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