Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Birding down south!

A planned day out to Severn beach was launched in the hope of seeing some migrants, the Twites and the SEO's. Ermm.
Well we scored a few of the first ones, but failed to see the 2nd and 3rd ones!! Arghhh

On the drive down, i was lucky enough to pick up a stunning RED KITE hunting low over the motorway 1/2 mile north of junction 10 on the M5. Always a stunning bird to see!

We first dropped into Aust warth, where we failed to see the Twites or any Owls.

Then Severn Beach, hoping to see some waders or seabirds out on the edges of the estury. I quickly located 32 TURNSTONE being pushed up the stoney 'beach', and we had great views of the birds, including 2 Dunlin, before they were flushed by the tide and flew to the Northwick warth area, where we caught up with them later. We had 4 WHEATEAR around the New passage to the south end of Severn Beach area, but other than that it was very quiet.

Moving to the Northwick warth area, we caught up with some roosting waders, 50c Turnstone, 100c Dunlin, 10c Redshank and 50c Curlew. Also, good numbers of both Wigeon, Teal and Shelduck.

Moving back to Aust, we again didnt see any Twites, nor any Owls, however we did have a male Wheatear out on the Saltmarsh.

We decided to leave, but i dropped into Upton Warren Moors Pool on the way back. A single Avocet was showing, as was a Water Rail. 20c Lesser Redpoll was showing well in the trackside bushes, but the highlight goes to this stunning Snipe!


Thursday, 25 April 2013


I am fascinated by migration!
And i hugely look forwards to migrants on the patch. It breaths new air into the lungs of birding, which can get fairly repetitive during winter, particularly in a county without large diving duck flocks and big Gull roosts.
Today looked an ideal day for a spot of vismig, and i was fairly right, and i ended up spending around 5 hours on patch almost immobile sitting in the middle of the field counting vismig.
It was clear that Meadow Pipit were moving en mass, and i had around 100 birds fly over, all heading to the north. From these birds being funneled up the valley, a fair few were regularly dropping into the weedy field at Blackstone i was sitting in, sometimes giving fairly decent views as they flew around, at times down to a few meters, or perching up on young trees.

On a patch scale, i was also immensely happy when a pair of Greylag Goose flew south along the river, as said in a previous post, an incredibly rare bird on patch, and following so closely to the last record, which could indicate that they are still present nearby!
7+ Chiffchaff were also 'new in' for me, being my first patch birds of the year! 5c Redpoll sp were flying around, but seemed more to be remnants of the wintering flock than migrants. 1 Grey Wagtail flew north, as did 2 'alba' Wagtail and 30c Linnet. Raptors were also represented with 8 Buzzard going over (including some obviously migrating birds!), 3 Sparrowhawk and 1 Kestrel!
Away from vismig, a pair of Mandarin and a single drake Goosander were on the river.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The early comings of summer!

I had been looking forward to seeing my first summer migrants of the year, and on the Saturday evening following the gardening job we headed down to Upton Warren flashes in the hope of catching up with the first few LRP in the county this year.
We arrived, and it wasnt long after that i spotted two brown waders scurrying about on the mud, my first Little-ringed Plovers. I always love my first occurance with summer migrants, it just amazes me to think that these tiny birds, only around the size of a Chaffinch have flew thousands of miles to grace that small bit of mud in the middle of Worcestershire! It just amazes me. 4 Avocets were also 'new' for me.
25 Curlew, 1 OYC and a single Common Snipe were all showing.

Around 6pm, a birder in the hide called out that a Mediterranean Gull had just dropped into the roost, and on 'getting on' the bird i was treated to views of a stunning adult summer plumaged bird! This is seriously one belter of a bird!
This is the first view i got of the bird after it had just landed on one of the islands.

And it then moved slightly revealing those stunning bright white primarys!

We initially assumed the bird was the previous nights adult, as i had not personally seen the photos of the bird, but we attempted to read the code in the falling light. The red ring already indicative of a Polish origin, as can be seen though, the other BHG around the bird somewhat hindered viewing though!

Eventually i got a clear view of the ring, and upon inquiring about the ring number, indicated that this bird was a 'new one'. Red PNU4

It later emerged that PNU4 was previously seen at the Moors Pool a week or so previously, but had disappeared and had gone completely off the radar before returning back to UW.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Wyre Forest birding

Each of my previous visits into the Wyre this year i have failed to drop down to walk along the brook, and therefore i was lacking species such as Dipper and Mandarin, so i vowed to head down there to get them!
We first walked the railway line, stopping off at Lodge Hill, quickly picking up 6+ Brambling, 2 Lesser Redpoll and 4 Bullfinch in trees surrounding the Orchard.

Dropping down onto the brook, we picked up a few Grey Wagtail, until eventually, i heard the distinctive flight call of a Dipper as one sped past me going downstream. We quickly found the bird sitting on rocks in the middle of the brook, and we were treated to decent views.

The bird flew slightly, but now gave a clearer view for a brief time before being flushed by a walker, sending the bird further upstream again, upon which time we decided to leave it alone. We had had a few minutes decent viewing, which is more than can be said for some times.

We found another Dipper in another park of the brook, but this bird quickly disappeared.

Just as we were walking back to the car, i scanned the small pool at the base of the hill, to be greeted with the view of a pair of Mandarin Ducks, my first of the year!

Following this we were driving past Callow Hill, and i picked up a raptor being mobbed by 2 Carrian Crows. As we neared i became aware of the birds flight action, confirming the bird to be a Red Kite, and not one of those dodgy reintroduced birds, this was a bird from the welsh populations. It so happens that late March is a very good time to pick up Red Kites within north Worcs, and in general the Severn Valley, as the Welsh birds often use it as a migration pathway. We stopped the car, and i fired off a few shots as the bird got further and further away.


Monday, 15 April 2013

Its been a long time!

It really has been such a long time since my last post, and am just dropping by to say that posting will again commence from now onwards as i am now mostly done towards my coursework, which has been one of my biggest inhibiting factors. Having just returned from a birthday weekend away with 'The Girlfriend' it seems like a good time to fill in the gaps of the last month!

Talking about the Girlfriend, all the way back in February we went for a walk at Arrow Valley Lake as i knew that Goosanders had been seen there recently, and we quickly located 13 of these stunning ducks, including 7 drakes. 15 Tufted Duck were also around the lake, and a Reed Bunting was seen near the visitor center. We were also able to get some great close up views of BHG's, including a few nicely marked 1w birds!

A couple of Tufties were showing very closely nearby!

I again went for a walk to look for LSW in a woodland to no reward, i'm really struggling to catch up with them this year! A stunning male BRAMBLING was still showing, starting too acquire some aspects of summer plumage.

2 Green Woodpecker were showing well on some short cut grass.

 And i was happy to see that both of the resident pair of Tawney Owl were out on top of their stump.

A visit to sheepwash was fairly productive, 37 Goosanders was a very good count, one of my highest of the winter infact, as was 47 Pochard. 8 Shoveler were still present, and the Tuftie flock numbered 20. 30 Linnet were still up on the 'mound' proving as flighty as always. 5 Lesser Redpoll were showing well in the wooded bits.

Roost birding at Bartley revealed a Yellow-legged Gull, but i manadged to miss the Caspian that was being watched from the dam.

A quick twitchy stop into Bittel reveled that the stunning adult drake SMEW was still present, choosing to reside in the furthest corner possible from the viewpoint on the Bittel farm Causeway. The Smew was keeping company with a single female Goldeneye, while a flock of 10 Goosanders were also present.

A patch visit was fairly uneventful bar 2 Snipe which flew over my head at Blackstone.

Another visit for LesserPecker and again drew a blank. I have been spending regular 3-4 hours in this woodland frequently and still am failing to see them. 4 BRAMBLING were still around, as was a Peregrine and the Tawney Owl was perched up on the top of the tree in beautiful sunlight, highlighting those gorgeous rufous tones.

A Nuthatch was showing down to 6ft on some food that had been put out.

Another failure to find LSW. A male and a female BRAMBLING were still near to the feeders. The Tawney was still out, and the Peregrine was still in residence. A small flock of 10 Siskin were flighty.

Sheepwash was doing well at retaining the Shoveler flock, as there was now 9 birds, including 3 birds showing very well adjacent to the path. 13 Goosanders were widely spread across the pool, but the Pochard flock had halved to 20 birds. A Kingfisher did a flypast along the river.

I do love my roosts. Again i visited Bartley as a Med Gull had been roosting regularly  Neil Duggan was also in the area and dropped in also. It was like a big birders meet up as 8 birders were present, the most i have ever seen at the location. Eventually the stunner of an adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL was located while suffering the freezing wind. For me however, the highlight goes to a pair of Peregrine which shown very well off the dam, apparently a very rare bird at Bartley, as they hunted the roosting Gulls. A Curlew flew off as the Peregrines entered.

I have a fondness for Grimely due to its superb looking habitat, and with waders starting on the move it seemed like a logical choice. We first dropped into the Holt flashes, where a flock of 75+ Wigeon were feeding, along with a fair few Lapwing and two Oystercatchers. I picked up two GREEN SANDPIPERS which were either migrants or some of the wintering birds. Moving onto the Camp lane pits we added a drake Pintail and a small flock of 6 Curlew, 2 Redshank were on the flooded middle section as were 2 Oystercatcher.

Following this we dropped into Upton Warren where i quickly got the 14 Avocet. 3 OYC flew north and 1 Curlew was showing. 3 Chiffchaffs were my first 'spring' birds and 2 Water Rail shown. A single 1w Common Gull dropped in among the roosting Gulls.

I struck lucky on patch with 2 Greylag Goose, an insane patch rarity. I have only previously had fly overs but these two birds were 'decked' and were showing on the Lickhill pool.
  (You can see both birds in this photo, even if only a tiny portion of the 2nd birds head)

And now i can get into the more 'juicy' recent birds in my posts following this,