Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
again this will be a quite short post, a good showing by recently arived siskins with about 10 now on site with a flock of 100c goldfinch(a sight and sound in the top of a tree), lapwings were flying over the garden so i decided to check the riverside fields,when i got there there was a few fieldfare pottereing around, and a frikin huge flock of lapwing, i counted 134 lapwing on the fields which is the largest grounded flock in the entire 7 years i have birded lickhill and not only that, there was also a GOLDEN PLOVER in the flock, the 1st site record this year,but it was wary and stayed at the back of the fields all the time before flying off west at 3:34pm with most of the lapwings. this must surely have something to do with the cold wether musent it?
also noted here was 2 wintering meadow pipits(showing well) and a raven flew over.
but on a the way back i took a detour around a field that had turned marshy and somehow wasent iced over,while walking down the side of the marsh i flushed a snipe,a very rare bird on lickhill and now i was very happy with my day,but just before i reached the stream i flushed 2 more snipe, no wait, that snipe is flying straight JACK SNIPE, oh my god, another site first, a very unusual record as well as no way did i expect one to turn up here, who could believe that, the bigest flock of lapwing ever, a golden plover,2 snipe and a jack snipe, an amazing haul for lickhill.
a video of a lapwing:
a quick check of all the locations mentoned produced 7 lapwing and 2 raven but not much else, and the best news the MARSH TIT continues to visit the feeders, could a wintering bird be on th cards
but no sign of any red kites so thats my hope that one will winter here gone
a quick early mourning visit to lickhill produced a flyover flock of 4 teal which is a site first,also a distant flock of 60c lapwing and an imense flock of 80c cormorant flew north
at earlswood later in the day had a flock of 6 bullfinch in the snowy garden also pished out 2 goldcrests,a nuthatch was seen as was 3 coal tits in a tit flock
Monday, 21 December 2009
this past year i have gone from, well theres no other way to put it, a nobody in the birding world to a birder known to a few birders, i have ammased many friends over the last year and i an superbly gratefull to the people who have guided my though this year(special mentions at end of post)
so here it is the 'BIRD AWARDS 09'
2009 has been an amazing year for me, with many lifers and very few 'dip outs'. i dont think i mentioned it on the blog before but my new years resolution last year was to reach 200 on my life list, and i did, thanks to a 3w CASPIAN GULL at stubbers green(12/12).
the title of rarest bird of the year goes to: the 1st winter GLOSSY IBIS at grimley(6/12) although been closely followed by the flock of 4 CATTLE EGRETS at slimbridge(3/10)
the best preformance by a bird this year goes to: SABINE'S GULL at upton warren(22/8, 24/8, 26/8, 29/8),a very unprecidented long stay by a rare bird, easilly one of the best birds this year.
best preformance by a lifer: 6 BLACK TERN at upton warren(24/8), these birds showed down to 2/3 metres on the sailing pool a well overdue bogey bird.
rarest self found bird: although tough to call i think the COMMON CRANE near stourton (16/10),this bird just edges out the NIGHTINGALE on lickhill, both being regional raretys.
most common scarcity: believe it or not this year i found no less than 3 worcester RED KITES,one over my nans house which was seen 3 minuites after a hobby(15/5), one over lickhill(7/6) this perticular bird was tracked up from the malverns to lickhill(presuming its the same bird) and my most recent record of an immature bird(13/12) again over lickhill
BUT here is the BIG one, the BEST bird of 2009: drum role please, dom,dom,dom,dom,dom........... 20 WAXWINGS at hagley worcester on 31/1, my first lifer for the year and they preformed mega well, showing down to a few metres and literally on the bonnet of the car, luckilly the flock hung around just long enough for 8 birders to connect,giving stunning views, self found lifer after trying (and dipping) 7 previous times on other birds, these birds were discovered while trying to twitch a flock of 170 at brownhills.
so there you go, my best birds of 2009,
and lastly i would like to thanks everybody who has followed or read my blog over the last year, from starting my blog only a year ago in november 2008 it was from humble beginings but now being hugely grateful i have 31 followers to this blog and it is nice to know im doing something right,
thanks for all the comments guys: keep it up
and very lastly, i have a few people to personally thank, foremost the worcester county recorder brian stretch who has kept me updated on the bird news in worcester and on occasions further afield,
matt griffiths, for all the help he has given me on the earlswood area and for the occasional tip off of an unusuall bird he has seen or knows about.
and lastly for my fellow bloggers, thanks for shareing your bird sightings for us all to enjoy, its one of the main reasons i follow blogging so much, extra special thanks to martyn yapp, richard powell and kay donaghy for the invite to the bloggers day out which was immensly enjoyed.
so thnaks all, one on me(thats 2 i owe you matt) cheers
HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY AND A HAPPY(and bird filled) NEW YEAR
just hopefully this forthcomming year can be almost as good as last year
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
martyn dropped my a text saying that he had crossbill's up at tripley so after ages of waiting i finally get my dad out at 2:30. my hopes wernt high as from personal experiance i know that finches become less active after 2 in winter, but as we pulled up,it was totally differnt, the crossbills were calling, we heard 3 birds calling but failed to locate them anywhere despite extensive searching. after a bit we dropped down onto the severn and quickly located the flock of 16 mandarin,i then took some videos through my bins(didnt want to lug my scope down, anyway its only mandarins)
after a few videos we climbed the bank to view the reseviour (still cant bloody spell it) and then 4 more mandarin flew in bunking the total up to 20(11 drake,9 duck),but as usual the lake was totaly devoid of birds but a goosander(f) flew over, a grey heron give superb views on the small pool and there was a grand total of 6 g c grebe.
Monday, 14 December 2009
what was just ment to be an hour check of lickhill turned into 3 hours of constant birding,i left for the vismig point,i placed my scope down and a cormorant was flying upriver but there was another bird coming in over the field,i quickly locked onto it and it was yet another RED KITE. the second site record this year and my 3rd worcester kite this year,i grabbed my camera from my pocket and put it to my bins,i then got a distant,out of focus video of the bird as it flew upriver:
sure the detail isnt good but just by the jizz you can tell its a kite,look hard and you can see a long tail and the typical red kite flight is shown, unfortunatly the bird didnt stay and soon headed off,i sprinted while fully laden with scope and bins upriver but the bird wasent relocated,
although this hovering ketrel was a bonus:
so a little excited from this dicovery i headed home via the lickhill conifer wood. a caravan had a few feeders out with a lot of activity so i stopped and had a look,a nuthatch was in the tree behind me and the usual birds were on the feeders, blue,great coal tit as well as a roving LTT flock, then a'pee-choo' call got me excited MARSH TIT. a bit of ferantic scanning produced a 'parus' tit but the views were brief therefore i didnt want to rule out willow yet. the bird flew landing at the base of an oak tree,showing it lacked a pale secondary patch and had a glossy cap but the bird was faceing away so the chin patch was invisible. the owner of the feeder caravan asked what i was looking at and i replied marsh tit,i offered a look though my scope and he(being a newby birder) tentativly agreed.he said that the bird had been visiting the feeders for the last few days so now i only hope it stops for the winter
he then told me of a report that a fisherman saw 2 red kites over lickhill, but he didnt believe him but only when i told him about my kite did he start to believe the record was real.
so then i spent 2 hours trying to get a film or the tit to confirm its ID, the bird was later joined by another bird and they both shown together.so after 2 hours this is the final result:
a kingfisher was on the kingfisher pool again but no photos were taken,also a very brief view of a crake sp, almost certainly a WATER RAIL but it dissapeared before i could see it well. if confirmed this would be the 1st site record,
a bullfinch also heard calling
then a txt from martyn started a whole new story(not 2nite,will finish 2moz)
after some time looking for a yellow leg failed but 13 greater black backs were nice to see as was about 8 goosander(including fly overs) and a little grebe. not much later we were joined by richard and he got a few pics of the caspian, more scanning of the flock produced just the usual species.then the pagers started bleeping away,'90 pink footed goose over uttoxeter with a bewicks on the lake' '100 pink foots over ingestre' '85 pink foots over berry hill fields'
so, time to head north..........
...... to chasewater
we pulled into the car park in search of an adult med gull, we walked to the lake( keep calling it a lake cause i cant spell resivior) scanned the gulls and mart said got the med gull,it wasent long before i was on a crisp,beatiful,white winged mediterranian gull,a stunner of a gull,with its blood red bill and legs glowwing in the sunshine(yes it was sunny).
we spent some time scanning the lake for anything,but then right in the distance,just above the horizon we saw........
well anyway back to the med gull,what a beutiful looking bird they are,they always raise you spirits everytime you see one:
a good count of 56 great c grebes were out on the water.
richard wanted to get the whinchat at tamworth and i did too (secretly) so after a bit we carried on to tameside NR.
well this was the easiest of the lot to get,it was simple. we parked up,crossed the road up the bank and there it was, im not kidding it was that easy. but saying this the bird did fly around a lot,but then remained perched on a twig or a tree for quite long periods of time. this site loks amazing, the stuff you could imagine turning up there would make your mouth water,and all this in the centre of tamworth next to a main road bordered by house, unbelievable. and although the lake was quite small there were a good range of waterbirds,13 lapwing,3 snipe,8 wigeon and 4 gadwal,as well as 2 chiffchaff. why cant it be like this on lickhill(although lickhill has a few suprises,see next post),
(its on the twig in the centre if your wondering)
after a very enjoyable time with the whinchat we decided to go looking for the smew at fishers mill.but to put it short,we dipped, after a seeingly very long walk we reached the pits,to be honest the habitat was and looked amazing,no wonder the glossy ibis(s) decided to tur up here,it looked very mediteranian(if you subtract the very muddy paths), goldeneye seemed to be everywhere,with 10c noted on the lakes, on the northermost lake 2 redshank were feeding and 4 shelduck were resting,between 2 lakes in scrubby areas were a pair of stonechat.this compleating the pair of 'common' chats in a day. they preformed superbly and for once i looked more at these birds than at the lake:
a common gull was seen to land with a few black heads,on the way back martyn pisshed out a chiffchaff,which shown quite well, a bullfinch was heard(one was seen and heard briefly and the way down as was treecreeper), so now onwards on upwards,driving through prime merlin habitat(non were seen) we stumbled on a small flock of only 190!!! mute swan. we pulled over and had a quick scan though,but no wild swans were seen :(
croxall pool was our next destination,and in my terms it was a great desision. this was only to be a quick in and out stop but a quite big flock of ducks up the far end got us investigating, half way up the path we stopped and scanned.i was scanning a flock of wigeon and tufties and then i panned onto a small goose. PINK FOOTED GOOSE i calmly said. the others quickly got onto it and i was praised by my discovery. and with the big movement of pink feet over this area earlier this bird was WILD!! even martyn said it was wild(could i please have it in writing as its not oftern you say a goose on its own is wild) this bird proberbly has the best credentials to be a wild bird so im happy.
throughout the time the bird was watched it was wary of the canadian geese giving it even better credentials.
but it wasent long and the bird done this:
it flew north and wasent seen again.this was the ONLY bird i saw before anybody else over the whole trip,so i am very happy with it. but here it was not only the pink footed goose, there was also a huge winter flock of 33 redshank,33 redshank,thats an amazing total for winter in the middle of stafordshire.the usual ducks were presant including 8 goldeneye 8 wigeon but a female pintail was a bonous.
a check of a lake not far from here didnt produce much but a little egret flew over and there was 2 shelduck, in the surrounding fields was a flock of fieldfare/redwing and also a load of goldfinch.
then it was back to chasewater for the gull roost from the south shore,by this time my scope was useless and i relied on martyns and richards scopes to look through,the adult med gull was again picked up quite quickly, the roost size was huge but was still increasing,i estimated about 10000 birds rooseted on the lake,proberbly more:
the flock covered the res. from side to side, 3 yellow legged gulls were picked out by martyn but apart from a couple of possibles we failed to locate the caspian gulls. even without any 'white wingers' or caspains the sheer spectacle of that amount of gulls is a fitting end to any day..
what a blast of a day today was,with great company and great birds, so all i can say is.....
whens the next one?
thks to martyn and richard for the invite
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Monday, 7 December 2009
Sunday, 6 December 2009
then in grimley village had a goldcrest.we then headed home,and another sesion with the kingfishers
as it was too late to get to upton before dark we cheaked the hungry hourse field,for some reason my dad didnt park in the car park but stopped at a gap in the headge along cleobry lane.
noted 7 golden plover within the 78 lapwings,a jay was also heard
just a quick post,on lickhill today,a ravern was heard,12 pheasant were on the vismig field,7 goldcrest,but the highlight was 3 kingfishers which shown very,very well on a small pond.i got very close to there favorite perch,here are a few videos of the kingfishers:
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
but despite watching for another 15-20 mins we didnt see it again.
so we headed down to the west hide,the usual stuff was about here,consisting of shoveler(65) teal(2) pochard(36),water rail(5,3 seen), g c grebe(15c),little grebe(6),a kingfisher perched on the stick briefly and a female reed bunting was on the feeders before going to roost
a redwing and a l t tit perched on the bush just outside the left side of the hide in almost darkness
.the walk back to the car was more exiting,with the thrush flock again presant,and with cetti's calling.
but bar the bittern it was a rather quiet visit,but come on,you've still got to love the place.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
to be honest i hadent been this exited here since i had the honey buzzard over here in 2007(well i think its 2007, a little story i was in the garden and i saw 2 buzzards coming in from the north,one looked odd so i looked at that one,only when it got about myhead did i know i was looking at a honey buzzard,as this was long before i knew birdguides existed or before i had any contacts i didnt take it any further,apart from gloating to my birding friend about it,only later that night my friend called back to say one was seen there earlier in the day over the lakes,and if i remember right it had a broken primary in its right wing or was it left)
back to the plovers,they then flew towards the hungry horse and looked to land butwithin 30 secs they were back up and flew north,and that was the last time i saw them,at around 3pm,and according to matt,the house where i do the job is in west mids so they were in the west mids(my first for that county) but also saw them fly into warwrickshire so 2 counties.
and finally i will take this op to thank matt for all the help he has given me about earlswood,and some birds he has seen,including black tern(before i saw my first) among other stuff,and matt is it ok to mention a certain bird in warwickshire a few months ago?
well anyway,one on me matt :-)
Monday, 30 November 2009
and to finish it off you remember that 'little egret' i had at slimbridge,it turns out it is more plastic than the ducks.it is a fake.a plastic egret.and i thought it was real, the shame. they staff put it out a few weeks before to try and attract a random egret pair,cant they just put a note in the hide saying there was a very lifelike plastic egret at the back.
well anyway thanks to the informant.you know who you are???
Thursday, 26 November 2009
started raining as i was walking upriver so after a bit i started to head back home,but on the way,on the NW boundry of the caravan park i heard a familiar call,if i hadent known what the call was i would have just walked past but i knew what it was,and quite an unusual bird at lickhill, the BULLFINCH,after a minuite of painfully walking through a nettle filled path i came to where i heard the calls,then the backside of a female bullfinch emerged from the bush in front of me. it flew about 10 metres and landed in a willow,folowed by 2 more female,then a superb looking male landed next to them,full beatiful plumage.
after scrambling over a barbed wire fence(dont worry it's not tresspassing) i was able to watch a whole flock of bullfinch,7 to be exact(2M,5F),
as lickhill has NO breeding presance of the species,it looks as if it is a scarce winter visitor,as this is one of the biggest flocks in recent times it is quite noteworthy.but after 7 years of watching lickhill i have become aware of the bird populations,
as i started birding here,there was only 1 bird that was presant in winter,but recently there has been an increase of records and numbers,prehaps sudgesting a population increase,it could be me using my ears more to track down birds or it could be a regularly returning flock as it is always in the same area.last winter the flock peaked at 5 birds(1M,2F,2 IMM) and that was later in the winter so maybe the total could rise even more,more to come from these im sure....
in the same line of headges was a male kestrel,no big deal i hear you say.but wait, it shown very well.after about 15 mins of stalking(bit of wrong word to use but go with it) i got withing 10 metres of the bird on a bush.i tucked myself away in the long wet grass(raining quite heavily at this point) and stated taking films.i will admit they could be better but as it was raining and rain was on my scope lens i think there quite good:
after a good 10 mins with the bird it flew then started hovering not far away from me,it then hit the floor and was down for a few seconds,it then sprung up and flew to a nearby tree,at this point i left the bird,not wanting to disturb it any more.
oh and wait i also had 9 lapwing fly over from the farm fields
1 male kestrel(VGV-very good views)
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
and thats what it dad for most of the day,the day started with a check of lickhill,at least 5 pheasant(3 male seen initially then 2 female) were in the goose(vismig) field:
again a quick check of the gull flock produced nothing but BHG's,a sparrowhalk flew low over the field,a 50c strong flock of goldfinch was in a large birch tree.
then at 08:52 a drake GOOSANDER flew upriver,remember im not usually lucky with this species at lickhill and this is only my 3rd lickhill record(although surely more have passed though),unfortunatly although i had quite close views i didnt get my camera up fast enough before it had flew over the field and was gone.....
we arrived at the earlswood job and after a quick check to make sure everything was ok,we turned back,the rain was just very,very bad.
so to upton,THEN
bugger, somebody had crashed on the motorway and the traffic already started to build up(the crash only happened a minuite or 2 before),after a jolly good 45 mins of looking at bleak motorway verges and a cool helecoptor we were on our way:
look a cool helecoptor(in the end it flew off as the crash wasent that serious
(film not uploading,sorry)
so now with only at most an hours left untill dusk,and the rain hammering the front of the hide(bittern) only the north facing window was open,so only the open water was counted,a huge total of 38 pochard was scattered across the north side as was 59 shovelers,2 water rail were calling in front of the hide and another shown in the truily terrible light,even in this weather a cetti's was singing.a female reed bunting had a go at the feeders f0r a bit,100-200 lapwing kept flying backwards and forwards from the A38 field and the islands,also in the A38 was 40 curlew which then flew towards the flashes,after getting fed up with the wind and rain,we retreated back to the car and home,but on the way back along the path,there was ton's of thrush activity,quite a few redwings,fieldfares,blackbirds,song thrushes and a lone mistle thrush were feeding on the berrys,5 bullfinch were also feeding on the berrys,with its sad call, and what a way to describe the day,
truily a nasty day(although any birds that i dont see regularly away from upton is good in my book)