Monday, 22 April 2013

Cannock Chase and Doxey Marsh

On Saturday with a fine weather forecast we decided to spend the whole day out and about and with us both feeling rather lazy we decided to stay within sunny Staffs.

First port of call was Cannock Chase around Freda's Grave, we didn't get there particularly early so there were plenty of people around but we still had high hopes for bagging a number of year ticks.
Around the feeding area we could hear and see plenty of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff in full song. Birds also noted were Yellow Hammer, Blue, Great, Coal and Longtailed Tits along with Robin and Dunnock as supporting cast.

Heading on to the heath we had hopes for Common Redstart or at least a Stonechat, the first bird we heard were Tree Pipit although try as we might we could not find the little blighter's any where but still nice to know that they were around. Not to much else was seen a Common White Throat was found by Lesley down in the valley skulking around in some brambles and a Green Woodpecker feeding near one of the paths leading down into the valley but that was it. We could hear a Cuckoo calling but again no sign of where it actually was.

After lunch near the feeding area where we found a rather weird arty thingy between a couple of Birch trees we headed off to Doxey Marsh in Stafford as it was on the way home.

Not to much at Creswell Flash just Cormorant, Teal, Tufted Duck and Greylag plus a few Canada Geese.
In the main body of the reserve we found a few Green Finch in the trees just by the kissing gate. Heading down to the now removed screen we noted a pair of Little Ringed Plovers, Lapwing, a pair of Redshank and a couple of Shelduck.
Walking along the river a couple of Grey Heron flew over headed and train wise 66009 headed north on empty cartics. We bumped into a warden who told us there were 6 Common Sand and 5 Yellow Wagtails on show from the hide. Well we saw only 5 Common Sands and 2 Yellow Wagtails but we did also see a single Grey Wagtail and a pair of Little Ringed Plover.
Little Ringed Plover at Doxey Marsh

Friday, 19 April 2013

Winter or Spring

This week has been a rather mixed bag on the bird front around sunny Silverdale.

On an evening walk we found our first House Martin of the year nest building on our estate and we have even heard the odd warbler calling from the wood.
Yet on a garden bird front we still have 25 or more Siskin, at least 3 Brambling and a single Redpoll has now turned up at our feeders all of which are more winter birds for us.
Maybe in the next few days they will head off to their breeding grounds other wise anyone know what type of nest box I need for Brambling??

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Weekend Travels

Saturday morning involved travelling down to Gailey to hopefully see the White Front Geese and Little Gull.

We drove down in full sun and the M6 was even running quite well which made for a pleasant drive for once, getting there we noted a goose in the field opposite the pull in off the lane, but this turned out just to be a lone Greylag.

Heading into the main body of the reservoir itself, we first tried to find our targets from the causeway. Well we noted two groups of gulls one to our left on the fishing side and one on the boating side, with time ticking away we had had to make a decision of which to head for.
Well we headed for the group on the boating lake side. This did allow us to see the Whited Fronted Geese which were on the far bank, but no joy with the Little Gull, we did note Great and Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Little and Great Crested Grebe, Numerous Herons beginning to nest on the island plus Wigeon and Tufted Duck.

The afternoon was for old jobs after getting the car cleaned so it actually looks black and not grey with all of the salt from off the road, we decided with still some time to kill and the weather still nice and sunny to headed for Westport Lake which it appeared most of Stoke had done so as well.

Being so busy we didn't see that much the Chiffchaff from last weekend couldn't be relocated. Although there were plenty of gulls on the lake.

Sunday was a day for making use of our National Trust membership, so it was off to Quarry Bank Mill.
We hadn't been here since the gardens were opened up to the public and since Gem appeared on the scene. Getting there soon after the place opened up meant we could beat the crowds and had the place almost to ourselves as we went around the mill. Around the meadow we noted bird wise Great and Blue Tit, Treecreeper, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff and Pied Wagtail.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Gronk Fest

Easter Monday was a purely gricing day spending the morning travelling around the Burton area getting various gronks and other locos in the neighbourhood.

First port of call was Nemesis Rail at Burton, there are quite a few locos store around the sight we manged to bag, 73134 and 117, 56007,038,065,081 and 117, 45112, 47703 and 488, 08389,954,918 and 765 plus 09014 also noted were 20069 and 37905. .

73134 at Nemesis Rail Burton upon Trent

56065 at Nemesis Rail Burton upon Trent

47703 at Nemesis Rail Burton upon Trent

08389 at Nemesis Rail Burton upon Trent

I think this is 37905 
It was then on further down the A38 to Barton under Needwood to the LH Barton works which is now owned by Wabtec to see what gronks were knocking about.

A couple of ex industrial types could be seen from the old Little Chef car park but we didn't put any effort in to see what they were.
From the public foot path that runs around the back of the site we saw 08393, 891 and 913 in its Malcolm Rail colours which last year I had crossed fields to get a shot of it working away at Daventry. The remains of 08077 were also still on sight.

08913 at LH Barton

08891 at LH Barton

08393 at LH Barton

What remains of 08077 at LH Barton can't be long before it's broken up now

Then just before we headed on home we called in at the Bombardier depot Central Rivers to hopefully see the 08 there, managed to grab a shot from by the security hut.
66415 passed east bound while we were there on an MGR.

08943 ex PET II Crewe Works shunter in HNRC colours sits next to the micro Voyager at Central Rivers