Sunday, 30 January 2011

Chasewater, Clayhanger & Cannock Chase

Lesley and me decided to head out for the dayso the plan was Chasewater for the Smew and then the Chase for what ever we saw.

Soon found the Drake Smew at Chase Water is dose look rather sad seeing it so empty, the Smew never came closer enough to get a shot really and I didn't fancy chasing after it. A couple there informed us of a Black Throated Diver at Clayhanger so we decided that was to be our next port of call.

At Chasewater in the small pool by the visitor centre we picked up a male Mandarin.

Soon found the bird but I was always in the wrong place so only got distant views of the bird, but got a record shot.

It was now time to head for Cannock Chase by Freda's grave for a spot of lunch and to see what we could find.

The feeding station there is back in use, unsure if this is official or if people have just removed the signs asking people not to feed the birds.

We got from the comfort of our car
Great, Blue, Coal, Willow and Long Tailed Tits, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Yellow Hammer, Bull and Chaffinch, Robin, Dunnock and Black Bird.

On a short walk around I picked up Jay and Green Woodpecker as well.

So not a bad day really.


Popped up to Berryhill yesterday afternoon as the weather was fine in order to hopefully get a better shot of one of the  short earded owl that are currently there.

Got there for around quarter to four with a few folk saying I had missed the show, but soon found one of the pair pearched in a hawtorn.

Managed to fire off a few shots before having to head home.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

The Wirral & Garden Birds

Well with a high tide due around lunch it was time to head up to the Wirral (first time this year), we had decided to head for New Brigton first off in the hope of seeing Purple Sandpiper and for me to get a better shot of one.
Made our way to the Marine Lake firstly here there were plenty of Black Headed Gulls and a single Lesser Black Backed Gull. On the pontoons were are mixed group of waders consisting of Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank and a couple of Purple Sandpipers. Although these were tucked away so I couldn't get a shot. So we headed down to the Life Guard Station in the hope of maybe getting a shot of one there, but when we turned up there were no waders around just a few gulls on the beach.

After this we headed for Inner Marsh Farm as it was on the way back home any way. Called in at Burton Marsh for some where to eat our butties we did manage to find a Hen Harrier (ring tail, never seen a male one yet) and Raven out in the gloom across the marsh.
Inner Marsh held the usual suspects Brambling, Linnet, Goldfinch on the walk down with Golden Plover, Lapwing, Shovler, Pintail, Teal, Curlew and Redshank on the pools.

On the way back to the car we saw a rather pale ringed Buzzard in the field on the wall which added to the days total.

Getting back home we had a garden first in the shape of a male Black Cap, often hear and see them in the woods over summer but this is a garden first!

Managed to grab this shot in full afternoon gloom, hopefully it will stick around and I can get a better shot.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Garden Birding

Was stuck around the house today (due to getting a bed delievered) so had to make do with garden birding, but as the garden bird numbers have jumped up quite a bit recently and Lesley had seen both Redpoll and Brambling in the garden it was well worth staying in for.

Yesterday Lesley had only seen a pair of Brambling but today we managed to attract in a total of 7 birds in a mixed finch flock along with 13 Goldfinch, 4 Bullfinch, 2 Greenfinch and 1 Mealy Redpoll (well I think it is as it has a very bright and large red breast).

Alongside these finch we had a supporting cast of Willow, Longtailed, Great, Coal and Blue Tit. Plus Robin, Collared Dove, Black Bird and Magpie.

All in all well worth staying in for.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Staffordshire jaunts

Decided to keep it nice and local today. First port of call was Aqualate Mere on the Staffs/Shropshire boarder near Newport. There have been numerous Bittern sightings of recent so it seemed like a good place to go.

On the way the omens looked good seeing Betty 1 and a Fred on a MGR along the mainline.

At reaching the hide I was informed I had just missed a Bittern by 3 minutes (bugger!), but at least one was around so might appear again. No such luck though. Did get Jay, Great Spotted Woody, Willow Tit plus Great, Coal and Blue Tits. Mallard, Tufted Goldeneye and Wigeon on the duck front. Little Grebe, Black Headed Gull, Greater Black Back Gull, Red Wing and Chaffinch finished off the list.

Was good though chatting to Bill in the hide and sharing what information we both had, it's always good to have a  natter with a fellow birder.

Ont the way back near Hatton Water Works there was a Large Group of Lapwing in the field. Brambling and Chaffinch in the set aside field near Whitmore and finally managed to bag a Red Wing shot.

The afternoon was to be an owl mission trying to get a decent shot of the Short Eared Owl at Berryhill. No such joy as when the owls came out to play I was in the wrong spot and the light had gone from my patch of field (maybe next time).

Monday, 3 January 2011

Waxwing Hunt

Headed off to Longton in full gloom to try and bag Waxwing for the year as they had been reported being in the area the day before. I am assuming they have been around though since before Xmas when I even got some outside my work place in Whieldon Rd.

Turning up in Anchor Rd sure enough a group of about 20 birds were soon seen, these soon moved off leaving just a couple of birds plus a few Redwings.

Just around the coner by some NHS place a larger group were seen.

The light was terrible so no good for any photo's.

On the way back to Silverdale, managed to pick up another 4 Waxwing by the Gatehouse pub in Clayton.

Notts & Derbyshire Wandering

Decided to properly start off the year list today (2nd Jan) due to the 1st being a wash out.

Headed for Attenborough over in Notts first to hopefully see the first year male Smew that has been on the river since around Xmas and to see what else we could pick up.

As is the usual case these days the car park was full by the visitor centre so ended up in the over flow near the railway line. In Church Pond we picked up Goldeneye, Gadwall, Pochard, Black Headed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Coot and Mallard.
On to the visitor centre for a spot of early lunch, after working my way through one of there massive door stops it was off to the tower hide. Picking up Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Mute Swan and Egyptian Goose. From the road bridge we added Red-crested Pochard (well we decided to count them on the list).
Here we picked up Teal, Widgeon, Shoveler and Tufted Duck. Here while looking at the Widgeon I blasted missed a Bittern moving between the reed beds although Lesley did manage to see it.

Then it was off to the river to find the Smew, this was done quite quickly as it was just at the end of the path that leads from the tower hide to the river. Also seen on the river were Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe and Goosander.

From here we headed back to the car via the Kingfisher hide where we had hearded Water Rail had been seen.

The usual Tree Sparrow, Great Tits and Chaffinch were seen along with Common and Herring Gull out on the ice.
A single Water Rail did put in a show not as tame as the ones at Potteric Carr but still gave great views.

Finally it was off to Willington GP before home to hopefully grab a hat trick of owls.
We got there for just after 3 and the Short Eared Owl was already out and about, soon followed by the Barn Owl. Just before we left the Long Eared Owl showed itself finishing off the three some.

So quite a good way to start off the year.