipe and 12 Snipe were seen. Moving on to Picadilly the only bird of interest was an unidentified large Hirundine which may well have been a Swallow. At Kingsbury W.P. There were 6 Goldeneye on the 'back' pool. As I was watching 4 Egyptian geese flew in low in front of the hide from the direction of Middleton Lakes. I went back to check Canal pool and Cliff pools eventually finding them on Cliff. A word of caution to any would be watchers from the Cliff pool hides. Ensure the windows are secure when you open them. Either that or make sure you wear a cap for protection which fortunately I was today.

Little Egret, Cliff pool K.W.P.

Egyptian Geese

Egyptian Goose

Dip of the week must be the Waxwings at the entrance to Mancetter quarry. There were certainly no Waxwings around when I parked up and trudged up 'the hill', and nothing seen or heard on my return so I'll have to settle for the Stonechat.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Migration begins

Sunday 19th March 2017

The end of last week saw a definite movement of birds across the area. A male Blackcap appeared in the garden briefly and  visits to the Tame valley produced 8 Sand Martins at Bodymoor Heath Water,Kingsbury and a pair of Garganey on the Jubilee wetlands at Middleton Lakes RSPB. On a walk 'up the hill' at Mancetter, nr Atherstone there was a female Stonechat waiting at the top.

Stonechat, Merevale

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Monday, 13 March 2017

A quiet spell

Monday 13th March 2017

The previous week saw visits to several local sites with the hope of finding early migrants but with no success. I had to resort to a bit of out of County Birding for an 'interesting' bird. which came in the form of a Bonapart's Gull at Swithland Reservoir.   Much more satisfying though was  the sight a male Merlin hunting near Warton, N.Warks. The Merlin flew across a large stubble field at some 4 feet above the ground presumably trying to flush a Pipit or Lark. Having failed it then tried a second technique by just sitting in a hedge for some time.

Distant view of the Merlin
There were few other birds around though. In fact there were more Hares than small birds in the area. There were a couple of Partridges flying away which I couldn't ID but that was about it. I would have to make do with the Merlin.



Lying low
Back on the Mancetter patch today the highlight on 'the hill' was a Stoat running along in the shadow of a hedge, presumably trying to avoid being spotted by one of the 5 Common Buzzards circling over the fields adjacent to the Quarry. No Ravens up though.

Monday, 20 February 2017

New week - new birds

Monday 20th February 2017
After a pretty inactive weekend I felt the need for a bit of a walk. Leaving the car at Broomey Croft I took the tow path to Drayton Bassett. The walk was pretty uneventful I'd seen a couple of Oystercatchers on the pontoons at Broomey Croft but not much else.

As I walked north along the canal there wasn't a great deal to see except a couple of tit flocks. As I approached the north end of the Middleton lakes reserve small flocks of geese were flying off the reserve landing in the field next to the canal. There was a good chance the Greenland Whitefront I'd come to see would be amongst them. It was.

Greenland Whitefronted Goose

Greenland Whitefronted Goose

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

' That was the week that was'

Wednesday 15th February 2017

A rather quiet period but there have been a few highlights over the last few days. Namely Waxwings at Wolston, Jack Snipe at Alvecote, amazing views of Lesser spotted Woodpecker coming to a friends garden feeders and good views of 1w Scaup at Draycote Water. Otherwise visits to regular sites: Brandon, Caldecote and Mancetter have been largely fruitless.

Lesser spotted Woodpecker

Red necked Grebe

Scaup, Draycote Water