Sunday, 26 December 2010

The BIG One!!!!

Its here, the year ender...........

unlike last year, i will not chose the best birds in an award ceremony but will instead do a round-up of the best birds ( or highlights) of each month.
so here goes...


the year got off to a blinding start, but not on particuillary rare species..

the first day of the year was spent at slimbridge wwt and by the end of the day 77 species were up, Pintails being my personal bird of the day, followed by the white-fronted geese and huge flock of wigeon.

A nice time on the patch also, with record totals of goosander and reed bunting, as well as a multitude of snipe.

There are 2 major standout birds in the month though, the stunningly close BITTERN at hurcott pool, which was just amazing, totally awstruck... and an iceland gull ( talk about that later)

A GOSHAWK over upton warren, had me really exited at the time but however it does not stand out as one of my highlights, i really dont know why??

A patch first in the form of a pair of little grebe were very much appreciated.

Stubbers green for a gulls day was superb and led me into gulls more this year, a 2w ICELANDGULL topping the month off, as did the 2nd showing of the 3w CASPIAN GULL amongs a wide range of other gulls.

the last day of the month was done in style, with a huge patch bonanza, goosander, marsh tit, little grebe and a huge record sized flock of LESSER REDPOLL got the month rounded off nicely...

(Caspian gull at stubbers green)


trimpley Res was the first real birding of the month with CROSSBILLS and a personal site tick in a pochard.

but this was by far eclipsed the next day when i found a drk WIGEON on the patch, one of my favorite birds on the patch where there is very limited open water. add to this the continual presence of a new record of lesser redpoll and marsh tit i was having quite a good time on the patch, and i think i comented at the time saying somthing like 'it has never been this good' and it really hasent.

a visit to my west mids patch ( sheepwash UP) similarly had a large gathering of lesserpoll and a few goosander.

and the year truily kicked off when i twitched a GREAT GREY SHRIKE at morton baggot, which although was a right pain in the arse with the distances it was seen, but it is still one of the birds i remember.. a merlin the same day was also a highlight.

But by far my personal highlight goes to the patch when on 14th it produced a Drk GADWALL on the gadwall lake (named after the sighting), the bird was one of the highlights of my patch year, my patch has never been good for ducks so to get this bird and the wigeon was unbelievable, the gadwall remained untill the 21/03 at least.

A superbly showy LITTLE EGRET at the warren for a couple of weeks was amazing, add to that the wintering bittern it makes a good day, and the warren produced again when on 27th it produced 3 RED-CRESTED POCHARD

(Great Grey Shrike- Morton Baggot)

(Gadwall- The Patch)

(Little Egret- Upton Warren)


An active time of year but again the 1st birding of the month out was the best, a 'big day out' with Martyn Yapp ( aka blurred birder) turned into a 4 county marathon, visiting worcestershire, warwickshire, staffordshire and west midlands county. with a grand total of 73 species.
the highlights are scattered over the counties by Draycote Water had some amazing birds. SMEW, GREAT NOTHERN DIVER, both of which shown very well but the Grimly SLAVONIAN GREBE was outrageously close, i couldve scooped it out the water...

Tamworth was the location that held my favorite bird, 3 WAXWINGS and a return to Stubbers Green saw me seeing the ICELAND GULL for the 2nd time.

the patch was still on fire with great crested grebes and tufted duck along with the Gadwall.

BITTERN was seen again at the warren and 2 LITTLE EGRETS had now taken over, and the years first AVOCETS when 4 birds were seen on the 20th
My first 'summer' migrant was a LRP at sheepwash UP on 26th, and i spent a day in an undisclosed woodland on 28th seeing LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER and TAWNEY OWL.

(Slavonian Grebe- Grimley)

(Smew- Draycote Water)

(Great Nothern Diver- Draycote Water)


most of the month was spent abroad, due to a 2 week holiday in turkey which transpired to end as 3 weeks due to the icelandic volcano.

but some amazing birds were noted, infact to many to mention, highlights being stunning views of Male Ruppell's warbler, and getting up close and personal with Black winged stilts, little stint and Kentish plover on a beachside pool, one of the memories that will remain with me forever.

rather than just writing a list i will put a link to the post so new readers can have a browse at what i saw:

(Ruppell's Warbler)

(Little Stint and Kentish Plover)

(Black Winged Stilts)

(Black Winged Stilts, Kentish Plover and Little Stint)


The weekend after arriving back from turkey i was back at the warren on the all dayer Getting a 1st summer MEDDITTERANEAN GULL, A pair of RINGED PLOVER (which took a dislike to the local LRP) and a female RUDDY SHELDUCK. 2 WHEATEAR were seen at shenstone a few days after in a quick snatch and grab tick, also yellowhammer.

the patch was STILL on fire adding DUNLIN to the patch list while logging Common tern and red legged partridge on the same day.

the highlight of the whole month however was Finding my own 2nd summer MEDDITTERANEAN GULL at upton warren on the 15th, one of the best birding moments this year.

A sustained presence of common tern on the patch was added to by reed warbler and reed bunting, and upton again produced on 22nd with a CUCKOO and a GRASSHOPPER WARBLER, however this was a painful day as i missed a spoonbill by a mindnumbing 5 mins!!!!!!!

the last few days of the month were in wales which will be treated in the next month:

(1st sum MED GULL)

(2nd sum MED GULL)


AS stated above the early part of the month was spent in wales in pembrokeshire, but the planned trip to skomer island didnt happen so it was only mainland birding.

RED KITES were logged on the way down and oddly a little egret was seen near camarthen on the river. the usual coast birds were logged and seabirds were in plenty, CHOUGH being the highlight on stackpole head, a Tip off from Tim Jones about a nearby GREAT EGRET were adknoledged and after a long time we finally located the bird on the estury at lawrenny, however distant, a single whimbrlew was a year tick, a red kite was later seen over upton warren upton our return and on Fathers day for the 2nd year running a stunning female RED NECKED PHALAROPE was found and we were able to watch the bird at abit closer range than the previous year. a BLACK TAILED GODWIT on the 26th was followed on the 27th by a stunning flock of 5 icelantica race BLACK TAILED GODWITS( and the juv was still at the flashes), A HOBBY and a pair of eclipse GARGANEY!!



(Red Necked Phalarope)


Again BLACK TAILED GODWITS featured heavilly in this month, a flock of 3 LITTLE EGRET at upton was part of a purple patch with 17 GREEN SAND, 5 REDSHANK, GREENSHANK and a single adult BLACK TAILED GODWIT amongst the CURLEW:

upton warren kept bringing them in with 4 DUNLIN AND 3 more BLACK TAILED GODWIT, HOBBY were seen throughout the month sporadically, on 28th me and my sheepwash birding friend found a LITTLE EGRET at sheepwash urban park, which did cause much exitement among the scene but when you consider the location and that the bird was present 32+ days with constant disturbance from dog walkers, druggies and general chavs that you find in great bridge town centre :)

(Black Tailed Godwit + Curlew)

(Little Egret- Sheepwash UP)


One of the better month of the year. the continued presence of The LITTLE EGRET at Sheepwash on 4th was welcomed as was 2 LESSER WHITEHTROAT, upton had a COMMON GULL on the 15th but it was on in the latter stages of the month did it hot up, A Juv-1st winter MEDDITTERANEAN GULL showed superbly and i got some decent shots of the bird, a Juv GARGANEY was showing and a ROSS'S GOOSE was quite nice to see.

MARSH TIT was confirmed as breeding on the patch and a warbler day...

22nd saw us on Titterstone clee hill looking for a wryneck that a mate had seen but it was a no show, and only a juv WHEATEAR to show for it. on 23rd i picked up a new tripod and headed down to Grimley where a pair of Juv KNOT were feeding, showing distantly, also a flock of 4 LITTLE EGRET, 2 GREENSHANK AND A YELLOW WAGTAIL, 24th was again down the warren and i picked out a NEW Juv-1st win MEDDITTERANEAN GULL which also shown well,

27th was 'THE MOST PRODUCTIVE DAY OF THE YEAR' when we decided to jead down to slimbridge, a total of 81 species logged including 18 species of wader!!!!


A repeat visit to Titterstone on 29th for the wryneck again failed, while dipping a black redstart at the same location at the same time, however not all was bad and 2 WHINCHAT, 5 STONECHAT, 7 WHEATEAR were nice compensation for the double dip.

(Little Egret)

(Juv- 1st win MED GULL 21st)

(Searching the quarry at titterstone clee hill on the double dip day, it may be sunny but it was cold!!!!!!!)


4th had BITTERN, LITTLE EGRET, DUNLIN AND a Juv RUFF at the warren, but soon the supprises started coming with a GREY PHALAROPE on 1th and a Juv ARCTIC TERN at earlswood on the same day and the next week upton pulling my first yank wader when a PECTORAL SANPIPER dropped in for 3 weeks showing superbly on the 1st day but then staying only at the back of the flash for the remaining time, on the 1st day a juv YELLOW LEGGED GULL was picked out.


(Pectoral Sandpiper)


3 1st win MEDDITTERANEAN GULL at my school on the 5th made up mu total of 7 med gulls for the year, found while lining up for my pe lesson.

the contuinued presence of the PECTORAL SANDPIPER on the 2th and 9th were the last i saw, but there was also DUNLIN, COMMON GULL.

A day near bewdley produced 2 CROSSBILL, 2 BRAMBLING, and my 1st redwing and fieldfare of the autunm. Roost birding kicked off on 16th when 3000c gulls roosted at upton warren including 10+ YELLOW LEGGED GULLS, 40C COMMON GULL, 150c H gull, 1800c LBBG and 1000c BHG, this continued for a few weeks before trailing off, a jack snipe was seen and the final days birding of the month (25th) had 4 WHITE FRONTED GEESE at Upper Bittel, along with yet another YELLLOW LEGGED GULL, 58 GOLDEN PLOVER flew over upton warren at dusk and an adult YELLOW LEGGED GULL roosted.

(White Fronted Geese)


A total non birding month with the only birding being from the 26th where 3 COMMON GULL were on the ice at upton, a patch visit for the 1st time in months had 8 bullfinch and 2 snipe.


And again it livened up

on 10th a visit to trimpley res, had a couple of massive sized flocks, 192 MANDARIN!!!!!!! were on the river including a totally ALBINO bird, 108 GOOSANDER, 52 TUFTED DUCK, 3 WIGEON, 1 GADWALL, 2 CROSSBILL, 3 BRAMBLING, YELLOW LEGGED GULL all being logged in 1 1/2 hours. a return visit the bext day had 172 MANDARIN, 50C GOOSANDER, but other duck numbers had gone down, 16 tufties, 4 GCG, 3 marsh tit and the YELLOW LEGGED GULL was again down.

12th saw us at upton watching my favorite bird, the WAXWING, a flcok of 5 birds were watched at very close range, showing superbly,

at 12 noon on th 18th i found a WHOOPER SWAN on the river on the patch!!!!!!!, we watched it for 30 mins before it swam upriver and the snow became to bad to be out in.

26th was highlighted by the discovery of a few GOLDENEYE on the patch, so natraully we twitched them, saw them, but in the process found a bloody DRK 2nd win SMEW!!!!!, it was present for 2 days with 6 GOLDENEYE, numerous GOOSANDER, 14 TUFTED DUCK, 7 LITTLE GRERE, A COMMON GULL and a pair of DIPPER (all reports from either 26th or 27th). and that was my last birding of the year.





(Whooper Swan)


SO now reviewing the year link this it wasent as bad as it though will good birds in all but 1 of the months (november), and after 3 hours on this post over the last week ( including 1 1/2 tonight) selecting images, sightings etc i am glad to get it over with, i think it is more effective than last years but what do you think???

if it was a total waste of time please tell me, or otherwhys???

as usual i end with a thankyou, to everone who has given me bird news this year, everyone who has got me birding, people who have shipped me all over the place looking for birds, to thomas cook for the extra week in turkey :D

Good birding and a happy new year to all, hope it is a good year


Prime time Birding.

i have put so much effort in to get the blog up to date and finally it is, and what a day to do it on.
christmas had been as good as usual so when a report of goldeneyes on the river in bewdley surfaced very near to the patch i just had to be there, but luckily i did briefly change my mind to visit trimply instead but being -7.5 ouside that seemed a bit much so goldeneye hunting it was...
the plan was to park in Blackstone car park then just check the area. but alot of the plan was aborted when the area of river that is actually on the patch was completly frozen ( south of the road bridge) so we walked northward, clocking GOOSANDER, after goosander, in total 14 birds ( 3drk), we very quickly logged onto 3 LITTLE GREBE right in below the bank, including a bird which we though was frozen in the ice, luckilly after a few minuites it manadged to free itself and dived to join its 2 friends.
we got to behind the high school over the metal bridge when i spotted the GOLDENEYE feeding slightly upriver with its friend a drk goosander, i got into a positing where i could video the bird and got one short, wonky film before it and the goosander was flushed by walkers on the opposite side of the river, its wings humming as it went....

we had our target bird so decided to head back to the car with the hands struggling to turn the focousing wheel on my bins, we again found the goldeneye and after a minuite it was flushed once again by walkers on the opposite side of the river ( a major problem today), we decided that the bird had already been flushed twice so we left it to its own devices.

we crossed the metal bridge again and came to a small gap ( heading back downriver btw), where the bird of my patch dreams was,

In all its 1st winter splendor

A DRAKE SMEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A drake smew OMG, seriously DRAKE SMEW, sitting in front of me about 4-5 metres away, a drake smew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, before i even put my scope down i grabbed my camera from my pocket and put it to my bins before this bird was flushed to, and here it is: video no-1 of the bewdley smew:

yes. really crappy, but a white drake smew!!!!!!

now i had the confirmation video, i put my scope in the middle of the path ( could give a toss if somebody wanted to get past cause i just found a drake smew!!!!!) and spent about a min struggling to find it in my scope, but when i did:

yes i know, still really crappy, but all i ask from my photo's/videos's is that you can tell what the bird is and this is a 1st winter DRK SMEW!!

i got this video then for the 2nd time in 2 week phoned up birding today to tell them of my momentus discovery, but before the phone was answered a flock of 9 Goosander took flight and the smew took off with them, as did the single goldeneye, i didnt know what to do, drop my phone or pick up my bins, the birds flew south under the road bridge ( thus onto the patch) and i told the details, we very quickly got to the bridge but the birds had gone, but knowing that there was a little bit of open water open on the patch we hung around incase they flew back up ( as the goosanders do on the patch), they didnt so we went to the car to thaw out. where 2 reed bunting were in the car park. we drove around to bewdley as a last ditch fire attempt to relocate the bird, from the opposite side of the river, but although after walking all the way to the patch bridge there was no sign of the bird and only 5 goosanders ( 2drk), but i did manadge to find the whole flock of 5 goldeneye (all drk), whcih added to the bird that flew off was the total that was seen the day previous.

another 2 little grebe were noted, and an amazing flock of 11 !!!! tufted duck were on the river ( 5 drk) in the town centre, and 2 dipper were reported here this evening also. there was alot of birds presant so i did probs miss them....

and like i said in the last post what a way for the patch to hook me back in. 3 new patch birds in a week.....

1st win drk SMEW!!!


14 goosander

11 tufted duck

5 little grebe

2 reed bunting

What a couple of hours can do to a patch birder eh......


Patch 1st!!!!


local patch

for some sycotic reason i had decided to head out onto the patch in the morning in a blizzard, i held it off untill about midday when i headed out, and perhaps more sycoticly me dad followed, we truddged down the track towards the river checking out the feeders on the way, but nothing was showing so onto the river. at the sand martin colony, there was an adult swan feeding on the opposite side of the river, i ignored it.....

but then a MEADOW PIPIT flushed from the long grass beside me but quickly dissapeared under a tussok. so means as well i had already raised my bins, i might as well have a look at the swan....

there was something that wasent right with the bird, i cant explain what but in that first 3 seconds while its head was underwater i just had a feeling. but just as i took my bins from my eyes, the bird lifted its neck and i glimsed a yellow and black bill...

ok that was dodgy, did i just see that, it couldve been the snow... but no...

it really did have a yellow bill with the yellow going under the nostril and it looked pointy faced and snouty so....


ON THE PATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i couldnt believe after neglecting the patch all summer it brings me back with a bird like this!!!!

i know it is only a scarce bird, but come on, i get exited over a wigeon on the patch, but a bloody WHOOPER SWAN. not even in my dreams did i think that i would get a wild swan on the patch.

i made sure this wasent one of those hydrid whooper x mute birds but as you can see, it is just a totally classic whooper..

(1st vid)

(it calls)




upton warren

after many tries at waxwings around the county and many dips ( tales of 08-09 winter) i was told about a flock of 5 birds that had been seen at webbs, opposite the sailing club at the warren, natrually we headed down there but was more than supprised when there actually was the 5 birds still there, feeding on the ornimental rowens by the neterance to webbs, and as you can guess they shown better than well, superb almost, within a few metres...

we stayed for about 40 mins photographing them and then left knowing that the whole reserve was frozen..

(im sorry about the video but you will need to tilt your head to the right because i cant find a way to rotate the video. sorry)

what amazing birds!!!!


Saturday, 25 December 2010


10/12/10 + 11/12/10
will combine both these days as they are both at the same site.
on the 10th we went looking for waxwings but drew a blank so a very last minuite decision to head top TRIMPLEY RES. was in order.
we parked at the top car park, where imidiatly 2 CROSSBILL flew over going NW, a walk to the res added 3 BRAMBLING over and the usual birds that are in eymore wood, goldcrest, tit flocks etc...
the bottom lake was completly frozen so we headed immidiatly up to the top lake, which was 20% frozen, but had a nice array of duck species (for here!!!), A drake GADWALL, and 3 WIGEON (1 drk, 2 fem) were unusual as was a very high count of 52 tufted duck, as usual a post roost flock of gulls were down and among them was a stunning adult YELLOW LEGGED GULL (i cant get rid of them this year).
a buzzard was on its kill nearby:

we were waking around the edge looking at the river when i picked up a flock of about 30c MANDARIN. i got my scope out and had a look, but no sooner that i had done this than a huge flock of mandarins (around 100 birds) were flying over my head, doing so fof about 5 mins before landing over the river in front of me. a few more flocks of smaller sizes dropped in and soon i was counting through them, a total of 192 MANDARIN were on the ice on the river and no matter how amazing that flock sounds, there was also a TOTAL ALBINO bird sitting among them, a stunning looking creature but as you can see from the buzzard video above it was very dark by now and i just couldnt get my camera to work, however we agreed to visit again the next day to try for videos and photo's.
another quick check of the main lake had a flock of 108 GOOSANDER floating around, adding to this the amount of flyovers (easilly 80+) put a huge total but as this could involve a degree of duplication i only decided to put the number down as the grounded birds...

as i said we came back the next day, but 3 hours of searching didnt produce the albino mandarin and the total number of mandarins had dropped to a still mindnumming 173 birds, but saying that all bird mumbers had dropped, goosanders were down to only a 50c figure and Tufties were even worse at only 16 birds, the Ad YELLOW LEGGED GULL was again presant but only briefy on the still frozen small pool.
3 Marsh tits were in the woods including a bird with an odd pink growth above its eye near the bottom car park. as you would imagine i took a few videos:
in one of the mandarin vids there is 68 birds:


Friday, 24 December 2010

Back to the patch

a short stomp around the patch today..
8+ Bullfinch
2 Skylark over
2 (pos 3) Common Snipe (area withheld :) lol)
4 Song thrush
10c redwing
20c fieldfare
30c !!!!!!!! robin
20c blackbird
1 kingfisher

right i think that enough posting tonight, but more 2moz and you have some very nice birds and flocks to look forward to so, stick with it

Into the freezer.........

after a month of no birding i finally got out and about and decided to go to upton...
the whole reserve was quiet, however a personal highlight came when i spotted 3 COMMON GULL (1 ad, 2 2nd winter) sitting on the ice, showing a very nice range of plumage, one being VERY dark with almost a winter herring gull like head patterm, just darker, and errrrr, thats it....

White Front........

i did have photos on this day, but i have since lost them, so hey, no photos.......
Upper Bittel Res....
a twitch to this location to find the 4 WHITE FRONTED GEESE swimming about with the large flock of greylags which looked atlot better with its (wilder) companions as my ony previous worcester white front was with a canada flock ( but right time of year etc so it on the list), i watched for a bit before the dissapeared around behind the sailing club, so i had a scan around....
21 wigeon
and 2 shoveler
there was also a lone adult YELLOW LEGGED GULL which i may have seen later when i did the roost at upton..
a barnacle goose was with a large canada flock in the fields.

upton warren
after getting the geese we moved down to the roost at upton via the moors pool which was rather quiet,in the roost an adult yellow legged gull was picked out which looked similar to the bittel bird, but only 300c large gulls assembled. we left at dark but as we was walking along the south shore of the sailing pool we counted a flock of 58 GOLDEN PLOVER fly up off the mast field and fly west...

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Gulls, Gulls everywhere..........


upton warren

the PEC had left us but we was in for a huge treat, we had missed a whooper swan at the warren but turned up anyway for the roost..

an adult YELLOW LEGGED GULL was quickly spotted and i got a short film.

but very quickly i noticed that large numbers on large gulls were dropping onto the deck on the flashes. the flock grew and grew as more and more birds piled in from the SW ( westwood pool???) the flocks of 20-100 were constantly dropping down between c7pm and dark, and just before we left i estimated an amazing 3000c gulls ( 2000 large, 1000 small) had decended upon the flashes

this video shows right at the limet of what i can take in that light, and remeber more gulls dropped in after this video was taken.

being the gull fanatic i am, i was scopeing through the flock all night, with great results.

10+ YELLLOW LEGGED GULL ( 2 1st win, 8 adult)

40c common gull

150c H gull (mostly immature)

1800c LBBG (mostly adult) ( including an intermedius race bird)

1000c BHG,

all i could say was what a spectacle at such a small place...

2 Green sand

27 Curlew

8 Snipe


Saturday, 11 December 2010

PEC- take 3

the PECTORAL sandpiper remained at upton warren flashes for its 3rd week, but like take 2, it remained at the back of the flash,
2 green sand
7 curlew
15 snipe
1 common gull
30c meadow pipit

Fishing contest.

Haye farm nr Bewdley
taking part in a fishing contest, however lets steer clear od how i did in that, 2 CROSSBILLS flew over calling, as did 2 BRAMBLING, 17 REDWING, 3 FIELDFARE, 20 MEADOW PIPIT and a single kingfisher was on the pools.


My school
while lining up for PE, i spotted a 1st winter MED GULL feeding with the BHG's on the tennis courts, this bird was very quickly joined by 2 other med gulls, Makeing a total of 3 MED GULLS, at the end of school 1 remained, but non were seen the next day.
interestingly, 2 1st win med gulls roosted at belvide Res that night, and there was a single 1st win that roosted at bartly Res??? mmmmmmmm????

PEC- take 2

Upton warren
a BARNACLE GOOSE was on the sailing pool..

A single DUNLIN ( juv) was on the flashes, but the main star, the PECTORAL SANDPIPER remained, but plonked itself solely at the rear of the flashes, about as far as it could get, so was just a tiny dot, and no photos/videos.
a adult winter COMMON GULL flew into roost. but promptly flew off SE


1 green sand

2 common sand

33 curlew

8 snipe




upton warren flashes

ok well now well and truily behind with this so......

Matt had again offered to pick me up from earlswood to go and see the PECTORAL SANDPIPER that had taken up residence on the flashes.

we entered the hide and this is what greeted us, a stunning juv cracker, and i was actually really supprised by how small it was ( lifer- 211), i just about managed 2 mins of footage of this bird right below the hide when my camera bleeped and turned itslef off,


but here is what i did get.

however the bird did a dissapering act after pottering about infront of the hide and wasent seen by my dad when he arrived alot later.


3 green sand

1 common sand

33 curlew

5 snipe