Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Fens Pool- Day 2

The 'Gornal birder' had taken the terrible decision to not join me to come and see the BNG the day before, so we decided that another visit to the 'Fen's' was in order to see if it was still about, and a full day with no reports left him in bad spirits (I on the other hand was feeling great, dropping a gripping comment ever few minuites, and occasionally showing him my photos.
We walked down towards the pools, and on the way down, we were treated to great views of an adult HOBBY which was hawking dragonflies over the woodland and hawthorns. Upon dropping down behind the trees, we walked onwards, and we quickly came to the conclusion that GB was in for the inevitable dip! (Hahaha)
There was no sign of the Grebe in the area it was in, and it was also obvious that it wasnt on the pool, and this was backed up by another birder, who said that there had been no sign all day!
Again though, we were treated to great views of the HOBBY as it again hawked, this time showing for a long period.
The small Teal 'flock' had increased from 2 birds to 3 overnight (Migration!).
On the raised path above the Fens Pool, we came across this Mouse Sp, which remained motionless while we took photos from only a few feet away, it was only when a dog walker came past that the Mouse skuttled off into the grass.

And here it was when it was sitting in the grass, looking abit more healthy than it did when sitting in the middle of the path.

We then 'covered' the 2 other pools, not getting much reward, however, a Garden Warbler was showing in the scrub between Grove, and Middle Pool.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

West Mids Black Necked Grebe!


While in 6th form (History to be precise) i recieved news of a Black Necked Grebe at Fens Pool!
Being a Wednesday, i was free for the remainder of the day, so the second the lesson ended i was up and out of my seat, and belting it back home for my scope and bins.
A quick snack, and onwards again, and the painful journey on public transport was soothed by the thought that (as BNG is a nocturnal migrant) there was a high chance the bird would still be there, the only hard part would be finding it, as the message wasnt specific to which of the 3 pools it was on.

It was only a couple of minuites walk from the bus stop at the hospital down to the lake, and with it being a beautiful sunny day, it felt nice to be out.
I scanned the entirity of the far edges of the lake, across the centre of the water, and along the vegitated edges of the lake. I was bemused as to where the bird was, and it was only when i took my bins from my eyes that i noticed a black and white 'shape' in the amphibious plants about 30ft away.

Over the next two hours, i was able to sit on the waters edge a distance away from the bird in amongst the canadian goose crap. But it was totally worth it,  was able to enjoy the bird on my own (no other birders, and non of the public approached me), as the bird became more and more confiding, luckilly, the sun was shining from behind (ish) me, and it illuminated the birds incredibly red eyes like jewles! Look at them!

The bird was fairly 'loyal' to a small patch of aquatic plants close to the shore, and spent much of its time snoozing, but a couple of times it swam out and had abit of a fish and a preen, showing off its white rear edge to its wings.

The bird, despite showing slightly brown tinges to its hindneck, and cheeks was a winter plumaged adult, and was infact the first i have seen in this plumage. I have now seen both Black and white small grebes (BNG and Slav) in winter plumage, and both at incredibly close range!


The bird continued to preform untill 5pm, when i left, and it was still showing incredibally well then!

What a bird for an urban location, so thats two sets of decent birds ive seen here in less than a year, 2 1st winter drake Red Brested Mergansers, and now the Grebe. Its always suprising what turns up at urban locations!

Monday, 15 October 2012


An eclipse drake PINTAIL had been showing at Upton for alot of the week, so, i visited in the hope of  catching up with this dabbling duck, and great views were had from the bench overlooking the 1st and 2nd flashes.


Also on the flashes was 2 Common and around 10 Green Sandpipers.

A no show from the Osprey, which was reported to have flown off south just prior to my arrival!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


Patch watching open up a whole new dimension to Birding, and as you get to know your patch, you get to know whats regular, and whats not.
It get's you to pay attention to weather conditions, and the state of migration, and many painstaking hours often result in absolutly nothing.
Just occasionally though, your hopes come true, and you do get a good patch bird. It may not be a rare bird, but a good patch bird.
I went out in the afternoon, with a desire to find some migrants.
And it wasnt really eventful, and there was very little about, however, after walking through the small wood between Lickhill and the Riverside fields i heard a series of 'huit' notes emerging from the bank above me, adjoining the farmers fields. However the bird was hidden and it was some time untill the bird eventually emerged, a Chiffchaff. So it turned around and scanned across the fields.
It was a minuite or two before i turned around again, and as i did i noticed a bird perched up on the fenceline, a much larger bird than the previous Chiffchaff, but still producing the 'huit' call. I knew even before i had my bins on it that i was watching a patch MEGA!

A female REDSTART!

I was just training my scope on the bird, and raising my camera to the lens when the bird flitted along the hedgeline, and wasnt seen again! I stayed in hte area for about 30 minuites, but all i had from this point was the bird calling as it flew further, and further alon the hedgeline, into the fields.

A great patch bird. Redstart is unusually rare on my patch, proberbly because i've overlooked them because of the huge amounts of habitat where they could be hiding rather than due to actually them being rare. I suppose thats a bad point about birding such a heavilly wooded patch.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

BIG Surprise- OSPREY!

We had just left Grimley, having had a decent session there, with the Great Egret, Little Egrets and Godwits, when i recieved a text from the local news source, Birding Today, stating that an Osprey was showing on the Sailing Pool right now!
Knowing migrant raptors, i 'knew' this bird wouldnt stay around for long, expecting it to fly off about 5 minuites later, so we decided to just head back to my Nans, so i could have a shower, and get some work done!
What i didnt not expect however, was the almost constant stream of texts being recieved, "OSPREY still on SP". "OSPREY STILL!"
Once i'd gotten out of the shower, there were even more texts on the same subject on my phone! Its been two hours, how is it still there!?
Eventually however, enough was enough, and my dad offered a quick run out to the Sailing pool in the vain hope it'd still be there!
It was a nervous drive, almost fully expecting the bird to have gone by the time we arrived, however, it was very relieved to recieve text's from 'Gertatron' of it's continued presence, He'd seen it finshing!
We had just gotten to the A38 'island', and i got another one "Still here".
Pulling into the car park, there was a very decent gathering of locals who had came to admire the bird. I jumped out of the car before it stopped moving, grabbed my scope and bins, and walked the mammoth 10 metres to the twitch, and within seconds, i was onto the adult OSPREY, perched up in the Education Reserve. I've only ever seen a couple of Ospreys, both flyovers, and both very brief, so it was great to be able to admire this bird as it preched, preened etc untill dark.

The light was already dropping as we arrived, but i got some recognisable footage/Photos.

Osprey is a great county bird, and to have one stay (even for as long as it did up to this point) is mind blowing, and not a very common occurance.
Another example of how unpredictable nature is. And thats why we love it right?

While watching the Osprey, the entire crowd had lost sight of the juvenile BLACK TERN that was on the pool earlier in the day, and it was only a very brief cricle of the pool at about 7:30pm that saw me seeing this bird.

Two great birds, and one i'd have never expected to stay around long enough to be 'twitchable'. How wrong i was.....