Monday, 27 July 2015

Monday 27th July

I have made several trips over the last few days but the birds have remained stubbornly similar with up to four Common Sandpiper present for most of the week. Sunday saw large numbers of Swift and assorted hirundines forced low due to the weather conditions.

Monday morning saw much the same although I did find the male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in a familiar area. I watched it for around 30 minutes hoping it might not be on its own but never saw any juveniles whilst I was watching.

I have seen good numbers of Butterflies especially towards the end of last week. I am no sort of expert on butterflies but I saw roughly.

1 Painted Lady
3 Tortoiseshell
numerous Gatekeeper
numerous Large White
good numbers Small White
6 Green-viened White
good numbers Small/Essex Skippers (I’m sure at least one was Essex Skipper)
20+ Ringlet
numerous Meadow Brown

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Thursday 23rd July

I have been over a few times this week, generally it is quiet with three Common Sandpiper still present today. I saw a fly over Raven and strangely there were a few Linnet, not a bird that I have ever seen here in July.I was clearing the brambles out that were coming into the garden from the field this afternoon and for the second time disturbed a Wasp nest, not something I recommend. The first time I had a coat on and only got stung once on the ear, I ran inside with about a dozen wasps on my thick coat. This time I wasn’t as lucky, I am sitting here after receiving several stings, I’m throbbing like a good ’un, not recommended. Mind you I might make the next Olympic Team I was a blur as I ran back to the house!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Monday 20th July

Finally finished all my decorating, now I have a lot of gardening to catch up with. However, this morning saw me walking around the Reservoir. The amount of weed is encouraging as it will attract waders and there were 3 Common Sandpiper and an Oystercatcher amongst the numerous Lapwing. Later in the day Steve Haynes also saw a Dunlin. It was relatively quiet, which is to be expected at this time of year, there wasn’t much singing but I had a pleasant morning.

I was a bit perturbed as the last time I looked the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker were feeding young, I checked out the nest hole and it appears to have been enlarged somewhat, I hope the young got out before the Great Spot got in!

Hopefully now I will have a little more time to get over, but I imagine it will be a few more weeks yet before it starts to liven up.

On the climbing front I cannot believe it was just over a year ago that Joy and I finished the Munro’s and I have to say I really miss the excitement that we used to feel every year as we planned the walking season that lay ahead of us.

Monday, 29 June 2015


I have been so busy in recent weeks with decorating and a quick trip to Scotland I have hardly picked up my bins. I did however managed to get over and see the Melodious Warbler near Marsh Lane.

Melodious Warbler

Joy and I spent a week in Scotland and managed to climb three Corbetts, the weather wasn’t great and on the Monday we spent the day on Speyside where the temperature was 8ÂșC in the early afternoon, it was warmer than that here at Christmas. There was also permanent drizzle which made birding difficult and the only bird of note was Crested Tit.

On Tuesday we drove up the A9 parking at Dalnaspindal from where we tackled two Corbetts, one on either side of the Glen. We climbed Meall na Leitreach first following a good track to the top, there were at least four pairs of Golden Plover. The slog up The Sow of Atholl was quick but tiring, but quick coming down. There were some great views from the top looking up the Glen towards Dalwinnie.
The start of both walks with Loch Garry behind

Meall na Leitreach

The Sow of Atholl

The view from the summit, looking along the A9 to Dalwinnie

The next day we walked again this time it was Ben Vrackie which lies behind Pitlochry. The hill has the best path that I have ever used on any hill, it was practically a staircase. All in all a good week even if the weather was a little dodgy.
Ben Vrackie

At the summit of Ben Vrackie

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Tuesday 2nd June

Received a call from Steve Cawthray that there was a Little Tern at Shustoke, unfortunately I had just  taken the first bite of my evening meal, so I couldn’t get over straightaway, that proved a miscalculation as by the time I did arrive the bird had gone.

But I did get to see Arctic Tern a 1st Summer in what is known as Portlandica plumage. As a general rule Common and Arctic Terns don’t breed until there 2nd year and the 1st summers spent there time at sea, but occasionally they turn up, as this one did.

I did a circuit but the wind was really strong and there was not much to see or hear. So until I hear of further goodies to distract me – it’s back to decorating for me!!

Sunday, 31 May 2015

31st May

I received the news today that Eric Phillips has died. He and John Fortey where stalwarts of the birding scene when I started birding back in the early 80’s and were always keen to help young birders. I remember them pointing out a Glaucous Gull to Pete Hackett and myself at Blithfield back in 1981.

I saw him for the last time at the Sandwell Valley Great Reed Warbler just over a week ago and he looked in remarkably good shape for his age. Early last year I saw him when he was twitching a Two-barred Crossbill through the Wyre Forest and he was using a walking frame as he had recently come off his motorbike – he will be sadly missed.

Bird wise it has been quiet LRP seem to be in the habit of dropping in late on at the Reservoir and I have seen them a couple of times. I have mainly been gardening and have had Cuckoo, Hobby and Common Tern fly over.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

A trip to Hampshire

We decided to have a break on the coast and chose Hampshire, not least because there was a long staying Greater Yellowlegs a rare American wader that I had never seen in the UK. We got down early but unfortunately it was raining hard on arrival and as it turned out departure too!

We had a look from the road to try and locate the species but drawing a blank we went on to the Reserve of Titchfield Haven, at £4 a go it was a bit expensive but it was a pleasant visitor centre with friendly staff which is run by the Hampshire CC. We were given the low down on the bird and its habits but I was sceptical as the bird had flown at 1.30pm the previous day and if it wasn’t for the fact we were spending time down here I probably wouldn’t have bothered.

We were directed to the best hide overlooking the river where the mud was just starting to be exposed. We sat quietly in the packed hide for a couple of hours seeing little apart from a Med Gull, Avocet and a Greenshank. The only excitement came when I received a phone call and the Ramones – Surfin Bird came blasting out as I had forgotten to turn down the volume, fortunately apart from the odd chuckle no one bothered. Eventually people started to drift off and Joy and I decided to use the facilities as I felt the need for a coffee. The cafe was good value and the coffee was one of the best I have had. We were deciding what coarse of action to take and decided to check out the hides on the other side of the reserve just in case. We had just reached the gate when a birder coming out of the visitor centre shouted us to say the Greater Yellowlegs had been relocated, Result, we headed back to the hide and saw the bird it was feeding just upriver of the hide but was showing well albeit from a bit of an angle.

The spent the rest of the time in the New Forest where during the course of our stay we had some brilliant birding with a displaying Honey Buzzard, numerous Woodlark, Dartford Warbler and possibly most impressively a displaying Hawfinch. All in all a great trip.