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 :-)