Sunday 30 December 2012

A local walk

It has seemed an age since I went out  Birding. Actually its probably only a week but just seems like a long time. Managed a couple of hours today though on a local walk along the river Anker towards Atherstone. Not a huge number of birds but enough to make it interesting and keep you on your toes. The weather was pleasant and it wasnt too long before I encountered 3 Goldcrests including one particularly bright individual which disappeared before I could get a good look at it. There were small groups of thrushes, mainly Redwing, in the tree tops and a Grey Wagtail flew up from the swollen river. As I approached Mancetter a couple of Tree sparrows were a nice find as was a solitary Yellowhammer but generally the hedges were pretty quiet. On the way back a noisy Peregrine attracted attention and pairs of Stock doves were laying an early claim to nest boxes in several trees. I couldnt delay any longer though, hopefully my flat roof would have dried sufficiently to allow me to attempt to carry out some much needed repairs.

Friday 28 December 2012

Birding Calendar - 2012

Spanish Sparrow, Calshot, Hants

Black shouldered Kite, Luxor, Egypt
Nile Valley Sunbird, Luxor, Eygpt
Garganey, Middleton Hall, Warks.
Common Redstart, Caldecote, Warks.
White Pelican, Cyprus
Purple Heron, Cyprus
Bluethroat, Doxey Marshes, Staffs.
Roller, East Yorkshire
Common Scoter, Shustoke Res. Warks
Pectoral Sandpiper, Marsh Lane N.R. West Mids.
Crab Plover, Red Sea, Eygpt
Slavonian Grebe, Shustoke Res. Warks.
Short eared Owl, Sutton Cheney, Leics
Waxwing, Stoney Stanton, Leics
A selection of Birding images throughout the year

Saturday 22 December 2012

Happy Christmas

Hope Father Christmas brings you all you desire (sorry its not a better image but I've only got a very old battered mobile, phone's past it as well.) Have a great Christmas and happy new year one and all.

Monday 17 December 2012

A walk around Burton Hastings

Monday 17th December 2012
A 3 hour walk over local farmland this morning didnt produce any surprises in the way of birdlife and only 33 species were logged. If there were any surprises it was what was not seen. The circular route from Burton Hastings across to the A5 which took in a section of the Ashby canal and back failed to find any Lapwing, Long tailed tit, Linnet, Yellowhammer, Snipe, Partridge sp or even Pheasant. Numbers of species that were seen were very low with the exception of Thrush spp - 400 Fieldfares feeding on the pastures, 11 Song Thrushes numerous Blackbirds and lower numbers of Redwing and a few Mistle Thrush.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Tame valley fodder

Saturday 15th December 2012
Met up with 'the boys', by chance I might say and, well I say boys but theyre crackin on a bit nowadays. Anyway we had a bit of a poke around Lea Marston before moving on to the cafe at Middleton where 'the boys' tucked into hearty platefulls of fried delights. I didnt join them, my Pork pie was cooling in the boot of the car to be consumed later in the day when the pace of Tame valley birding dropped a little.
After lunch it was on to Dosthill lakes, very different from earlier in the week as the water was now completely free of ice. The Ferruginous x Pochard hybrid was still there as was the Long tailed Duck.
Long tailed Duck, Dosthill lake, Warks.
Long tailed Duck
Long tailed Duck
Long tailed Duck

Friday 14 December 2012

Probable Ferruginous x Pochard hybrid ID

14th December 2012

OK So why isnt this an adult female Ferruginous Duck? I have to admit I was too busy taking photos to study the bird in the field or rather on the water, but that's modern Birding for you. Is it possible to be a good birder and a bird photographer? Many would argue not.
Anyway this duck, on first view the forehead does look too much like a pochard or a Ski jump but at some angles the slope between forehead and bill is less continuous and several other features look good for Ferruginous,at least according to The Collins guide. I think the Ferruginous dominant genes outnumber the Pochard dominant genes. I'll leave to the experts for the final analysis though.

Thursday 13 December 2012

Images of the Ferruginous/Pochard hybrid

Thursday 13th December 2012

A few more images of the Ferruginous x Pochard hybrid at Dosthill lake, Warks.
Ferruginous Duck x Pochard hybrid
Ferruginous x Pochard
Ferruginous x Pochard
Ferruginous hybrid comparison with Tufted Duck
Ferruginous x Pochard
Ferruginous Duck- female, Egypt 2012

Friday 7 December 2012

'I bin searchin' Oh yeah

Friday 7th December 2012
Today's birding involved a couple of local walks. It started well with a sighting of a Red Kite sitting in a field only just over a mile from my house. Bit average after that I'm afraid; small flocks of Skylarks and Meadow pipits with single Reed Bunting, Green &Great spotted Woodpeckers, Sparrowhawk hunting Redwings, lots of Fieldfares and 3 Song Thrushes plus the usual tits and finches. Even extending the usual Caldecote circuit to include a section of the Coventry canal I couldn't add any more interesting species. Legion Wood near Grendon was much the same story but I will continue to look for that elusive Firecrest or the Owl sp, I know its there somewhere.
Fieldfare, caught in the last rays of the afternoon sun.

Thursday 6 December 2012

41 Shades of Grey

Thursday 6th December 2012
After the colour of Waxwings in the sun it was back to shades of grey this morning. The Long tailed Duck on cold, grey water with cold grey skies did little to arouse the passions and it would have taken a dam sight more than a paperback to raise anything on such a cold day.
Long tailed Duck,Dosthill lake,Warks.
Long tailed Duck
Long tailed Duck
Long tailed Duck
Long tailed Duck

Wednesday 5 December 2012

More Waxwings in Leicestershire

Monday 3rd/Tuesday 4th December 2012
Waxwings continue to eat their way South and West with a few finding their way into Warwickshire with small numbers around Coventry, Stratford, Nuneaton and Rugby much as you would expect. For me the nearest sizable flock so far is at Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire. I managed to get a few more images of the birds to add to the winter collection.
Waxwing, Stoney Stanton, Leics.
Aerial view

Monday 3 December 2012

Velvet Scoters in Leicestershire

Monday 3rd December 2012
I had an out of County experience today. Took myself off to Swithland Res. Leics. to hopefully see the Velvet Scoters which have taken up residence there. Pity they couldnt have made it just a little further west but if the birds wont come to the Birder then the Birder must go to the bird. In the event one female showed well off the dam but the drake and the other female refused to have anything to do with us and stayed very distant.
Velvet Scoter, Swithland Reservoir, Leics.
Velvet Scoter
Velvet Scoter
Velvet Scoter

Catching up

Friday 30th November 2011
Third day without a car but managed to get myself to Middleton Hall and have a walk round some of the less well used tracks. A quick look at the feeding station produced L. Redpoll, and the usual birds but as I was watching, 5 Waxwings flew over heading towards the wood. A soggy walk along the river didnt produce any unusual birds and neither did a walk behind the Hall to the Villa training ground and back. An unfortunate incident on the way back ocurred when I was attacked by a dog. Luckily the dog went for my lower leg which was protected by my wellies. What incensed me though was that the owner couldn't bring himself to apologise.
Sunday 2nd December 2012
First chance to catch up with a few birds in the valley. No sign of the probable Ferruginous Duck hybrid but nice views of the Long tailed Duck eventually, thanks to Geoff Williams. I was also able to watch 2 Great northern Divers at Shustoke Res. which was good.