News of a winter plumaged RED-NECKED GREBE at Westwood pool just outside of Droitwich had me heading down there after college as access was quickly arranged by the permit holders and finder (Cheers Wayne!) Arriving on site the bird was immediately viewable, but it stayed on the far side of the pool. However all the main plumage details could be seen, as it floated around the roosting flock of around 70 Great-Crests.
With the pre-roost building, a good count of 10 Common Gulls had arrived before we left, and this increased further one we left.
From Westwood, we decided to shoot the extra few miles down the road so we could also see the pair of WHOOPER SWANS that were currently present at Grimley Camp lane pits. Immediately upon pulling into the cutout adjacent to the gate we could see the Swans, but it was as i took my Optics off the swans i noticed a large bird flying in form the south. Instant recognition and i was soon calling my dad and the other birder who had also just arrived to get onto a juvenile plumaged GANNET! We were treated to great views as it circled the north end of the pools in front of the Wood on the west side of the pits. A few minutes later we watched it climb slightly higher, then flew off SW over said wood.
In a way i was somewhat relieved to see it fly away, it was good to know that it stood a decent chance of re orientating and heading back towards the coast. At least it proved it was a healthy bird as most that turn up in the midlands are either found moribund or dead!
According to the Patch workers of Grimley, this was the first in its history! So well chuffed with that one!
We stayed on site until just before duck, but the Gannet didn't re-appear. The WHOOPER SWANS however were still showing. 6 Little Egret were showing and a Green Sandpiper flew past us.
The next day and another seabird. A female COMMON SCOTER had been found on the Moors Pool at Upton warren and i was soon enjoying good views as it swam around with the Coots and Tufted Ducks out in the middle of the pool. In fact, it was my first inland Scoter sighting, so it made for a very nice productive weekend for birds!
Another drop into Upton Warren was rewarded with superb views of a JACK SNIPE directly below the hide. Rather stupidly, i had not charged the camera up and it had no battery so i missed the opportunity to get some photos of this species. The bird remained here for the entire visit. The Goose flock was in eveidence, and among the Canadians were 31 Greylags and a Barnacle Goose. 9 Wigeon on the islands was also a good count for the site.
A drop into the Hungry Horse field at Earlswood was rewarded with great views of 489 GOLDEN PLOVER.
From here we headed to Upton Warren (Again!). Tonight 2 JACK SNIPE were showing well, but not quite as well as the previous weekend. Here is both of them:
A adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL was showing with the Gull flock, but refused to come any closer than the opposite side of the pool.
A 1st winter drake SCAUP was showing at Bartley very late on the friday afternoon close in to the Dam but we arrived too late to be able to 'do' the Gull roost.
This eclipse drake GOOSANDER has been showing stunningly well in Bewdley Town center for a few weeks, often giving stupidly close views (Down to around 10ft). I even took the opportunity to take a selfie with it.
After a short time with the Goosander, i heard news of a Wheatear at Barnett Brook. Hoping it may be one of the rarer Wheatears i headed straight over there, but sadly i couldn't string the bird into anything more than a NORTHERN WHEATEAR. Still, a very good record of a very late Wheatear!
From the Gardening jobs at Earlswood i saw 150 GOLDEN PLOVER circle over the garden before eventually heading back towards the Hungry Horse.
Just to finish off what was a great days birding in the Midlands i dropped into Upper Bittel, and i had soon located 2 of the 3 SHAG that were present. Sadly, very distant as is often the case at bittel but a new bird for the region for me!
An interesting Gull attracted my attention for some time, but the light was quickly dropping. The bird seemed to show a mix of YELLOW-LEGGED/CASPIAN features, but again, the distance and the falling light meant i couldn't nail it. Here it is anyway.