Tuesday, 30 March 2010


rain had threatened to stop the visit but no matter what the weather we were hitting the 'wash'
from the north side of the lake i quickly pucked up a nice flock of 12 goosander swimming by dunlin(sand) island, we quickly headed further along the patch and stopped by a fence si i could lean my scope down. i quickly had a quick scan and produced ( 1 M, 8 F, 3 imm M),

in one scope view 3 goosander were sitting on the islands when a small wader popped out from behind the bank, 'LRP, got an LRP here andy'
'where, where'
' by the goosanders'
'which one'
' the female one'
'which one'
' for gawds sake, look through there' moveing my eye from the eyepiece. Our second LRP at sheepwash. whoop whooop, first summer migrant of the year.....................

but the bird suddenly jumped into the air at 3:18 and with a few circles of the lake flew off in a SE direction.

the r£$$y duck was still here.
a few GCB's were dotted around.

we moved on, praying for a wheatear on the mound, first a check of the chemical pool, and only 2 herrings were down with approx 30 LBBG.
moveing onto the mound along the canelside path, i saw a small bird jump from one branch to another,
maybe i was too quick to shout goldcrest but on raising my bins:

we watched the bird as it moved up and down the tree, oftern flicking its tail downwards( a chiffie habit), we left the migrant to feed and moved onto the mound, despite having diggers working on one side. we had a quick scan, a few magpie but nothing else, another day perhaps.

then the rain came down, we headed to the small marsh pools nut nothing was on them so we left.
not a bad few hours i think........


a whole patch stomp today from lickhill, to blackstone and down to larford then back up to lickhill, a huge marathon,

and was it worth it........

Well no actually, it wasent.

at the riverside fields had 3 displaying lapwings, 7 skylark were singing/flying around.

a grey wagtail flew over the town centre.

At redpoll lake the gadwall continues to hold teritory,
i was sure the gadwall wasent going to be there this week, so was supprised when the second scan across the reeds produced him sleeping.

10 great crested grebe was still at larford lakes and i was treated to some outrageiously close LTT's.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010



upton warren

a dunlin had been presant earlier in the day and as it was one of the first to go through i wanted to 'get it'.

the constant showers all day 'should have kept it down'

2 bullfinch were heard in the garden at earlswood, and 3 mallard kept doing the 'red arrows' over the garden.

so then to upton

a check in the north moors had 2 teal and 2 shoveler

east hide

4 oystercatcher were quickly evident, constantly pipeing away at each other.

but the main interest was this:

2 LITTLE EGRETS on the moors pool. i have only ever seen 2 little egrets in one day before, so well chuffed, (and i have had 4 cattle egret in 1 day!!!!!!), the birds were initially right next to each other in amy's marsh, but quickly(quicker than i can open the window) moved away from each other, preventing me to get a shot of them both, later one flew onto the river, and a lot later the other egret joined it, although they often took flight and landed a bit further downstream. then both took flight and landed in the south west marsh

the snipe were around the islands again(18) and a pair of shelduck were moaping around the islands, small numbers of ducks remained, shovler,teal,pochard,tufted duck. but there did seem to be a lot of GC grebes. after quite a bit of time, we headed for the flashes(dunlin-less, smartin-less)

the 4 AVOCET were quickly located, and filmed, the LRP couldent be picked out in the dying light, a good load of lapwing and BHG's on the flashes,

2 gadwall (m+f) were swimming around by the posts in the water.


Thursday, 18 March 2010


on this day a year ago, i had 4 house martin.. not likely to be happening this year with strong northerlies,
while out in the garden topping up our perilously low feeders, i looked up to see a BOP circling about me..
i ran in grabbed my bins and back out....

and adult peregrine(pos female), slowly circled in a SE direction, (following the river)..

i had a quick look at the vismig point but the bird had gone....
i hadent intended to stomp the patch today after heaping my weary carcase around yesterday and i still wasent really great today(had 3 jabs the previous friday),
at the end of the F1 though i had to get out,
i cant stand being cooped up inside.........

time to head south
the walk was birdless untill the redpoll lake where i was quickly onto the gadwall hiding in the reeds, a quick look and i was off
an optomistic scan over the paddocks at lincomb failed to produce the hoped for wheatear
then onto the viewpoint that ovrlooks larford lakes, was happy to see that 10 great crested grebes were still on the lakes but, no sign of the tufted ducks.
then it was back up onto lickhill,
and this was still here:
canada goose BPP is still with us................... (note how the leg ring is dodgy)(BPP is still clearly readable on the other side of the ring.......
2 pied wagtails were here

Monday, 15 March 2010


upton warren moors pool

a check of the north moors was uneventful.

so down to the west hide. a decent flock of reed bunting was in the small willows behind the feeders(10c), 2 male cetti's warbler belted out there amazing song, a scopeing of the islands produced 16 curlew and 4 OYC, 2 LBBG were still at the north end of the pool, the usual birds were presant teal, shoveler, pochard, tufties etc
but i kept hope scanning the reeds;
at 6:30c as it was almost dark, i spotted the unmistakable flight of a heron over the reeds up the top end, it flew along the north shore and i saw the bird had pale coverts(compared to primarys)

BITTERN flying

im not sure whether my dad got onto the bittern as the light was pritty dire and the bittern was quite hard to pick out, as usual though, the bird turned around and flew onto the north moors.

a male sparrowhawk, very brielfy perched on the ground feeder earlier on and a few water rail were sqwawking in the reeds

as we left the hide, a song thrush greeted us fairwell with its great song.

spring is truily on the way

Its another patch 1st

yet another patch 1st,
i bet your getting bored with this now arnt you
well im not

this time it wasent an unexpected visitor, 14 great crested grebe on larford lake's (viewed from opposite side of river), a patch 1st simply because i had never really had a look at the place, a few were in summer plumage.
i even walked past the place which held the red backed shrike a few years ago(gut wrenching pain, but moveing swiftly on, not one comment on this bird please, pritty please)

4 tufted duck were on the lakes (3 DRK) which is a also quite uncommon on the patch with only 1 record of a pair on 1st june '07',
the drake gadwall was still holding teritory on redpoll lake, but has yet to find a female and make history...............
3 goldcrest were showing well at lincome lock, a grey wagtail was on a factory roof near the stourport marina and a total of 8 stock dove were located.....

Sunday, 7 March 2010



OK you all confortable, cause this is gonna be a big one............
martyn from blurred birder had kindly offered my a day out and about, i agreed and this is how the day pans out.........

Out of the house by 7:15 and on our way for our first tick....

we arrived at the top barn actvity lake at around 7:40, we scanned from the road, SLAVONIAN GREBE (lifer 204), we moved closer to the bird and it came at us, the bird came closer still untill i could no longer focous my scope propperly on it.

and this is why:

a frame filler of a 'slav', and what a bird, and what a way for a lifer to act,

come on,

this was outragelously close

martyn with his new spangle dangle camera, produced some out of the world shots, a few of which are reproduced on his blog..

we watched the bird as it ever so slowly followed its prey

along the bank in front of us, diving every 5 secs or so, and producing many fish(i didnt catch any shots though)....

even martyn was amazed how close it was, and he commented on how you proderbly would never see one so close again

but anyways

onwards and upwards

DRAYCOTE WATER being our target, in the centre of a town while stopped at some trafic lights a peregrine flew low over the car, stunning bird whenever you see them..

just as we entered the car park a YELLOWHAMMER aligted on a hedge, a bird i dont see regularly so well chuffed.

we parked at the hensborough bank car park which over looks the reserviour,

oh my bloody hell, THATS HUGE

but anyway, down the hill we went onto the side of the water, scanning as we went, 3 shoveler were picked out in the middle, and small flock of goldeneye and tufted duck were dotted everywhere.

a bit along draycote bank we picked up the 2 GREAT NORTHER DIVERS (lifer 205), apparently showing well but allas, well to far out for a decent photo, we stopped and watched these for a bit while scanning the res. nothing new was picked up so onwards we went....

in a small wooded area a bullfinch called. we continued towards the outlet and i saw a 'white' bird dive, was this him, we waited for a seemingly long time for the bird to resurface, then BANG

DRAKE SMEW(lifer 206) ohhhhh, what a stunner of a bird, it was quite close to the bank, but like the slav grebe, was diving rapidly(but you cant predict where it will come up like the slav).

i managed some photos:

but the red necked grebe was obviously not on this side, so we headed of to farnbourgh bank, we walked around to the opposite side of the res' and stopped half way up with picking up a load of GC grebes on the way up,

a male sparrowhawk was in a hunting mood and chased a feral pigeon acrosss a field but the pigeon got away, boooooooooo
a curlew called, but wasent seen
a few goldeneye were close in and wigeon, teal and yet more GC grebe were in toft bay, then i picked up the diver swimming towards us away from the boats, it got closer and closer, and closer, and closer untill it run out of water and swam past us at no more the 20-30 range, but it failed to raise its head:

the crowd quickly built as more and more birders piled in to get stunning views of the diver.

a good wait followed, we all wanted that 'head up' shot, and then it awoke, i didnt take advantage and only got a couple of 'keepers'.

after it moved from the crowd and back towards me where it did a swim past and duly fell asleap.

and just to prove a point, this is how close the diver was on 0x zoom:

hows about that then, how close is that !!!!!!!!!!!!!

out of hundreds and hunderes of millions of gallons of water in the res, it chose to go right next to the very busy path.

god bless you GND

we were near the boat club centre when the drake SMEW flew past into toft bay.

next loaction TAMWORTH:

and these beautys:


as always, the birds shown superbly atop the trees in the centre of an island, my first chance to get a decent photo of one, but the 'milky' white sky was horrible.

and all 3:

to be honest, i didnt think i was going to catch up with any this winter, so to see just a few is well worth it, and a great time watching and photographing these,

the birds started to decend on the berrys and we all poised to get the shot not agains the sky when

'ZR'rrrrrrrrrrrrrr' in comes the pair of mistle thrush to force the waxwing onto wires near the school, where they all posed beautifully:

and nice of them was they lined up from left to right: juv/1st winter, ad female, ad male, zoom in on the pics and see if you can tell how i aged them........

so its looks as if the flock of waxwings in tamworth is a family, cool........

now we didnt stop too long here as people with camera's and scopes in a public road next to a school, not the best idea.....

so onwards,


a pair of oystercatcer were here and a flock of 9 REDSHANK, a bit of scanning along the bank with my scope got me onto my first RINGED PLOVER of the year, feeding in close company of 2 teal, a few goldeneye,tufted duck etc were here so we moved to another hide.


a little egret's head was pokeing up out of the tussuks

a pair of shelduck were floating about and a linnet flock was at the back of the pool in fields.


8 BARNICLE GOOSE were feeding away from the canada's and were quite wary, a coincidence they tured up at the same time of year as the 'wild' birds and were feeding in exacly the same spot..........

mind you i didnt even raise my camera to them

a couple of yellowhammers were heard.

but there was no sign of the pink footed geese,

we walked down the road to where tree sparrow ARE, not a single bird..........

we drove around the fields scanning the swans but nothing 'odd' came out.........

so now, a last bird to raise out spirits higher,

at a tip

only a GBBG was picked out so we quickly left for nearby stubbers green, and almost the 1st bird i dropped onto was this......

2nd winter ICELAND GULL, a very bleached bird feeding up by the sailing club side, scope views were good and i was able to savour the bird unlike last time:

a wing stretch:

another birder arived and the iceland duly dissapeared, LOL

and that just about concludes my day out with martyn

and a special thanks to martyn for inviting my on his birding day out, the day was immensly enjoyed and i will have to buy you a couple when i can go to the pub

cheers mart



gawall still on redpoll lake
3 nuthatch at blaclstone feeders

Wednesday, 3 March 2010



an early tip of of 3 red crested pochard at upton was initially ignored with the slav grebe being the main target, i so wanted the slav, then

'no sign this am'


so lets settle for the plastics(very beautiful plastics)

and a few hours later, there was were, sitting in the east hide at the moors scanning around, and for a good 20 mins, no sign...

but we finally cought up with the oystercatcher:

after a bit of time scanning with my bins i picked up a drake on the opposite side of the lake, darting in and out between a patch of willows. before i called it out i wanted to get my scope on the bird(just to be 100%), but i nedent have worried, a perfect, immaculate, unringed, fully winged drake RED CRESTED POCHARD(lifer 203). the birds wer initially distant:

i got the rest of the hide onto the bird, and soon after another drake popped out, then followed by a female bird, confirming all 3!

after a bit they all moved closer and stopped at the 'tern box' island and all climbed onto the island, showing their un-'bling'd' legs, and this was followed by wing flaps etc, confirming they had not just jumped over 'the wall'(well not recently), but proberbly from the cotswalds population.

they stopped on the island for a very long time, with great scope views. and as per, the inner photographer in my bursted out, (yuck), and i started snapping away...

the bird's then preceded to swim closer to the hide.

where a pair started doing this:

the bird's were observed 'doing it', and with advice from one of the upton wardens, we thought it right to disclose the info and pictures.(just in case):

A few of the small flock of teal were outside the hide, and only when really quite close, do you reallise how great looking these birds actually are, there great:

and the last 30 or so minuites were spent counting the differnt bird no's around the moors:

Mute swan 4

Canada goose 5

Shelduck 3

shoveler 29

Teal 34

Pochard 27


Tufted duck

Little grebe 1

G c grebe 5

Coot 33


Lapwing (only) 22

Curlew 3

Snipe 16

the main reason for the lasck of lapwings was because most were feeding on plowed fields to the south, out of view, presumably curlews here too.


Monday, 1 March 2010

vismig suprise


He's back, canada goose ring no -BPP is back on lickhill(shown in pic), you can just see the red leg ring showing through the tussoks, he looks to be paired to a female canada goose and hope go to him raising a brood here for his 5TH!!!! year, for those new followers of the blog, you will know nothing about BPP so here's a brief outline.

  • ringed as a chick at stubbers green boating lake, west mids, in 2003

  • then hung around at stubbers untill mid 2004,

  • went missing for a year

  • 1st found on lickhill on 2 feb 2005 and went on to raise a brood of 5 goslings, 3 of which went on to fledge

and has been seen every year since raising at least 1 gosling a year.......

here is a pic of him last year: 18 /04

anyway back to birds, a huge suprise came when a 1st winter COMMON GULL flew over going in a south(ish) direction. i followed it in the scope into the distance. it flew over at 9:32 am with 3 BHG's, a skylark with an odd call flew over(is a skylark, just an odd variation)

the canada flock was at a year peak of 79 geese, this is well down on the total last winter which was on 130c geese at this point(and all the winter) must be the extreme conditions moved them out.....

and again i please erge you, if you see canada goose BPP(red leg ring, right leg), please report to me, i really want to know where he dissapears to over the winter..............



a few hours on the patch resulted in 3 goosander (1drk) flying up and down the river, landing, getting flushed by rowers, flying downriver, getting flushed by rowers again etc
not much else really


upton warren moors pool

back to the east hide............

and everywhere i looked there was one of these:

but on the east island was one of these:


a jack snipe, was feeding upon the east islands for a few minuites, and when i panned back to get a film of its 'bobbing' behaviour it had nodded off, and didnt wake up again, thats worse than that sleepy medditeranean gull at chasewater on the bloggers day out :), but to be fair to it, it was still quite early in the AM (9am), but nethertheless the jack snipe shown well through the scope, and acceptable views were had.......

but one thing i have noticed(never noticed it before) was that jack snipe shown prominent pale edged grey(ish) coverts which a nearby common snipe did not show, maybe a good feature.........

but all other features were noted, dark crown, different face pattern, and very prominent 'braces' and short bill(when not tucked away) as if the jizz wasent enough to clinch ID.

but really, there wasent loads to talk about but 15 curlew.

and this on the masts

PEREGRINE x1, as this bird seemed quite large(bulky) i am presuming its a female, but who's sure(unless you see one next to the other),

i took it upon myself to note all birds presant with numbers so heres the totals for some:

G G grebe 2

shelduck 2

shoveler 52

teal 16

pochard 23

tuftie 18


water rail 2 (heard)

lapwing 160(exacly)

curlew 15

snipe 16



and a bit of an upton twilight scape