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!!


Monday, 26 October 2009

it's a f******g crane

somewhere north of stourton(staffs)
i still cant believe it,a crane.just listen to those words, c r a n e.
my dad was driving along the a449 south towards stourton(still dont know exact location of where the bird was) just after the lawnswood road there is a large gap in the headgeline, and in the stubble field was a crane,a bloody crane,in a small field(well thats not entirerly true). for the entire 15 secs i saw the bird i was in shock. the long legs,the bushy tail,it was just a crane.having just seen the bird and not knowing the exact location of the bird at the time i was sruck with a question,get the news out or get more details(my dad wouldent stop to loo for it and get some confirmation photos because we had my sister in the car who isnt a birder).i quicky put the news out saying i will give more details on the location once i have a call from brian almost imidiatly seeing if i had any more details at the time,and i told him all i knew,which wasent a lot. after a bit i agreed to call him back with more details once i had them and the hard task of convincing my dad to take me back.after about 15 mins i got to my nans(closest place to the crane).i scurried around looking for a map but there wasent one so i went to my dad and asked where it was(he's a walking map-book).he told me some details, i wrote them down(i couldent remember them in that state) and got them to brian.after about 30 mins i convinced my dad to take me back and it was getting dark.
well we got there, it was very very dark,but it was very obvious that the bird wasent in the field. as most of you may know the a449 is a very busy road and one wonders why in hell would the crane land there,unless it was bloody knackered. well i guess we will never know...
i have sent a description form to the staffs recorder through the birdtrack website but i dont think it sent propperly so tonight i am doing it manually through my own email.dont have any pics of the bird but a pic of the field on the return visit:

the pic has been modded to make it lighter

Monday, 19 October 2009

back to the patch

recently i havent posted anything on lickhill my local patch.this is not because i have been ignoring the patch with my ever growing list and the posibility of a good bird, sure seeing unusual birds is good, but sometimes, just now and again, it is good to just take a srtroll out and find some birds.
with vis-mig now well underway i thought i could hit some passerines as they fly over and one bird,one that(as previously mentioned on this blog) is quite unusual on site, maybe ,you could get a few flying over, just on the northern boundry of the caravan park, 8 sand martin flew over,

shouldent these be in africa by now,

a constant stream of pipits developed and at around 10:40am a huge flock of about 100 birds came low over, a few fields down a buzzard was perched on a post,i decided to take my scope with me so hoped for good views, and yes they were good views, not the closest views but still enough to see the bill(thats how i gage rapor sightings,if you can see the bill it is a good view),
i took up my position opposite the buzzard on the river bank and rested my scope on one of the posts. the buzzard obbligingly perched there for about 30 mins

this field had been plowed and had a few gulls, then i noticed the wagtails around there feet, then i reallised there were pipits in the field,after a flyover sparrowhalk put the pipit flock up, i counted about 50 birds,this put the day total up to and amazing 200+ birds,and given this is a scarce species on lickhill i was well chuffed, with the tussucks of grass and small ditches it was hard to see them on the floor but a few landed on the barbed wire and posts that surround the field and gave decent views,

a few rain showers started bringing birds down low,and one bird flying lower over the field turned out to be a migrating STONECHAT(year tick), this is the 1st record for lickhill for about 3 years(as far as i know),but soon after it flew off again continuing its migration, a flock of 50 goldfinch contained 5 siskin in riverside birches(i think thats the tree it was in) highlights were:

200+ meadow pipit

1 stonechat

2 skylark

10c pied wagtail

1 grey wag

2 kingfisher

5 nuthatch

8 sand martin

5 siskin


Thursday, 15 October 2009

driving me up the rails!

upton warren
again with the little light remaining i spent it on trying to see the bittern,down at the west hide again as it gives the best scope over the lake and later in the day a better light over the lake.
a single curlew was in the field behind the hide,on entering the hide i was pointed onto a kingfisher on the stick and even though the light was getting bad i tried,

see what i mean dark. as i had heard of a jack snipe showing well from the west hide/concrete hide i decided to take a look.well there wasent one from the west hide so on my lonesome i went into the water rail hide,well no jack snipe here either.a few teal were close in in one of the cutouts in the reeds and then the 'pigs' started squealing in the reeds in front of me,then one appeared,right in front of me,on the near shore,stunningly close but after leaving my scope and camera in with my dad,i was left with a dilemma,run and get my camera or watch it,

i decided to watch it,and only after 5 mins of great views of this usually sculky species i went and collected my scope and camera,spent the next 20 mins in the hide with the water rail still showing but it was too dark and i couldent get a film.. bugger...

while watching the rail i made regular scans for that dam bittern,but yet again no sign,now its driving me up the rails(see what i did there),thats over 2 months of residence and 9 visits to upton and still no sign,surely soon,

3 pochard were asleap in the shoveler flock.

highlighs for the day are:

3 little grebe

375c canadian goose

2 wigeon

3 pochard

4 water rail

2 kingfisher

4 cettis warbler


Monday, 5 October 2009


these are the words i read just after typing in my sightings on you want to know what that national rarety is,well you'll just have to read on and see...............


had an early night the day before so i could watch the F1 quallys and im so glad i did,some nice crashes and loads of red flags,when it was light enough to see i had a quick look at the lickhill fields and one of them held 158 canadian geese.thats it... what you expect more its lickhill for crying out loud.well back in the garden i found a greenfinch,and i am sad to say a dying greenfinch,it had a mite/tick on its head and was very poorly and within an hour it had died.i took a few photos before it had died but dont think its appropriate to put them on here.

on a lighter mood the birding picked up on out way to slimbridge wwt when(somewhere along the motorway) i had a MERLIN fly over,a was a juv/female bird zooming across the motorway,but what a way to start the day.not to single the merlin out but we also had a hobby over somewhere too but i didnt know where so i didnt pass the news on.

arriving at slimbridge at 11:20 am,there was an air of expectation,well a bloody strong wind anyway,got out the car and the door nearly flew into the estury.after enquiring about the land rover safari,i found out it had been cancled so we had to do everything by out own steam,after looking(and photographing) plastic stuff i retreated to the non-plastic world of the south lake, even the wild bird had been tought well,with 4 female pintail just infront of the hide giving great photo op's.and yes they are wild,look a full set of wings:

over to the left of the hide there was a flock of godwits,wait those 3 on the end look a bit small nd through my scope they were clearly bar-tailed godwits(lifer 193),other than these there was little to mention but:

9 pintail

8 pochard

28 b t godwit

3 barwit.

stopped at the plastic stuff and 'had to' hand feed red-breasted goose,and i will tell you one of my highlights of the trip that was,but can i ask,waht is red-breasted goose doing in the australia area????

next stop zeiss hide,the most activity from here,way more barnacle geese than last time,now 146 of them,and with 5 greylags and 100c canadians there was a lot of goose activity

,went straight in to 'find' those spotted redshanks in there and after a bit of searching,there we go all 3 in one scopefull(lifer 194) and sharing this scopeful was a ruff and my next lifer of the day a knot(lifer 195),yet another blackwit was out there too and i quickly located the 4 golden plover in the lapwing flock,a pintail was scirting the 500 or so teal(make it sound like thats so common),2 snipe zig-zagged over and 5 ravern were on the dumbles,a water rail briefly squeaked from the reedbed in front of the hide:

highlights here are:

146 barnicle geese

3 spotted redshank

1 knot

1 blackwit

3 ruff

1 water rail

4 golden plover

1 pintail

30c redshank

5 greylag geese

2 snipe

500c teal(probs more)

a few wigeon

yet more plastic stuff was photographed on my way over to the holden tower

but when getting to the tower we decided it might be a good idea if we walked out to middle point.well appart from a close but brief little egret about 40 shelduck and about 50 curlew there was little else to note,well untill i found 2 knot resting on some rock further downstream,with the tide this far out what were they doing,just resting maybe and i was happy to see a curlew feeding on a beech on the opposite shore.i was watching a curlew from england in wales,how cool is that.

a check in the holden tower produced another little egret,20c curlew,100c lapwing and 27 OYC,a knot flew across the dumbles upriver,maybe joinging the 2 up by middle point,a 100c strong flock of dunlin was way out on the mudflats and a meadow pipit was on the dumbles,that concludes my visit to slimbridge,or does it?

after earlier getting directions off a warden on how to view the 100 acre fields i was told some directions,we ended up on ryalls lane and my dad stopped near a bridge there,he though there wasent any parking spaces/area on the opposite side of the bridge so i grabbed my bin and went over and checked,but while crossing the bridge i saw white objects in a field further along the track,i ran back to the car,grabbed my scope and said i would phone my dad if you could park over there,nearing the field i could see there was plenty of space to park,and as i neared my subject it became more obvious this is what i had come to see,i reached a gap in the hedge and saw my target:


the egrets(lifer 196)were hunting insects and showingwell around the cows feet and in the tussocks but i found the wind horid,the birds were close(about 40 ft away) but i couldent keep my scope/camera till in the 40mph gusts.this is now the rarest thing i have seen.1 catle egret on its own is rare but a flock of 4,a truily amazing spectacle,a species ment to be in spain and southern france(before the recent events) in windy,rainy be honest i couldent see much better habitat for them,the area was spot on, the jizz was kinda like a litle egret but just a 'dryer' version being in fields rather than in water.a very charismatic species and a welcomed bird.and just to top it off,it was just me,my dad and the egrets,how much better can it get than that??

all 4 birds in this vid

highlight of trip were:

4 cattle egret

2 little egret

146 barnacle goose

40c shelduck

10 pintail

10 wigeon

1000c teal

8 pochard

27 OYC

4 golden plover

4 knot

100c dunlin

30c redshank

3 spotted redshank

29 blackwit

3 barwit

50c curlew

2 snipe

3 ruff

1 common gull

4 mipit

on way down

1 hobby

1 merlin

a really great day and now so close to that 200 milestone


site first!!!!!

3rd summer/winter YELLOW LEGGED GULL,a first for earlswood,just happened to land on the end of the field where i was watching with 9 herring,12 l b b and 106 black headed gulls.i was informed by matt at the earlswood blog that it was infact an area be honest i was confused by this,how can a area containing 3 large lakes not attracted at least 1 bird,but anyway i now have a area first to ny name so im good.i have got photos of the bird but there all very crap so i will not post them.i have been reading about the species in my 'helm,gull's' guide i have checked and have narrowed it down to this age group(3rd cal year)
upton warren,with not long again untill dusk(getting to that time of year) so as no news was coming out the flashes and i still want to log that bloody bittern,so the moors it was,i knew that a pintail was showing there anyway so even more of an incentive to go,went again to the west hide.nodody was in the hide so i tokk a look in the log book,up there in BIG letters was barnicle goose with pintail and 1 wigeon in smaller letters.i scanned the goose flock and in there was a barnicle goose.easy to spot with its small size compared to the canadians.i took a few videos in the gloom:

i then scanned where the snipe was last time and i located 3 wigeon,all in eclipse plumage,and with these was the female pintail,only the secod ive seen(well my first was a pair),3 water rail were calling and a snipe was giving good views to the right of the hide

3 cetti's warblers were singing and 1 shown briefly,highlights here were:

1 greylag

1 barnicle goose

1 gadwall

1 pintail

3 wigeon

3 water rail(h)

1 snipe

3 cetti's warbler.

and still no sign of that bloody bittern