Monday, 5 March 2018

Sunday 4th March

Having returned to work at the end of January I have had little or no time to go birding, that coupled with the bad weather has kept my birding to a minimum.

However, on Sunday Joy and I had a walk around the Reservoir, I thought there may well have been a little cold weather movement as there had been a scattering of waders in the region and a little wildfowl movement.

Again the Reservoir was very disappointing with 17 Pochard flying around on arrival (they departed) plus another two on the small pool, there were four Goosander, 132 Tufted Duck and very little else. There were a few thrushes feeding on the bank with a scattering of Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush and Blackbirds. The only other bird of note was a single Skylark off Bickenhill Lane.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Friday 26th January


South Stack RSPB

We were up early and drove to South Stack in search of Chough. Last year was the first in ages that I failed to see the species. On arrival the sun was out although it was a little cold it was a fine day. There were several Fulmar on the cliffs whilst on the sea there were a few Red-throated Diver moving north and a small party of five Common Scoter going the same direction.

A Stonechat was seen and it was whilst watching this species that a couple of Chough flew past then perched up on a telegraph post which allowed me the opportunity to photograph the species. We had a few auks on the sea and a fly past Raven, not unsurprisingly being so early in the year the cliffs were rather quiet.
Chough, South Stack RSPB

Holyhead Harbour

We stopped at Holyhead harbour where there were several Black Guillemot on offer and a distant Great Northern Diver was feeding actively the whole time we were there. A flock of 20 Oystercatcher flew past and a single Shag was also seen.

Penrhos Country Park

We spent 20 minutes here where we saw c.50 Pale-bellied Brent Geese plus a lot of waders with c.250 Dunlin, c.40 Grey Plover, as well as Curlew, Turnstone plus there was a Slavonian Grebe in the channel.

Anglesea Lakes

I had heard about this Black-throated Diver via RBA and a birder that I met told me where to go. As it wasn’t too far out of our way we went and had good views of the bird as it fed on the larger of the two lakes.

Black-throated Diver, Anglesea

The rest of the day was spent at a variety of sites along the north coast where we saw lots of Common Scoter but most of the birds were over a mile out and difficult to few. Other species of note were Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe and lots of gulls minus the Glaucous Gull we were searching for.

Thursday 25th January

Had intended to go to North Wales today but the weather forecast resulted in us postponing for a day. We did visit Swanhurst Park, Moseley again and the Iceland Gull did not disappoint.
Iceland Gull, Swanhurst Park

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Monday 22 January

Whitemore Haye
Whooper Swan, Whitemore Haye

Took a short trip into Staffs today to spend the morning birding Whitemore Haye area, with the targets Tree Sparrow, Peregrine, poss Corn Bunting, Red-legged Partridge and the wintering Whopper Swans. On arrival I was shocked to see the state of the place. Birders lost the main lake to an activity centre years ago which was fair enough, at least its something different.

Now the area around the microlight field is being utilised for gravel extraction for HS2 and is in the process of being excavated. Whilst this should provide habitat for waders its not going to be much help for Tree Sparrows and any Corn Bunting that might still be lingering.

I walked the lane seeing only a couple of Yellowhammer, its difficult to view as the spoil for the extraction has been banked up against the road. I gave up and returned to the car. I searched through a flock of c.50 Mute Swan but apart from c.150 Lapwing there were no Whopper. I then walked down towards the farm but the lie of the land made viewing difficult. I could see a herd of Swan in the distance so I drove down and found the Whopper quite close.

I had been there less than five minutes when a car pulled up and Roger Broadbent emerged. I have known Roger a long-time back to my Valley days and bump into him occasionally when out birding. I had recently spoken at length with him on the phone, so it was nice to continue our conversion face-to-face.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Friday 19th January

Took my car in for a service this morning in Nuneaton, so rather than wait Joy and I walked into town for breakfast eventually choosing the Felix Holt pub one of the Wetherspoons range. Felix Holt I found out is a character created by George Eliot who was born in Nuneaton. Anyway if I want a pint at 10.30am in the morning I know where to go now – as does everyone else considering the pub was packed to the rafters.

The breakfast was good and afterwards as we were half way there we drove to Draycote Water more for a walk than anything else. We checked out the country park for the Hawfinch that have been around for a while, but didn't really know where there hang outs were but we sat down and there were a lot of finches and thrushes feeding on the ground plus a Green Woodpecker that didn’t move for the half hour we were there.

On the reservoir itself there were a lack of birds compared to how I remember it and the water levels seem a little on the low side. We saw several Goldeneye on our way to the feeders to search for Tree Sparrow of which there were none. The fields at the back held c.20 Skylark with large flocks of Corvides and c.150 Stock Dove.

Eventually the gulls started to appear and I stayed till dusk with Theo but we saw nothing of note.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Wednesday 17 January

This morning I went to Middleton Lakes RSPB in search of the Firecrest which has eluded me at two sites this year. I realised when I arrived it would be tough as it was cold, bright and windy. Hall Lake had eight Shelduck, Teal and a calling Water Rail.

The feeding station had double figures of Brown Rat and there were Grey Squirrel everywhere, it would be nice if they were Red Squirrel but I only ever see them now in Scotland, but even there the Greys are spreading rapidly.

It was the usual species on offer and the only unusual bird  was Common Gull. I searched in vain for the Firecrest, and didn't‘t even manage to find the Long-tailed Tit flock.

Tuesday 16th January

A morning walk took me to Shustoke where I managed two Snipe in the meadow but little else. There were two Ravens showing interest in each other, it must be that time of year again!

Wildfowl numbers were 27 Pochard, c.360 Tufted Duck, c.150 Coot, 8 Gadwall.

Other birds added to the year list included Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker and two Common Gull which flew through.