Monday, 30 January 2012

Aye Up Duck

Headed for Attenborough on Saturday afternoon for a bit of a walk and hopefully find the female Smew that has been there for a few days now.
The place was packed as ever and took a while for us to find a parking space.
As always we first popped into the visitor centre to look at the notice board just in the entrance to see what was around, the board confirmed the Smew was still around but always declared the bonus bird of a Female Scaup! This would be a lifer for Lesley and me was the hunt was on!
Heading up along side the Church Pond where the Scaup was last seen towards the Main Pond it was a total duck fest, picking up Red Crested Pochard, Tufted and Mallard in a bread feeding frenzy along with a couple of Mute Swans and Coots. In Church Pond itself we added Gadwall to the duck list, and soon picked up the Scaup by the Tern platform with a couple of Goldeneye as well.
In the small patch of Church Pond right by the Church we watched a pair of Sholver going around in circles feeding would be enough to make me quite dizzy and sick if i did it, unsure what the watching Heron made of it all, but made for some nice camera shots.

Reaching the bridge which crosses the Main Pond where a couple of birders said we should just about to be able to see the Smew (although we were told it kept disappearing behind a few of the islands) we found a couple of Goosanders but no Smew. But being such a large pool it was probably in there some where we just didn't have the time to go hunting for it.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Welsh Wanderings

With high tide due at around lunch and a fine forcast given out Lesley, Little Gem and me headed off to North Wales for the day.

First port of call was the marine lake at Rhyl for the long staying Great Northern Diver, soon found the bird although initially at the opposite end to where we had parked so we moved around and managed some great close in views allowing me to get a few shots.

Great Northern Diver at Rhyl Marine Lake

Cormorant at Rhyl Marine Lake

It was then the short drive to Kinmel Bay for the Snow Bunting, there were less on show then when we visited just before Christmas but still there were 6 birds on show plus Greenfinch and a single Meadow Pipit all taking advantage of the seed put out.

Snow Bunting Kinmel Bay

The last place we were due to visit was Rhos on Sea where we planned to have lunch and hopefully see some Purple Sandpiper, we didn't get any Purple Sandpipers but we did get Oystercatcher, Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Turnstone on the wader front plus a Shag a bit further along just beyond the small church.

Turnstone at Rhos on Sea

Oystercatcher heading off to roost at Rhos on Sea

Black Headed Gull at Rhos on Sea

Dunlin at Rhos on Sea
Shag at Rhos on Sea

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Park Hall

Just had a short walk around Park Hall today, Lesley and me just fancied getting some fresh area with out travelling too far, not the most push chair of friendly places but still a nice local place to visit.
Getting there we straight away noticed the visitor centre has now vanished which is a shame.

Plenty of Bullfinch were seen around the site with one group being made up of 6 females alone.

We headed for the area of pine wood that usually at this time of year hold a few Long Eared Owls, now we have never self found any owls here we just walk around straining our necks till they hurt and then head home empty handed. But this time we found a lone bird within 2 minutes of looking and all by our selves!

On the way back to the car we spotted a group of small birds in a pine tree top checking them they turned out to be a group of finches mainly Goldfinch but with two Redpolls mixed in for good measure.

Freda's Grave

Yesterday was all about lazy birding, we decided to head down to Cannock Chase to a spot called Freda's Grave as it has a great little feeding area plus a patch of heath that it relatively push chair friendly.
As it was rather windy we thought the heath birds would be keeping their heads down so we just stayed in the car and watched the comings and goings around the feeding area.
The seed brought in Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Willow, Great, Blue Coal and Longtailed Tit, Blackbird, Robin, Magpie, Nuthatch and Dunnock.
There was a flock of mixed Siskin and Redpoll's that kept popping down for a drink in the puddles along the track but the odd bird did come for a drink around the feeders allowing for a few shots.
Lesley spotted a Tree Creeper on one of the Hawthorn trees just along the track which added to the total.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

2012 Start

Well it's been a quite start to the new year with no mad dashing around getting those ticks, the year is but young and there is plenty of time.

As a quick re cap of last year I managed a healthy 174 species last year which is one up on 2010, this is quite good as due to the arrival of my daughter post mid August birding became a little restricted. I have learnt though which local reserves are push chair friendly and which sites have good baby facilities.

Back to 2012, so far birding has been restricted to the garden which has got me Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Great, Coal and Blue Tit, Lesley has also bagged Willow Tit.

We did manage a quick trip out to Aqualate Mere on the Shropshire/Staffs boarder always a nice little spot although can be a bit of a wind trap.
Managed to see on the drive there Buzzard, Kestrel, Lapwing, Redwing and Fieldfare.
At the Mere I managed to get Chaffinch, Willow, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Reed Bunting, Coot, Buzzard, Moorhen, Mallard plus Black Headed Gull.
Was really busy there with the car park being full and the hide was standing room only when we turned up unsure if everyone was just out for a walk or the pull of the Bittern was bringing them in.