Friday 22 April 2016

Catching up with Migrant birds

Friday 22nd April 2016

Walks round Mancetter and Caldecote have been a bit on the quiet side Yellow wagtail at Caldecote was the only new arrival seen  locally. Numbers of Swallows, House Martins, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps have increased over the past few days. A visit to Middleton Lakes added a few more migrant warblers Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, and Sedge warbler and a ridiculously tame Wheatear.
Missed the Wood warbler at Brandon Marsh first time round but went again today and managed to see it as well a couple of Cuckoos.

Swallow, Caldecote

Wood warbler, Brandon Marsh

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Another Ring Ouzel

Monday 18th April 2016

No new migrants on 'the hill' at Mancetter but good to find 2 pairs of Tree sparrows. The Blackcap was still there. Mistle thrush, Grey heron, Sand Martin and Swallows were also seen. I had a quick look around the Wishaw area, far too quick really but then got a message that another Ring Ouzel had been found in North Warks. I wasn't too far away so headed off, stopping briefly for a look at Shustoke Res. I counted 18 Common terns from the top car park. So, to look for this Ring Ouzel 'near Hurley'. I wasn't very familiar with the area. I knew a few spots in the area but despite getting more detailed instructions still felt I needed to explore every mud spattered lane twice before getting there. Another birder had just arrived and we searched the horse paddocks and hedges. We had to wait a little time before the bird showed itself. Worth the wait though.
Ring Ouzel, Hurley

Ring Ouzel

Ring Ouzel with Blackbird

Ring Ouzel

Sunday 17 April 2016

The circuit

Saturday 16th April 2016

Just the one hill today, but nothing doing much in terms of birds, a couple of Ravens and a couple of Mistle thrushes.Next stop on the circuit was Shustoke Res and judging by the birders around it was the place to be.The main focus of attention was a drake Common Scoter at the east end but there was also Common tern, Arctic tern, Little gull and a pair of Common Sandpipers. I didn't see the Arctic Tern. I finished the circuit with a walk round Caldecote but again nothing out of the ordinary apart from going arse over tit in the wettest, muddyest patch I could find. All in a days birding.

Common Scoter, Shustoke Res.

Little Gull

Friday 15 April 2016

Shustoke revisited

Thursday 14th April 2016

Gave the hills a rest today and started the day with a walk round Caldecote. Good numbers of Skylarks, small flock of Linnets several Swallows but not a lot else. Spent much of the rest of the day at Ladywalk N.R. A pair of Little ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper were seen from hide B and a pair of Kestrels were at it, albeit very briefly in the dead tree in front of Bittern hide. Chiffchaffs were everywhere with one or two Willow warblers. From Riverwalk hide a single Oystercatcher and a pair of Wigeon and a few Goosander.
On the way home I popped into Shustoke. The Black necked Grebe was still there with a single Common tern but no sign of the Redstart seen earlier in the day.

Black necked Grebe, Shustoke Res.

Black necked Grebe

Thursday 14 April 2016

Good day in N.Warks.

Wednesday 13th April 2016

A very eventful and enjoyable day in North Warwickshire starting as usual with the muddy climb up the hill at Mancetter. No sign of yesterday's Ring Ouzel but a male Redstart was a good find until it was chased off its fence by a pair of Robins. Moving on to Alvecote the weather was now very pleasant and it was nice to sit down and watch the goings on on Mill pool and would you believe it another male Redstart, this one being hassled by a Reed Bunting.There was also a Common Tern over the water.
Redstart, Mill pool, Alvecote

I was pretty chuffed at finding 2 Redstarts so decided to call it a day and  head home for a cup of tea but no sooner had I put the kettle on when on checking my pager I was heading for Shustoke Res. where a Black necked Grebe had just dropped in.
Black necked Grebe, Shustoke Res.
Two more Common terns were also seen at Shustoke.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

A good Birding day in North Warks.

Tuesday 12th April 2016

A few images from an eventful day in North Warwicks. An early.. ish start for a walk round Shustoke was the plan, ideally to beat the hoardes but I didnt quite make it. Almost, but a orange lycra clad young lady with a dog jogged round in front of me.I don't know about the birds but it certainly disturbed me. So much so that I completely missed a Kittiwake sitting on the water in front of the Sailing club. Luckily I met up with Pete Forbes who put me straight. Previously I had seen a single Arctic tern which strangely flew off to the south. I drove off east.
So after a quick stop in Atherstone I headed for the hills. Mancetter Quarry to be exact. The walk up was pretty uneventful. At the'summit' though there was a male Blackcap singing quietly and another Wheatear,definitely not the bird I'd seen the previous day. I was on the way down when I saw a bird I really wanted to see. It was calling as it approached and flew overhead, landing in an Ash tree very close to where I was standing. Wow, a male Ring Ouzel. It flew off and then was seen in flight again before disappearing over the brow of one of the hills. I was joined by Steve H. but unfortunately it could not be relocated.
My third walk of the day, from the Anchor pub to Cadecote Hall and back was unproductive.

Kittiwake, Shustoke Res.



Ring Ouzel, Mancetter


Charlie on the prowl

Monday 11 April 2016

In search of local migrants

Sunday, 10th  April 2016

After a break for a few beers on Saturday it was back to birding on Sunday, but not before watching my Grandson at the RuggerRats session at Nuneaton RFC. It was then a short drive over to the other side of the A5 to Burbage to look for a Ring Ouzel having so far failed miserably to find one in Warks.The habitat was typical - horse paddocks, but the bird stayed close to cover and showed quite distantly most of the time.Still good to see though.

Ring Ouzel, Burbage, Leics.
Monday 11th April 
With an Easterly wind and showers forecast it seemed a good day for migrant watching, and so it proved with my walk up the Mancetter hills rewarded with my first Wheatear of the year. Other birds 'on the hill' included a Chiffchaff, 2 Fieldfare and a flock of over 40 Sand Martin passing over. I also checked the Anchor bushes towards Hartshill and some Horse paddocks next to the canal at Atherstone but found nothing.It was time to move on to Shustoke Steve H. had already found Arctic tern, and 3 Little Gull earlier. Not a bad migrant day.

Sunday 10 April 2016

Thursday club on tour

Saturday 9th April 2016

Tradition has it that on Grand National Day the members of the Church End Brewery, Thursday Club go on their annual outing. This year the venue was Tamworth, Staffs. quite local in fact.
My train was delayed so I was already a pint behind when I met up with the rest of the crew. In fact they were just leaving the first venue which has proved to be a disappointment. We moved on to a Micro pub; the Kings Ditch which had an excellent selection of Beers and even more impressive selection of Ciders.
The King's Ditch, Tamworth

The Thursday club at the King's Ditch
We moved on to the Globe, and then to the Robert Peel where we continued to enjoy a variety of beers
The Globe

The Robert Peel
We watched the Grand National amidst great excitement in the Robert Peel, while I forced down a traditional Pork pie kindly presented by my fellow drinkers. After another pint, or two it was time to move on to an Indian restaurant to conclude a very enjoyable afternoon. We even managed to get to the station in time to catch the last train home, which hasn't always been the case.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Little and Large

This blog is back to front. Apologies, but the title refers to today's events and then the weekend and then yesterday. Still there? Little and large were the birds I didn't see at Draycote this morning. The Great northern Diver and Willow warblers, which I didnt even hear. Got a few year birds for Warks though: House Martin, Yellow wagtail, 4, and Slavonian Grebe. Nice to see a couple of Blackcaps in full voice, and the long staying Scaup was still there.
Didnt do much birding over the weekend with a stay over Wedding but still managed a Red Kite over Rugby on the way home. Yesterday stayed local in the hope of finding a migrant or two -but nothing much doing.
Caldecote- 40 Fieldfares
Alvecote - Redshank, Sand Martin, Swallow
Picadilly/Dordon 1 Meadow Pipit
Mancetter - 2 Raven, Swallow, Sand Martin
Yellow wagtail, Draycote Water

Slavonian Grebe

Slavonian Grebe