Thursday 28 February 2013

Signs of Spring

Thursday 28th February 2013
Pretty unremarkable week's birding, highlight was a Common Buzzard trying to look like a Rough legged Buzzard at Warton. Looked good sitting on a distant hedge until it flew that was. A small flock of Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings was note worthy, just, and Skylarks were getting very active but that was about it. Met an old lady who pointed out a good circular walk which I must have a go at sometime. Did a few Tame valley sites today, several degrees warmer than recently and a few species were getting their vocal cords in order for the spring. Oystercatchers were as noisy as ever and the pair of Long tailed Ducks were still on the Dosthill lake. A Kingfisher was on Cliff pool, and a flock of several hundred Lapwing were over the north end of Middleton Lakes and up to 10 Common Buzzards were soaring over the area.
Lesser Redpoll, uncommon visitor to the garden feeders
Long tailed Ducks, Dosthill lakes
Long tailed Duck
Long tailed Duck
Long tailed Duck, female
Long tailed Duck, male

Sunday 24 February 2013

Tree Sparrow and Green winged Teal

Sunday 24th February 2013
Tree Sparrow, Caldecote
Tree  Sparrow
A couple of images of local Tree sparrows on a bitterly cold February morning
Later that day
A phone call from Terry S had me jumping into the car and heading off to Brandon Marsh near Coventry. A Green winged Teal had been found among the Common Teal on the River pool and it wasnt long before I was watching this American visitor.
Green winged Teal, Brandon Marsh N.R. Warks
Green winged Teal

Friday 22 February 2013

New site for Tree Sparrow

Thursday 21st February 2013
Followed up the yesterday's finch flock sighting and thanks to Dennis W found them very easy to view from a layby next to the Aircraft 'museum' at Bagington, Coventry. The main flock were largely Linnets with other flocks of Bramblings and Chaffinches nearby. At Brandon Marsh, just down the road a Bittern finally showed, albeit briefly from the Carlton hide. So not a bad day despite the icy wind.
Friday 22nd February 2013
A walk around Caldecote Hall, produced a new site for Tree Sparrow along the Anchor valley corridor between Weddington, Nuneaton and Atherstone. Tree sparrows have now been seen at 4 well separated locations along the valley as well as sightings to the east of Nuneaton in the Burton Hastings area. There are only small numbers involved and it may be the same birds moving along the valley over the winter period but its good to know they are around. Other birds encountered today included Pied wagtail 12, Jackdaw C30, Green Woodpecker 2, Sparrowhawk, Goosander pair, Woodpigeon C400, Grey Heron 3.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Waxwings at Warwick

Wednesday 20th February 2013
Waxwing, Warwick
Managed to catch up with the Warwick 10, Waxwings that is. Had to wait some time before they appeared, to feed at the aptly named Rowan Drive. The site was at a busy road junction so the birds were being constantly flushed by lorries and passers by.
On the way back along the A45, Coventry bypass there was a flock of several hundred finches seen from the car. Unfortunately there was no safe viewing point that I could see as the stubble fields backed on to the industrial estate to the north of Bagington Airfield.

Sunday 17 February 2013

Tame valley Birding

Saturday 16th February 2013 A few images from various familiar Tame valley hotspots yesterday Long tailed Duck, a pleasant surprise at Cliff pool Kingsbury Water park. Also 2 Oystercatcher, Kingfisher and Little Egret

Thursday 14 February 2013

Taking the Pee

Thursday 14th February 2013 This is the complete unexpergated version of todays Tweet.I visited Bentley Woods near Atherstone for a bit of a much needed walk and to see what birds were about. The increase in temperature overnight had caused a hatch of small moths and Goldcrests in particular were feeding feverishly, other birds seen included Great spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Tits, common finches. It wasnt until I stopped to answer the call of nature that I saw one of the birds I'd hoped to see- a Woodcock. A tick for my 'birds Ive seen while having a P list' The bird got up indignantly when it found its favourite bit of habitat being used as a toilet. Cant say I blame it but it gave great views as it rose just 6 feet away. Come to think of it I might have been struggling had it been much further away as I wasn't in a position to use my binoculars.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Through the kitchen window

Wednesday 6th February 2013 I'm used to seeing finches,tits and the usual garden stuff in the garden but it was something of a surprise to see a cock Pheasant strutting about on the patio this morning.I live maybe 1/4 mile from any open fields although I have had Red legged Partridge in the front garden before and even Woodcock many years ago during heavy snow. The Pheasant certainly added a splash of colour on an otherwise dull day.
Pheasant in the back garden

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Draycote Water -Again !

Tuesday 5th February 2013 Flying visit to Draycote Water. Again the wind was quite gusty but there were no Windsurfers about. Luckily I didnt have far to walk which was just as well as it was a bit of a struggle even with a walking stick. I dont think Im ready for the Knackers yard just yet so I'm hoping I can do without the stick fairly soon. Anyway the two Black necked grebes were where they were supposed to be: half way along Hensborough Bank. So mission accomplished before the weather deteriorated in the afternoon.

Monday 4 February 2013

Draycote Water

Monday 4th February 2013
Sparrowhawk in the garden tree
Sparrowhawk with prey
Sparrowhawk, in the garden Fancied a change of scenery so ventured to Draycote Water this morning. There is a good deal of work going on there at the moment and the water level is very high. It was also pretty wild, the Smew was being tossed about in the waves and the few windsurfers were having a great time, I think. Even in a strong wind it must get a bit boring going backwards and fowards,backwards and fowards till your arms ache and then you have a rest and then go backwards and fowards again! Mind you it wasnt exactly exhilarating birdwatching. The 2 Black necked Grebes were nowhere to be seen and there were very few ducks. Goldeneye numbered 20+ and there was a small flock of Wigeon. Birds of the day were a Raven and a few Tree sparrows near the new feeder.
Smew surfing at Draycote Water,Warks.

Friday 1 February 2013

Visit to the West Bank

Thursday 31st January 2013 West bank of the river Tame that is, AKA Middleton lakes. Having explored the Dosthill side the previous day much of Thursday involved wading through the quagmire that is Middleton lakes. Apart from a flock of Siskin the area seemed quiet, a few duck, a couple of Grey Herons and a single Little Egret. Kingsbury Water Park was much the same with just a couple of Shelduck and a few Goldeneye.
Siskin, Middleton Lakes RSPB
Siskin Friday 1st February Determined to at least see something it was back to Hams Hall today. The Firecrest showed well by the Edison Rd bridge feeding higher up in the warmish sun. The Siberian Chiffchaff were also high up in the Willow next to the double wooden gates at Ladywalk N.R. making the most of a hatch of midges. A drive around Wishaw proved fruitless or should I say birdless except for a couple of Common Buzzard on the ground