Saturday, 29 December 2012

More Waxwings!

Yes, yes i know, most of my most recent posts contain the word Waxwing, however, i find them irresistable as a species, and when there is a flock present on the other side of town, you cant help to have a drop in for them.

With no news having emerged from Hartlebury trading estate, we decided to bite the bullet and visit anyway, And it was as we were pulling up to 'Hatts Kitchens' that i quickly noticed a bird perched on top of the adjoining silver birch, and a scrum of photographers/ Birders watching a yellow berried Rowan
Among the group was a few familiar faces. Bob Hart, Phil Parsons ( and Pete Walkden (, all of which have better photos/Videos than me, so check out their sites!

Only 6 WAXWINGS were immidiatly present, but it didnt take long for the flock to increase to 14 birds, as they perched on the high trees, before dropping down onto their favoured yellow berries.

And in doing so gave awesome views!


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

How to self find WAXWINGS!

Finding WAXWINGS requires no skill at all!

Thats it, ive said it! And because of this, i am a skill-less birder! Because over the last month, i have found, not one, not two, but an incredible 60 WAXWINGS! And thats without really trying, You do not find Waxwings. Waxwings find you! And this is the case of me rcently, wherever i go i have been lucky enough to be graced by the presence of these gorgeous Bohemian wonders!

The tale started all the way back at the start of Novemeber, when i found a flock of 17 while of a 6th form trip! After a little bit of Dirty twitching of the flock at Chaddersly, i then went on a rampage, with them joining me almost everywhere i went!
I had just finished my lessons for the morning and was just walking home, having checked a Rowen on the main road in Upper Gornal, and it was just as i was opening the gate to the garden when i heard the distinctive trill, i immidiatly stared upwards, to be greated by the sight of a single WAXWING as it powered its way northish towards High Arcle school, never to be seen again.

Now in december, i was checking the patch for the Chaffinch flock (30c) and i was beng entertained by a Buzzard, which had decided to perch long enough for me to get some photos when once again, the destinctive trilling of WAXWINGS rung out, and again i stared upwards, this time to be greeted by a stunning flock of 32! Which briefly tried to land in one of the tall poplars, but sadly carried on northwards and again, wasnt seen again. This record is a particual highlight of mine, as it is only the 2nd record of Waxwing ive ever had on the patch!

And i was back in Gornal, to be more precise infact, on a dinner break, and i had visited 'Mrs B's' for a beautiful Hot pork sandwich, and it was just while walking past the chip show that i again heard that distinctive trilling, again, looking skywards, a flock of 9 WAXWINGS flew north over the library, past the rowen tree, and started circling around Lower Gornal for a few minuites before eventually dissapearing

My most recent self found bird was yesterday, but that will come in another blog post!

So there you go, if you want to find this gorgeous scandinavian visitor, just have a walk through the most urban place you can find, preferably on a lunch break or heading home, and enjoy these Bohemian wonders as they stream over your head!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas

As i sit here, with a mere 20 minuites left of Christmas Eve, i would just like to wish all readers of my blog, new and old a very happy christmas, and an equally jolly new year.

Thankyou for all of you who have taken the time to read, and comment over this past year. The support is much appreciated, particualrly due to my very slack approach to the blog over the 2nd half of the year. Its been a rough ride, but im glad you guys and gals have stuck with it! Hopefully, regular posting will again commence in 2013, as im only a week behind on the blog now, it hopefully wont take up too much time. However, that situation would have been rectified in the next couple of days, if it wasnt for blogger not allowing me to upload photos to my posts, which is farly annoying, and something that hopefully will be fixed soon!

A 'Year ender' post is due early in the new year, so keep a look out for that, as it is the yearly 'beast'.

So thankyou for keeping with it, your continued support is very welcomed!
Good wishes (Dont get to drunk)


Chelmarsh- Black-Necked Grebe

Following on from visiting the Waxwing flock at Rowberrys, we then did a cross county drive into underwatched Shropshire, to visit what is one of my favorite local birding sites.
Chelmarsh Reservior
This place always looks like it could attract come serious birds, and the last few years have produced Arctic Skua, Bean Goose, Red-Throated Diver. This obvious rarity potential is only added upon when you relalise the numbers of Goosander that turn up at the place, and being so close to the river it could produce anything! Surrounded by decent farmland also add's to the interest, as farmland birds also feature of the species that can be encountered, having seen large flocks of Yellowhammer, Linnet, Goldfinch, Redpoll etc. And even further than that, there is the Gull roost, which, as any Gull lover would know, can produce anything Larus related from around the globe!

We had intended to visit as a Great-Northern Diver had been found there. We were going to head there on Saturday for it, but with no news, we didnt. Which is a decision i regretted later, as news emerged that the bird had still be present!
And to cut it short, it had now gone!
However, a nice flock of Gulls had started developing, and it didnt take much for me to start sifting through them! At 2:30, with about 1000 Gulls down, i picked out a adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL, not exactly the 'crippler' i was hoping for, but enough to satisfy my Gull needs. I also spent time scanning the Coots and Little Grebes, of which there were many, and it was while doing this with my bins that i picked out a strikingly Black and White Grebe. I had connected with the BLACK-NECKED GREBE! The bird wasnt close, however it was a nice lesson as i now know that i am able to picked out these 'rare' grebes on large reserviors, as every one of my previous BNG's and my only 'Slav' were always at fairly close range.
Black-Necked Grebe:

Slavonian Grebe:

The bird then swam away to the northern end of the lake and we only had incredibly distant views of it thereafter!
However, the bird is reported still there, so it may make a nice 'tick' in the new year!


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Local Waxwings!

After a very uneventful visit to a flooded patch, i recieved news of a small flock of Waxwings that had been found in the next village across. At Chaddersly Corbett.
It didnt take much convincing, and soon after, we were heading over to Rowberrys Nursery.
Without even pulling up it was evident that at least one of the birds was still here, as it was perched up in a small tree adjoining the road. A local 'twitch' had evolved, and the crowd featured the local blogging 'face' of the Doorstep Birder, who quickly informed us that the reported 3 birds had now increased to 8!
And this was justified when the flock of 3 was boosted by a further 5 which flew in from the village direction. The WAXWINGS landed upon an oak, and we were given nice views as they spyed on the small crowd from above. As you would expect, i spent a long time watching my favorite species, and this was followed by much photo taking.

And it was while scanning through the flock that i noticed a bird with the stunning primary pattern of an Adult male! Just look at it! A stunning bird!

The rest of the flock was made up of a mixture of 1st winters and Females, all stunning, but lacking that stunning pattern on the primarys.

The sun occasionally was hidden by clouds.

 But when it came out agian it illuminated the birds very well!


A nice start to the winter of Waxwings that no doubt is about to come! (And as you regular readers will find out) there are alot more to come!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Some short ones.

An early morning visit to the patch was very quiet, and the only bird of note was a single female Goosander whcih flew north upriver.
Following this i headed down to the Birders Store, and picked up my new pair of bins. And following this we then popped to Grimley, and the first bird i locked onto with the new bins was a Little Egret- Not a bad way to start my 'Bin list'. A small flock of 20c Meadow Pipits were flying around. Ducks were represented by 10c Shovler, 10c Pochard and more Tufted's.
Later in the Evening, we dropped into Earlswood Lakes, where 2 Shoveler, a Grey Wagtail and 2 Goldcrest were the highlights.
The next day, i went for a walk out in Wirehill Woods, Redditch with 'The Girlfriend', and proberbly produced the bird of the weekend when a CROSSBILL flew east over the wood 'glipping' as it went.

The day following that, me and the 'Gornal Birder' went to Sheepwash, and the highlight was by far the building up of the regular Goosander flock, of which there were 16 Today, 3 of which were drakes, 5 Teal (2m) were also on show, as were 11 Pochard. A adult Great Black Backed Gull landed in the centre of the pool for some time.

A visit to the patch early morning revealed a build up of a Chaffinch flock, of which there was 30+ feeding in a small area of flooded woodland, giving me hope that it may attract a Brambling onto the patch at some point! 5 Lesser Redpoll were feeding on a birch tree, with an additional one (a male) on my garden feeders.
At 10pm, we were driving past a flooded field on the patch, and we could see a flock of ducks in the headlights, and i was quite suprised to see a drake Mandarin feeding with them!

A late evening visit to Upton Warren Moors Pool in dire conditions was rewarded with a calling female Brambling, which we watched along the west track, before moving off around the north moors. While watching the Brambling, we had the Cetti's Warbler in subsong near the gate. On the water, 12 Shoveler and 3 Pochard were swimming.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Long-tailed Duck- North Worcs Birding

A potential new species for me had been found at Upper Bittel Reservior. Long Tailed Duck has being one of my target 'too see' species for a long time, and as one had finally shown up in the home county, it didnt take long before i was heading there.
As we pulled up, we were informed by a couple of local birders that the bird had flown to the North western end, unviewable from the Causeway, and we had to walk up the hill to the public footpath to the north.
We were the only people standing there, and it soon became aparent that this was only going to be a 'scope job'. The birdesr who were leaving as we arrived said the bird was showing well.....
Err, i dont think that counts as showing well...
The female LONG-TAILED DUCK remained 'stuck' into the willows at the furthest point possible from the viewpoint (about 400 metres per Google maps), feeding constantly, the bird spent more time below the water than above, and this made viewing even harder. However, a very nice looking bird, and one that ive been wanting to see for a long time!
From here we headed to Upton Warren. From the west hide, a drake Pintail was showing, as was 5 Wigeon, 60+ Shoveler were feeding around the islands, along with a lone drake Pochard.
A male Blackcap was showing in a bush near the feeders.
At this point, we noticed that the birder in the East hide suddenly look ferantic, and cameras and scopes pointed. That could only mean one thing.
We rushed to the other side, and there we go, a superb JACK SNIPE! We were treated to great views as the sun went down, and i was able to enjoy this first for the year.

The bird was incredibly inactive, and didnt move apart from accasionally swaying its head.

As we walked back along the C'way, we heard the calls of a CETTI'S WARBLER! And, added to this, we saw the bird as it flitted amonst the reeds and into a small bush, before heading off into the deeper reeds.
Overall, not a bad winters day birding for inland in november

Monday, 10 December 2012


A 6th form visit to Keswick in the Lake District to see a showing of 'A dolls house' by Heinrick Ibsen at the 'Thetre by the lake' led to me and the 'Gornal Birder' finding a flock of 17 WAXWINGS in the 'central car park' of the town!. We had some time to spare before the preformance (It was very good btw) so we had a walk along Derwent Water, and into the town. We had a female Goosander and 2 Common Gull from the short walk adjacent to the lake, and a showy Nuthatch which was feeding a mere 2 metres from us!
Moving into the town, we had already completed a circuit before stopping in a shop, on the exit, i heard the distinctive 'trilling' of Waxwings as a flock of about 10 birds took off from a rowen! Calling GB over we rushed around in the direction the birds had flew, and upon reaching the car park, counted 17 Waxwings perched up in the tree's. Awesome!

Catch Up time!

Im getting there folks, only a month behind now, and most of the next load are quite short posts, so i should be able to catch up fairly shortly for a good start to the new year!
Fairly quiet vismig wise, winter thrushes were just starting to move, with 8 Redwing and 9 Fieldfare, 12 Skylark and 8 Meadow Pipit. In complete contrast however was the extremly large numbers of Goldcrests in the Lickhill conifer wood, with around 30 birds been seen within a short period. This included a single flock of 15 birds!!
A pair of Raven were showing in the fog at the riverside fields

Again, fairly quiet, 24 Meadow Pipit over, 7 Pied Wagtail, 5 Skylark, 5 Redwing and 3 Linnet.

Later in the day, while at the gardening job, my dad alerted me to 'odd' wader like calls he was hearing from the field opposite the house. A quick scan and i'd picked up 2 GOLDEN PLOVER! They continued to show untill they took flight, and flew off towards Wythall.



After this, we checked the lakes, which held a single drake Goosander, a Little Grebe and a Kingfisher.
A rather annoying morning on the patch, when i picked up a bird i am certain was a FIRECREST! I heard the bird calling for a very long time before finally seeing a crest sp emerge from the ivy covered tree the sound was originating from. In the incredibly brief view i wasnt able to note any feature other than the bird was a crest sp, as the bird was facing away from me. I couldnt even see anything on the head pattern. Annoyingly, after about an hour with only this one miniscule sighting, and the bird having now either gone silent or moved on i had to leave, and the bird wasnt seen again, despite searching by a local birder on consecutive days! One that 'got away' i guess.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Greater Scaup

A 1st winter drake Greater Scaup had been found at Upton Warren. A very uncommon seaduck in the midlands, and in particular from Worcestershire, as we lack many area of sufficiant open water, Therefore lacking many of the large Aythya flocks that are present in our surrounding counties.
So therefore, it was quite a nice 'tick' to get when a impromtu friday visit was organised. We headed or the Moors pool, and it didnt take very long to locate the SCAUP showing on the far side of the pool. Sadly to say, i wasnt at all left impresed by the bird. It was incredibly grotty (However some adult features were emerging) and not very interesting if im truily honest. But as always, it was nice to study its plumage and state of moult, which is something i always do enjoy looking at when looking at ducks.
 Moving from the West to the East side (in the hope of Jack Snipe) we knew we would be faced with direct sunlight into the hide, sillouetting everything. However, it again didnt take long to find the Scaup, showing slightly closer from this side.

A flock of 5 Wigeon were the only other birds of note away from the regulars.

And we were heading back to Upton for better photos of the Scaup (there really was very little better to do regional birding wise, honest!).
Again the Scaup refused to come anywhere near in decent light, and it was only at dusk, when all the ducks roosted on the East islands did the Scaup join them.


3 Wigeon, 2 Pochard, c20 Tufted Duck and c40 Shoveler were in evidence. However, the flock of c30 Snipe was by far the highlight from the 'runners up', as they probed their way between the tussocks.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Some short ones.

An evening visit to Upton Warren was rather quiet, 3 Gadwall (2m) were the only birds of note at the Moors Pool, so we headed down to the flashes where it did liven up some more. A further 5 Gadwall (3m) were here. A little Owl was showing on the barn roof, and 3 Green Sandpipers were still in attendence. An eclipe drake Wigeon was feeding on the peninsular in front of the hide. 9+ Snipe were also feeding out in the open in the shallow water.

Further vismig on the patch reaped rewards today, with my first FIELDFARE of the autumn, which flew over south calling, following the river. Im not sure of how many September Fieldfares ive had!
24 Meadow Pipit also flew over, 23 flying south, and one oddball which decided it wanted to fly north!
A crazy single flock of 8 Grey Wagtail flew over, agian in a southerly direction.
2 Linnet flew north, But the highlight was a Snipe, which i picked up while viewing a distant Buzzard. It circled distantly for around a minuite, before flying off to the north.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


I'd given up on Spotted Flycatcher this year! After countless attempts to find one failed, and with it now being in September, time was running out, so i came to the conclusion that i wont see one this year!
As im sure many locals may testify, in the Wyre Forest area, and maybe even in wider Worcester, they have been incredibly scarce, and therefore it was a shock while out on the patch that a mate had found one on the other side of the Bewdley-Stourport road, on Mount Pleseant! Only a few hundred metres off the edge of my patch!
So obviously i had to go!
We headed up there, seeing a flock of 10 Lapwing on the recently plowed field adjacent to the road. Reaching the upprmost 'reaches' of the hill, stands a small wood, and it took the entirity of 2 seconds to locate the SPOTTED FLYCATCHER perched on top of some ivy about 30ft away! Stupidly, my scope wasnt ready 'for action' and in the time it took me to get the tripod legs down, the Flycatcher dropped down , and never fully emerged at such close range!
The above photos shows how close the bird was, but it had already dropped into the bush, and was always partically hidden.

It was actually quite alot of activity in the wood, in particular around the one ivy bush which was similarly alive with insects! A LESSER WHITETHROAT, 2 CHIFFCHAFF and a nice bright yellow WILLOW WARBLER were seen in the time we were watching this single tree!


Patch Birding- Highlights

Early morning watches of the patch has been revealing large numbers of Hirudines moving, and today was no exeption, with about 500 Swallow and H Martin moving south along the river in just over an hours 'vis-migging.
Migrant wise. the only birds were a Garden Warbler (Getting late) and 2 Blackcap, as well as multiple Chiffchaff.

Early morning agian for more vismig!
The highlight was by far my first GOLDEN PLOVER of the autumn which flew over south calling.
Hirudines were now moving in much smaller numbers, with only about 100 Swallows going through. However, this was eclipsed by 150+ Meadow Pipits that flew over, all heading in a SW direction. This compared to a measly 5 Skylark, however, they tend to 'move' a little later in the year.
Away from vismigging, the patch was quiet, exept for a flock of 5 Mandarin (3 drk) which flew north upriver. A male kestrel was showing well.

Osprey Still!

It was amazing to see that the adult OSPREY was still present at Upton Warren and i enjoyed another session with it perched at the back of the flashes, It really is an awesome bird! For an Osprey to stay at a single location and be so easy to see is quite a rare occurence. It was there for 18 days at this point!
The flashes was alive with wader activity, amongst the usuals, the Dunlin was still present, alongside 11 Green Sandpipers, a Common Sandpipers and 9 Snipe.
It was also nice to see that the eclipse drake PINTAIL was still at the flashes, and was showing ok from the path near the bench.
c800 BHG were in the roost by the time we left.
 (For photos of the Osprey, click the 'Previous post' button)

Monday, 12 November 2012


 With the continued presence of the adult male OSPREY at upton, i just couldnt resist another viewing. I mean, how often do you get Ospreys in the Midlands showing like this!

 The bird was fairly predictable in its movements, usually flying to the Sailing Pool just after the turn of the hour, and would return a minuite or so after with a fish! This bird was one seriously good fisher!
After catching, and consuming its fishy snack (Every time a Roach while i was there), it then dropped down into the shallows to the 2nd flash, and proceded to have a brief wash down, dipping its head into the water to wash the slime off its bill and talons.
Watching it really gave an impression of a truily magnificant, awesome looking bird. Just look at it! I must say though, it was quite odd to see a raptor wading in the shallow water. Im just so acustomed to seeing them soaring high in the sky!

Having flown out again for another fishing session, i trained my scope on the birds favoured perch, and waited the short time untill it flew back towards us, low across the northen fields.
Swooping down on the perch it was obvious that the bird once again had been successful, and we were treated to another showing of how great nature is, as the Osprey first pulled off the Roaches head, before tucking in.

 The bird spent a good 30 seconds flapping wildly to regain its ballence with the fish.

Before going in....
And tugging at the head...

And then follows the 'raw' aspects of nature.

Another flap and the Osprey congradulated its self on another good catch!

The eclipe male Pintail was also still in attendence on the flashes. 8 Green Sandpipers and 4 migrant Snipe were also showing. Also a 'new in' juvenile- 1st winter Dunlin was showing with the Lapwing flock.
A adult Water Rail made a brief appearence in its usual patch of reeds, and a pair of Raven 'cronked' over.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Fens Pool- Day 2

The 'Gornal birder' had taken the terrible decision to not join me to come and see the BNG the day before, so we decided that another visit to the 'Fen's' was in order to see if it was still about, and a full day with no reports left him in bad spirits (I on the other hand was feeling great, dropping a gripping comment ever few minuites, and occasionally showing him my photos.
We walked down towards the pools, and on the way down, we were treated to great views of an adult HOBBY which was hawking dragonflies over the woodland and hawthorns. Upon dropping down behind the trees, we walked onwards, and we quickly came to the conclusion that GB was in for the inevitable dip! (Hahaha)
There was no sign of the Grebe in the area it was in, and it was also obvious that it wasnt on the pool, and this was backed up by another birder, who said that there had been no sign all day!
Again though, we were treated to great views of the HOBBY as it again hawked, this time showing for a long period.
The small Teal 'flock' had increased from 2 birds to 3 overnight (Migration!).
On the raised path above the Fens Pool, we came across this Mouse Sp, which remained motionless while we took photos from only a few feet away, it was only when a dog walker came past that the Mouse skuttled off into the grass.

And here it was when it was sitting in the grass, looking abit more healthy than it did when sitting in the middle of the path.

We then 'covered' the 2 other pools, not getting much reward, however, a Garden Warbler was showing in the scrub between Grove, and Middle Pool.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

West Mids Black Necked Grebe!


While in 6th form (History to be precise) i recieved news of a Black Necked Grebe at Fens Pool!
Being a Wednesday, i was free for the remainder of the day, so the second the lesson ended i was up and out of my seat, and belting it back home for my scope and bins.
A quick snack, and onwards again, and the painful journey on public transport was soothed by the thought that (as BNG is a nocturnal migrant) there was a high chance the bird would still be there, the only hard part would be finding it, as the message wasnt specific to which of the 3 pools it was on.

It was only a couple of minuites walk from the bus stop at the hospital down to the lake, and with it being a beautiful sunny day, it felt nice to be out.
I scanned the entirity of the far edges of the lake, across the centre of the water, and along the vegitated edges of the lake. I was bemused as to where the bird was, and it was only when i took my bins from my eyes that i noticed a black and white 'shape' in the amphibious plants about 30ft away.

Over the next two hours, i was able to sit on the waters edge a distance away from the bird in amongst the canadian goose crap. But it was totally worth it,  was able to enjoy the bird on my own (no other birders, and non of the public approached me), as the bird became more and more confiding, luckilly, the sun was shining from behind (ish) me, and it illuminated the birds incredibly red eyes like jewles! Look at them!

The bird was fairly 'loyal' to a small patch of aquatic plants close to the shore, and spent much of its time snoozing, but a couple of times it swam out and had abit of a fish and a preen, showing off its white rear edge to its wings.

The bird, despite showing slightly brown tinges to its hindneck, and cheeks was a winter plumaged adult, and was infact the first i have seen in this plumage. I have now seen both Black and white small grebes (BNG and Slav) in winter plumage, and both at incredibly close range!


The bird continued to preform untill 5pm, when i left, and it was still showing incredibally well then!

What a bird for an urban location, so thats two sets of decent birds ive seen here in less than a year, 2 1st winter drake Red Brested Mergansers, and now the Grebe. Its always suprising what turns up at urban locations!