Wednesday, 29 February 2012


A Grey Plover had now been residing at Grimley for some time, and as it is one of my big bogey birds, i needed to see it!
So when news came out in the morning that it was still showing, and that there was also a pair of Red-Crested Pochard it looked like it might be a nice visit!
We parked at the north end of the newly landscaped Camp Lane Pits and walked down to greet Mark from Boorstep Birding, who was already on the bird.

On the way i noticed this sign, which i thought was quite funny, its just one of those 'No Shit' sarcastic type jokes.

(Deep COLD water sign in a frozen pool)

We got a small look at the GREY PLOVER before it ran off behind some willows into the sun.
After abit, we walked up the track adjacent to the road, where we had more distant, but better lighted views, and i got a few long range videos.

Moving back to our original position on the way back to the car, the Grey Plover was closer, but against the light.

We then moved down to the Main Camp Lane Pit, where i quickly got onto the RED-CRESTED POCHARD's, easy peesy, just look for the flaming red/Orange head!

The pair generally followed each other around constantly on the open area of water which hadent frozen.
Everytime i have seen them mating, and this time was no exeption, just 30 seconds after ariving, they were 'at it'.

Amazingly, when the birds took flight with a couple of Pochard, they circled for a couple of minuites, and in that time, i was able to lock onto them throught the scope and camera, and take a video of them.

All in all a nice visit to a habitat that looks stunning for the spring! I can expect another visit here soon! A bogey bird and a year tick!


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Insane Patch First!

As i have said many Many MANY times before, patch biridng can sometimes be really awsome!
There are just some days when everything is good in the world of patch birding!
I have had many days like that over the last couple of years!
Class of Red-Throated Diver Whooper Swan, Smew, Dipper, Goldeneye and Waxwings spring to mind, a list of birds that isnt too bad for any midlands site where they arnt regualar!
However, sometimes, a bird that may be common just down the road may be an insane rarity elsewhere, and that is a huge thing about patch working! Shenstone Birder just on the other side of Stourport has a range of Farmland birds on his patch, and i dont have any, even Linnet is quite uncommon! And our patches are only a few miles apart!
Anyway, Ive gone off on a tangent here.
The reason for my waffling!
Insane patch first!
Ive seen litterally thousands of these birds in my birding 'career' but one on my patch, that has very little open water is just totally bizzare!

However, i have a theiry!
As can be seen within my photo's/video's, the thin layer of patchy snow seems to resemble a partially, shallowly flooded field, habitat that Shelduck feed in, and as this stunning duck flew over it saw this 'habitat' and decided to land!
Another patch first that i wasnt expecting!
Any Duck besides Mallards, Goosanders and Mandarins are a huge patch rarity, so the 'run' of ducks ive had in the last few years is quite an unexpected turn up!
It always seems that this cold snowy weather brings something good to the patch!
There was a flock of 8 Goosander on the river (2 drk)
Also, a large flock of Redwings were showing well!
Back in the garden there was the usual flock of Finches, 5 Siskin, 2 Lesser Redpoll, but i also had a landed first in the garden, when a female PIED WAGTAIL decided to land on the patio briefly before being flushed by a Blackbird!

On 11/02/12 the Finch flock had again increased.
8 LESSER REDPOLL (5m) was a substancial increase and there was still 5 Siskin (2m). 6 Chaffinch, 15c Goldfinch and a single male Greenfinch!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Patch white out

A complete whiteout on the patch in the morning resulted in no birds been seen, so after some artsy fartsy images i headed back home to watch the feeders for abit.
To give an impression how bad it was, i couldnt see anything more that 4 metres in front of me!

And when i got back to the garden, the now daily Redpoll's and Siskin's were on the feeders

However, after the fog lifted, i headed out onto the patch immidiatly surrounding the garden, which, admittdly, apart from Siskins and Redpoll's was quiet.
But while walking through on of the woodlands i was watching a mixed tit flock containing Nuthatches when a large, dumpy pigeon sized snipe flushed from the undergrowth.
Usually i struggle to see this species on a year to year basis, despite breeding nearby, i just never have the time to go specifically looking for them, so i have to hope for a stray like this!
This was only the start of a good patch Run!

Fill In

Called in at a frozen Stubbers Green lake.
No interesting gulls in the 30 mins we had before the weather got too bad to withstand!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Garden Birding

Sometimes garden birding can be insane!
Sometimes a bird which you see in a million other places can suddenly become a Mega rarity, and nothing is more sought after than a garden tick!
Before setting out for the day, i had a couple of hours to watch the feeders at my leasure, and dont you just love it when a cold front hits, birds flood to garden feeders like moths to a lighbulb!
It quickly became evident there was a few more Goldfinch today, with around 40c in the tree's and on the feeders, also in the tree's but unwilling to drop onto the feeders was a flock of 20c Greenfinch.
However, the main interest was around the 'scarcer' Finches.
4 female LESSER REDPOLL were visiting on and off throughout the morning, but 'our' male didnt land on the feeders (he was seen in the tree though)
However, one of my favorite Finches was about to make a comeback into the garden after a no-show all winter so far.
A female SISKIN dropped onto the seed feeder. The camera quickly came out and i was soon filming the bird.

However nice a female Siskin is, i still had that moment of exitement when the stunning adult male SISKIN dropped onto the feeders! What a Finch!

The bird spent some time on the niger feeder, accompanied by a female Lesserpoll.

However, the (By Far) highlight was a garden first! I was filming the above video, when an 'odd' finch dropped onto the fence, head on, 'odd face pattern i though'.It turned side on and flew onto one of the seed feeders.


female Linnet in the garden!

The white Pannel in the wing standing out like a sore thumb!


Bloody Linnet!

My dad quickly came in and saw the bird as it flew off the feeder, having only taken one seed. Despite being heard again a few times, i did not see the bird again, and am only left with memories of this first!

But that got me thinking, why is it we ignore birds in one place, and watch them intently at others?

Rarity value? a Linnet may be common on farmland, therefore undesirable, but quite hard to get in a garden context, therefore reaching a higer value?

Food for thought


Monday, 6 February 2012

Bartley again. (White-winger Heaven)

After having only brief views of the Iceland Gull the previous friday i wasnt really happy, sure i'd ticked the bird for the year, but there was something not quite right, I fancied another Look.
We accidently arrived at the dam end of the reservior, but quickly found this to be to our advantage, with many of the small gulls alot closer in, however, the large gulls again seemed in the middle of the water. However i was soon scanning 70% of the thousands of gulls (the remaining 30% were into the setting sun),
and after about 20 mins, at 4:55, just as i was saying to a visiting birder that Iceland Gulls had been seen, i panned onto a white winger.
A 2nd winter ICELAND GULL
I quickly get the rest of the 'crowd' onto the bird, of which for one of them it was a lifer!
The light was still Ok, with it being perfect for a gull roost, and i was able to take a long range, shakey video of our white winged beauty!

This bird was quite easy to point out, as it spent the whole time near to the yellow boyd in the water.
However, as time went by, it became more and more obvious the there seemed to be two different birds in two areas of the flock, however it took untill 5:12 for me to confirm this, when both birds appeared within my scope, and i was able to get this image containing both of them!
My first double 'white-winger' day!
Now wheres my Glauc?


A visit after 6th form was very rewarding, not for rare species, but sheer numbers!
An outstanding flock of 66 POCHARD! was on the main pool, The highest specific count ive ever had here!
Also of note was a flock of 11 GOOSANDER, which as usual seemed to be over the other side of the pool wherever you went, a single Teal was heard calling and 3 Tufted duck were on the lake.
A male KINGFISHER shown superbly well on the river, although behind trees.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Bartley Reservior

Friday night birding is generally off limits, due to having to go shopping, however, with the lengthening days i saw a opporotunity to get out somewhere.
mmmm, A gull roost it is!
Bartley seemed to be the closest, and with the added attraction of an Iceland Gull roostin there, it seemed a good idea.
We just about manadged to get to 'scotland lane' at 4:40, with a mass of gulls already assembled, and to other birds already looking, i joined the crowd and after about 15 mins, the Iceland was called.
A Birder offered me a look through his scope and i saw a Juv/2w ICELAND GULL sitting amongst the mass of gulls. i thanked him for his kindness, and also the fact that he gave me the last few views of the bird before it totally dissapeared, not to be seen again before dark, and i didnt manage to locate it within my scope :(
As the birds all pitched up near the Dam end of the Reservior, the bird was quite far off, so here is a few 'From the file' photo's of a similar ICELAND GULL i saw at Stubbers green in 2010.
Hopefully i will be visiting Stubbers this weekend for more Gull action!
Also on the reservior was a flock of 6 Goldeneye showing quite well, if only it had been daylight, i could have had some ok footage of them!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Yes, Yes i know, Garden birds again!
But we had this stunning male Lesser Redpoll on our feeders!

Also, we are still getting visits from a smart Female Lesser Redpoll.
However, we have still to note a single Siskin on the Feeders! But there was an increase of them on the patch today, with around 20 seen, also the same number for Redpoll's, and a small flock of 4 Reed Bunting was at the Gadwall lake.