Tuesday 28 January 2014

Wellies essential

Tuesday 28th January 2014
After the socialising at Hams Hall it was back to the solo birding that is patch watching today. In its way it proved to be an interesting walk in the mud. With dark clouds overhead I decided against doing the full circuit and headed south.The path took me past several large fields with neatly trimmed hedges.The most obvious birds were a large (200) flock of mainly Redwing with Fieldfare mixed in. Also in the same field and quite close to the path were 30 Pied Wagtails. Walking on there were Yellowhammers dotted about on the hedge tops and small numbers of Meadow pipits. As the skies lightened I decided to head back to do the full circuit. It was on the way back a flock of finches flew up from amongst the Thrushes. They were largely Chaffinch, but also Linnet and 2 Bramblings. When the thrushes also flushed I thought about Merlin but in fact it was a Peregrine circling overhead.
By comparison the usual circuit had very few 'winter' birds. There were 4 Grey Heron along the river as well as some woodland species such as Nuthatch and Great spotted Woodpecker. Two Kestrels side by side like Swallows were unusual and there was a flypast by 3 Cormorants. It was also unusual to not see a single Skylark but perhaps not entirely unexpected given the weather conditions.

Monday 27 January 2014

Hume's Yellow browed Warbler - a few images

Monday 27th January 2014
A few images, the best of a bad lot really, but you can get the general idea of the bird on it feverish non stop quest to find food.
Hume's Yellow browed Warbler, Hams Hall, Warks.
Hume's warbler
Hume's warbler
Hume's Y B Warbler
Hume's Y B Warbler

Saturday 25 January 2014

Hume's Yellow browed Warbler- first for Warwickshire

I  was admiring yet more furniture (will it never end) when the call came through. Probable Yellow browed warbler at Hams Hall. Salvation. The shop assistant was left open mouthed as I ushered Jan to the door explaining that we would have to come again another day. Having dropped Jan off at home it was all haste to Hams Hall. Even if it wasnt a Hume's, a Yellow browed would be a nice County tick. I was surprised when I arrived to find no cars on the bridge at Edison Road. Having parked up it was a quick walk to the river bridge where I met Dave Hutton. Having tried to keep track of the bird Dave was relieved other birders were starting to arrive but it was another 20 minutes before the bird reappeared and  gave decent views.
Hume's Yellow browed warbler, Hams Hall
 Birders continued to arrive as the bird moved into an area of dense Brambles calling frequently and more occasionally showing. Many thanks to Dave Hutton for getting news of his find out so quickly allowing the hard core of West Midlands birders to enjoy a National rarity.

Wednesday 22 January 2014

In search of the Grey Partridge

Tuesday 22nd January 2014
Having failed to see a Grey Partridge locally last year. I made a more determined effort this year. Having already scoured local fields of winter wheat with no success it was time to get serious and check out the Wishaw area on the boundary between Warwickshire and the West Mids. Finding the birds was easier than expected. They were paired off and 3 pairs were seen 2 pairs in the wheat and one pair in a stubble field.
Grey Partridge 
A pair of Grey Patridge
Grey Partridge
Peregrine, Wishaw
At Ladywalk N.R. the first singing Song thrush was seen and at the Sewage outfall at Hams Hall there were 3 Chiffchaff.

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Good day in the West Mids

Tuesday 21st January 2014
Took a trip up the A5 Brownhills today. I was lucky, as I got to the Horse paddocks just in time to see the Glossy Ibis which is wintering in the area. I suppose I watched the bird for a good 5 mins before it suddenly got up for no reason and flew off in the direction of Clayhanger Marsh.
Glossy Ibis, Brownhills, West Mids.
Glossy Ibis
So that was that. Gailey Reservoir was the next venue just up the road. The Great northern Diver was distant when I arrived but was clearly moving around most of the Sailing club lake, eventually popping up near enough for reasonable views. The Great white Egret hadn't been seen all morning apparently, but as I walked back to the car for something to eat (not Pork pie, having binged over Christmas) a white dot appeared in the distant reeds on the Fishing pool.  Closer inspection revealed a Great white Egret. A good day in the West Mids.
Great white Egret, Gailey Res.
Great northern Diver
Raven, Sheepfield, Gailey Res,

Monday 20 January 2014

Not Birding in East Yorks.

Thursday 16th January 2014
2013 went out with a bang birding wise but 2014 has come in with a whimper (so far). Jan and I took ourselves off for a short break based in Beverley, near Hull. Despite a succession of weather fronts moving through, all the rain fell overnight giving us the opportunity to visit some coastal locations within a short drive. It was definitely a non birding break and to prove it we stopped off at North Cave Wetlands to not see a Green winged Teal. The next bird we didnt see was a Kumlein's Gull at Barmston, followed quickly by the non appearance of a great White Egret wintering at Hornsea Mere.
Bridlington was pleasant with Sun, Sand, Sea and noisy dogs but unfortunately it was impossible not to notice the high tide roost of 20 Purple Sandpipers on the harbour wall.
We soon re established the non birding theme with a walk along the top fields at Filey. True there were a few Red throated Divers off the Brigg and even a small pod of Harbour Porpoise but we didnt see the large flock of Snow Buntings which had been there the previous day. So the non birding break was going well; fine weather, bracing walks, great sea views with lots of stops for Tea and cake, but then I nearly blew it. Saw Brett Richards at Flamborough. He'd seen the 'Northern' Treecreeper at the Millenium Wood an hour and a half ago. The chance of finding the bird now, on my own, were slim so I felt justified in having a bit of a stroll round. I didnt see the Treecreeper. Time for another cup of Tea if we can find somewhere open!

Monday 6 January 2014

2013 - A great year for new birds, home and abroad

Sunday 5th January 2014
With gales and heavy rain to start the new year its a good time to reflect on the birding year just past. For me 2013 was a mixture of exciting new birds and a disappointing local scene with many regular Warwickshire species becoming increasingly difficult to find. Perhaps I haven't been looking hard enough but its the first time I can remember I haven't recorded  Grey Partridge, Little Owl, Corn Bunting or Turtle Dove in the County. Not all doom and gloom, however, with Grasshopper warbler, Lesser spotted Woodpecker and Little Tern on this year's list but the final year total was still a below average 157.
Out of County it was a very successful year with 9 new species added to the UK list. 5 new species were added to the Greater Midlands list, with the Woodchat Shrike at Brandon Marsh the only addition to the County total.
Trips to the Shetland Isles, Cyprus and Scandinavia were all memorable and produced some great opportunites for photography.
Bee-eaters, Cyprus
Garden Warbler, Kingsbury Water Park
Hoopoe, Northants.
Capercaille, Finland
Yellow Wagtail, Local
Wood Warbler, Kingsbury Water Park
Little Gull, Finland
Little Bittern, Cyprus
Red necked Phalarope, Norway
Pine Grosbeak, Finland

Sunday 5 January 2014

New year Birding

Thursday 2nd January 2014
Lovely day for a leisurely birding stroll around Draycote Water. Unfortunately limited time meant I had to keep on the move if I was going to see all the 'target' birds on offer. Apologies, therefore, to the various folk I met for not having a longer chat. Started off walking to Toft bay. Picking up a drake Smew, an obliging Great northern Diver and a somewhat distant Long tailed Duck and a couple of Red breasted Mergansers on the way.
Great Northern Diver, Draycote Water
Walking back to the visitors centre, around Rainbow corner to the Valve tower I got much better views of the 2 Red breasted Mergansers. Tree sparrows and a Grey Wagtail were also seen but that was about it before I had to be making tracks.

Friday 3rd January 2014
Pretty unspectacular morning in the Tame valley. A walk around Shustoke in a strong wind was quiet, as was a visit to Ladywalk. 4 Lesser Redpolls were on the feeders but the hoped for kickstart to the now annual County yearlist never happened.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Results of 'Twitch' Quiz

1st January 2014
Happy New Year to you ! The results of the twitch quiz are as follows:

1. Hermit Thrush, Porthwarra
2. Thick billed Warbler, Shetland
3. Orphean Warbler, Pembrokes.
4. Parrot Crossbills, Budby Common
5. Baikal Teal, Southport
6.Thick billed Warbler, Shetland
7. Brunnich's Guillemot, Portland
8. Dusky Warbler, Marsh Lane N.R.
9. Hume's Yellow browed Warbler, Kelmarsh
10. Brunnich's Guillemot, Portland