Monday, 21 January 2013

Garden Birding & Hanchurch Woods

Well with the snow that our garden list for 2013 would increase some what with maybe a few more unusual birds being attracted in to our feeders from the wood.

Lesley had earlier in the week had a single Redpoll, so I was hoping for at least to see one of these fine looking finches or even a Siskin or two. Well I didn't get to see any Redpoll or Siskin but a stunning male Brambling did pay us a visit, which was in a mixed flock of Chaffinch and Goldfinch. This was a nice year and garden tick for 2013. A Fieldfare also briefly dropped in for a quick bite to eat before heading back into the wood.
Apart from that it was the usual garden cast of Willow, Blue, Coal, Great and Long Tailed Tits, Bullfinch, Nuthatch, Black Bird, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon and Magpie.
A quick walk over to the void was pleasant although nothing great was seen, still not a sniff of any Snipe for me, maybe I am looking in the wrong place? Anyway we did see Meadow Pipit, Pied and Grey Wagtails plus the usual Lesser Black Backed and Blacked Head Gulls on the water which wasn't as frozen as I thought it would have been.

On Sunday I head off to Crewe to try and grab a shot of 56037 and 077 which are due off to the great depot in the sky and to be recycled into washer machines. Well they were to far off for a shot which was a shame and I didn't fancy bunking the depot so that was that. I did see some Redwing and Goldfinch by the depot on a birding front.
At the Basford Hall the fuel tanker was there so that stopped me getting a few shots which was a pity as 66301 was positioned nicely on the Tesco Express.

That afternoon it was a trip out to Hanchurch for a spot of lazy birding from the car which allowed Gem to stay nice and warm within the car. Nothing special dropped in just Dunnock, Robin, Longtailed, Blue, Coal and Great Tit, Chaffinch and Bullfinch plus Nuthatch. A Jay flew over head but that was it for a 40 minute visit.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Welsh Meanderings

Sunday the 13th was a day we had planned to meander along the North Wales coast with the final port of call planned to be the RSPB reserve at Conwy for a celebrity cuppa.

First stop off was Kinmel Bay, here the main attraction were the Snow Bunting after first finding out about this site the pull has always been quite strong, with us often popping in when we are in the area. Often a high tide brings in close to the prom waders and today was no exception with Sandling, Ringed Plover and Dunlin all being close in giving great views on the walk down to the area where the Snow Bunting were to be found. As we couldn't stay too long I didn't manage to get any shots this time, but that only gives me further reasons to visit again.
Back by the car park a small flock of Sky Lark were feeding along the strand line, allowing for a few shots to be grabbed before moving on to the next location.

Sky Lark Kinmel Bay

The next stop off while the tide was nice and high was good old Rhos on Sea another new favourite of mine to pop in while bashing along the Welsh coast. The weather was still full on grey with the odd snow flake falling thus adding to the wintery feel to the day as a whole.
The first area by the fishing tackle and kayak shop held no waders again, they seem to have lost interest in hanging around this area. But just beyond the small church thingy I struck gold (well purple) and to be honest I asked a chap who had done the hard work for me and was watching a group of waders he had indeed seen a Purple Sandpiper and it was just at present out of view but it soon popped its head up. Grabbing Lesley to allow her to grab a few year ticks of Turnstone and the Purple Sandpiper we soon were watching the small group of birds with the Turnstone always changing places with each other as they do.

Purple Sandpiper Rhos on Sea

The final port of call was a bit of cross everything job as here our targets were the Firecrest and Bittern that have been seen on and off recently.
This was not to be but the weather was dire now so I can't blame the birds for staying under cover and not coming out to play.
We did though manage to see Goldeneye, Merganser, Wigeon, Shoveler, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Redpoll, Chaffinch, Great Tit and Blue Tit. Also seen were a couple of Voles.

Lesser Redpoll RSPB Conwy

Owl Hunting

Well the 6th had us getting bad necks hunting for Long Eared Owls around Park Hall County Park. After last years success of not only seeing but able to grab a shot of one I was feeling hopeful, but no joy this time around but that didn't mean they weren't there some where hiding from us.

Walking around we found quite a few Gold Crest which are always fun to watch, as always constantly on the move, to them we must move around like snails.

Nothing extra was add to our list but it was just nice to get a spot of fresh air.

A New Year

Well after bagging 140 for 2012 after a quick tot up, which is not that high I know but having a new child in tow does tend to make birding quite tricky so I am quite pleased at my total, it was more quality than quantity last year. That will probably be the same for this year as well.

The year started off with a spot of garden birding, in the hope that the Brambling that appeared in late December may make a reappearance but no joy in that department. Although we did get Willow, Great, Blue, Coal and Long Tailed Tits, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Starling and Collared Dove.

After this it was a trip down to Westport Lake in the hope of seeing the female Scaup that had been around. We soon found it in with the Tufted Duck as per usual, but again a bit to far out to get any decent shot. Also picked up were Goldeneye and Pochard.

A slow start to the year but we are up and running for 2013.