Monday, 30 January 2012

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Eyemore and Trimpley

As trimpley is the capital for Crossbills in Worc's, if not the midlands me and may dad decided to have a look up there as its only up the road, and with a few easy year ticks, it was one of those 'Mop up' Visits.
We parked in the Lower car park, and immidiatly on stepping out of the car, i heard a Crossbill calling in the tree's adjacent to me, i looked, but couldnt see it.
Suddenly however, a huge finch flock of 30c Siskin, 30c Goldfinch and a few Redpolls emerged from the larches where they soon settled again, but what also flown out was a flock of 9 CROSSBILL.
We quickly located the birds feeding in tree's just behind the row adjoining the road, and were showing quite well, despite being high up.

After about 30 Mins, we walked through the Wood down to the River, where we walked to the 'other end' of Trimply (from the Arley side), We quickly Picked up a multitude of Goosander's, Counting 13 by the time we turned off to check the Reservour.
Some of the Goosanders were showing well, Including this Stunning drake!

Amazingly, we walked the entire length of this stretch of river without seeing a sinlge Mandarin! which is highly unusual for this section of the river, which is famed for them being here!
However, i was releaved when, on scanning the 'baby' pool, i spotted a Drake and a female Mandarin sitting under the overhanging tree's, also on the pool however, was a female Goosander, which was showing very well!

As it was still early (about 3pm), we headed back up to the car, for a rest before coming back down to check the gull 'pre-roost' before they fly off upriver to Chelmarsh.
We again had a look for the Crossbills in the Wood, and this time, they were very mobile and hard to track down, and in 30 mins we only got quick flight views of the flock!
Again, we headed down to the Reservour, and i sat on the bench overlooking the 'Big' pool, however, 7 Goosanders were now on the small pool, and the Mandarins were still there.

An hour in freezing cold winds looking at the Gulls produced a flyover Common Gull, and ultimatly, a adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL! it touched down for about 2 seconds with a small flock of BHG, but soon took off with its companions, However, my hoped for 'White-winged' didnt drop in!

When i got back, i had some inspiration, so i drew a Drake Goosander, even annotated it if you couldnt tell :P

Monday, 23 January 2012

Thursday, 19 January 2012


Jason from the Shenstone Birder again hit it lucky when he Re-located the 1st winter Bean Goose, about 10 miles to the west from its origional location.
I was releaved to hear news every day that the Goose was still present in fields at Chelmarsh, and on the Friday, i knew that was where i was heading the next day, But with my luck with these Geese of late being little over dire, i remained open to thoughts it wouldnt be there!
I had already briefed my dad that as we drive along the country lane if i shout 'Geese' then can he stop ASAP!
Well it didnt take long, and a few hundred metres after turning off the main road i shouted 'GEESE'
Down in the field by the waters edge was a flock of about 250+ Geese, about half and half between Canada and Greylag, However I quickly spotted the 'odd one out' and was soon taking photo's of my first TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE!
Although abit too far off for photo's, it shown well through the scope, always on the 'front' edge of the flock. I was actually strook by how distinctive it was within the flock, in contrast to what has been told to me about 'grey' Geese. I supppose if it was with Pink-foots it would be alittle harder, but with Greylags, Easy Peezy!
I cranked the Camera Zoom up for the closer photo's to try and get the orange spot on the bill, hence the terrible quality!
And i took a video of the bird preening in front of the flock.

I passed out the news the Bird was still there, and we headed off to the Res to try and see if the Diver was still here.
It wasnt!
And that was confirmed a few days ago, when another birder drew a blank on the diver, has it gone?
A large flock of Gulls had started forming on the dam, and 4 seperate 'watches' of the flock didnt reveal anything other than 6 GBBG.
A marsh tit was heard in the woodland. and a flock of 17 GOOSANDER was on the water.
I decided to use the hedge as cover and get closer to the geese, but with the sun behind the flock, and undulations in the field meaning half the flock wasnt on view, it didnt look good for the Bean Goose!
However, i was glad to see that with the 50c Greylags that could be seen proppely, the TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE was among them!
Although not very close (Photo's required alot of cropping), i manadged to get better photo's of the Goose, albiet into the light!
Im so glad im happy with a 'record' shot.

We didnt stay for the 'Full' roost, because i had to be at my Girlfriends house, but we very quickly dropped into the 'North end' to see if the diver was up there, Again a blank, But i was glad to get a site tick, a single female GOLDENEYE, and a female Wigeon in a quick 20 second stop!
Also had an added bonus of seeing 5 Red-legged Partridge along the track on the way out!
All in all, a Good visit, and Chelmarsh is still getting 'the goods'
I'll be back for more, and you never know, i may actually find something! Eventually!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Sheepwash has the Good's!

An after 6th form visit with the 'Gornal Birder' at first left us bemused! after seeing flock's of Pochard over the last visits, we were suprised to see that every single bird in the flcok had dissapeared, and there wasnt a single bird on site! and there was only 5 Tufted Duck! However, that was a nice flock of 7 GOOSANDER on the Pool (5 more flew over) (5 Drk, 7F), we walked around to the raised path, and i spotted a small flock of Teal sitting on the bank on the other side of the Pool, had a scope view of them so Andy could see, when he shouted a Wader has just popped out!
I looked though the scope and saw a COMMON SNIPE there! Our first ever at the park!, an expected patch first!
We continued around to the Chemical pool for the Gulls, and this turned out ot be a good idea!
I had a quick scan across the pipe and came across a large, Black backed gull!
i was watching a GREAT-BLACK BACKED GULL! and not only that, there was 5 of them perched on the pipe!
I took some time to get some video and photo's as this was the closest ive been to a GBBG since having my new camera.

With LBBG for comparision.

After my fill, and leaving without a 'white-winger' we headed throught the mound tunnel towards the Marshy pools where the Shoveler was last time!
Imagine my shock when as the pool opened out in front of us, i spotted a female duck again! The female SHOVELER was still here, and this time, she stopped on the pool for me to get a photo.
With the light going quite quickly, we decided to head back home.
All in all a nice visit!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


As the Garden is within the boundries of the patch, this whole post will be as the 'patch'.
The feeders are still slow going, attracting a small number of Finches (20c), mostly Goldfinch and Chaffinch, with smaller numbers of both Lesser Redpoll and Greenfinch, we have yet to attract any Siskin yet, which should be here in 50+ flocks by next month!
In Contrast to the last time i saw them, only 1 Lesser Redpoll came down, but it was in the middle of the day, and therefore, i could get a better video! I still can improve on this video, and i hope to as the winter progresses!

So, after a bit of Photography in the Garden, i wandered out onto the Patch, i walked north, towards Blackstone. I had noticed the river was very high, and was hoping the river had broken its banks across the Grass field adjacent to the Blackstone Caravan site.
While walking up, i was supprised to see the small pool forming on the Riverside fields, I havent seen this happen for a few years, and therefore am looking forward to it (hopefully) expanding, while it may only look like a 60ft long puddle, It could bring a few good birds, particuarly if the other fields flood aswell, when we could be 'in the running' for a Wigeon or a Teal, maybe even some Waders!
The River had broken its banks and had created a small flood 'plain', Again, while not looking much for most people, this is a heavenly sight for me! Ducks gather here when the water is high as it gives them a current free place to rest, while not having as much potential as the Riverside fields, i had been within 20tf of a Goosander here, and there is always a chance that Mandarins might come and take a rest, and who knows what else!
The Patch was almost birdless, so i walked downriver to the southern edge of the patch. While walking through the town centre i noticed the Mini golf 'field' had flooded, and had a good load of gulls on it, once again, a load of potential! Nothing today though, other than many Skater type Teenagers on the adjacent ramps.
Just below the town centre, and after crossing over the Stour bridge i saw 2 GOOSANDER's sitting on a submerged log, i started snapping away.

And errrr, well thats it, a quiet day on the patch to say the least, but hopefully, some good 'goings on' with the patch's habitats, prehaps leading to a better day soon?
Hopefully I'll be there to find it!

Monday, 16 January 2012

The BIG boost

After a brief watch of my Garden feeders (Previous post) we headed down to slimbridge.
Upon Arrival, we headed to the Rushy Pen, as the Lesser scaup was seen here while we were driving down, however, it (and practically all the Ducks) had gone, There was only a few BEWICK SWAN'S and 100c PINTAIL here.
So then we headed up towards the Tack piece, where the majority of activity was, There was proberbly about 5000+ Birds on the flooded field, Thousands of Lapwing, Wigeon, Teal, But also the largest flock of GOLDEN PLOVER ive ever seen 1600+ Birds in a tight scrum. A pair of Buzzards often flew across the field and the sight of so many birds in the air at once was breathtaking!

With the ranks of Commoner birds, there was 800+ Dunlin Intermixed, 40c Redshank, 30c Black-Tailed Godwit, 200c Curlew (Including birds on Estury) and 8 RUFF, including some 'white' males.
We then headed up to the Holden tower, and viewed the Goose flock, 210 Eurasian WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were here, with hundreds of Shelduck, Greylag, Canada and Barnacle Geese, However the 'Gypo' Egyptian Geese seen the previous day were nowhere to be seen (still to see a Gypo Goose). an Adult Peregrine was out on the Mudflats.
I was going to scan the Long ground pool as i remembered last winter the lesser scaup spent alot of time on there, but the sun was bouncing off the waters surface and you couldnt see anything,
Anyway, i heard news the Bittern was showing from the Zeiss hide, so we headed over there. By the time we had got there, it had moved back into cover, and the next painfully cold 1 1/2 hours was Bitternless, 2500+ Lapwing, and loads of Teal and Wigeon were in the field to the left of the hide but otherwhys it was quite!
News then popped up that the Lesser Scaup had been refound, on the Long Ground Pool!!
So we gave up on the Bittern and headed over for the Scaup
A quick look in the small hide next to the 'In focus' Shop saw the PINTAIL's extremly close.

Once in the Holden tower, the sun was on the pool again, so i took a video of White-fronted Geese feeding on th dumbles.

Eventually, a small flock moved onto the small pool in front of the hide, giving great views.
The sun Died out, and in the brief spell i manadges to locate the 2nd winter female LESSER SCAUP asleap with Tufted and Pochards, It soon woke up however, and i saw the huge white base to its bill, I quickly got as many people onto the bird as i could before the sun came out again. When the sun came back out we realised we hadent been to the South lake, so we walked down there for a look, a few Dunlin, Redshank and a single Blackwit & Great crested Grebe. However, there was also an adult COMMON GULL will the BHG flock, and i speculated whether it was the adult bird i saw the last time i visited?!?!?
With the sun lower in the sky, we went up for another look at the LESSER SCAUP.
Via the Knott hide, where a Wigeon flcok was only a few metres from the hide! (video is 0x camera Zoom on a 27x Eyepiece)

We got back up the Holden tower, and were treated to OK views of the LESSER SCAUP as it swam around. However this time i spent much more time guiding people onto the bird, for people who didnt know where it was (or didnt know the stand out features of Lesesr Scaup) it took an awfully long time to get them onto it. But eventually everyone in the hide saw the bird, and was left happy about the bird that had crossed the Atlantic to winter for its 2nd winter at Slimbridge.
The bird was too far away to even bother trying to get a photo!
Interestingly, i saw 2 ringed birds, a BHG with the leg ring 2P33 and a White-fronted Goose with a neck ring (YUM). The BHG almost certainly came from Cotswald water park at is it very similar a number to one i had a Upton, and with it being the same colour aswell (White, Left leg), it looks likely.
120+ Bewick swan
210 White fronted Goose
200+ Pintail
3000+ Wigeon
2000+ Teal
1600 Golden plover
5000+ Lapwing!
8 Ruff
1 Common Gull
4 Ravern
All in all, a very good start to 2012!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Start to 2012!

The first bird on the year list was a Robin singing at 4:35am in the glow of a streetlamp

On 2/01/12 when i got back to my dad's, i was quite looking forward, due to my dad having reported some Goodies on the feeders over the last few days! I had a look in the garden for about an hour from first light untill we headed down to Slimbridge.
However, the Brambling my dad had seen did not come back in, only the flock of 10c Chaffinch, However, i was left bemused at around 9am when 2 'pigeons' flew into the garden, one a standard Woodpigeon, but the other a gorgeous adult STOCK DOVE! in the garden, i had my Digi-scoping setup by the window already (I'd been photographing redpolls earlier) but the bird flew off before i manadged to get anothing on it, only the 2nd Stock dove thats ever been in the garden!
I was happy that our finch flcok had started building up for the late winter (our finches usually come into the garden in late january-Early February), and with the 20c Goldfinch, 4 Greenfinch and 10 Chaffinch were a flock of 6 Lesser Redpoll's (although one was quite 'Grey'-The first photo- Idea's? Note Lesser redpoll also on feeder for comparison), The Redpoll's shown On/off in the early morning, but by the time some good light was shining onto the feeders the Redpoll's had done a dissapearing act!


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The BIG one (2011)

Although not exactly an amazing year for rare birds (for me anyway) i did have some amazing times, and this post is here to summarise it all!
My year started on the 1st (obviously) with a trip into the Wyre, to see the HAWFINCH'S that were showing, in a few hours i counted 5 birds! The 3rd was a trip to Slimbridge where the year list took a BIG bump Upwards, Many highlights from the day,LESSER SCAUP,2 GREATER SCAUP, SMEW, and nearly 600 WHITE-FRONTED GEESE! amongst hundreds of Waterbirds! 8th was at Upton Warren, where we saw 3 WAXWING's, 13th i found a flock of 42 WAXWING's while on my dinner break at school in Gornal! 14th we visited Stubbers Green and Chasewater, a Cracking Drake SMEW and 7 Goldeneye being the highlights! 22nd- Trimpley Res, 2 WAXWING's were feeding in the car park and 56 Mandarin and 13 Goosander were on the river!
Stubbers Green on 4th got me an ICELAND GULL and a few other gull year ticks, 5th saw me seeing a flock of 10 Goosander at Upton warren (the reserve record!) and 12th i had a Pink-Footed Goose at the same locality. On 15th Sheepwash had 40 Goosander!, Back to Upton on 18th, for better views of the Pink-Footed Goose, as well as the first returning Oystercatcher and Avocet! Upton again for 19th for a Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet and Pink-foot goose again. Also on 19th, we had 4 WAXWINGS in Kidderminster, and a flock of 30 at Finstall near Bromsgrove.
20th Revealed a patch revelation, 3 BRAMBLINGS were in the lickhill birchwood!, A Crossbill and 2 Mealy Redpoll were also on Patch!
21st saw a female Brambling still in the wood, and an increase in Siskin Numbers! Also that day, we paid homage to the Drake RED-BRESTED MERGANSER at Bittell, on 22nd a Brambling came into the Garden, as well as 15 Lesserpoll, 50 Siskin and 20 Goldfinch. 3 BRAMBLINGS were still in the nearby birchwood, as well as a early BLACKCAP.
25th revealed a flock of 48 WAXWINGS in the birchwood for about an hour feeding on mistletoe berries, sometimes in the same scope view as 2 BRAMBLING!
Later that day, we headed into the Wyre for 4+ HAWFINCH, 6 BRAMBLING and 2 DIPPER.
26th there was 2 BRAMBLING in the Garden with a single Lesser Redpoll.
By 5th 10 BRAMBLING were in the Birchwood, as well as quite a large accompanying Finch flock, on 6th there was 14 BRAMBLING, on 12th there was our first multiple sighting of BRAMBLING in the garden.
18th saw a 2nd Summer MEDDITTERANEAN GULL at Upton, and also a stunning drake GOLDENEYE. 19, The Med gull remained and i also saw a Jack snipe. 27th saw the largest recorded flock of Brambling on the patch, with a staggering 24+ birds!
2nd saw my first SWALLOW of the year! 2 Bramblings remained in Garden.
Also on 2nd, the pink-footed goose was still at Upton, the Avocet flock had shot up to 17, there was 8 LRP, a Blackwit, the Med Gull and my first Common Tern of the year.
3rd saw 14 Brambling still on the patch.
On 9th, a flock of 6 Brambling were in the Garden!
Again on 9th, we saw the Med Gull at upton, but joining it was also 2 near summer plumaged adult LITTLE GULLS! 19 Avocet was a huge number!
10th Was the 'Bloggers day out in Staff's' with any highlights, Great Grey Shrike, Red kite, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Wheatear and Stonechat amongst others!
My first Lesser and Common Whitethroat came on 19th and on 22nd we wandered into the Wyre, 5+ Redstarts, 8+ WOOD WARBLER and a male PIED FLYCATHER being the highlights among many Warblers. By 23rd Nesting was underway at upton, But passage had only just started (again) and a Dunlin was on show. the 29th and 30th at Upton was potentially the weekend this year, a WOOD SANDPIPER, a Greenhank and a WHIMBREL were showing on 29th, on 30th while at the Moors pool, i saw a flock of 27 fly over BAR-TAILED GODWITS!!! combined with the single that was still at the flashes that made 28 for the day, a reserve and county (?) record, the WOOD SANDPIPER and WHIMBREL remained, and 2 ARCTIC TERN were on the moors!
30th at Earswood saw 2 ARCTIC TERN aswell as a showy Mandarin.
1st: My first Swift.
6th, i found 9 Mandarin on the patch at blackstone! and 3 Goosander, also the next day 5 Mandarin and 3 Goosander.
7th at Earlswood i found 2 summer plumaged adult LITTLE GULLSand an ARCTIC TERN!
on 14th I twitched the BLACK-NECKED GREBE at Bittell.
An amazing find for Matt G (the Earlswood Blog) saw me seeing a NIGHT HERON at Earlswood on 21st after a very long wait. Cheers Matt
27th: A female Mandarin with 11 chicks on the patch!
(The next bit is over the 2 months but i will put it all in june)
June: on 31st May, At Stackpole head in wales we saw 3 WHIMBREL fly in off the sea! as well as getting out usual wales birds such as the iconic Chough!
On 2nd we visited Strumble head, and saw 400+ Manx Shearwaters offshore, 3 Puffin flew past as well as large numbers of Many Seabird species (no odd species though)
Now came my Highlight of the year, on 12th, i found 3 LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER and i was able to get some superb views over the next few weeks of them on feeders or in Tree's, and the fact they bred at the site made my year! Great Birding!
On 26th I found another female Mandarin on the patch with 3 Chicks, these went on to fledge while the 11 chicks were all predated!
2nd: 2 Redstart were showing at Upton, and an amazing flock of 12 Blackwits! On 12th I found a stunning male WHINCHAT at Sheepwash, which i also have down as one of my better birds of the year. on an Urban patch!!
On 23rd a Little Egret roosted at Upton. On 30th there was 2 Little Egrets at Upton, and an adult MED GULL roosted with the leg ring 5P5.
5th Female Mandain with 2 fledged young on the patch, on 6th the female LESSER-SPOTTED WOODPECKER re-appears at the site briefly! and at Earlswood later in the day, a juv Dunlin shows amazingly well! The roost at Upton that evening had a 1st winter MED GULL.
on 14th a RUFF was at Upton.
On 19th i had amazing views of a Hobby on the patch. 22nd saw another Sheepwash Mega, a juv Greenshank! on 26th i twicthed the Chelmarsh ARCTIC SKUA and was left with good impressions of this location!
on 30th I returned to Chelmarsh, and had MUCH better views of the ARCTIC SKUA closer in, aswell as 63+ Goosander! 30th we also went to Upton, where we saw 2 Spotted Flycatcher. Slimbridge on 31st saw me seeing a juv CURLEW SANDPIPER amongst the Esturine Waders.
Started well on 3rd, when i had great perched views of a juv BLACK TERN at upton. On 4th, i caught up with the shenstone BLACK REDSTART on my 2nd try (Good find JK!) which shown quite well! 10th i was back at upton to see a Juv ARCTIC TERN with the company of my Girlfriend, on 12th we struck lucky againat Sheepwash, when I found 2 ARCTIC TERN and a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER! on 17th, i again saw 2 ARCTIC TERN at upton on Amys Marsh.
18th i again popped into Shenstone for another look at the BLACK REDSTART, which again showed well!
A juv RUFF was briefly on the patch on 1st, my only patch first of the year! before flying off North upriver, Another Sheepwash Mega on 3rd with a Wigeon! Upton on 15th had a Pintail and 3 Common Gull (thats a good number at upton!) On 26th, we headed back down to Slimbridge, where we saw the first returning winter visitors, 3 Bewick Swans, 31 White fronted geese, An AVOCET and a CURLEW SANDPIPER were welcomed additions to the day! Our visit coencided with a rare Wheatear being found, so we went down for a look.
The PIED WHEATEAR shown superbly throughout the time i was there! An obliging rarity!, a northern Wheatear and a Merlin were also noted here!
on 30th i saw a very late SWALLOW on the patch, as well as 2 Goosander, Mandarin and Little Grebe.
A visit to the site revealed a brief look at the male LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER after a long absense!
11th saw me seeing 2 1st winter drake RED BRESTED MERGANSERS at Fen's Pool's in the very late evening, i saw a Yellow legged gull ast Bittell on 12th.
On 21st, was overjoyed to see a stunning adult RED-THROATED DIVER on the patch! One of my highlights of the year! What a bird to see so close! (Thanks JK!)
On 27th, i made the trip up to Titterstone Clee for the DESERT WHEATEAR (Thanks again JK!), which shown amazingly!, we dropped into another Shrop's site on the way home, Chelmarsh and saw the RED-THROATED DIVER (same bird as the patch), A LITTLE GULL and 2 Yellow-legged gulls!
3 CORN BUNTINGS were showing at Shenstone. on 7th i Found a first winter LITTLE GULL at Earlswood whcih stayed just long enough for MG to see it!
From now on the birding cooled down, clocking Goosander at Sheepwash and on the patch, although my last sheepwash mega of the year, a Female SHOVELER and 9 goosander.
On 28th 2 Yellow-legged gulls were at Chelmarsh in the Gull roost.
Now i will post a Video showing my favorite Birds/Photos/Videos from 2011, hope you like it!

I know this has been a long post, But thankyou for reading my blog over this last year, it has kept me going, and i can say, if it wasnt you lot, i would'nt be Blogging now, so thankyou guys for your support, and i hope you drop in throughout the next year too!
Thankyou all!
I know its late but i hope everyone has an amazing bird filled new year!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Last few weeks of the year!

A single Drake Goosander was on the Main pool with 30+ Pochard and 11 Teal, 30+ lesser Redpoll were in the birches around the lake and an unknown amount of Siskin were heard!

Sheepwash 23/12
A female SHOVELER was on the marshy pools adjacent to the river before switching to the main lake, we failed to get any photo's or videos of this personal site first.
A flock of 9 Goosander was also on the main pool, with 20 Pochard and 11 Teal, 20 Redpoll were still in the Birches around the Pool

Blackstone (Patch) 27/12
my dads car had broken down, so we had to walk to his home from my nans in Bewdley, we decided to walk there via the patch, At Blackstone, a Drake and duck MANDARIN DUCK was on the river, which was very high and fast flowing, the first time ive seen a drake in a long time, and i didnt have my scope with me :(
Also showing well at blackstone was 2 Jay, which i would've had some amazing footage of, if i had taken my scope, but i didnt fancy it on a 10 mile round jorney!
40c Redpoll were at various locations between Blackstone and Lickhill!

Chelmarsh Res 28/12
Checked the Gull roost, Only 2 Yellow legged gulls came in, as well as a few GBBG and Herring Gull, the other 4000 Gulls consisted of LBBG and BHG, 19 Goosander were on the main lake as was a Wigeon, on the Marsh were 3 Teal.
Somehow we missed the Red-throated Diver!

Upton Warren 29/12
West hide at the Moors, spent most of the time watching the feeders.
10c Reed Bunting
1 Bullfinch
1 GS woodpecker
17 Curlew in A38 Field
1 Pochard and 50 Teal on the Pool