Monday, 14 December 2009


hey im the first to get this out

richards and martyns take on the day can be viewed here soon, well maybe.(just click on respective name)

for me it was a bloody early get up, 6AM for me to get ready and have breakfast and all that usual stuff.

i was picked up by martyn at 7:15 and we were on our way to stubbers green.

we got out the car and walked towards the lake in FREEZING cold was really cold,a small flock of lapwing was flying around 'wheezing' in the cold conditions(even they had colds). we were soon joined by another birder from birdfourum,rob who was also waiting for the caspian. a female goosander flew over hinting at what was to came,soon after the gulls started pilleing onto the lake,but the first large gull we saw was up the top end of the lake by the sailing club, it was flying about but imidiatly looked good, we changed our position and the gull was on a boyd. it was the CASPIAN GULL(lifer 200),i was happy to have got my 200th lifer and i celerbrated by,well, by looking at the caspian. here's a film in low mouring light.

and a GBBG

this video shows a few caspian features,eg the long straw coloured legs,protruding breast,small head and dark eye,in flight it was also easily identifiable,with its broken tail band with almost aall black primarys with black running to its elbow,and as the bird shown just 15 mins into the trip it was a great start.

also here was a load of common gulls(10c)

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).

so how about that beauty,what about this tired film of it yawning,lazy thing.

we spent some time scanning the lake for anything,but then right in the distance,just above the horizon we saw........

.....NOTHING absolutly nothing

well anyway back to the med gull,what a beutiful looking bird they are,they always raise you spirits everytime you see one:

we then decided to check the south shore,a big raft of goldeneye was diving just offshore,and martyn pointed out a few shovler and gadwall forther out on the lake,and as upton warren doesent hold goldeneye too oftern i decided to take the opp to get some pics and films:

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



Tim Jones said...

Sounds like a brilliant day out Craig you make me jealous! (btw its spelt reservoir)

Great read as usual.

midlands birder said...

thks tim
it was a great day,and thanks for the spelling of reservoir,now all i have to do is remember it...LOL

Andrew Kinghorn said...

Well done Craig. Congrads on your 200th life tick!

Joseph Nichols said...

Some great birds midlands birder, very well done! You have descriptive writing and well taken photos!

midlands birder said...

thanks andy and joeseph
it really was a great day with mant great birds,well worth the early get up......

robbie said...

Hi MB, wow wat a good days birding, Caspian Gull would be a lifer for me to ( must get down dungeness soon ) and i think med gulls are truely great to see anytime !

midlands birder said...

hi robbie
some people dont like gulls but some are very atractive(like the med gull) but others are just pure brutes(GBBG),there is so much variation between species,they are relitivly easy to find(being oftern assosiated with humans) and are usuall quite tame. this is why i like them
hope you get your caspian gull soon

robbie said...

Hi midlands birder, i live near the coast and have always had abit of a passion for gulls " especially white winged gulls " i forgot to say well done on finding the pink foot , oh btw my blog is now up and running