Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Fantastic Plastic

On Saturday I found out about the male Hooded Merganser, I decided to take a chance and cross everything that it would turn out to be the real deal, so grabbing Gem and the light weight pushchair and headed off down the A50.
As per the Red Footed Falcon it meant crossing fields and climbing styles with a pushchair this is no easy under taking but we made it in one piece and I managed to see the bird although also the news that its wings were clipped thus most likely it was an escaped bird. Well it was good to see and better than viewing them in captivity. Then tried Locko Park for the Drake Smew but with a bitterly cold wind we didn't hang around so after a quick scan and no bird on show we headed off home for a warm and to go and watch Peppa Pig.

Sunday was a flying visit to Copmere to try again for a Smew but this time a female/Red Head. Copmere is one of those places that is not really birder friendly with no great places to view the mere. After finding a spot to look across the mere we couldn't pick out the bird. We did see plenty of Goldeneye, Wigeon, Little and Great Crested Grebe plus the other usual wild fowl. So another unsuccessful trip.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Doxey Marsh

Sunday being a nice day we decided to go for a wander around Doxey Marsh just outside of Stafford, just hoped the water levels would have dropped allowing us to walk around and not require a raft for Gem's pushchair.

Creswell Flash water levels were very high so we did wonder what we were letting our self in to. Not much on show, just the usual Teal, Tufted Ducks a couple of Cormorants and Black Headed and Lesser Black Backed Gulls.

On the actual reserve a few path look they have had there levels raised by a bit of gravel thrown on top to raise the levels allowing you to get around. Although you still needed wellies to reach the screen, after going for a paddle and reaching the screen it was not really worth the effort with no sign of the Water Pipits just a few Shelducks on show.
Walking along by the river a bird calling Pipit like flew over but not knowing the Water Pipit call I couldn't say just what it was.
From the hide nothing really exciting to watch although Lapwing was added to the list alongside Goosander and Grey Heron, but was just nice to be out and about.

Then it was off back to the car via the park for Gem to have a go on the swings and slide.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Garden Birds

Well with the weather definitely in the pants category a day at home playing Daddy was the name of the game after the joys of a spot of supermarket shopping.

Quite a good mix on the garden bird front with Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Siskin (up to 4 birds now) and Brambling on the finch front. Great, Blue, Willow, Coal and Longtailed on the Tit front. Plus the usual Collared Dove.

Male Siskin

Female Brambling

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Astbury Mere Visit 2

Today we had meant to be heading off to Derbyshire to see the Hawfinch at Cromford but with the weather forecast as it was and what we woke up to it was a quick change of plan.

So off we set to re-visit Astbury Mere, I was intending of visiting here this weekend anyway just we ended up going a day early.
At least this time the place wasn't full of prats in Lycra although the light wasn't great for shots at least the full dull meant I didn't have to worry about the position of the Sun, a chap who taught me a great deal about railway photography always reckoned on high cloud being the best light again no worries about the Sun's position but still a decent amount of light to take photographs.
A few other birders were knocking around and pointed us in right direction of where the Slav Grebe was hiding out, still in the opposite corner from the visitor centre.

Slavonian Grebe Astbury Mere

On a garden birding front Lesley had told me about a pair of Siskins that had been visiting the garden over the last few days, well today I finally got a chance to see them for myself, and they were one of the fist birds to visit our feeders, so a nice garden tick, the male Brambling is still hanging around although we didn't see the female today.

Yesterday I submitted 3 shots to the Keele Open Photography Competition/exhibition, fingers crossed now that at least one gets accepted for exhibition, up to now I have been quite lucky and had photos exhibited on previous attempts. These are the three I have selected, I will find out on the 18th if I have been successful.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Dosthill Water Ski Lake

No I have not taken up a new sport, I am more likely to break a leg or something if I gave this ago or at least end up swallowing a lot of the lake.

We were there to hopefully see the pair of Long Tailed Ducks that had taken up residence.

After a fun drive there (Sat Nav's really take you on some interesting routes) we eventually found the spot and vowed to plot our own route home straight up the A51.
As per usual we didn't know if the birds were still around and to find them meant a bit of a trek, this usually is no problem but a pushchair on soggy grass was tough going especially up the hill at the far end of the lakes.

Well our luck was in and we were soon watching this life tick of a duck, we eventually managed to see the pair although always too distant for even a record shot.
Other wild fowl there were plenty of Shoveler, Gadwall, again loads of Tufted Duck and the odd Wigeon as well.
Other birds noted were Meadow Pipit, Sky Lark, a large group of mixed Redpoll  and Siskin.

On a garden front our single male Brambling has now been joined by a female.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Astbury Mere and Martin Mere

Tried a new potential railway photo location yesterday which appears to have potential although mainly for Eastern moves although traffic coming from the East should be just about alright, but maybe better from the road bridge further along.

Any way back today's birding.

First port of call was Astbury Mere at Congleton in a very sunny Cheshire, this low winter light does rather make it tricky for photography, give me an over cast day with high cloud any day.
Was rather busy when we arrived as there was a race on around the lake, so the place was full of neon Lycra, why people jog is beyond me I have yet to see a happy jogger when I have been out.
Any way we soon found our target bird of the Slavonian Grebe we didn't bother hanging around for the Scaup firstly we had already seen one for the year and secondly the joggers were getting in the way and causing everything to head for the middle of the lake.

It was then off to Martin Mere I had promised to take Lesley here once the weather and her shifts allowed, so off we headed North, we had our fingers crossed of seeing the Woodcock that had been sighted on and off from the Janet Kear hide.
The Swan Link hide held the usual suspects, Whooper Swan, Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Ruff and Pink Feet. Allowing for a few shots to be grabbed including a nice ruff action shot.

Off to the Janet Kear hide, getting there we discovered someone had found the Woodcock and were helping others get on to the bird, I eventually locked on and the bird even came out of its hiding spot and allowed for some great views. This was only the second time we have seen this species the last time being at dusk in Norfolk so at least this time we could appreciate its markings.

So quite a successful days birding.