Sunday, 7 March 2010



OK you all confortable, cause this is gonna be a big one............
martyn from blurred birder had kindly offered my a day out and about, i agreed and this is how the day pans out.........

Out of the house by 7:15 and on our way for our first tick....

we arrived at the top barn actvity lake at around 7:40, we scanned from the road, SLAVONIAN GREBE (lifer 204), we moved closer to the bird and it came at us, the bird came closer still untill i could no longer focous my scope propperly on it.

and this is why:

a frame filler of a 'slav', and what a bird, and what a way for a lifer to act,

come on,

this was outragelously close

martyn with his new spangle dangle camera, produced some out of the world shots, a few of which are reproduced on his blog..

we watched the bird as it ever so slowly followed its prey

along the bank in front of us, diving every 5 secs or so, and producing many fish(i didnt catch any shots though)....

even martyn was amazed how close it was, and he commented on how you proderbly would never see one so close again

but anyways

onwards and upwards

DRAYCOTE WATER being our target, in the centre of a town while stopped at some trafic lights a peregrine flew low over the car, stunning bird whenever you see them..

just as we entered the car park a YELLOWHAMMER aligted on a hedge, a bird i dont see regularly so well chuffed.

we parked at the hensborough bank car park which over looks the reserviour,

oh my bloody hell, THATS HUGE

but anyway, down the hill we went onto the side of the water, scanning as we went, 3 shoveler were picked out in the middle, and small flock of goldeneye and tufted duck were dotted everywhere.

a bit along draycote bank we picked up the 2 GREAT NORTHER DIVERS (lifer 205), apparently showing well but allas, well to far out for a decent photo, we stopped and watched these for a bit while scanning the res. nothing new was picked up so onwards we went....

in a small wooded area a bullfinch called. we continued towards the outlet and i saw a 'white' bird dive, was this him, we waited for a seemingly long time for the bird to resurface, then BANG

DRAKE SMEW(lifer 206) ohhhhh, what a stunner of a bird, it was quite close to the bank, but like the slav grebe, was diving rapidly(but you cant predict where it will come up like the slav).

i managed some photos:

but the red necked grebe was obviously not on this side, so we headed of to farnbourgh bank, we walked around to the opposite side of the res' and stopped half way up with picking up a load of GC grebes on the way up,

a male sparrowhawk was in a hunting mood and chased a feral pigeon acrosss a field but the pigeon got away, boooooooooo
a curlew called, but wasent seen
a few goldeneye were close in and wigeon, teal and yet more GC grebe were in toft bay, then i picked up the diver swimming towards us away from the boats, it got closer and closer, and closer, and closer untill it run out of water and swam past us at no more the 20-30 range, but it failed to raise its head:

the crowd quickly built as more and more birders piled in to get stunning views of the diver.

a good wait followed, we all wanted that 'head up' shot, and then it awoke, i didnt take advantage and only got a couple of 'keepers'.

after it moved from the crowd and back towards me where it did a swim past and duly fell asleap.

and just to prove a point, this is how close the diver was on 0x zoom:

hows about that then, how close is that !!!!!!!!!!!!!

out of hundreds and hunderes of millions of gallons of water in the res, it chose to go right next to the very busy path.

god bless you GND

we were near the boat club centre when the drake SMEW flew past into toft bay.

next loaction TAMWORTH:

and these beautys:


as always, the birds shown superbly atop the trees in the centre of an island, my first chance to get a decent photo of one, but the 'milky' white sky was horrible.

and all 3:

to be honest, i didnt think i was going to catch up with any this winter, so to see just a few is well worth it, and a great time watching and photographing these,

the birds started to decend on the berrys and we all poised to get the shot not agains the sky when

'ZR'rrrrrrrrrrrrrr' in comes the pair of mistle thrush to force the waxwing onto wires near the school, where they all posed beautifully:

and nice of them was they lined up from left to right: juv/1st winter, ad female, ad male, zoom in on the pics and see if you can tell how i aged them........

so its looks as if the flock of waxwings in tamworth is a family, cool........

now we didnt stop too long here as people with camera's and scopes in a public road next to a school, not the best idea.....

so onwards,


a pair of oystercatcer were here and a flock of 9 REDSHANK, a bit of scanning along the bank with my scope got me onto my first RINGED PLOVER of the year, feeding in close company of 2 teal, a few goldeneye,tufted duck etc were here so we moved to another hide.


a little egret's head was pokeing up out of the tussuks

a pair of shelduck were floating about and a linnet flock was at the back of the pool in fields.


8 BARNICLE GOOSE were feeding away from the canada's and were quite wary, a coincidence they tured up at the same time of year as the 'wild' birds and were feeding in exacly the same spot..........

mind you i didnt even raise my camera to them

a couple of yellowhammers were heard.

but there was no sign of the pink footed geese,

we walked down the road to where tree sparrow ARE, not a single bird..........

we drove around the fields scanning the swans but nothing 'odd' came out.........

so now, a last bird to raise out spirits higher,

at a tip

only a GBBG was picked out so we quickly left for nearby stubbers green, and almost the 1st bird i dropped onto was this......

2nd winter ICELAND GULL, a very bleached bird feeding up by the sailing club side, scope views were good and i was able to savour the bird unlike last time:

a wing stretch:

another birder arived and the iceland duly dissapeared, LOL

and that just about concludes my day out with martyn

and a special thanks to martyn for inviting my on his birding day out, the day was immensly enjoyed and i will have to buy you a couple when i can go to the pub

cheers mart



rob said...

Hi MB , wow what a truely great days birding , 3 lifers in one day is great going , there is nothing like the thrill of seeing your first drake Smew plus really close views of GND and Slav Grebe now thats how you want to see new species , add Iceland gull and Waxwing in the mix and thats what you call top quality birding , well done mate i am pleased for you :)

Hawky said...

What a Cracking days birding dude, keep up the good work.

Richard Powell said...

Hey Up MB. Remember me, last time you were on a day out with the Blurred Birder, just before christmas? Why wasn't I invited this time? Ha ha.

Don't worry, I wouldn't have been able to make it anyway. It looks like you had cracking day?

Joseph Nichols said...

That's a top quality birding day MB, and I can see why you enjoyed it so much! That range of species are all stunning to see. Very glad that you had a good time.


midlands birder said...

rob- a stunningly great day, 3 lifers and waxwings what else can i ask for, a 'white' iceland gull and probs the closest ever views of a 'slav' and a GND im ever going to get, thks

hawky- it really was a crakcing day, a true ground breaker.

rich- hey rich, glad to hear from you, yes i remember you,
mart was running the ferrying survice, not me........
sounds like you been having some cracking days too!!!!

joseph- i enjoyed it so much, never got so many scarce (great) species in a day before, a day i will never forget.


Martyn Yapp said...

OMG on the Smew footage I can hear me say the immortal words regarding the RN Grebe, "I think it is probable still here", BONG there goes the death knell.

I should know better.

midlands birder said...

mart- you uttered the curse......
i didnt even know you spoke on that vid.....
the power of the jynx, always bad.......