Monday, 31 January 2011

Upton Warren...

I wanted to visit the flashes first but then quickly head up to the moors but, its turns out i got caught up with the birds down the flashes....
the walk down was rather birdless but when i got the the bench, i noticed that a large goose flock was in the fields to the north. and on getting to the hide, i put my scope facing the flock, but quickly i noticed a 1st winter COMMON GULL sitting on a shingle islands in the centre of the flash, i watched this bird for some time, then realised that the goose flcok was up there, and within seconds, i had found the 1st winter PINK-FOOTED GOOSE among the greylags and canadas (23 Greylag, 100c canada), i watched this bird for a bit but then i switched back to the common gull, which was now surrounded by lapwings, i had the usual scan of the teal flock for a vertical stripe, but one wasent seen with only horizontal stripes, but we live in hope...
then another scan of the goose flock, pink foot watched again, but then out of the corner of my eye i noticed the common gull flying towards us, very very slowly as it was flying into the wind, it flew halfway across the flash and landed on the green marshy area to the right of the hide, showing very well..

i ended up taking lots of photos/videos of this bird as i have never had a common gull this close.

i must say, this bird loooked very ragged...

i also took a video of the Pink footed goose which was now feeding in a gap between birds and you could easilly see it:

the moors however was quite, and the bittern again failed to show.

but 4 WIGEON ( 2 drk) were nice compensation, and 10+ curlew on the islalands was also nice.

at dark while in the car park, the flock of canada/greylags dropped onto the moors, and presumably the pink foot also...


Yet more waxwings!!!!!!!!!

It was while on my dinner break at school, that i heard a flock of my favorite birds flying over, and it was quite a big flock, they circled over the Holoway road for a minuite before flying off along stickly lane, as i was walking back to school as lunch had only 10 mins left i relocated the flock ontop of a birch(???, not very good at tree id) only 50 metres from where i found a flock of 3 in early 2009, as you would expect i had a count through, and i was amazed that there was infact 42 birds!!!!
Doubleing my previous largest flock and adding 2, the birds then flew off west towards Baggeridge Cp and despite having a look after school there was no sign.

A Planned trip to stubbers green after school on the friday ( i break up at 12:45 on fridays as we do just under an hour longer at school than other schools every day) looking for a couple of gulls.
well the word fail comes very much into mind here, there was only 50-100 gulls down, and non were white or even hinted at caspian, so after an hour of watching common gulls and a flock of 16 goosander we headed over to highfields tip, where again the word fail springs to mind, not because there was no gulls (there was 1000+ here), they were all circling above the tip because the workers were working there, and as a last ditch Chasewater was calling......
via brownhills that was, but there was no sign of any waxwings on the many berryless tree's, we were on the south shore, and i (yes note the word i) picked up the Adult Drk SMEW diving at the back of the large centre pool, no more than a mere dot, but you could still see it was a gorgoues bird, it did eventually move closer with the 7 GOLDENEYE (3 m) that were present, lots of meadow pipit flew over, but all focous was on the lake, and despite leaving at dark, no birds other than the usual LBBG, HG,BHG,GBBG and common gull were seen. and it turned out that a few yellow legged gulls had roooted that night, it wouldnt have harmed them other gullers just to say they had one instead of keeping stump!!!!!

Sunday, 30 January 2011


As i havent posted an y of my drawings recently i had a thought earlier that i would, here are a selection of my favorites:


Friday, 21 January 2011

Waxwing, take 2

Upton warren
A planned visit to the warren for the bittern, but as no news had came out about any birds at upton we decided to drop into webbs to check the berry bushes there.
we saw a few photographers and birders lineing the street next to the bushes and usually only means one thing.
and my hunch had been right!!!!!

3 WAXWING feeding on the sorbus trees adjoining the entrence.

i wont turn this post into a photographers slagging post but lets just say, a couple of them tried to shove their lenses up their arse, litterally getting within a metre of the tree the waxwings were in.

as the light was starting to drop, i didnt take many photos and just watched, but after 30-40 mins the birds flew into nearby trees and i took a video of a stunning adult bird, check out those primarys!!!!!

after seeing the birds being chased around across the field (ish thing) (more like a lawn) i left for the moors, where it was rather quiet, a GOOSANDER ( female) flew off as we was walking up the path, and a flock of 12 Curlew were on the islands

A 1st winter COMMON GULL dropped in briefly:

after checking the moors we decided to have another look in webbs, but parked in the SP car paark this time, and the 3 waxwings immidiatly flew over our heads trilling and into the villiage.

a monster of a PEREGRINE flew over, and this landed on the mast, and was joined by a 2nd bird.

the Bittern didnt show in the end


Wednesday, 19 January 2011


With news filtering through of a lesser scaup at slimbridge, as well as a whole supposting cast of goodies, including a 2 greater scaup, i was begging to go....
and it worked!!!!!

a curlew flew over while driving through slimbridge villiage while we briefly stopped to watch an adult COMMON GULL on a telegraph pole.
at about 10 we parked up in the visitor centre car park, and while my dad used the toilets i stopped up the top of the steps and watched mighty flocks of wigeon flying to and fro over the reserve, guestimate at about 1000-2000 birds, and we hadent even paid to get in yet.......

Our first port of call was the south lake where desite loads of gadwall, teal, pochard, i struggled to find the smew that had been seen, so up the holden walkway, going in each hide as we went, still a few areas of frozen water on the 'wild' parts of the reserve, but a huge 3500+ flock of wigeon was on the tack piece, feeding just the other side of the pool, superb numbers and views of potentioally my favorite duck.

(Wigeon flock (only part of!!!!) on the tack piece)
we waited around getting flyover BARNACLE GOOSE (a flock of 23 flew over and a similar amount was noted being as wild birds recently!!!) and it was only a matter of time before the flock of 582 Greater WHITE FRONTED GEESE took flight over the far ends of the reserve, obviously with so many birds it was impossible to see any other geese in the flock and this amazing moment was all to short lived.
we continued on to the Holden tower, where it was quiet, another big flock of wigeon, barnacle goose and the ever present canada's and greylags. a PEREGRINE was perched on a distant tree and i took the high vantage point as an opp to scan the 100 or so WHITE FRONTED GEESE on show over the distant hedges ( i could see shape and colour (leg and body colour)) and as the birds were back lit after a bit i picked out a PINK FOOTED GOOSE sitting blissfully in the flock, but there was no sign of the taiga bean that had been seen. we had a slow walk back to the rushy pen taking in the feeders and another viewing of the wigeon flock.
a stop in the old rushy hide gave superb views of the PINTAILS!!!

Then in the heated hide ( peng obs????) someone asked if i wanted to know where the birds were but i declined wanting to find them myself among the ranks, just to prove to myself that i could Id one after nearly 3 years of not seeing one...
well after a minuite there was the more advanced drake in its spendid 1st winter plumage, some people may describe it as grotty, but i found it gorgeous!!!!

As can be seen from the photos, it spent most of its time asleap. but did wake up occasionally to show us the little amount of black on its blue bill. and even managed to wing flap once!!!!

( 1st winter Drk Greater Scaup)

it was at this point a phone rang amongst the twitching bregade in a scrum at the far end of the obs when exitement grew, a mad rush saw every twitcher run out of the hide (litterally) and peg it over to the pool outside the visitor centre. the only things i heard was its on the big pen. and by it i presume the american bird that had been seen. a few dude's asked what was going on and i just told them about the 'twitch' situation and we all laughed at the wacky racers style exit when the phone rang...

and i didnt leave, i sat in the obs watching the GREATER SCAUP, its lesser friend could wait,

It was now i piked up an odd looking tuftie duck that had briefly raised its head, and on brining my scope on the bird.

i saw the 2nd GREATER SCAUP, a much less developed bird and one that was very easilly missed amongst the other ducks, but it was subtlely different and once i picked it out the 1st time, every scan i was picking it out, no matter how far away the bird was or where it was.

after about 30 mins tho, i decided that we had made the trip over here so we might aswell go and have a look at the LESSER SCAUP.

And well we saw it, at close range and everything, but it was most unobliging bird in the world as it decided to stay asleap for all but 10 secs of the 1 hour i watched it!!!!! ( that was 3 visits btw)

but i did manage a few secs of video with its head up, be patient..

(1st winter female LESSER SCAUP)

It was while watching the bird that a text popped up from tim jones, saying that the female smew had now been seen on south lake, only 200 or so metres from where i was standing. so we headed over there with the LESSER SCAUP not doing much, a minuite passed in the hide and i clocked the Female SMEW swimming at the back of the lake in a small unfrozen area. i only had maybe a minuites viewsing before it again dissapeared, but now it was a snow storm ( and we could only see a few metres from the hide so we again headed over to the rushy.

waking past the LESSER SCAUP again, it was still asleap, i guided a few birders onto the bird, and a few interested general folk and went back to the rushy..

thats right with a rarity swimming around in from of me, i decided that the Greaters were better looking and went back to them.... next time if it is an adult drake, then i will stay, but another brown 1st winter female then no.. there is nothing in a (1st winter) female lesser scaup that you can really go wow about, but i get that from the greaters, no matter if there much more common on a national scale.

The GREATER SCAUP were picked up again, and watched(again) but i took this op to film the pintails, cause come on the drakes are stunning.

sorry about this vid, the bird was too close to fit in the frame!!!!

again i watched the 2 1st winter drake GREATER SCAUP swimming around in circles asleap.

with the time getting on, and me having to be back at my moms house in dudley, we decided to call it a day them, missing my favorite part of the whole reserve, the zeiss hide, but with some amazing birds, i wouldnt complain, the ruffs will have to wait.




23 (wild) BARNACLE GOOSE (yes martyn i have put them down as wild birds!!!!) (many more feral birds)

50c Gadwall

200c PINTAIL (complete guestimate)

10c shoveler

3500c WIGEON

400c teal

200c pochard



400c tufted duck


2 Common Gull

well my good smew run continues ( and check out in a few posts time!!!) and as usual i have come away from slimbridge a happy birder....


Tuesday, 18 January 2011


Wyre Forest

after paying only 2 visit to the forest last year, and missing out on every!!!! decent summer bird, i have planned to visit a few times over the year to 'mop' up those missed species.

and what a way to start the year (and the decade non the less) with a nice few hours standing in the middle of the forest at a clearing looking for a certain bird.

we parked in at the dry mill lane car park where we met the photographer Bob Heart, we walked up the railway line with him picking out MARSH TIT and GOLCREST for the masses of common birds, BULLFINCH, TREECREEPER and NUTHATCH were noted before we reached where we had all come to walk, we viewed the feeders but there was little more of interest than what had already been seen, although a REED BUNTING dropped on, i looked north towards the bridge and i knew i had the birds i was looking for straight away.

2 HAWFINCH (lifer 213)

these birds very quickly dropped down into the trees and we waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and eventually, 4 birds popped up, then dropped down and after another 15 mins the flock again popped up and a 5th bird had dropped in.

5 HAWFINCH, they remained skittish, mobile and elusive throughout the 3 1/2 hours we waited, only getting about 10 mins viewing time in all of that.

The light was terrible, the birds were quite far off most of the time, and they never really remained in one spot for to long, althought the birds in the video below were there for about 2 mins.

3 LESSER REPOLL dropped in trees briefly and a RAVERN cronked over.


Thursday, 13 January 2011

2nd showing

Blackstone- Bewdley
i couldnt resist another peak at the smew, a bird this good on the patch and im willing to make the most of it!!!
well what can i say, a gorgeous bird posed gorgeously, at times down to about 5 metres, what a bloody great bird!!!

(A 2nd Win SMEW)

i spent a couple of hours here in the end, because the was some amazing birds that i may never see on the patch again.
there were 5 Drk GOLDENEYE moving up and down the river, and between bewdley town and blackstone there was 14 TUFTED DUCK ( a record count), another record count of 7 LITTLE GREBE also, a grey wagtail perched on roofs in bewdley town and an Ad COMMON GULL was sitting on the ice in bewdley town but flew around abit then flew north.

(Common Gull)
20c GOOSANDER were either on the unfrozen parts of the river or flying over, after checking the town centre for any anthya ducks (only tufties) we walked back downriver to blackstone as i had already pusshed time as i had to go out, but before we left we finally cought up with the 2 DIPPER on the river on the frozen ice at blackstone, and we had greay views, sitting out on the ice, diving into the fast flowing river, but eventually they flew off south below the road bridge.

what can i say, the patch has got me in its hold once again!!!!!!!