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

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Another day at Kingsbury/Middleton Lakes

Tuesday 7th February 2017

A no camera day today. Didn't need it really although a Kingfisher did pose for me along the canal at Kingsbury. It was one of two I saw today. Lovely day to be out and about and I tried to make the most of it, after checking Coton I went to the Water Park which, with so much work going on, looks more and more like a City Park. I continued along the canal to Middleton lakes. Very few birds anywhere. Yesterday at least there was a large flock of Golden plover and a Ringed plover, today no sign.  So I trudged back dragging my Wellies through the mud. Highlight of the day was probably my first Butterfly of the year, a Peacock at Coton.

Yesterday's Ringed Plover, at Middleton Lakes RSPB

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Bittern encounter

Thursday 2nd February 2017

A day for Blogging and sorting out paperwork with the prospect of a couple of beers with my pals later. As far as the Blog is concerned yesterday was a busy birding day. I visited the new hide at Coton. I felt I had to wedge the door open to avoid being picked up by a crane, put on a passing freight train and ending up at Felixstowe docks and put on a container ship heading for the far East. Not much to report birdwise though apart from ducks I saw a Chiffchaff and not much else. At Ladywalk the rain was just starting to stop as I made my way to the hides. I decided on B first which proved a good decision. There was barely a breath of wind and a twitching reed stem got my attention, probably a Coot or a Dabchick but I stayed focussed on the area. More twitches but no sign of any birds whatsoever. Maybe it was a large fish? No there was moment above the water and a few distinctly marked feathers could be made out. It was the Bittern, at very close range. Magic. The bird eventually moved to the back of the reeds and took off flying an almost complete circuit of the pools before disappearing into the main Reedbed.
I moved on to Wishaw but very few birds were seen. there were a few Golden Plover keeping low in the crops but apart from Skylarks that was about it.

Bittern, Ladywalk N.R.


Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Only a couple to add

Tuesday 31st January 2017
An expected addition to this year's County list came in the form of 4 Tundra Bean geese found just up the road in fields around Seeswood pool by Dave Hutton. The birds showed well in a flock of a couple of hundred Greylags and Canada geese.
Tundra Bean goose, Seeswood pool, Nuneaton

Tundra Bean geese

4 Tundra Bean geese

Tundra Bean Goose

Bean geese

Mixed fortunes at Ladywalk yesterday nice flock of Lesser Redpolls for the year but missed the Bittern/s by a whisker.
Today I contented myself with a short patchwalk around Caldecote . Highlights of which were 3 Stonechats (2 males), a Sparrowhawk with only a couple of tail feathers left and a Kingfisher.