Saturday, 23 April 2011

Slowly does it

Lesley and me headed off to the Chase this morning to have a look around the area called the Punch Bowl, never been here before but it looks like a nice spot.
Thought we hearded Redstart singing away but we could never find one to confirm this.
But better than that (well to me at any rate) was Lesley finding a Slow Worm, a great find and only the second time I have ever seen one and both by chance.

Slow Worm at Cannock Chase
Wandered on for a bit further noting Goldcrest, Chaffinch and a few Blue,Great and Coal Tits around plus the odd Willow Warbler.

On the way back to the car we found another Slow Worm in the same spot, a different one though due to the different colour and size.

Close up of Slow Worm at Cannock Chase.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Martin Mere and Marshside

After reports of Black Winged Stilt at Martin Mere todays plans were to call in their and then on to Marshside to just see what was there.

Bu Curlew Lane we picked up a lone Corn Bunting plus a pair of Grey Partridge in the field.

Corn Bunting

From the Ron Barker hide there was no sign of the Stilts but the light was great and the reflections of the Avocets and other birds just some thing else.

Shelduck coming into land

Also seen were Ringed Plover, Redshank, Whooper Swan (I think these are the ones that sick around all year) plus Teal and Shelduck.
By the Swan Link hide I did my good deed for the day and reunited some duckings with their mother, they really had the cute factor.

At Marshside really close views were had of Avocet as always plus Black Tailed Godwit and a nice bonus of Common Sandpiper that the Avocets really didn't like on their island. Also around were Black Head Gulls and a pair of Oystercatcher.

Avocet settling on nest

Common Sandpiper

Avocets having a scrap

Black Tailed Godwit

Avocet chasing off the Common Sandpiper
From the main hide we headed down to Nel's Hide where we saw Ruff, Pintail, Gadwall, Golden Plover and Little Stint.

Over by the old sand works there were plenty of Wheatear around plus the odd Meadow Pipit and Sky Lark.

Male Wheater

Male Wheatear
 Although we didn't see our target bird we did pick up some bonus birds, so 3 extra for the year list can't be all bad.

Coombes RSPB

Well just a local trip on Saturday to our local RSPB reserve just outside Leek. We pay quite a few visits around this time of year trying to see and if lucky get a shot of Redstart and Pied Flycatchers.

Was a lovely sunny day so we were hopeful the birds would be out and singing their hearts out.

On the way down to the bridge we saw Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler plus Goldcrest.
Around the bridge we saw Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker plus Goldcrest again, plus Blue and Great Tits using the various boxes around.
Moving on to Clough Meadow we saw a brief view of a male Pied Flycatcher by the fallen tree at the bottom of the field, one down one to go.
Final stop off point was around the pond which looked very sad and needs a good clear out and top up with water. Picked up another Pied Flycatcher (male again), but no Redstart were seen.

Willow Warbler

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Silverdale Once Again

Another evening and another visit across the road to the former colliery site at Silverdale which goes by the great name of the void, well it is a fairly large hole in the ground.

Bumped into Neil there who as always had some great shots of the male Ring Ouzel there. surley this time I would get one as well.

At first there was no real sign of the birds, just the Little Ringed Plover chasing each other around as they do and the odd Sky Lark keeping me company on the path afte Neil and co had departed, gave it a few min then decided to head home myself. But then caught sight of a male bird. Doing my best to hide behind a shrub I got as close as I could. Was rewarded with the sight of the male having a wash in a puddle.

Not a bad evening and just found out my horse won the national!

Male Ring Ouzel

Bath time

Great Crested Grebe

Cannock Chase

With the weather been fine I decided to pop down to the Chase for the afternoon, no real target birds just a case of what I see is what I get.
First port of call was the Cadet Huts, a few Coal and Great Tits were in the pines around the car park and a Kestrel hunting over the heath.
No sign today of the Shrike even after giving it 20min but was nice enough sitting in the sun. Plenty of Buzzard around and a couple of Raven around. One surprise was a lone Red Kite that was circling around before heading off down the valley in the direction of the power station.
Female Wheater
Had a single Wood Lark displaying form the pine trees which made for a nice sight, along with a lone female Wheater in the valley.

It was then off to Fredas Grave for a bit of a wander, at the feeding area were the usual Tits, Yellow Hammer and Chaffinch.
Around in the heath were quite a few Butterflies and Warblers in the Hawthorn, mainly Willow but the odd Black Cap just for good measure.

Green Hairstreak

Willow Warbler

Friday, 8 April 2011

Evening Walk

Went out for an evening stroll with Lesley over to the Void, an area of the former Silverdale Colliery site, as it's only around the corner from where we live I pop across ever so often but never usually see anything of interest the odd Sky Lark a few Warblers in summer etc.

But the last couple of days there has been some Ring Ouzel here so with fingers crossed off we went.

Bumped into a couple of fellow birders and was soon watching a pair of Ring Ouzel, which over time watching turned into 4 Ring Ouzel! not bad for a urban site, even had a Green Woodpecker feeding in with them which made for a strange sight.

Willow Warbler

Ring Ouzel
Also seen were Willow Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Longtailed Tit, Little Ringed Plover and Lapwing.

Well worth it and beats staying in and watching the box.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Derbyshire Wandering

Had a wander around Derbyshire today the target birds being Ring Ouzel and Wheatear.

First port of call was Cutthroat Bridge when I was last here to see the Great Grey Shrike I saw 2 Ring Ouzel males, so the plan this year was to try and see if they were still around.
Rather grey and windy up on the moors it had to be said but there were still plenty of birds around.
Meadow Pipit and Curlew calling and flying over head with the odd Red Grouse putting in a show as well.
After a bit of a walk we soon came across a pair of Ring Ouzel they showed well and were calling nicely but never close enough for a photo.

But did get a shot of this shy lady

Feamle Red Grouse
 On the way home after calling in at the Wee Dram in Bakewell to stock up on Whisky we called at Dane Bower Quarry, plenty of Meadow Pipit and Wheatear around, was great watching them in the sun that had now come out.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Lunch Time Birding

Popped out during lunch yesterday to do a spot of birding and so a work mate could try out his new big lens.
Headed for Radial Park which for anyone one not knowing where this is, its by the Stoke City ground.

It's not one of those places you look at think what a great birding spot, but it does have the right elements.
There are a couple of pools around the site and parking up near them we started to scan around to see what we could find.
At first it looked like Gulls, Swans and Coots were the order of the day but looking harder we did find a few other things. A couple of Linnets sat on a pile of buidlers rubble, a few Pied Wagtails plus 3 Little Ringed Plovers by the edge of the pool, a year tick for me which was nice and unexpected, but as I don't know the area you never know what you are going to find.