Thursday, 10 February 2011

Another Gulling sesion!!!


With the last gulling sesion at stubbers and chasewater being quite bad ( but there was other birds that day) we had decided that we would do Stubbers again as the iceland gulls was seen again.

After school we headed up there, and it was horendous, the wind was litterally so strong, my scope was constantly being buffeted about, this combined with the light being against us ment that photographing the gulls was a hard task, and i didnt come away with any decent shots despite taking over 100.

A couple of birders dropped in and out, (most from the chase GG shrike), we picked out a YELLOW LEGGED GULL after about 30 mins, and when i was staring to feel the wind through my 2 jackets an interesting gull dropped in.


small dark eye, pear shaped head, a very faint 'shrawl', 'Herring gull shade back colour', long bill, with a small dark mark on a greeny/yellow base colour.

this looks good.....

I waited for a birder to arive and 5 mins after a birder duely appeared and confirmed that i had indeed found an Adult CASPIAN GULL

(yes i accept the photo just only looks like gull, but this was the caspian)

As time wore on, i kept noticing a gull which just looked odd, the bird in general reminded me of a first winter Glauc but the markings were much darker, and the bird had dark primarys, the plumage seemed to be intermidiate with herring, this lead to me believing the bird to be a Herring x Glauc hydrid, and further reaserch after online and in the helm GULLS, has made me think this even more, i know the photo again is hardly anything to go on, but for conparison, for anyone who owns GULL'S, photo 240 on page 203 strongly resembles the bird that was in front of us, but the head was paler being the only visiable difference, i mean i just couldnt see any bird showing that Bill with not having some Glauc influence. the birds size also was noticable, with it being bigger that the herrings. i have a stong feeling that this bird was a 1st winter Gluac x Herring but without better photos i dont think i could prove it.

20c COMMON GULL were about ( most being 1st winter) and 2 GBBG, 3 Teal, 20C Pochard, 5 tufted duck and 40c lapwing and there was 8 Goosander (3 drk)

At this point we decided about going over to highfielfds tip were the caspian had dissapeared to, we had litterally just put my scope down and i dropped directly onto an ICELAND GULL (3w), i had actually totally forgot about this bird, grabbing for my camera, the bird was 'put up' by the working machienary which was being used on the landfil site, the bird didnt land again and after 20 mins the bird flew north (ish) with a flock of 50c gulls and we decided to call it a day with us both now being quite cold and windswept.


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Patch update...

As regular readers of this blog will know is that a place that is very party of my birding lifestyle is my local patch,it is an area of habitats that include wet woodland,grassland,farmland,woodland,marsh,reedbed,small lakes, a small area of urbanness, and a few generally scrubby area's, that despite being well off the birding radar oftern has its supprises, that over the 8 years i have been birding the place i have clocked 1000+ hours here, Recording 127 Species of bird, the last 2 years being particually noteworthy due to me 'working' the site more,
The patch has gradually increases in size, from a single woodland to a whole strech of the river severn, to include a wider range of habitats, this has lead to my current sized patch to take nearly 5 hours to work thourghly, but i have many 'short walks' where i decided to walk to a certain area, check it out, then walk back.
In the 2nd half of 2010 the patch was very much abandonned, so the usual warbler counts i do never took place. the only day i have for patching is sunday, and when year 11 hit me, it was full of homework and coursework, and most of the time i was generally too tired to get out. but when i finally got back to the patch in mid december, i was immidiatly overtook by patch birding, finding a WHOOPER SWAN on the river, a self found bird, quickly followed by a stunning drake SMEW, which amazingly i also found, the supporting cast here though was amazing, 6+ Goldeneye, 30+ goosander, at least 15 tufted duck (an amazing patch rarity ( only 6 birds previous(2 records), a flock of 5 little grebe, common gull and a pair of Dipper, 4 patch firsts in 2 weeks!!!!, even though i had neglected the patch for almost 6 months!!!!
Unfortunatly, i wont be able to work the patch as much as i used to for many reasons, but have promised to myself that i will get down to the patch every 2 weeks, even if to only visit one location, just to see what is about, Patch birding is THE most furfilling type of birding, finding an odd bird on your patch means more than traverling 400 miles to twitch a gull (no matter how manky it is), finding a decent bird on your doorstep is just so much better, even if it is common 10 miles away, Patch birding always has the edge..
So my most recent patch exploit.
I decided to walk to the Gadwall lake, just to see if the bird for which this lake has this name had returned, but when getting to the lake it was frozen over, so no chance, but i was soon standing there scopeing the Reed bunting, i must say, a bird i overlook elsewhere, but due to being on the patch i decided to stop and watch. the light was stunning, and i got lost in time, and 1 1/2 hours later, i had realised i had watch a bird for that long, well tbh it wasnt one bird, it was 12, and with reed bunting being unusual on the patch (despite in the last 2 years having 30+ flocks and potential breeding birds), it has became a lot more common in the last 2 years, possibly due to the fact of the patch size increase.

Needless to say, i actually have never really spent time just watching a single type of bird (unless it is particuarly special), but i was engrosed in the Buntings behaiour, watching mutual preening, and even at one point a male and a female bird perched on opposite stems, and touched beaks, almosts as if the birds were giving a kiss, i certainly had never seen this before but i found them quite charming birds, they have gone up a few levels in my 'good' birds list!!!

After this long stint watching the buntings i headed home, but it was only when i got too the Moorhall Wood (aka balckcap wood), i quickly found a flock of 20 Lesser redpoll, and on sifting through the birds, One jumped out at me, Larger and frostier, white wing bars and only a brown tinge on the back, MEALY!!!

4th patch record. i dropped the legs on my tripod, and quickly aimed my scope at the birds, and without thinking i ripped back the velcro so i could access the focousing wheel, and the birds all took flight, flying towards the birch wood further along, but despite looking i never found the flock again..


20 Lesser redpoll


8 Coal tit

1 Marsh tit

1 Kingfisher

1 Blackcap

3 Siskin

1 Treecreeper

it was also quite nice to see that both Wren and Goldcrest have survived the cold spell in numbers, with decent numbers noted of each...

Happy Patching


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Trimpley does it again!!!

Trimpley Res, Eyemore wood and surrounding area's.

I must say this was a twitch, but as it was not very far away it wasent too bad..
A large flock of waxwings had been reported at the car park t trimpley, but when we arrived there wasent any sign of any birds, never mind waxwings. a smaller flock had been seen at a farm in eyemore wood, so natrually we walked there, but again no sign, but we did ge onto a flock of 15 Lesser Redpoll, which didnt contain many mealys, a MARSH TIT was seen here as well, as was a very confiding GOLDCREST, and a treecreeper was seen towards the river clinging to the side of a tree, A ravern flew over and a bullfinch called, weeping in the background...
we continued, down to the river and back to trimpley, then climb back to the car park. Small flocks of GOOSANDER shown very well on the side of the river (13 bird total), containing 3 Drakes, but the numbers dropped as we approaced the RES.
The Upper Res was birdless as there was sailing taking place, and to say it was devoid is an understatement, so we dropped down onto the river counting the Mandarins as we walked up, We ended up counting 56 MANDARINS but the albino bird again failed to show.

I walked up to the Lower Res. where 8 Tufted Duck greeted us, as did a G C grebe.

The walk back to the car park didnt show any birds, and when we got to the car park 2 Birders were there looking into a tree, but we continued past, and i opened the door, then at this point i heard trilling!!!!!!


I spun around, and saw a bird perched in the tree just to the left of me.....

Bins up: WAXWING...
Then another, 2 WAXWINGs.

I moved away from the birds and moved to a position which although further away was with the light and the birds were lit very well. Both were 1st winter birds, they dropped down onto the bushes with very few berries on a few times, giving stunning views, but i was unable to capture the moment. The crowd of 4 watched the birds for about 20 mins before they took off and flew off into Eyemore wood.
we again had another look in eyemore but only goldcrests were seen..