Neil Duggan text me on Saturday asking if i wanted to venture into Staffordshire with him looking for a Little Gull that had been seen on one of the regions reserviors. Natrually, i replied with a yes, and soon plans were made for the day.
Starting off on the patch, we tried to get Neil Mandarin Duck. They shouldnt have been too hard so we had a short walk along the river. It was only on the walk back however that we picked up 2 Mandarin Duck, both drakes swimming into the near bank further downstream! I was fairly surprised with this, as these were obviously not the pair that had been knocking around. We paused briefly to watch them, when i heard a familiar call, and 2 more Mandarin Duck flew over our heads and landed around the small paddock, the regular pair!
We had a quick look at both 'sets' of birds, before heading onward to Gailey.
Upon hopping out of the car, i soon picked up the two Eurasian White-fronted Goose that had been around the pool for some time. A scan around the pool didn't reveal the Gull, so we moved to the raised area in between the two pools, and waited. 2 Gadwall were showing at the far end of the fishing pool. The highlight though was when suddenly we were surrounded by 4 Sand Martin which came from nowhere, and started hawking the water. Oh how i have missed you guys!
At 9:40, i picked up the LITTLE GULL flying in from the west, which then dropped onto the fishing pool, and we had decent, but not very close views.
Heading off, it was next Cannock Chase, but, in par with each visit this year, it was pretty much dead up there, which was a shame.
The usual Roe Deer were showing very well from the car!
So we decided to move away for a spot of twitching. A Sandwich Tern had been seen at Blithfield, but our hopes were not high (they don't usually stay around long!), but decided to head anyway.
A series of road closures led us on the Blithbury- Abbots Bromley road. We picked up a Swan flock in a roadside field, and managed to stop briefly to have a scan, and in doing so, picked up a stunning adult WHOOPER SWAN!
Obviously we couldn't
stay long parked where we were, so i put my camera to my bins and got some very bad, but confirmation photos showing the extent of yellow on the bill (If its size was not enough to go on).
Needless to say, we were very happy by now!
Arriving at Blithfield, to our immense surprise, we soon found the SANDWICH TERN as it sat on a boyd, before giving us superb views as it hunted along the Causeway!
Just to show how close it came, here it is taken at around 4x zoom!
3 Sand Martin were flying around, and 20c Wigeon were on the water. We counted a huge flock of 104 Great-crested Grebe, easily the most i've seen at one time.
Neil had to head back now, but we decided to drop into Sandwell valley to locate a few birds which are rare in Worcester. We found 3 Ring-necked Parakeet before moving to the old visitor centre, and immidiatly found 3 WILLOW TIT on the feeders. An incredibly rare bird in Worcester now!
It was only at this point i scanned towards the main lake, and i had one of those 'whaaaaat....' moments as two Egyptian Goose stood on the main island! Gypo Goose at Sandwell!, That has to be a bloody rare bird in West Midlands county! Camera to the scope!
Considering i had only seen my first Gypo a few weeks before, it came as a huge surprise to find a pair loitering on the island at Sandwell. Not a bad little addition to the day!
I was dropped off at Upton Warren, which had a reward of 2 Barnacle Goose, completing a nice little trio of 'plastics' for the day. In all seriousness though, Barnacle Goose is one seriously good looking goose, and yet another decent addition to the day list!
A couple of Snipe were also showing, which rounded off a decent day!