Saturday 30 November 2013

Garden Birding

Saturday 30th November 2013
Bit of a Mega morning in garden watching terms. Woke up to a female Blackcap, single Fieldfare and 2 Bramblings in the Apple tree and Crab apple tree this morning. Bramblings and Fieldfare didnt linger unfortunately but the Blackcap is still feeding away surrounded by the regular 8-10 Blackbirds
Blackcap, garden
Brambling, garden

Friday 29 November 2013

Red breasted Merganser, Draycote Water

29th November 2013
Really dull, misty morning at Draycote Water. The pond was flat calm and it wasnt long before the female Red breasted Merganser was seen off the dam near the fishing boat pontoons. One or two Goldeneye were dotted about but no sign of the juv. Shag in this corner of the res. anyway. During a coffee at the centre I picked up a Tweet about 'some' Whooper Swan with 'some' White fronted Geese near Bretford. As Bretford and Kings Newnham were on the way back I stopped off to check out the report but unfortunately there was no further sign of the Whoopers or White fronts along Kings Newnham Lane only flocks of Mute swans and Canada geese.
Red breasted Merganser
Red breasted Merganser
Moth spp., Draycote W. any suggestions ?

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Parrot Crossbills in Norfolk

Tuesday 26th November 2013
Took another opportunity to see Parrot Crossbills. This time at Holt Country Park in Norfolk. The birds had been showing well from the car park for several days and the temptation proved too great. I missed them in the car park by hour an hour. Sound familiar? A number of birders turned up but the birds didnt. We waited for a couple of hours until somebody drove in to say the flock had been seen a mile or so away. The car park emptied and cars drove in convoy to reassemble in a field a mile away. There was a good view of the various stands of conifers spread out over both sides of the road but many were quite distant. I spotted a small flock of Crossbills flying towards the roadside pines but they were soon lost to view. After checking the pines on one side of the road I walked back to the other side and found four or five Crossbills in the furthest pine in the roadside trees nearest to us. After calling the other birders over,with telescopes we were able to confirm that they were indeed Parrot Crossbill and that there were probably 10 birds feeding in the pines. 
Parrot Crossbill, Holt Country Park, Norfolk - very distant image giving some idea of the size, shape of the bill
Common Crossbill - Cannock Chase, comparison of bill size
Two barred Crossbill, South Yorkshire

Friday 22 November 2013


Friday 22nd November 2013
Not been doing great deal of birding recently, apart from the odd trip to South Wales, so its good when birds come to you. As did a pair of Fieldfare this morning they stayed just long enough for a few bits of Apple before moving on.
Fieldfare in garden

Monday 18 November 2013

Orphean warbler at Dale, Pembrokeshire

Saturday 16th November 2013
Enjoyed a day in South Wales in the company of Julian Allen on Saturday. Our aim was to try and see an Orphean warbler which had taken up residence in the garden near Dale in Pembrokeshire. Having missed the previous record in Hartlepool it was great to have another chance so soon. In pessimistic mood I had envisaged a long wait to see the bird with a chaotic queue a mile long. I couldnt have been more wrong. The whole event was organised with almost military precision by the local birders. The bird played its part too giving reasonable views as we waited the queue. The warbler showed much better though from the garden feeding in the Apple trees. I wished I'd taken my camera but the priority was to see the bird.
In due course we moved on to look for Lapland Bunting on a disused airfield just up the road. No luck despite a good search but it was good to stretch our legs after the long drive. We had more luck with the local Choughs, getting great views on the cliffs at Martin's Haven.
Mouth watering view of Skokholm Island
Orphean warbler, viewed in the garden by kind permission of the owners.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Starlings at Middleton Lakes RSPB

Tuesday 12th November 2013
Part 1
Enjoyed a good walk around the fields North of Burton Hastings. Birds seen : Starlings 200, Fieldfare 150, Redwing 30, Rooks 20, Skylarks 12, Meadow pipit 4, Bullfinch 6, Chaffinch 12, Common Buzzard 1, Green Woodpecker1, Moorhen 6
Part 2
Middleton lakes: 3,000+ Starlings, Stonechat 1, Little Egret 3
Stonechat, Middleton Lakes RSPB
Starlings at sunset
Starlings, Middleton lakes

Monday 4 November 2013


Monday 4th November 2013
Managed to fit in a quick visit to the patch this morning. The valley and crop fields were strangely quiet, no Skylarks, M'pits, Finches or Buntings. There was a Common Gull with the Black headed gulls and the usual mix of Corvids. It was on the way back a fine male Stonechat was seen on the rough ground close to the river. There were also 4 Meadow pipits to the east of the river. Still not many Thrushes about though, only 1 group of 12 or so Fieldfare and a single Redwing.

Saturday 2 November 2013

The Dusky warbler at Marsh Lane N.R.

Saturday 2nd November 2013
The creme de la creme of West Midlands Birding turned up at Marsh Lane nature reserve to see a Dusky warbler, a rare vagrant from the east, and a superb find by Glenn Giles. The bird was generally elusive staying low in the vegetation. At times, however, the bird would show in the pollarded Willows, during what was a murky morning.
The Dusky warbler 'twitch', Marsh Lane N.R.