Thursday, 29 March 2012

Earlswood- SEO suprise

A long and tedious day at the gardening job was rewarded at 4:05 Pm when a stunning SHORT-EARED OWL flew past along the field, I saw the bird as it made its way across the field, flying no higher than 10ft off the ground, close in to the hedge, before flying across the farm buildings and duly dissapearing!
I was quite supprised that the bird wasnt seen again as the bird seemed to be feeding, obvously no photos from this brief encounter, But a great memory!

Patch and Garden

A flock of 12 Lesser Redpoll had taken over in the garden, and that included a 'Ginger'/Yellow Polled Redpoll
Also 3 Siskin
After abit, i decided to see if the BARNACLE GOOSE was still around, and it was, showing well agian near the lake with Canada's:
While watching the is bird, i saw a Chiffchaff amongst some trees.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Another Patch First!!

My dad had reported seeing a BARNACLE GOOSE on the patch.

I was told my dad had seen the bird again that morning, so was ferried off to the site for a patch first twitch!
When we got there it was just going dark, but i quickly found the BARNACLE GOOSE feeding with the Canadas next to a small lake. Yet another Patch first, my 3rd of the year so far.
The birds obviously wild credentials ment i stayed a distance from the bird, however, the bird often walked down 30ft from where i was with my Scope :P A very confiding 'wild' individual.

Still, a stunning bird to have on the patch, and a nice addition to the list. It certainly put a smile on my face, and for some time to come!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

YBW Drawing

A quick drawing between essays of the YBW currently in Wocrester

Wednesday, 14 March 2012



A nice text to wake up to in a morning is that a rare bird has been found nearby, however, it is odd to say the least as to the location of where this one was found.
Saturday is a busy day for us, so we headed out early to hopefully connect with the bird quickly!

Warndon, Worcester.
I found myself standing on a cycle path wedged between a housing estate and a main road, and as i walked up to the crowd, i was informed that it had just been seen again, and after abit, the bird was feeding in view in an overhanging tree (tree just to right of centre in photo), and was showing well, I though i may as well try to get some Digi-scoped photo's, so i went back to the car to get my scope.
Came back and the bird was still up in 'its' tree (in the entire 1 1/2 hours i spent here, the bird spent 95% of its 'in view' time in this tree), however i struggled to get any photos and the bird soon dissapeared.
A wait ensured, but it was again relocated in the tree, but again i was struggling!
At least the crowd was easier to photograph!

After abit, the bird reappeared, and this time i struck lucky, getting a single photo with the bird in the frame!

That photo made me happy :)

All i ask with my photo's is that they are recognisable, and this one is good to me :)

Times like these make you realise that birds can, and do turn up anywhere, at anytime, and often under odd circumstances (The bird was found while a birder was checking a Moth trap!).
So there you go folks, get out there and look!

Oh, and for your infomation, funnily enough, this was my first Warbler species of the year!! A good start may i say so, and this was quickly followed by my 2nd warbler tick of the year, when a female Blackcap appeared!


Night time Patch Working, Insane Patch first #2

I decided to do abit of after dark walking of the patch, and it came up trumps with another Patch first!
I was walking through a field at 7:50pm while wathcing Foxes scuttling around, and seeing their eyes glowing in the torchlight, i heard the distinctive call of a OYSTERCATCHER flying over! i heard it about 7 times as it passed over in a southerly direction, A bird would never had had on the patch otherwhys.
And a reason for more people to get out and hear migration at night!

5 Tawney Owl were calling around

Upton Warren Work party.

Cheers to Tim J ( ) for the lift.
The 4 Avocet were at the flashes before we started work and 15+ Common Snipe were counted. A peregrine flew low over.
However the highlight was seeing a HARVEST MOUSE up close and personal while walking around the back of the flashes. My first certain Harvest mouse

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Return to Upton Warren

A large debadical had been seen at upton over the winter, for a few issues, so i stayed away, added to also by the fact that the Bitterns did not return!
However, after only a couple of visits over the winter, it was good to be back at the warren today to see some Upton specialities! and also to 'Twitch' the new hide!

Starting at the Moors, i saw a flock of Cormorants, and in that flock was a 'Sinensis' race bird, check out that 90' angle!

2 Oystercatcher were also here, but otherwhys it was quiet, so i walked through the education reserve to the flashes. Where i saw my target birds.

The AVOCET's have returned!

It was great to see and hear them again after such a long winter for many of the 'Uptonites'

A Lapwing was showing quite nicely also!

I stayed untill dark, and got to see th Avocets trying to roost. I say trying becacuse they were constantly harassed by BHG's.

However, i was also treated to some amazing views of a pair of Teal and a pair of Gadwall!


More Garden stuff

3/02/12 (or around that date)
I'll let the images and videos do the talking

The local pest! Should be shot!


Arrow Valley Park

A pair of Little Egrets had been seen the previous day, so a walk was planned with the girlfriend around the lake. The first time ive been twitching( Yes, Twitching a Little Egret!) without Bins!

We soon located a single bird on the island off the sailing club with a couple of Canada Geese.
I had my camera, so enjoy this distant white blob!




Back to the gardening job today, where saw a flock of about 50 GOLDEN PLOVER fly over


Am i a photographer? Or do i just like Firecrests?


With my last couple of visit producing dire pictures of the Firecrest, i wanted a record shot for my Note book, so therefore, on a Friday, i walked home from 6th form (1 1/2) miles, and then walked the remaining 5 miles over to Penn Common, where the FIRECREST was still residing.
After getting abit lost on Penn golfcorse, i eventually found myself back on track, and was soon at the area the bird was in, Light Wood.
I was quite proud of myself, as Google maps predicted my journey would take 1 hour 1 minuite, however, i got to the site in just over 40 mins walking, so i was quite happy!
And as i arrived, i scanned over towards its favored hedge, and within 30 Seconds, i was watching the stunning male FIRECREST, flashing its orange crown as it went about its buisness.

It soon flew into a tall tree and started climbing, zipping between branches. Here i got a few photo's which show its orange crown.

Even in this relaxed posture, the orange is easilly visiable on the bird, i watched for about 20 mins before it moved off into the wood, and i informed a couple of birders who appeared from no-where that it was just showing while they were looking in the wrong place!

As time went by, there was still no sign, and both birders left, leaving me along again, soon, as is the luck with birding, the FIRECREST popped out on the edge of the holly not far away. i took a couple of snaps and looked down at the screen,

A photo of a FIRECREST!

As i had been watching the male bird earlier, i didnt look at its crown stripe, presuming it was the same bird, and just kept the above photo because it was the 'sharpest'. Despite having suspitions as to there being a pair of then on site, having seen a seemingly yellow crown striped bird on my first visit! With the light dropping, and the Firecrest having again dissapeared, i went looking for a bird i had heard calling all day, a flock of 15 YELLOWHAMMER, including 6 males which perched on the hedgeline further south of the wood, also mixed in was 4 Bullfinch and 10 Linnet.

However, over a week after seeing the bird, i finally uploaded the 'full set' of photos that i took and i went through them, and i was shocked when i came to this one. In the same 'set' as the picture above, pic 1 was blury, very blury, pic 2, again blury, pic 3, the photo below, pic 4 the 'good' photo, Pic 6, the bird dissapearing into the hedge.

On reviewing picture 3 i finally came to checking the colour of the crown stripe, and saw this!

A completly yellow crown stripe!

Could this mean that i was right, and there are 2 FIRECRESTS at Penn Common? please leave a comment on your thoughts.

I remain fairly certain there are 2 birds,
I know the stripe can 'change colour' when the bird is adjitated, or exited, however, i have seen the male bird in both 'relaxed' and 'exited' state, and both times you could see significant Orange tones (As seen in the relaxed first picture). Having said that, i also (not wanting to sound to far up my own arse) have quite good 'experiance of Goldcrests and their changing crown strpe after many years of close study on the patch (were lucky enought to see over 30 birds regularly!).

Having said the 'pluamge' side. the birds habits also stuck out, the male Firecrest often fed high in tree's, and often showed for long periods of time, however, this possible second bird was ALWAYS low down in the Holly bushes, and was alot less showy, only apperaing briefly each time.

Having summed up the pro's and con's, i cant see how there can only be (or WAS only) one Firecrest at Penn.
Your thoughts would be much appreciated,from people more 'in the know' than me?


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Patch and Garden


A 4 hour stomp of the patch was quite unrewarding, with very little to get even slightly exited about, A Goldcrest here, A Nuthatch there:

The Garden has been more interesting, with now daily flocks of varying sizes of both Lesser redpoll and Siskin:


Tuesday, 6 March 2012



Well, as i said in the last post, i love Crests, and i couldnt resisit another peek at the Firecrest.
To cut it short, after 30 mins, we spotted the bird flitting within a trackside hawthorn at about 10 ft range!, giving stunning views, it fed around us at very close range for about 15 minuites even showing outside of the holly giving even better views!
In this amazing moment though, i forgot to pick up the camera, and then when i did, i failed to get anythig decent, as the bird was constantly moving, and with slow focousing camera, it didnt work very well.
However, i manadged this shot!

However, after these views, we didnt see this bird again, so, with the light dropping, we left for home.

Chelmarsh res suprise!


Having heard that an Iceland Gull had rosted here a few nights previously, and with Glauc been seen at other Shropshire sites, i decided a roost watch may be in order!
Having walked around to the hide, i met another birder, who told me that the TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE was still on the reservour! a month had passed with no news, and it was still there!
I took this oporotunity, and walked to the north end, and finding the BEAN GOOSE swimming on the water with the Greylag flock! however after about a minuite, it flew out with the Greylags to feed in fields that are unviewable!
Also at the north end was 2 drake Wigeon, a flcok of Tufted Duck and a very large flock of GOOSANDER (Around 60 on Res)
Despite this suprise, having seen Bean Goose for the 2nd time, the roost failed to produce anything other than a couple of GBBG.

(Bean Goose on 17/02/12)

While driving out, a Little owl was near some barns


Monday, 5 March 2012

Bi-county Twitching


AS readers may know, i like seeing 'rare' birds, so, although primarily being a patch birder, i do like to visit odd locations for out of range birds.
And there happened to be one quite close by, a Firecrest had been found near Penn in south Staffs, so with a day free, we decided for a look!
The 2 'crest' species being particular favorites of mine, so i was enthusisatic, as i had heard both were showing side by side in the small woodland.

And here we were.

After about an hour looking, we finally clocked onto a stunning FIRECREST darting about between Holly, and adjacent Tree's, we were treated to great views of this stunning crest at about 30ft range.
I must say, it was great to catch up with this species again!
After about 20 Minuites watching the bird, we left for another site, Sandwell Valley RSPB

As i didnt get any photos, here is a drawing of the FIRECREST (Life sized)

So onwards and upwards, Sandwell Valley RSPB had been holding a redhead Smew for the last few days so we decided to head off there.
On arrival at the lakeside hide, we were treated to views of a stunning drake PINTAIL feeding within the reeds, a great bird to see anywhere, never mind at an urban reserve!

However, the lack of Smew got me edgy, i was informed it flew out 5 minuites before, so decided to stick around, and forfit the visit to Stubbers Green after.
I was kept entertained by a female GOLDENEYE and a decent flock of Goosander. I picked out a adult Common Gull in the gull flock.

However, a good time later, i finally heard the sound was hoping for as someone spotted the SMEW!

Although there was debate as to the age/sex of this bird, i am quite confident that this bird is an adult female despite the small amout of white feathers on the brown 'hood'. The lores were black, and the belly was white (would be grey in 1st win drk).

As the hide closed soon after the bird returned, we headed to the feeders, where i soon got onto a WILLOW TIT. i even manadged a crap photo!

We then headed into a nearby wood, where we saw a single female RING-NECKED PARAKEET

With 5 year ticks, i can say that it was a good day!