Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Weekend

Well with all of the snow last weekend stopping play for much more than a quick local drive around, no heading off to the Peaks with the A53 Buxton road being reported to be closed we didn't bother really heading out just doing garden birding and restocking with Sunflower hearts.

Siskin on Bamboo

Stock Dove on garden feeder

On Friday we headed for Attenborough near Notts a nice reserve and just shows what the Wildlife Trust can do pity we don't have anything similar in Staffs.
A cool breeze was blowing off the lakes but we wrapped up and plodded on regardless, from the bridge crossing the lake by the visitor centre we picked up Dunnock, Robin, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Egyptian  Goose, Tufted Duck, Coot and Mallard.

By the tower hide Lesley managed to see a Water Rail but I couldn't get on to it at first as I was down below looking after Gemma who was checking out the birds on the ground level with me. We did though manage a brief view of a Cetti's Warbler which was a nice year tick, from the hide we managed to see Red Crested Pochard, Golden Eye and a fly over Snipe.


 Saturday was Bakwell Farmers market and also a trip to the Wee Dram (, as my malt Whiskey supply was getting dangerously low which I believe is a criminal offence north of the boarder.  Coming home the more scenic route via Millers Dale for a coffee and then Peak Dale to grab a train shot or two, well after Worm Hill the road was down to single track with the drifts and the road to Peak Dale it self didn't look suited to a two wheel drive Fabia so I just saw what was around Tunstead instead.

High Peak industrial shunter

Hope Valley industrial shunter

Have to say their shunter High Peak looks quite a beast!

Today I had to get Gem out of the house for the afternoon as Lesley was on nights so need a spot of peace and quite and toddlers don't really do quite. So it was off to feed the ducks at Westport Lake and play on the swings.
Nothing really to get excited about on the lake itself but we did find a Tree Creeper right by the path and a couple of Chiffchaff showing Spring can't be too far away now.

Herring Gull

Tree Creeper Westport Lake

Tree Creeper relieving itself 

Lesser Black Backed Gull

Monday, 11 March 2013

Gone for a Burton

Saturday being forecast for being a rather dank and dreary day had us heading off to Burton Mere RSPB reserve it has a very family friendly visitor centre which has put some birders off the place but a nice warm hide and welcome from the great wardens there means we like the place. Plus it has some great birds usually on show.

On arriving we noted a rather empty car park, thus we new the Lesser Scaup had indeed done a bunk, as it turns out it hasn't travelled too far only as far as Shotwick, must like industrial architecture.

A volunteer warden told us about a Water Rail that was showing on and off very well just to the side of the visitor centre and offered to throw a bit of seed out to lure in the shy little chap, and no sooner than a couple of hand fulls were thrown out out he popped. Always a pleasure seeing these birds and more than made up for not seeing the Lesser Scaup (even if it would have been a lifer). It also allowed me to try out my new toy, a Canon 400mm f5.6 lens, its great bit of kit, I do love a bit of camera gadge, only my bank balance and wife keep my spending in check.

Water Rail Burton Mere

Other birds on show from the visitor centre were Golden Plover, Redshank, Avocet, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Lapwing, Teal, Shovler, Black Headed Gull, Tufted Duck and Coot.

Wandering down to the other hide which faces Inner Marsh Farm, we also noted Siskin and Nuthatch.

From the far hide there was not a great deal on show but we did see a pair of Greenshank which added to the tally quite nicely and a year tick to boot.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Weekend Jaunt

It was a case of playing Daddy Day Care over the weekend, Saturday was just an odd job day buying Mothers day cards and going around Stone Farmers Market to buy various treats to feast on.

Sunday was meant to be the big day out but with Gem teething I didn't get that much sleep so that plan went out the window so it was off to Westport Lake to feed the ducks which Gem always loves and meant I could at least get some fresh air and exercise.
Nothing out of the norm to be found although watching a Great Crested Grebe fish close in was a privilege and a pleasure to watch and was good to share the experience with Gem, although she though the ducks that came for the bread much more funny and even eat some of the bread her self.

On a garden birding front the Siskin numbers keep building up, on Sunday a record count of 20 was to be had along with a supporting  cast of 4 Goldfinch, 2 Brambling (1 male 1 female), 3 Bullfinch, 2 Willow Tit plus the other usual garden species.

The afternoon was spent gricing my other vise in life alongside birding, real ale and malt whiskey. I like to spread my sins around! A quick drive up to the fueling point at Basford Hall only got me a sick fugly (004), the electric depot didn't hold any treats just the usual sad line up from the industrial estate.