Tuesday 28 March 2017

Red necked Grebe steals the show

Tuesday 28th March 2017

Always a bit of a dilemma. Shall I local, shall I head for the Tame valley or shall I head east for Brandon Marsh and Draycote ? Unfortunately the easterly wind had swung back to more southerly but it was worth a punt for a wader or Little Gull. At Brandon Marsh there were 3 new birds: a Black tailed Godwit, a Ringed plover and my first Swallow of the year.

Black tailed Godwit, Brandon Marsh N.R.

Draycote water though was less productive. Although the long staying Red necked Grebe, now in summer plummage, put on a good show in the sunshine.

Red necked Grebe, Draycote Water

Red necked Grebe

Red necked Grebe

Monday 27 March 2017

Garganey the highlight

Monday 27th March 2017

After a birdingless weekend it was good to get out and about again. First stop was the Mancetter Hill which produced a site first in the form of a Grey Partridge and then on to Shustoke where I spent some time scanning through the seemingly hundreds of  fly catching Black headed Gulls looking for a Little Gull. (One was found later in the day apparently). Coton was quiet as was Kingsbury Water Park (What are they doing to that place). Looks more like Pype Hayes, B'ham than a country Park.
Moving on to Middleton Lakes I scanned Fisher's Mill. As the Garganey hadn't been reported to my knowledge and the fact that a previous visit had been fruitless I wasn't hopeful. So I was delighted to see the pair at quite close quarters. Alas no camera but always great to see. I also got a flight view of a Cetti's warbler at Fishers Mill.

Thursday 23 March 2017

Migration Report

Wednesday 22 Marsh 2017

It rained all day but at the end of it I'd seen a few new birds for the year. Nothing amazing but its always good to see the first Wheatear of the year. At Wolston there were 3 Wheatears and 5 Little ringed Plovers, another year tick for me. At Brandon Marsh there was a Green Sandpiper and several Redshank but no sign of the Pintail seen on Monday.

Green Sandpiper, Brandon Marsh

Green Sandpiper

Little ringed Plover, Wolston

Tuesday 21 March 2017

A gander at the Geese

21st March 2017

Excellent couple of days Birding. Enjoyed a chat with some old mates, and I do mean old, in the East Marsh hide at Brandon, while watching a 1w Caspian Gull, drake Pintail, 20+ Sand Martins and the first Dunlin of the year. After picking up Jan we then stopped on the way home to see my first Grey Partridge of the year, Thanks to Paul C.
Today began at Alvecote pools where no less than 4 Jack Snipe and 12 Snipe were seen. Moving on to Picadilly the only bird of interest was an unidentified large Hirundine which may well have been a Swallow. At Kingsbury W.P. There were 6 Goldeneye on the 'back' pool. As I was watching 4 Egyptian geese flew in low in front of the hide from the direction of Middleton Lakes. I went back to check Canal pool and Cliff pools eventually finding them on Cliff. A word of caution to any would be watchers from the Cliff pool hides. Ensure the windows are secure when you open them. Either that or make sure you wear a cap for protection which fortunately I was today.

Little Egret, Cliff pool K.W.P.

Egyptian Geese

Egyptian Goose

Dip of the week must be the Waxwings at the entrance to Mancetter quarry. There were certainly no Waxwings around when I parked up and trudged up 'the hill', and nothing seen or heard on my return so I'll have to settle for the Stonechat.

Sunday 19 March 2017

Migration begins

Sunday 19th March 2017

The end of last week saw a definite movement of birds across the area. A male Blackcap appeared in the garden briefly and  visits to the Tame valley produced 8 Sand Martins at Bodymoor Heath Water,Kingsbury and a pair of Garganey on the Jubilee wetlands at Middleton Lakes RSPB. On a walk 'up the hill' at Mancetter, nr Atherstone there was a female Stonechat waiting at the top.

Stonechat, Merevale

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Monday 13 March 2017

A quiet spell

Monday 13th March 2017

The previous week saw visits to several local sites with the hope of finding early migrants but with no success. I had to resort to a bit of out of County Birding for an 'interesting' bird. which came in the form of a Bonapart's Gull at Swithland Reservoir.   Much more satisfying though was  the sight a male Merlin hunting near Warton, N.Warks. The Merlin flew across a large stubble field at some 4 feet above the ground presumably trying to flush a Pipit or Lark. Having failed it then tried a second technique by just sitting in a hedge for some time.

Distant view of the Merlin
There were few other birds around though. In fact there were more Hares than small birds in the area. There were a couple of Partridges flying away which I couldn't ID but that was about it. I would have to make do with the Merlin.



Lying low
Back on the Mancetter patch today the highlight on 'the hill' was a Stoat running along in the shadow of a hedge, presumably trying to avoid being spotted by one of the 5 Common Buzzards circling over the fields adjacent to the Quarry. No Ravens up though.