Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Back for the BLACK REDSTART at shenstone, which was being quite elusive for the entirity of my vigial.
and the only time it did decide to stop flitting around was when you could only see its head and back, so being well stubbern

As can be seen from the photo, the light was behind the bird and completly messing around with the camera, and i just couldnt get a propper sharp video, add this to the fact that the only time the bird fully came out was when i was looking through foliage, and again i couldnt focus right.
But oh well, its a BLACK REDSTART:

A couple of meadow pipit flew over.


A drop into upton warren in the late evening produced 2 ARCTIC TERN (yet again, and adult and a juv), a single SNIPE was on the islands, as well as a single GREEN SANDPIPER.
At the flashes it was dead, 27 CURLEW and a few teal

Patch again.

As the field at lickhill had been plowed, there was a large amount of gulls, which ment i kept coming back here on/off all day.

A smoke Breathing BHG

A 3rd Winter LBBG was on the field.

However, this Juv LBBG was on the Baisins in the town centre while i was trying (and failing) to get a film of the GREY WAGTAIL i had seen, the closest i got was when you could hear it calling on one of my videos of the LBBG:

However, the highlight of the day, was when a gorgeous HOBBY bolted over the Garden towards the river just as i was leaving to check the plowed field:

This leads me on to my other garden birds:
A Goldfinch:

A Long tailed tit:

and this Collered dove, which was 'washing' in a rainstorm to let the water run down its feathers by raising its wing:

15 LAPWING were seen on another Plowed field, just to the north of Lickhill


As i hadent been on the patch for a few weeks now, i was anxious to get back, no matter what time, i was dropped off not long before sunset and headed downriver.
There was very few birds about due to the time of day, however, a KINGFISHER was darting back and forth along the river and 4 MANDARIN were at Blackstone, including the drake which was now back to show its pluamge in all its orange glory!

I took this opporotunity however, to see how many TAWNEY OWL'S i could hear, on the journey from Blackstone to Lickhill, i counted 7 Different calling birds, which included 3 males, all but one of which were on the Ribblesford wood side of the river.
After darkness had fell, a flock of 15 LAPWING appeared against the slightly paler sky as they landed and roosted on the riverside fields!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


An after college visit to Sheepwash was very rewarding, although on our walk around the main Pumphouse pool we didnt see anything at all, other than BHG, but as i had a new camera, i thought i would try a pic or 2:

After takin many photo's of adult and 1st winter BHG we headed over to the Chemical pool, to hopefully find a 'Real' Gull.
But no such luck, Not even a herring Gull, but here is a juv LBBG:

However, a Brief sudden exitement hit me when i saw a Tern drop down to feed around the Pool, litterally coming in from nowhere!, just dropping out of the sky, 1 raise of my bins and i knew i was watching a moulting adult ARCTIC TERN, it fed vigorously around the pool from 3:18-3:24, where it then flew out to the north, climbing high as it went,
The whole time it was there, it was constantly harrased by the LBBG and BHG on the pool.

We then walked through the 'mound tunnel' to check out the marshy pools, there was nothing there, so we walked towards the Tame bridge, where a long tailed brown bird flew across in front of us,
Not imidiatly recognising it, i looked up at the Dead tree it flew upon, and was amazed to see a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER, as the wind was very veyr strong the bird was blown off the perch very quickly, but i manadged this pic before the final gust pushed it off the twig.

A long wait followed, and after an hour and not seeing it, we were leaving, but for some unknown reason i looked back, and there it was, perched on a small Birch tree!

Scope down, camera out of pocket, up to eyepiece, 'SPOTTED FLYCATHER'

After this i went back to the main Pumphouse pool, and Quickly spotted an ARCTIC TERN, however, this was not the adult bird i had just seen, this was a Juv bird! it tried to take some photos but they didnt come out very well, this bird was present from 4.50- 5:10 when it flew off.

And that was that, other than the Main Highlight birds, nothing else was seen, as is the way with sheepwash!
Oh, and the 4 Cormorant were checked for Shags, but there were all 'Bog standard'

Upton Warren

A brief visit to the Moors pool for the Juv ARCTIC TERN that had been seen with the Girlfriend.
Well we only walked just down the path and i saw the Tern, Translucent primarys an all, as it dip fed over the pool, however, it failed to land at any point, so therefore no pics or videos!
However, A BARNACLE GOOSE (certainly Feral) was keeping its distance form the Canandas:

It always Remained in its little bit of space,
I spotted a DUNLIN probing about on the other side of the pool as well as a COMMON SANDPIPER.
Unusually, a Collered dove flew over north, an Adult SHELDUCK was on the islands, and this Juv BULLFINCH was on the feeder below the hide:



When news came out early morning that the BLACK REDSTART was still at shenstone i was very happy, and i was even hapyer when i was putting my scope down overlooking the area where the bird was, and luckilly, it didnt take it long for it to show.
It landed up on a small Birch?? tree moving away from its 'normal' area because of a the buzzard from the night before sitting on a post and on the ground there.
The bird flew to the far end of the Paddock into the top corner, and stayed here for the hour or so we were there, it didnt come closer, and didnt give much chance to get anything decent ) photo wise on it.

As already mentioned, the BUZZARD was still showing very well, but this time in very good light.




As the all dayer was taking place, i was allowed to drop into the reserve early while my dad went off to the saturday job while i plodded around the moors.
On entering the west hide at the moors, i quickly (within 10 secs) spotted a HOBBY bolting through towards the eddy.
It also wasnt long before the BLACK TERN seen in the morning re-appeared, often dip feeding with a Common Tern, both of which were Juv birds, after abit of time watching the tern as i hadent seen one the previous year i headed up to the north moors hide, as a Cetti's warbler had been seen, But while exiting the hide and past the concrete hide, i saw the black tern Landed, and jumped into the hide to get some photo's:

however, after 2 1/2 hours of nothing but a single Dunnock, i gave up and walked across the C'way, were a Goldcrest was heard.
before reaching the hide i was told that some food was being offered in the concrete hide, so with the temptation of free food, i headed over there, and spent the next 30 mins watching Black Tern, Barnacle Goose, and 2 Common Sandpiper around the pool while eating a Bacon Sarnie! Nice way to do birding!
It was now, a buzz, a Bleep of a viberate went through the hide, as one by one we recieved news on a Black Redstart that had been found at shenstone near Kiddie,
So we said our fairwells and shot across there, however, after spending lots of time looking at nothing but Robins, we gave up, however, a Juv Buzzard was showing very well on the fence posts.

I didnt really expect the bird to stop around, so i was abit gutted considering we had already driven through shenstone/stone earlier in the day without stopping.
Little did i know

Monday, 19 September 2011

Slimbridge, our yearly August visit

There are reasons for both why i like, and why i hate this place.
Scanning the Distant wader flocks from the Holden Tower over high tide was annoying, as every time i called a bird out, i was ignored (or even laughed at!!!), only for an older person to call it out ages after me, to be greeted by, 'oh, where is that then?'.
Seriously Pissed me off alot that did.
Everybody was Commenting on how the small waders were too far away, but they really wernt, even through my low 27x Magnifiaction eyepiece i could pick out birds easilly, and with the 60x some of the scopes had (and believe me, there was some better scopes than mine in that hide) i dont see how anyone could moan about not being able to see them,
Yes, maybe my eyesight is better than some other peoples (being called perfect by my optition!), but dicrediting other peoples sightings due to age is just wrong, and a very easy way to piss someone off!
I could see a CURLEW SANDPIPER in with the flock on the front edge, even if you didnt believe me! (and anyway, i saw another at the Mid point later in the day)
After being royaly P'd off by other birders, i thought it was about time to be P'd off by some dudes, South lake here we come!
A spotted Redshank was claimed, but other than a pale Common Redshank, there was no bird that even resembled one, nor had one been reported, a Nice flock of 100+ Black-Tailed Godwit was standing in the shallows,
after a bit we left, to one of the wrost hides in the world:
However, Via a 'plastic' Redshank!!!!, Yes, thats right, a captive REDSHANK!!!
A single GREENSHANK, and 5 RUFF (all female) were showing from the hide, on a very quiet (wader wise) flash, Lots of ducks though, but other than Wigeon, Mallard and Teal, with a few shoveler, there wasnt much more.
Then to the Middle point hide, Again a few birds here,
4 Little Egret
50c Ringed Plover
50c Black-tailed Godwit
34 Golden Plover
10c Knot
1 Sanderling
100c Dunlin
1 Curlew Sandpiper
as well as many, many Curlew.
Many Passerines around the Mid point, 3 Wheatear, Meadow pipits over, a single Skylark and many Yellow Wagtail.
Highlights (combined for whole day):
4 Little Egret
1 Hobby
2 Peregrine
50c Ringed plover
34 Golden Plover
300c Lapwing
10c Knot
1 Sanderling
100c Dunlin
1 Curlew sand (5 seen by others)
7 Green sandpiper
30c Redshank
1 Greenshank
200c Black-tailed Godwit
111+ Curlew
6 Ruff
20c Yellowe wag
3 Wheatear

Post Twitch birding

After seeing the Skua for the 2nd time, we then headed over to Upton Warren, where was saw 2 SPOTTED FLYCATCHER sitting on the Hawthorn hedge to the south of the flashes main hide, it was quite quiet otherwhys, with 4 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Juv Shelduck, 30+ Teal, 11 Curlew, and many Reed Warblers in the Hen pool.
While in the Hen pool, we also saw both Water and Common Shrew

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

ARCTIC SKUA, revisited

As aformented, i had planned to visit Chelmarsh again, and the following tuesday, there we were.
We didnt know if the bird was presant or not, as we only had 'it was there yesterda' news, so how relieved we were when after a couple of mins of scanning, i picked up the ARCTIC SKUA again, sitting on the water, quite close into the bank, we then walked back so we could walk up the public Bridleway on the west side of the Res', from here we were treated to much better views of the Skua, and plumage detail could be seen, A dark morph Juv Arctic Skua, what a bird, Many times today it took to the air and harassed the LBBG that flew in after they fed on nearby fields,
The Skua would chase the birds, occasionally even pecking at the birds tails to get the Gull to disgorge its meal, lets just say the tactic worked quite well, and the Skua got lots of Food, and unusually for seabirds, it looked in extremly good health, oftern taking short flights (but often returning to the same spot), I spent some time studying the bird, and taking a few notes (both mental and written) to aid future occurences with the species, or even the whole skua group, as i have only seen one skua species, and 1 bird!
This is how the Res' looked from the public Bridleway, showing lots of potential, however i notcied a sign saying that the water is kept at high levels so there is no wader shore, other than the dam.
Which was why this was Created!
A small, shallow marsh, which although small, has amazing potential, having had Ruff, Spotted Redshank and currently holding a Grey Phalarope, it looks like with more coverage, this place could do some great birds!
So my first few visits to the Res made a huge impression, hopefully this is only 2 of many future visits (and its not that far away!)
Also noted:
120 Greylag Goose (actual count)
1 Snow Goose
63+ Goosander!!!!
1 Yellow wagtail (again on dam)
1 Peregrine flew over
10c Teal on marsh

A site Mega, to a regional MEGA!

When news emerged that a Juv Arctic Skua had been found at Chelmarsh Res i was imidiatly thinking it wouldnt stay long, how wrong i was.
On friday, when my dad picked me up i sneakilly asked to have a visit, and to my suprise, a few hours later, there we were, pulling into the sailing club at chelmarsh!
It didnt take long to locate the bird sitting distantly on the other side of the Res near the Dam, and it flew once for no reason, and flew a tiny little closer, still way too far for digiscoping, but you cant blame me for trying.
We were treated to 'satisfactory' views of the bird as it sat on the water, not really doing much.
I vowed to return to chelmarsh in the following week, skua or not, because it looked quite good.
There was also a large (80c) flock of Greylag goose and in amongst the flock was a single adult Snow Goose, which flew over our heads a few times.
There was 23 Goosander and a single Yellow Wagtail on the Dam.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


My sheepwash regiem had reached its pinical today, with a Sheepwash MEGA!!
We walked in our usual way, scanned the fields the usual way, and was left dissapointed, maybe the lake would be better?
We Stopped on the north side of the pool near some stratigically placed boulders for seats, scan over the Gulls, Nothing (Not even a tern!!), scan the water, again, Nothing, scan the Mud ridge.

Ding ding ding, Hit the Jackpot.

Even from here i could see imidiatly that i was watching my first sheepwash GREENSHANK!
A Greenshank, at sheepwash, a puddle in great bridge, with a greenshank on it!!
Scope came out of the bag, but by the time i had set it up (very quickly may i add) the bird had gone, and we hadent seen where it flew off, without calling. could our Greenshank have only been down for less than a minuite?

We walked around the pool, onto the raised path, but there was still no sign of the bird, it had gone.

Or so we thought,

On the tiny Johns lane fishing pool, there was a small strip of mud littered with bottles and empty strongbow cans, and roosting on the waters edge was a marvelous juv Greenshank, blisfully preening and sleeping, we walked around so we were opposite the bird on the other side of the pool and scoped it.
Here it is:

However, other than the star bird, there was nothing else, at all, nothing to eat away at the Greenshanks glory!

There was a few Dragonflys about though, with:

1 Common Darter

2 Southern Hawker

2 Brown Hawker

and Numerous Common Blue damselflies.

a search for the Blue-taield's failed.


Morton Baggot and Upton Warren

A trip to Morton baggot was almost pointless, and other than this Peregrine, there was not much else about, 2 Green sandpipers were on the pools as well as a few Teal, and 86 Greylag geese were sitting in a field.

To be completly honest though, Upton was the same, and it was just standard fare and the same 'stuff' that had been around for some time.
Over all there was 9 Green Sandpipers over the reserve (2 at moors, 7 at flashes), however my largest flock of 5 Common Sandpipers was noteworthy at the flashes, with my top counts only usually being 3 birds.
A Water rail popped out the reeds for abit.
A Juv Shelduck was at the flashes, as well as 81 Lapwing , the Juv Redshank, 30 Curlew but a suprise was when i spotted a Snipe Probing the mud around the base of the reeds at the back of the 2nd flash.
2 Yellow wagtail and a Meadow Pipit flew over


Monday, 12 September 2011

A few more Patch Goodies


The day looked superb, so i decided on some skywatching, however, nothing flew over!
I was amazed owever, that when i was heading home, i was treated to amazing views of an adult HOBBY as it chased a swift for about a minuite around low above the woodland and the adjacent field, I have never been treated to as good views as i did, and i have never seen a Hobby actually attack something with intent, so to see how agile it was was awsome!
Easilly by favorite raptor.
Oddly, there was a flock of 13 LAPWING sitting on the riverside fields, which is unusual because i dont usually get even a single bird untill november time, so to see a flock this early was a suprise.

A KESTREL shown very well sitting on a fence post at the riverside fields also, and a YELLOW WAGTAIL also flew over calling.


Patch Goodies

A walk from Lickhill to Lincomb lock was quite, and only a Lesser Whitethroat and a kingfisher were worthy of note, a few Reed Warblers were hainging on in the Reeds at the Gadwall lake.

However at Lincomb Lock i was suprised to see an amazing flock of 10 COMMON TERN, the largest flock i have even seen on the patch.


Thursday, 8 September 2011

Drop IN.

I was meeting my girlfriend today, but when news came through of a Ruff at Upton, and needing it for the year list, i did abit of planning with my dad, so we dropped into Upton before i had to meet her, and hopefully still be on time.
Well, it worked, we walked down to the Main flashes hide, but while walking past the Bench, i heard a Yellow Wagtail calling, but i couldnt work out whether the bird was on the field or flew over, we looked for abit, but with time restraints, we gave in.
Walked into the hide with a few people watching the Juv Female RUFF as it stalked the waters edge with 2 Common Sand, 7 Green sand, Yesterdays Dunlin and the Redshank.

It wasnt long however before people in the hide heard the YELLOW WAGTAIL too, and it was even more suprising when a Female alighted on the dried out 2nd Flash, we watched it for about 5 mins as it stood motionless before flying off low west. we had to leave now, but we had the Yellow wag on the Transmitter field very briefly, before it again flew off west.

And after all that, we were only 5 mins late :D


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

More Waders!

We once again dropped into earlswood lakes to see if any waders were about, and you can imagine my immense suprise when the juv DUNLIN was still probing away along the edges of the Engine pool island, however it had moved onto the near shore, and was showing a mere 40ft away, and with the light, i got some decent (for me) pics of the bird:

After watching the dunlin, we headed over to Upton Wrren, where a nice few waders were down. here is a nice little trio:

(Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Green Sandpiper)

A single Juv RINGED PLOVER was picking away around keeping close company with the adult DUNLIN, A single juv Redshank was showing, as was 6+ Green sand, and 2 Common sand.

29 Curlew roosted, and 9 Common Tern came in with the Gulls.