Tuesday, 29 November 2011


As well as recieving news about the Great Egret at upton, on saturday morning i also recieved news on a Mega wheatear for the Midlands, a female DESERT WHEATEAR has been found up on Titterstone Clee hill by non other than fellow bird blogger, The Shenstone Birder!

So on Sunday morning we headed up there, so i can see my 3rd Wheatear species of the year in Britain, and to break my yearlist record!

I spotted the twitch as soon as we arrived, just below the car park, We parked in the upper car park and walked down, Seconds after joining the crowd i spotted the female DESERT WHEATEAR sitting on a steep bank not very far away, we watched it for the next 2 hours or so as i got to grips with this new species. And i was left how strikingly different it was to both Northern and the Pied Wheatears i have seen, I mean the Wholely Black tail was obvious to see at this range, as was all the features, but overall it looked paler than the 'other' wheatear's.
But despite at times the bird being very close (20ft), the gale force winds and horrible 'side light' were messing up every photo/Video i took, The scrum of photographers were having a ball with very good light behind them, But for my angle, the bird was in a constant shadow on one part of the body and complete sunlight on another, combined with the paleness of the bird, every image came out overexposed or just generally 'burned out'. But here are my Efforts:

I wont dwell on the long list of birds that was found after i departed, however it did annoy me quite abit, one being a would be lifer, and all 3 year ticks!
But the days birding didnt end there!


A visit to Upton warren Moors pool was abit annoying, i woke up to recieve a text on my phone saying a Great Egret had been found there, it was around for a hour or 2, then flew to the flashes, then flew off south complelty, Oh well i thought!
But when i heard news that the bird had returned to the Moors pool i thought i had a chance, but only on my arival did i find out that the bird had flown off again as we set out, but this time, it did not come back! We spent a couple of hours looking over the ducks but there was very little there:
70c Teal
1 Snipe
15c Curlew
10c Shoveler
A Curlew:


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Patch Bird is Officially AWSOME!

Rather than just saying the event im going to include the surrounding birds before the birdy bits.
While at my girlfriends house late in the daylight hours on sunday a text popped up on my phone, mmm, i wonder what that will be, what i did not expect was when i opened it it to read that someone had found a Diver on MY patch!
I mean, if my girlfriend was to comment, she would maybe be able to describe my face when i saw that text, because i couldnt see it, however i can expect it to be somewhere in between Confusion, Disbelief and Anger! I wasnt annoyed that someone else had found the bird, just the bird chose to be found when i couldnt get to it!
Oh to be a Patch Birder!
Needless to say, i winced evertime i saw a Txt pop up, 'Red Throated Diver on the Severn!'
An early morning text from Birding Today said the bird was still there, and within an hour i had sorted out a plan to get down there after 6th form! A very last minuite plan to say the least. Me and the Gornal Birder, were going to catch 2 Busses and a Train and then a lift at the other end to the site!
A mamoth task considering how shit public transport is!
We got out of Lessons at 12:45 and power walked home, picked up my Bins and scope and Went straight for the Bus, A horid time on the busses got my exeptionally Mad ( the Gornal Birder can vouch for that!), but luckilly, we arrived at the train station about 2 Minuites before our train arrived! Our first stroke of Luck!
Jason from the Shenstone Birder Blog had very kindly offered to give us a lift from the Train station down to the northern edge of the patch, to our target!
As you can expect, a bird of this magnitude on the patch is Momentous, On a patch scale this bird is about as rare as Pacific Diver is in the UK, Add to that the fact that this was a river, the bird had no real reason to be there (there wasnt any particuarly strong winds blowing inland), and the Bird being an adult, It just seems totally bizzare!
And imagine the relief when i laid my Bins onto the Bird!
A stunning winter plumaged RED-THROATED DIVER simply paddling about on the river, giving amazing views, litterally scope filling! Words can describe what seeing that bird ment, On My Patch, My Patch that nearly 100% of the time you see nothing on!
A RED-THROATED DIVER, looking so out of place on a short section of the river!
I really have not much else to say, Gobsmacked, Awstruck, Disbelief! Awsome Patch bird!

A Female Goosander was in Bewdley town centre.
Special thanks to Jason K for his lift from the train station in my time of need, really apriciated, and as you said in video 3 (?), when i get a car your more than welcomed to hitch a lift if you need it :P lol
Patch birding is the BEST!


A school Trip to Oxfordm lead to me seeing a RED KITE fly over, and singles of both PEREGRIBE and KESTREL, however, not a single Buzzard!

I also saw 3 Deer, which i tentativly identified as 2 Red deer and a sinlge Fallow deer (the 2 very large Reds were seen on the way there, then a Fallow on the way back)

Sheepwash- Return of the Goosander

An after 6th form visit ot the local mecca, Resulted in me and the Gornal Birder seeing a Male and Female Goosander on the pool, the light was dire, but ive been waiting for a Drake Goosander for ages, so took a film anyway.

Otherwhys there was little out of the ordinary here, so i made an effort to count the flocks of duck, 29 Pochard and 16 Tufted Duck was also present, as well as 9 Teal.

A Jay, A Nuthatch and a Harris Hawk!

A post of little words.
Garden Feeders

Upper Bittel Res
Dipped a Bean Goose and Hawfinch, a Jay shown quite well

Harris Hawk on the Patch
(you will have to watch untill the end of the video for the bird to move)


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Red-Breasted Mergansers

After hearing news of 2 RED BREASTED MERGANSERS at Fens Pool's at about Midday i was quite annoyed that i couldnt go straight there, with my dad picking me up later to go back over to stourport.
But as luck would have it, with about 30 mins untill dark, my dad arrived, and we made the short journey to Fens Pool's, Middle Pool to be specific!
We parked in the car park and i had a quick scan, the far end of the pool was already in darkness and you couldnt see much, but there wasnt any Merganser like shapes, so i scanned along the bank, going through a tufted duck flock i layed my eyes on 2 1st winter Drake RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, i immidiatly got the scope and took a few videos in the now almost non existant light!

The Video and videograbs show just how dark it was, only around 10 Minuites before you could just see the bush in front of you!
Anyway, a Happy twitch :)
A nice 'tick' for the West mids region!


Not very much to get exited about really!
7 Teal, and 10 Pochard the only things of note

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Patch birding, Hangers on.

Here we are, a couple of day before the start of November, Summer a distant memory, No more Warmth, no more Cuckoo's, Swallows or Swifts, the Icons of Summer.
Bring on the Winter i say, i want it to snow! For selfish Patch reasons really, but i am genuinly looking forward to the winter!

But anyway, Here i was Stamping my Patch, I decided to walk south this time, to check up on the Gadwall lake, which i havent been to for some time.
There was abit of Vismig in the morning after the light fog had cleared, Mostly consisting of Skylarks, but with many Redpoll and Meadow Pipits intermixed.
I decided to walk about a hundred metres off my usual walk past the Baisins in the town centre, i usually just walk straight down the river as quick as possible to get past the crowds in the town centre, but as i was early, there was nobody about, and less and less people visit now its getting colder!
But i had a walk along the shore of the 'Big Baisin', had a check through the small amount of Gulls, but there was little else of interest, one day i will see something good here! However, i was truily shocked wher i heard a 'chittering' noise coming from above, a reminder of Summer, as a (presumably) juvenile SWALLOW flew over!, I didnt get really exited, but tbh, any 'late' summer bird is quite good, and this easilly beats my last 'latest date'.
The fact of the matter is, these summer migrants are staying longer, and we are getting more hangers on. so dont think were out of summer yet!
I continued downriver, saw a few Tit flocks flitting about.
Later in the day, i walked upriver to Blackstone, and i was shocked when i saw a seasonal MEGA! a winter adult LITTLE GREBE was feeding on the river, as with the swallow, this bird is not expected to be here at this time of year, only generally appearing later on in late december/january! It quickly swam to the opposite bank and dissapeared amongst the overhanging willows.
In contrast to the last few visit's, A female MANDARIN was presant, but in regularity with the summer, GOOSANDERS were still presant, with 2 female types (i think the 2nd bird is a juv, or at least 1st year)
The first Female GOOSANDER was showing on a fallen tree.

While the second was showing much closer just south of the road bridge, allowing me to get some headshot footage

A MARSH TIT calling was my first on the patch this autumn, having not witnessed any breeding behaviour this year.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Today i went fishing

Many of you will not know, that i am both a birder and a fisherman, despite having fishing taking a back seat for some time.
Me and my dad got out today to a place called wellfield Pools in shropshire, this has always been one of my favorite places to go fishing!

Well thats all good i hear you say? But what does it have to do with a birding blog?

Well, as well as being very good for fish, it is also very good for farmland birds!

Over the coarse of the day i watched Vismig of many species, and the day total of Skylark must be 100+, with them constantly 'rippling over' and i do mean constantly, 50+ redpoll sp were also flying about, but consisted more of a feeding flock than migrating birds.
A single BRAMBLING (my first of the autumn) flew over, but at 3:47 the highlight of the day flew over, i Heard the distinctive 'chipping' of CROSSBILLS and i imidiatly looked up and around in circles, where were they, i cant count a heard only bird!!
But i was releaved when 2 large 'green' female finches with crossed bills flew over my head, only my 3rd crossbill's of the year!
5+ Raven were flying around,a nd Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Coal tit, Redwing, fieldfare and Chaffinch were in the surrounding conifers, In the plowed field that is overlooked from where the car was parked, there was a Convoy of 20 Red legged Partridge

And i also caught quite a few fish :)

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


As i have already hinted at, As a planned trip to Gloucestershire was already in place, it was a remarkable stroke of luck when a decently rare bird was found nearby!
So after our ounting to the Capital of plastic birds we headed further down the A38 to a place beside the severn estury
Oldbury on severn
The sailing club was nestled n the banks of the river in quite pleasant surroundings, flat open ground, mudflats stretching far into the river, just north of the the Severn bridges in the distance, and looking north to a Power station,
We walked down to the crowd, and i soon saw the bird, a Superb PIED WHEATEAR feeding atop the roof of the sailing club building.
A Gathering of people was expected, can you spot yourself??
The bird was constantly active, but sometimes stopped and stood still, enabling me to get some photo's:

For me, one of the standout features was the tail pattern,(video grab below) which was obvious even to someone with very limited 'wheatear experiance'. with Northern and Isabelline wheatear being the only others i have seen. But the 'grey' ish tone was also quite outstanding too, I dont class myself as being particuarly good at 'feather detail' Id, being better at Looking at the 'whole' bird, but i did noticed the primary projection was really long! and the bird became quite distinctive, even when a female Northern WHEATEAR decided to join it.

Sometimes the bird would drop down onto the ground and give superb views, often less than 30ft away! However, when on the ground, it was even more active than on the roof, and with the increasing bufferty wind, it became harder to gain decent photo's/Video's

However, it wasnt just the Wheatear on show, as mentioned, there was also a 'northern'
A stunning female MERLIN flew through over the top of the sailing club and onto the estury where it decided to have a chase of a Redshank, It flew up the channel behind us, giving stunning views and flew further up and being lost to view, still chasing the Redshank!
A sinlge Rock Pipit was here also, A scattering of Dunlin on the shore, and a Grey wagtail and a Common Gull flew over, we decided to leave just as the rain was about to hit, lucky we left at the time we did, because it rained heavilly!
A happy twitcher :) Rare bird showing amazingly, nice light (untill the rain) and Non of the crowd being dickheads, what more can you ask for?

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


As a long staying Spoonbill had taken up residence from the zeiss hide we decided to head down there to maybe catch my bogey bird, we planned the trip for the wednesday!
On the tuesday night i found out the spoonbill was still there, and also a Pied wheatear had been found not far away, mmmm.
While heading down there in the early morning, i noticed on the @Slimbridge_wild twitter site that the spoonbill was still there.
We went straight for the Zeiss hide, but after a single scan of the area, No spoonbill, 'I know where this is going!'
Yes, once again i dipped a spoonbill!
However, i cant compain because a Juv CURLEW SANDPIPER was showing from the hide with the Lapwing flock:

An AVOCET had also taken up residence, which was nice to see as it had been some times since the upton birds had departed! A single GREENSHANK was in the far corner with around 1000 TEAL!
A large flock of about 300-400 GOLDEN PLOVER flew over south.
After spending some time here hoping the bird white bird with a spoon as a bill would fly back in (it didnt) we decided to look around, Maybe it flew off to another part of the reserve?
Errr, No, so yeah!
Other than the flock of 87 BLACK-TAILED GODWIT on the south lake, it was quiet here.

The TEAL here were showing well!

We then had a quick look in the Rushy Pen, and saw the 3 BEWICKS SWAN that were fresh in after a couple of days, and as always, showing very well!

The usual winter flock of PINTAIL was also showing well, but not looking amazing, with most of the birds being in 85% 'normal' plumage, I guess i will wait untill the winter to get a video of a full plumaged drake.

Then heading up to the Holden tower we had a look on the feeders, and a female Great spot woodpecker was showing.

From the tower, a flock of 31 EURASIAN WHITE FRONTED GEESE were showing well! and it was the closest i have seen the flock here! They eventually flew off towards the Zeiss hide, where they landed!

Then, we decided to head back around the reserve for a 2nd check for the 'Big white bird with the spoon for a bill', A check of the South lake revealed a single adult COMMON GULL which was showing nicely!

And a look at the Zeiss revealed much the same as before!
So then, i was feeling twitchy!
Lets move south!

Chelmarsh Res.

Like i explained when the Arctic skua was around here, i found this place for the first time and i quickly thought it could become one of 'my' birding haunts, and without knowledge on any good birds we headed over there to have a look, and hopefully see a few 'winter' ducks.
Saying that, i was actually quite saddened that only tufted duck and 4 WIGEON were the only birds that represented this type, i had also hoped that the large greylaf flock would harber a 'wild' goose, but the entire goose flock had gone!
30 odd lapwing were on the dam. there wasnt much doing on the water, so we walked the hedges, untill be struck gold, a particualr strech of bush held lots of birds. 5 YELLOWHAMMER including one gorgeous male was showing

As this is usually a bird i always seem to miss, was quite happy to see them, the birds associated with 10+ Reed Buntings, as well as a multitude of finches, including a flock of 40+ flighty Linnet, 5 Redpoll sp flew over, and 5 Siskin was in the small birch trees near the hide at the north end, it was quite odd to hear skylark singing on such a cold, despite bright and sunny day.
2 Marsh tit were seen along the enterance road to the sailing club as was 2 Treecreeper in a mixed tit flock.
The large flock of roosting gulls that was present just before we left was looking into the sun, so, other than a quick look through, i didnt really 'grill' them.
On the roads coming away i spotted a very large flock of gulls in a roadside field, we pulled over and i had a scan through them.
400 odd Gulls, all every single one was either a LBBG or a BHG, not even a herring!
However, in the same field, was also c30 Pheasant, and 6 RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE.