Wednesday, 23 December 2009


no im not giving up the blog (but it got you attantion didnt it) but it's my last post this year, so here it goes:
sheepwash UP
a really frikin freezing day, it was so cold,despite telling andy that the lake would be frozen he didnt listen,he was hopeing to get the wintering goosanders. as expected though the lake ws almost completly frozen apart from a few small areas. but there was a fair few gulls down. a flock of 15 pochard was noteworthy,a drake goosander flew along the tame(but no others were seen),a meadow pipit flew over as did 2 pied wagtails. from our viewpoint the angle of the gulls(the largest concentration) was directly into the sun,we moved around(a good thing with small lakes.
,you can change viewpoint easily) to a better position opposite the sand martin bank,looking back where we had been standing had only a few BHG's and a 3w LBBG, i then started scanning the gulls in front of us on the ice, 4 more LBBG's including a 1st winter, a lone LBBG at the back by the sand martin bank was surrounded by a few gulls, then i noticed a pale backed gull, with a large gull primary look. it was facing away from us towards the bank,but i knew what it was having seen many the previous saturday, i called 'COMMON GULL', this is the 1st common gull i have seen at sheepwash,and as im sure many of you will know,despite having common in their name,they are completly opposite, with scarce sightings away from gulling sites. i left the scope with andy as i ran around to the south side of the lake with the camera. and this is what greeted me:
a stuning adult common gull,perched out on the ice
andy then started comming around and the gull was spooked by a LBBG,but as i was trying to find the bird though the viewfinder the bird dissapeared into thin air. we scanned though the gulls but the bird had dissapeared,although i did get this funny pic of a tuftie trying to act like a phalarope:
we decided to search for the common gull so we could get better photos, we stopped at every area that views the lake but it couldent be seen, we had a final stop near the boulders in the water( its got a funny smell there),a few BHG'S were sitting on the ice while 2 LBBG's were at the edges.i scanned the aseemabled gulls with my scope and there it was, the common gull,i again called out and we again changed possition to get some more photos, well now it was relocated it was easy to pick out, and we got some half decent photos:
after a bit a LBBG again flushed it with the BHG's and andy managed a wing shot:
the bird again dissapeared and as a few teenagers stated ice scating on the lake we headed home
should be a good bit to talk about after i come back, watch this space

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

A purple patch day

lickhill again
again this will be a quite short post, a good showing by recently arived siskins with about 10 now on site with a flock of 100c goldfinch(a sight and sound in the top of a tree), lapwings were flying over the garden so i decided to check the riverside fields,when i got there there was a few fieldfare pottereing around, and a frikin huge flock of lapwing, i counted 134 lapwing on the fields which is the largest grounded flock in the entire 7 years i have birded lickhill and not only that, there was also a GOLDEN PLOVER in the flock, the 1st site record this year,but it was wary and stayed at the back of the fields all the time before flying off west at 3:34pm with most of the lapwings. this must surely have something to do with the cold wether musent it?
also noted here was 2 wintering meadow pipits(showing well) and a raven flew over.

but on a the way back i took a detour around a field that had turned marshy and somehow wasent iced over,while walking down the side of the marsh i flushed a snipe,a very rare bird on lickhill and now i was very happy with my day,but just before i reached the stream i flushed 2 more snipe, no wait, that snipe is flying straight JACK SNIPE, oh my god, another site first, a very unusual record as well as no way did i expect one to turn up here, who could believe that, the bigest flock of lapwing ever, a golden plover,2 snipe and a jack snipe, an amazing haul for lickhill.
a video of a lapwing:


a quick check of all the locations mentoned produced 7 lapwing and 2 raven but not much else, and the best news the MARSH TIT continues to visit the feeders, could a wintering bird be on th cards

but no sign of any red kites so thats my hope that one will winter here gone



a quick early mourning visit to lickhill produced a flyover flock of 4 teal which is a site first,also a distant flock of 60c lapwing and an imense flock of 80c cormorant flew north

at earlswood later in the day had a flock of 6 bullfinch in the snowy garden also pished out 2 goldcrests,a nuthatch was seen as was 3 coal tits in a tit flock


Monday, 21 December 2009


have seen a few bloggers have already beaten me to this, but mine is in a different format.

this past year i have gone from, well theres no other way to put it, a nobody in the birding world to a birder known to a few birders, i have ammased many friends over the last year and i an superbly gratefull to the people who have guided my though this year(special mentions at end of post)

so here it is the 'BIRD AWARDS 09'

2009 has been an amazing year for me, with many lifers and very few 'dip outs'. i dont think i mentioned it on the blog before but my new years resolution last year was to reach 200 on my life list, and i did, thanks to a 3w CASPIAN GULL at stubbers green(12/12).

the title of rarest bird of the year goes to: the 1st winter GLOSSY IBIS at grimley(6/12) although been closely followed by the flock of 4 CATTLE EGRETS at slimbridge(3/10)

the best preformance by a bird this year goes to: SABINE'S GULL at upton warren(22/8, 24/8, 26/8, 29/8),a very unprecidented long stay by a rare bird, easilly one of the best birds this year.

best preformance by a lifer: 6 BLACK TERN at upton warren(24/8), these birds showed down to 2/3 metres on the sailing pool a well overdue bogey bird.

rarest self found bird: although tough to call i think the COMMON CRANE near stourton (16/10),this bird just edges out the NIGHTINGALE on lickhill, both being regional raretys.

most common scarcity: believe it or not this year i found no less than 3 worcester RED KITES,one over my nans house which was seen 3 minuites after a hobby(15/5), one over lickhill(7/6) this perticular bird was tracked up from the malverns to lickhill(presuming its the same bird) and my most recent record of an immature bird(13/12) again over lickhill

BUT here is the BIG one, the BEST bird of 2009: drum role please, dom,dom,dom,dom,dom........... 20 WAXWINGS at hagley worcester on 31/1, my first lifer for the year and they preformed mega well, showing down to a few metres and literally on the bonnet of the car, luckilly the flock hung around just long enough for 8 birders to connect,giving stunning views, self found lifer after trying (and dipping) 7 previous times on other birds, these birds were discovered while trying to twitch a flock of 170 at brownhills.

so there you go, my best birds of 2009,

and lastly i would like to thanks everybody who has followed or read my blog over the last year, from starting my blog only a year ago in november 2008 it was from humble beginings but now being hugely grateful i have 31 followers to this blog and it is nice to know im doing something right,

thanks for all the comments guys: keep it up

and very lastly, i have a few people to personally thank, foremost the worcester county recorder brian stretch who has kept me updated on the bird news in worcester and on occasions further afield,
matt griffiths, for all the help he has given me on the earlswood area and for the occasional tip off of an unusuall bird he has seen or knows about.
and lastly for my fellow bloggers, thanks for shareing your bird sightings for us all to enjoy, its one of the main reasons i follow blogging so much, extra special thanks to martyn yapp, richard powell and kay donaghy for the invite to the bloggers day out which was immensly enjoyed.

so thnaks all, one on me(thats 2 i owe you matt) cheers


just hopefully this forthcomming year can be almost as good as last year

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


13/12/09 continued

martyn dropped my a text saying that he had crossbill's up at tripley so after ages of waiting i finally get my dad out at 2:30. my hopes wernt high as from personal experiance i know that finches become less active after 2 in winter, but as we pulled up,it was totally differnt, the crossbills were calling, we heard 3 birds calling but failed to locate them anywhere despite extensive searching. after a bit we dropped down onto the severn and quickly located the flock of 16 mandarin,i then took some videos through my bins(didnt want to lug my scope down, anyway its only mandarins)

after a few videos we climbed the bank to view the reseviour (still cant bloody spell it) and then 4 more mandarin flew in bunking the total up to 20(11 drake,9 duck),but as usual the lake was totaly devoid of birds but a goosander(f) flew over, a grey heron give superb views on the small pool and there was a grand total of 6 g c grebe.


Monday, 14 December 2009


what was just ment to be an hour check of lickhill turned into 3 hours of constant birding,i left for the vismig point,i placed my scope down and a cormorant was flying upriver but there was another bird coming in over the field,i quickly locked onto it and it was yet another RED KITE. the second site record this year and my 3rd worcester kite this year,i grabbed my camera from my pocket and put it to my bins,i then got a distant,out of focus video of the bird as it flew upriver:

sure the detail isnt good but just by the jizz you can tell its a kite,look hard and you can see a long tail and the typical red kite flight is shown, unfortunatly the bird didnt stay and soon headed off,i sprinted while fully laden with scope and bins upriver but the bird wasent relocated,

although this hovering ketrel was a bonus:

so a little excited from this dicovery i headed home via the lickhill conifer wood. a caravan had a few feeders out with a lot of activity so i stopped and had a look,a nuthatch was in the tree behind me and the usual birds were on the feeders, blue,great coal tit as well as a roving LTT flock, then a'pee-choo' call got me excited MARSH TIT. a bit of ferantic scanning produced a 'parus' tit but the views were brief therefore i didnt want to rule out willow yet. the bird flew landing at the base of an oak tree,showing it lacked a pale secondary patch and had a glossy cap but the bird was faceing away so the chin patch was invisible. the owner of the feeder caravan asked what i was looking at and i replied marsh tit,i offered a look though my scope and he(being a newby birder) tentativly agreed.he said that the bird had been visiting the feeders for the last few days so now i only hope it stops for the winter

he then told me of a report that a fisherman saw 2 red kites over lickhill, but he didnt believe him but only when i told him about my kite did he start to believe the record was real.

so then i spent 2 hours trying to get a film or the tit to confirm its ID, the bird was later joined by another bird and they both shown after 2 hours this is the final result:

a kingfisher was on the kingfisher pool again but no photos were taken,also a very brief view of a crake sp, almost certainly a WATER RAIL but it dissapeared before i could see it well. if confirmed this would be the 1st site record,

a bullfinch also heard calling

then a txt from martyn started a whole new story(not 2nite,will finish 2moz)



hey im the first to get this out

richards and martyns take on the day can be viewed here soon, well maybe.(just click on respective name)

for me it was a bloody early get up, 6AM for me to get ready and have breakfast and all that usual stuff.

i was picked up by martyn at 7:15 and we were on our way to stubbers green.

we got out the car and walked towards the lake in FREEZING cold was really cold,a small flock of lapwing was flying around 'wheezing' in the cold conditions(even they had colds). we were soon joined by another birder from birdfourum,rob who was also waiting for the caspian. a female goosander flew over hinting at what was to came,soon after the gulls started pilleing onto the lake,but the first large gull we saw was up the top end of the lake by the sailing club, it was flying about but imidiatly looked good, we changed our position and the gull was on a boyd. it was the CASPIAN GULL(lifer 200),i was happy to have got my 200th lifer and i celerbrated by,well, by looking at the caspian. here's a film in low mouring light.

and a GBBG

this video shows a few caspian features,eg the long straw coloured legs,protruding breast,small head and dark eye,in flight it was also easily identifiable,with its broken tail band with almost aall black primarys with black running to its elbow,and as the bird shown just 15 mins into the trip it was a great start.

also here was a load of common gulls(10c)

after some time looking for a yellow leg failed but 13 greater black backs were nice to see as was about 8 goosander(including fly overs) and a little grebe. not much later we were joined by richard and he got a few pics of the caspian, more scanning of the flock produced just the usual species.then the pagers started bleeping away,'90 pink footed goose over uttoxeter with a bewicks on the lake' '100 pink foots over ingestre' '85 pink foots over berry hill fields'

so, time to head north..........

...... to chasewater

we pulled into the car park in search of an adult med gull, we walked to the lake( keep calling it a lake cause i cant spell resivior) scanned the gulls and mart said got the med gull,it wasent long before i was on a crisp,beatiful,white winged mediterranian gull,a stunner of a gull,with its blood red bill and legs glowwing in the sunshine(yes it was sunny).

so how about that beauty,what about this tired film of it yawning,lazy thing.

we spent some time scanning the lake for anything,but then right in the distance,just above the horizon we saw........

.....NOTHING absolutly nothing

well anyway back to the med gull,what a beutiful looking bird they are,they always raise you spirits everytime you see one:

we then decided to check the south shore,a big raft of goldeneye was diving just offshore,and martyn pointed out a few shovler and gadwall forther out on the lake,and as upton warren doesent hold goldeneye too oftern i decided to take the opp to get some pics and films:

a good count of 56 great c grebes were out on the water.

richard wanted to get the whinchat at tamworth and i did too (secretly) so after a bit we carried on to tameside NR.

well this was the easiest of the lot to get,it was simple. we parked up,crossed the road up the bank and there it was, im not kidding it was that easy. but saying this the bird did fly around a lot,but then remained perched on a twig or a tree for quite long periods of time. this site loks amazing, the stuff you could imagine turning up there would make your mouth water,and all this in the centre of tamworth next to a main road bordered by house, unbelievable. and although the lake was quite small there were a good range of waterbirds,13 lapwing,3 snipe,8 wigeon and 4 gadwal,as well as 2 chiffchaff. why cant it be like this on lickhill(although lickhill has a few suprises,see next post),

(its on the twig in the centre if your wondering)

after a very enjoyable time with the whinchat we decided to go looking for the smew at fishers mill.but to put it short,we dipped, after a seeingly very long walk we reached the pits,to be honest the habitat was and looked amazing,no wonder the glossy ibis(s) decided to tur up here,it looked very mediteranian(if you subtract the very muddy paths), goldeneye seemed to be everywhere,with 10c noted on the lakes, on the northermost lake 2 redshank were feeding and 4 shelduck were resting,between 2 lakes in scrubby areas were a pair of stonechat.this compleating the pair of 'common' chats in a day. they preformed superbly and for once i looked more at these birds than at the lake:

a common gull was seen to land with a few black heads,on the way back martyn pisshed out a chiffchaff,which shown quite well, a bullfinch was heard(one was seen and heard briefly and the way down as was treecreeper), so now onwards on upwards,driving through prime merlin habitat(non were seen) we stumbled on a small flock of only 190!!! mute swan. we pulled over and had a quick scan though,but no wild swans were seen :(

croxall pool was our next destination,and in my terms it was a great desision. this was only to be a quick in and out stop but a quite big flock of ducks up the far end got us investigating, half way up the path we stopped and scanned.i was scanning a flock of wigeon and tufties and then i panned onto a small goose. PINK FOOTED GOOSE i calmly said. the others quickly got onto it and i was praised by my discovery. and with the big movement of pink feet over this area earlier this bird was WILD!! even martyn said it was wild(could i please have it in writing as its not oftern you say a goose on its own is wild) this bird proberbly has the best credentials to be a wild bird so im happy.

throughout the time the bird was watched it was wary of the canadian geese giving it even better credentials.

but it wasent long and the bird done this:

it flew north and wasent seen again.this was the ONLY bird i saw before anybody else over the whole trip,so i am very happy with it. but here it was not only the pink footed goose, there was also a huge winter flock of 33 redshank,33 redshank,thats an amazing total for winter in the middle of stafordshire.the usual ducks were presant including 8 goldeneye 8 wigeon but a female pintail was a bonous.

a check of a lake not far from here didnt produce much but a little egret flew over and there was 2 shelduck, in the surrounding fields was a flock of fieldfare/redwing and also a load of goldfinch.

then it was back to chasewater for the gull roost from the south shore,by this time my scope was useless and i relied on martyns and richards scopes to look through,the adult med gull was again picked up quite quickly, the roost size was huge but was still increasing,i estimated about 10000 birds rooseted on the lake,proberbly more:

the flock covered the res. from side to side, 3 yellow legged gulls were picked out by martyn but apart from a couple of possibles we failed to locate the caspian gulls. even without any 'white wingers' or caspains the sheer spectacle of that amount of gulls is a fitting end to any day..

what a blast of a day today was,with great company and great birds, so all i can say is.....

whens the next one?

thks to martyn and richard for the invite


Wednesday, 9 December 2009


this is what i have called my most recent piece of artwork/quick jot and depicts the scene as the peregrine swoops on the ibis,i think it shows the sizes between the species well

dont know why but when i take the pics under household lighting the images go blury so sorry.
well waht do you think?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


after what i can only call one of the best birding mournings of the year,we headed home, we arrived and i went back to the kingfisher pond,today there was only one kingfisher(a male) but god did he show well,
yesterday i learned that the male was more confiding than the female,so i slowly walked towards the tree it was perched in, i got to a tree about 3 metres from the bird and stopped,in this time the bird didnt look away from the water once,showing that it does not bother it by my presance,but only when a person in a red coat get out a car did it fly off.
as the sun was much brighter today i went onto manual settings and but the ISO down and the shutter speed up. i was able to take photo's at 1/250th second which was the highest shutter speed i had got for ages with all this dull enough of me blabbering on here's some photo's:(note these images arnt cropped)

and here are some videos:


Monday, 7 December 2009


Today i found out who the shropshire couple was,it was bird photographer extrodinaire jim almond and his good friend yvonne chadwick from the shropshire birder (his take on the story can alos be viewed here)
he has kindly allowed me to use some of his ibis photo's so here they are:
how cool are these,much better than my measly shots,but as mentioned on my last post,he does have a mamoth 'lens'. he calls them record shots,i call them masterpieces,well done Jim

Sunday, 6 December 2009



holt then grimley

last night i asked brian to keep me updated on the glossy ibis as i had heard on saturday it was very mobile, after recieving news the previous night saying it had flushed from a gunshot,my hopes wernt high.

but early mouning i recieved news it was again,below the castle on floodwater,so soon after we left for it,we parked in the warth inn car park and met a couple from shropshire(i think) who were also looking for the bird,we walked downriver,a cormorant was on a riverside tree and i stood in slightly rotting cow pat,nice.i wiped it off and checked my phone,another txt from brian saying it had relocated to wagon wheel lane,followed by a quick,its moved from here to the others and we all headed back for our cars,as the couple didnt know the area we agreed to guide them to the site,after about 15 mins we had parked in grimley and started walking down.

the twitch was easy to spot, i set up my scope and the few people that were there(3 people,i knew 2,one was brian stretch and the other was andy shaw),they said hi and said the bird was still out there,well what can i say it was mega easy to spot, a medium sized black bird. the light was superb,it was coming in from behind us and iluminated the GLOSSY IBIS(LIFER 199) perfectly.the green sheen in the wings stood out but as it was a first winter it was a very dull sheen,but still an amazing bird,the shropshire couple then arrived and i pointed it out and the bloke pulled out a monster of a camera lens.

here are my distant record shots:

so now with the ibis secured i scanned the rest of the flood,2 greylag geese flew over,69 wigeon were on the water as well as a few shoveler,and in with these ducks were 3 pintail(all female),a few l b b gulls were on the water and 6 mute swans were about.unfortunalty i didnt get many other pics/films of other birds.

after brian and richard harbid and the shopshire couple left it was andy shaw,my dad,me and an unknown photographer.and we were about to witness an almost murder,the GLOSSY IBIS suddenly flew up and looked as if it was flying away,my dad shouted peregrine,i was still watching the ibis and suddenly the ibis went spaz and dived head first into the water,but just before the ibis hit the water the peregrine swooped down and came within inches of taking this county first.we shouted out wjat had just happened and the peregrine landed in a nearby tree,it shown for about 10 secs in the tree(showing it was a male,including its small size) then bolted off east.

the ibis then lande in a few willow trees,after a bit longer it again took flight and this time flew high.i just about managed an in flight film of it,then it again landed in the willows but wasent again seen by us.

the scope views were quite good but the films just dont show it,although i an particualrly proud of the in flight film,

then in grimley village had a goldcrest.we then headed home,and another sesion with the kingfishers



as it was too late to get to upton before dark we cheaked the hungry hourse field,for some reason my dad didnt park in the car park but stopped at a gap in the headge along cleobry lane.
noted 7 golden plover within the 78 lapwings,a jay was also heard


just a quick post,on lickhill today,a ravern was heard,12 pheasant were on the vismig field,7 goldcrest,but the highlight was 3 kingfishers which shown very,very well on a small pond.i got very close to there favorite perch,here are a few videos of the kingfishers:


Thursday, 3 December 2009


have never posted some of my drawings on this blog so here are a few i have made previously,as you will proberbly see most of my inspiration comes from birds that i have recently seen so here is a taster:

so what do you think,
comments welcome

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


or the eurasian bittern
my 3rd and last installment of this day,after leaving the plovers we headed to upton warren.the bittern had been showing on the north moors earlier in the day so that's where i more than 5 mins into our vigial the BITTERN was flying across the landed in the reeds(see pic below) and continued to move about in the reeds;

but despite watching for another 15-20 mins we didnt see it again.

so we headed down to the west hide,the usual stuff was about here,consisting of shoveler(65) teal(2) pochard(36),water rail(5,3 seen), g c grebe(15c),little grebe(6),a kingfisher perched on the stick briefly and a female reed bunting was on the feeders before going to roost

a redwing and a l t tit perched on the bush just outside the left side of the hide in almost darkness

.the walk back to the car was more exiting,with the thrush flock again presant,and with cetti's calling.

but bar the bittern it was a rather quiet visit,but come on,you've still got to love the place.



just read this grusom post from london

just makes you wonder WHY doesent it

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


must admit it isnt that many times i say that,but this 1 and a half hours at earlswood must surley go down as one of my best birding moments this year,just as we were preparing to leave at 2:45 i looked up to see how light it was and try to predict how much time we had at upton,but while looking up i noticed about v skeins in the sky,no not wild geese,frickin GOLDEN PLOVER, and not just a few loads of them,,i was standing out in the back garden,so bolted for the car to grab my bins,i got them and soon was joined by my dad as we watched them as they circled around, a MASSIVE flock,litterally covering the sky,they were everywhere,but after a few skeins had started circling over out heads ,more continued to pile in and within about 30 seconds about 1000 were in there,1000 of them,
i felt so privalidged to watch this as this year i had only seen 8 of them(not including the last slimbridge visit, as the total would go up to 158,kinda ruining the amazment),the flock the flew off west leaving my amazed at such a spectacle, but after a few minuites 300 of the flock flew back and again started circling,i used this time to get videos and photos(sorry all videos digi-binned and highly shakey,watch at your own risk),

to be honest i hadent been this exited here since i had the honey buzzard over here in 2007(well i think its 2007, a little story i was in the garden and i saw 2 buzzards coming in from the north,one looked odd so i looked at that one,only when it got about myhead did i know i was looking at a honey buzzard,as this was long before i knew birdguides existed or before i had any contacts i didnt take it any further,apart from gloating to my birding friend about it,only later that night my friend called back to say one was seen there earlier in the day over the lakes,and if i remember right it had a broken primary in its right wing or was it left)

back to the plovers,they then flew towards the hungry horse and looked to land butwithin 30 secs they were back up and flew north,and that was the last time i saw them,at around 3pm,and according to matt,the house where i do the job is in west mids so they were in the west mids(my first for that county) but also saw them fly into warwrickshire so 2 counties.

and finally i will take this op to thank matt for all the help he has given me about earlswood,and some birds he has seen,including black tern(before i saw my first) among other stuff,and matt is it ok to mention a certain bird in warwickshire a few months ago?

well anyway,one on me matt :-)


Monday, 30 November 2009


as major flooding sets in in cumbria,i was out prowling on the patch,and like cumbria,it was underwater.the small lake had almost trippled in size and the resulting wet grassland covered the site, but from past experiance i know that on lickhill this is good!
strait to the vismig point where 3 female pheasant were lerking.a male was seen briefly in flight. a scan of the small flock of gulls produced 20 BHG's,20c l b b gulls and a odd gull,i managed one distant film before all the gulls were spooked,i was so confused by it i even took a field scetch
any ideas on it! (the gull that is in the middle of the screen after the heron)
i personally think its an odd lesser but i may be could be a normal lesser plumage or a totally different species.
but carrying on:
2 grey wagtial were watched on the floods along with 2 pied wagtails.
an unusual count of 2 grey herons was on site(an adult and a juv)
2 nuthatch's were caling in the woodlands
a treecreaper was perched on the side of a trunk and looked as if it was only just waking up.although they usually roost in cracks in trees.


and to finish it off you remember that 'little egret' i had at slimbridge,it turns out it is more plastic than the is a fake.a plastic egret.and i thought it was real, the shame. they staff put it out a few weeks before to try and attract a random egret pair,cant they just put a note in the hide saying there was a very lifelike plastic egret at the back.

well anyway thanks to the know who you are???

Thursday, 26 November 2009


started raining as i was walking upriver so after a bit i started to head back home,but on the way,on the NW boundry of the caravan park i heard a familiar call,if i hadent known what the call was i would have just walked past but i knew what it was,and quite an unusual bird at lickhill, the BULLFINCH,after a minuite of painfully walking through a nettle filled path i came to where i heard the calls,then the backside of a female bullfinch emerged from the bush in front of me. it flew about 10 metres and landed in a willow,folowed by 2 more female,then a superb looking male landed next to them,full beatiful plumage.
after scrambling over a barbed wire fence(dont worry it's not tresspassing) i was able to watch a whole flock of bullfinch,7 to be exact(2M,5F),
as lickhill has NO breeding presance of the species,it looks as if it is a scarce winter visitor,as this is one of the biggest flocks in recent times it is quite noteworthy.but after 7 years of watching lickhill i have become aware of the bird populations,
as i started birding here,there was only 1 bird that was presant in winter,but recently there has been an increase of records and numbers,prehaps sudgesting a population increase,it could be me using my ears more to track down birds or it could be a regularly returning flock as it is always in the same area.last winter the flock peaked at 5 birds(1M,2F,2 IMM) and that was later in the winter so maybe the total could rise even more,more to come from these im sure....

in the same line of headges was a male kestrel,no big deal i hear you say.but wait, it shown very well.after about 15 mins of stalking(bit of wrong word to use but go with it) i got withing 10 metres of the bird on a bush.i tucked myself away in the long wet grass(raining quite heavily at this point) and stated taking films.i will admit they could be better but as it was raining and rain was on my scope lens i think there quite good:

after a good 10 mins with the bird it flew then started hovering not far away from me,it then hit the floor and was down for a few seconds,it then sprung up and flew to a nearby tree,at this point i left the bird,not wanting to disturb it any more.

oh and wait i also had 9 lapwing fly over from the farm fields

highlights are:

7 bullfinch

3 jay

9 lapwing

1 male kestrel(VGV-very good views)


Wednesday, 25 November 2009


and thats what it dad for most of the day,the day started with a check of lickhill,at least 5 pheasant(3 male seen initially then 2 female) were in the goose(vismig) field:

again a quick check of the gull flock produced nothing but BHG's,a sparrowhalk flew low over the field,a 50c strong flock of goldfinch was in a large birch tree.

then at 08:52 a drake GOOSANDER flew upriver,remember im not usually lucky with this species at lickhill and this is only my 3rd lickhill record(although surely more have passed though),unfortunatly although i had quite close views i didnt get my camera up fast enough before it had flew over the field and was gone.....

we arrived at the earlswood job and after a quick check to make sure everything was ok,we turned back,the rain was just very,very bad.

so to upton,THEN


bugger, somebody had crashed on the motorway and the traffic already started to build up(the crash only happened a minuite or 2 before),after a jolly good 45 mins of looking at bleak motorway verges and a cool helecoptor we were on our way:

look a cool helecoptor(in the end it flew off as the crash wasent that serious

(film not uploading,sorry)

so now with only at most an hours left untill dusk,and the rain hammering the front of the hide(bittern) only the north facing window was open,so only the open water was counted,a huge total of 38 pochard was scattered across the north side as was 59 shovelers,2 water rail were calling in front of the hide and another shown in the truily terrible light,even in this weather a cetti's was singing.a female reed bunting had a go at the feeders f0r a bit,100-200 lapwing kept flying backwards and forwards from the A38 field and the islands,also in the A38 was 40 curlew which then flew towards the flashes,after getting fed up with the wind and rain,we retreated back to the car and home,but on the way back along the path,there was ton's of thrush activity,quite a few redwings,fieldfares,blackbirds,song thrushes and a lone mistle thrush were feeding on the berrys,5 bullfinch were also feeding on the berrys,with its sad call, and what a way to describe the day,

truily a nasty day(although any birds that i dont see regularly away from upton is good in my book)


Monday, 16 November 2009

100th post

OMG,a milestone reached and a good day it was with about 9000 bird's seen
on the way down had a raven near breadon hill.
with the recent reports of quite scarce/rare birds at slimbridge recently and my desire to get to 200 lifers before the year end,it was a must visit....
went straight for the zeiss hide,and believe this,we cought the tide and the waders were on the lake,kerching,

decided to search the waders for anything different in there,i counted 8 sanderling and 3 knot in the 500c dunlin(note pics only show portion of flock).i was overwhelmed by the activity here, so many birds,but the real spectacle is when one of the greatist raptors goes through,the peregrine.there was a male and a female hunting the dumbles/area in front of zeiss hide,on one occasion the female flew through and put absolutly every wader up.then watchind it flying towards the holden tower a huge,massive flock of lapwings exploded up and i mean massive,there was at least 3000 birds up there and with an extra 1000 in front of me it created an amazing specticle:

(dunlins in flight with a few lapwings)

(all lapwings,view full size for views of small birds again only bit of flock)

(dunlin's,sanderling's and knot's coming in to land)

inwith the dunlin's (and other waders mentioned) were a good sized flock of 100c golden plover,6 blackwit were 'hanging/sleeping' with a flock of wigeon/teal,a lone snipe probed the mud and 4 ruffs were prancing around,including a pale adult male and 2 redshank,the flock of barnicle geese was viewed distantly from here and at 12 o clock from the hide the 42 white fronted goose were feeding,a big flock of canadian geese was in the field to the left of the hide,
a water rail shown a few times in front of the hide,the duck numbers were outstanding,about 800 teal and about 300-400 wigeon,although they were hard to count with them plastered everywhere. there was also about 30c pintail

after logging:

6 blackwit

100c golden plover

4000c lapwing

500c dunlin

8 sanderling

3 knot

4 ruff

42 white fronts

2 peregrine

large amounts of ducks

we them moved to the holden tower where we saw the huge lapwing flock closer,another 50 golden plover were here, and 2 BARWIT were pointed out to me at a huge distance on the river,another peregrine,a flock of about 50 greylags,140 barnicle and the 42 distant white fronts again,5 pintail flew towards the zeiss area,we didnt spend too much time here as the top floor of the hide was jam packed and we gave up our seats.

then on to the rushy pen,where my lifer 'will' be.

and yes they were there. 18 BEWICK'S SWANS gave good views but the pintails were superb giving amazing views.n the rushy hide(the rickety wooden one not the nice headted one) i watched for 45 mins as about 10 male pintails displayed to a female right in front of the hide,and they were wild

(pintail doing amazing duck)



and to say there was a lot of pochards was an understatement

(loads of pochard)
we spent the next 1 1/2 hours looking into the rushy pen as there is just so much to look at and take in. a little egret stood motionless in a tree at the back of the pen

and a few of other things in the rushy pen:

some people would be dissapointed that all the raretys had cleared out,but you know what i go against them,without the raretys this was a great day,with 79 species logged at slimbridge(and 81 for day) and about 9000 birds seen,
so,was it worth the trip.


an amazing second part to the day when i witnessed a magical flock of 300+ golden plover flying west over the m42 at junction 3(at earlswood).this is the biggest flock i have ever seen and was a nice earlswood tick. bar the plovers there was no other highlights at earlswood.
upton warren
i knew of a goldeneye and a bittern at upton moors again so thats where we headed,and again the west hide(just the better hide towards sundown/dusk).i asked wheather the goldeneye had been seen and the birders replyed no despite looking for them.i scanned the islands and found my secomd upton barnicle goose,sweet.

then i scanned the ducks at the far end of the lake with my scope,well it was easy,

shoveler,shoveler,shoveler,teal,shoveler,pochard,shoveler,female shoveler,but wait......

thats an odd female shoveler,so scoped the duck,well its bigger than the shoveler,and has got a noticable long bulge at the breast while it sat on the water,then it woke up briefly,showing it long,2 toned, beak, PINTAIL

as this hadent been reported that day(i know),or the day before(i think) i shouted it out,the other birders got onto it after a few directions and agreed it was a female pintail. could you class this as a self found bird?

then the other birder had the goldeneye,it was behind the half sunken raft,just behind the pintail,the bird had dived but why was i worried,it was the only duck in that area of the lake and i had the pintail and the goldeneye(upton tick 129) in a scopeview,now i had found the goldeneye i went into relax mode and started couting the shovelers,after about a min or 2 i came with the count of 79+(the + is because i know there would be more birds in amys marsh).
there was 24 curlew in the field behind the hide and 1 greylag geese flew towards the flashes after being with the canadas.
highlights are:
17 greylag
79+ shoveler
1 GOLDENEYE(juv male)
5!! water rail
24 curlew
2 cetti's


walk out the door walk down to the vismig point,first bird i note,RAVEN 1 flying east,
no wait
another following it 2 RAVEN,flying east
not much happening so after 30 mins a few blackbirds a mipit and a few pied waggies over i gave up,and as i saw lots of gulls landing on the camping field i decieded to head over there,and while walking there,yet another RAVEN flew over,this time heading north.a few scans of the gull flock produced only 40c BHG's ,but ten a flock of 11 lapwing flew over,
(yes the photo only shows 10)
a lot of thrush activity in the hawthorn/other berry bushes.a good 80c redwing,3 mistle thrush and a good 15 blackbird(including partially albino bird,but this was very flighty,maybe migrant,never seen that peticular albino bird on site before)
so thats about it. 3 RAVEN being the highlights.


so upton warren
again the moors as i still craved more views of the bittern.on entering the west hide i was told that a bittern was in the reeds in front of the hide but had dissapeared and that the pink foot was still with the canada flock,well the pink foot was easy to find:

(bad video of pink foot in little light).

it wasent long before a bittern shown,i looked at the area and i had it straight away,it then ducked down again and never saw it on the ground again for more than a second.after about 30 mins,i saw abittern bommed out at the top end of the lake from the dead tree area of reeds(where we posibly saw one on the way to the hide).it flew over to the north moors and dropped in the reeds.then the bittern that was in front of the hide shot out and flew towards the north moors and landed in exacly the same section of reeds!!!

at dusk 17 greylag geese roosted at the moors

highlights are:



17 greylag

3 water rail

3 cettis

2 bullfinch


Thursday, 12 November 2009

A little more vis-migging

with the vismigging quieting down now i thought i would give it a quick go,
not a good choice.FOG
remember how just a few posts ago i said about the 252 canada geese in the flock,today there was only 53,where have the other 199 gone, about 90 winter thrushes went over( 60 redwing ,30 fieldfare), 5 pied wagtails kept flying around,as the fog got worse i saw the shapes of 3 swans approching from the north,for a few seconds i was hoping they were whoopers but after they got about 50 metres from me,they were only the regular pair of mutes but with a young in toe,3 nuthatch were calling away but only gave brief and/or distant views.although the goldcrests were amazing preformers,showing a couple of metres away.

but the highlight of the sesion was a snipe sp that flew SE along the river,the views were brief and quite a distance away so no positive ID.
a quick check of moorhall marsh produced a showy great spotted woodie and a few flyover redwings and mistle thrush.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Ruddy hell !!!

undisclosed location somewhere close to great bridge
he's found a mate!

the male ruddy duck has a mate,a totally shite day for photography but still nice to see the ruddy with a was an odd discovery,walking along the raised path along the tame and saw some pochard, then a tufted duck surfaced in front of them and the a smaller duck next to it,i raised my bins and,it was a female ruddy duck(prob's 1 of only 5 ive seen).a little later and was joined by andy again(who was photographing a pochard further down the path) and he captured a few shots of the pair together,anyway not much else to note,the pochards were back with 14 counted,4 very flighty teal were bomming around the lake every time we got within spotting distance of them(1m,3f).a check of the chemical pool(oops you know where it is now) and the mound,a mipit flew over as well as 52 redwing,but not much else,a scan throught the gulls produced nothing of note,there were 5 lapwings and a possible 'intermidius' race lesser black back(nowhere near certain enough to claim it though)
that really concludes my trip to ?????????


Tuesday, 10 November 2009


The way isnt it,for one poxy weekend you lose your camera and bloody everythings shows,and not only shows-but shows well.
the day started at lickhill for yet more vis-migging and a count of the canada flock,122 canadians today,about 80 redwings went over and only 1 skylark,a poor start to any day.
well it soon livened up.

i guess you all know tufted ducks are ment to be on lakes dont you,well i had 2 male(eclipse) on the river in bewdley town centre,what. thats mad,tufties on a river.i tried some very bad phone shots but,trust me hear.the ducks are only pixel sized dots,even though they were close.

i cant remember what happed at earlswood(too busy trying to get the work done so we can get to upton early)

well we did get to upton early
so over to the east hide to look at some snipe's.
on the way a female green woodpecker shown well in the paddock.
9 snipe were plodding around but non were bouncing around so no jack snipe:(
i knew of a pink footed goose that was there and i imdiatly went in to find it,2 greylag were in the quite large flock of canadas but i couldent find it....oh wait up.

it was hideing behind a much larger canada,the pink footed goose was and upton tick(127) and also a year tick(god knows),after a bit longer watching lapwings and scanning the reedbed,and with the sun now at a painful level shining into the hide we left for the west it gets exiting.after looking to get another view of the pink foot from another angle it was still in the same basic area,and a male gadwall was sitting peacefully on the water,a fine looking duck gadwalls are,a quick(and not very acurate) count of the shovelers produced only 21 birds,there was 11 pochards floating around,with some red headed males.the kingfishers again gave great views on the sticks,22 curlew flew towards the flashes after feeding on the A38 field,a few water rail were briefly poping out occasionally but not giving great views,the cetti's warblers were singing again(and what a powerful song it is),

but just as i was giving up hope on the bittern,i got a quite quiet call from my dad, "ive got the bittern"

those words to make you stop dead in you tracks, and for the next minuite or so it led me a merry dance to just get a view of it,but then it lifted its head,out of some reeds,only about 10 metres from the hide, i will tell you now,that is 'the best' views of a bittern i have ever got, a head shot of a bittern.if i had my camera i would be showing you a great video of the bitterns head poking out the reeds but instead all you have is this:

highlights are:
1 gadwall
22 curlew
1 green wood

Monday, 9 November 2009

The suprise's this 'hobby' can bring

this is so long ago now i dont know how the day went,but here goes:

had a walk to the vismig point to, well do vismigging. the canada flock was up to a even higher year peak of 252 birds.thats only 26 off the all time lickhill record(well a grounded flock anyway).
the redwings started going over and in the time i was out had 148 over and 23 fieldfare,15 skylark flew over but only 1 meadow pipit.a plesant suprise when a bullfinch flew over calling going north.
but the highlight of the migging sesion was a HOBBY,i personally have never seen one this late,proberbly a good 2/3 weeks after my lateist date.but before this year i didnt get hobbys with any regularity.
this bird(by the looks of it a juv) bommed it south at medium hight over the field,but as the field is open and quite big i was able to scope the bird into just a small spot.
highlights are:
252 canada
15 skylark
148 redwing
2 grey wagtail
2 coal tit(in conifers)
1 bullfinch
3 cormorant
23 fieldfare
3 pied wag

Thursday, 29 October 2009

gulls quiz

GULLS,you either love them or hate them.
for the sceond try at a quiz i am going to use a harder subject.rather than a few tringa sandpipers,i am going the full way. here are 8 images of different gulls,all have been seen in the british iles.
just a a bit of caution on this side though-all photos are copyright to the owners,this blog has no rights to the pictures,i simply used them because they were the best i could find.if one of images are yours and you dont want them to feature on the quiz just give me a yell.
anyway here they are:
gull 1

gull 2:

gull 3:

gull 4:(front bird)
gull 5:
gull 6:
gull 7:
gull 8:

good luck everybody:)

still driving me up the rails

upton warren moors pool
again dipped out on the bittern but loads of water rails showing calling etc,a lot of time was spent looking at the sky and noted 16 meadow pipit,41 redwing,3 song thrush and 5 pied wags and 2 skylark,a very unusual moment was when a reed warbler belted out in sub-song in front of the water rail hide and according to one of the upton guru's,it is the latest record. 9 greylag geeese were in the canada flock.
this flock of greylags has been hanging around for a bit now hasent it,i first saw the flock on 5/09/09.i wonder whether it is the family flock raised here just one has left the flock.

you can tell it cant you, i'm struggerling about things to wright.

well a kingfisher landed on the perch in the little light.a cormorant was on the north moors and a green woodpecker on the causeway:


who like's gulls. I DO,I DO. next post is a quiz about gulls!!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

quiet after the storm

after seeing large amounts of movement or redwings over the week and the crane giving me the extra kick up the backside to get out there i decided to do a bit of early mourning vismigging and a regular count of our increasing post-roost flock of canadian geese.

my vis-mig point

spent 7:40-9:20 using my ears and eyes to spot incomming vismig point looks N, NE,SE and S giving me a good scope of the area as the birds get funneled up/down the severn valley.the canadian flock was on a yeah high of 193 in the early AM but from 9am onwards the flock starts to diminish and fly away NW. and i have never found out where they spend their day or nights,anyone with local info can you help.any large canada goose flocks move off early mouning but return a few hours after, anyone with any info please help.if it helps there is a regular goose that is resident on lickhill that sometimes joins the flock,it has a red leg ring reading bpp.could be a good pointer to where it goes. and on the case of rings has anybody seen mute swan number L67.i had her on lickhill last sunday(25th) and an just wondering where she's been.and yes i have put them into birdtrack.
well the reason i ask about the canadian flock is that they are well known as carrier flocks that bring in other geese,sure these will never contain those rare migrant geese but a pink-foot or a barnicle will do.on lickhill i have seen a pink footed goose on a cold winters day(24th december 2006) and have had a few greylags but have yet to note barnicle.i also have a regular farmyard goose that i have named 'snowy'. it has a grey back and a black throat but the rest f the bird is white and as you will see in the video later there were 3 white 'farmyard' geese,
anyway back onto vis-migging.

quite a productive visit light winds and clear skys meaning lots of birds going over:
423 redwing
59 fieldfare
3 blackbird
37 skylark
6 pied wagtail
23 meadow pipit
21 lesser redpoll
32 linnet
2 mute swan
1 sparrowhalk
3 jay.
a very productive time me thinks!!!
despite freezing my ball' off!!