Friday, 30 August 2013

Bank Holiday Week Catch Up

Have not really posted anything for a while and that's because I have not really been out and about much of late.
I did pop along to the bird fair on the Friday and played with the nice and shiny optics and went along to the talk by Alan Davies and Ruth Miller of the Biggest Twitch fame which was interesting and was much better than been at work.

But to the Bank Holiday!

Lesley was on nights which meant I just had to keep Gem entertained, and preferably out of the house so Lesley could get some well needed sleep.

Sunday found me sitting at Longport by the long gone signal box, when I was younger I spent many a happy Saturday afternoon here watching the Carless Tanks worked by 37's of all sorts, I even got an invite into the box once!
I was here again for 37's, this time of the DRS sort, a pair were top and tailing a EMT service train filling in for drivers whom were working to rule as they don't feel the railways need to operate on a 7 day a week basis and that there 40K salary doesn't cover Sunday working makes your heart bleed.
Any way good on EMT for allowing passengers to still travel by train rather than by replacement bus even better for using 37's. Brought back memories of the loco hauled service to Llandudno that use to pass through Stoke and more so as 425 use to be one of the regulars back then.

37405 at Longport on the Crewe to Derby service train

37425 on the rear of the Crewe to Derby service train fresh from being named Concrete Bob/Sir Robert McAlpine

On Monday I took Gem to visit the steam pumping plant at Claymills near Burton, if you are into Victoria industrial engines its well worth the visit, plenty to see only the single main engine was working out of the four but with the various steam belt driven work shops as well plus a ride on a miniature traction engine it was a good day out. Plenty of train activity was seen which was a bonus . Also being next to a sewage works and open fields there was quite a bit of birds life around. I think the Damselfly is a drab form of the Common Blue.

60099 at Claymills on the Kingsbury to Humber empty tanks

Drab Form Common Blue Damselfly

Having the week off meant we have managed to do a spot of birding, on the Thursday the 29th Aug we headed off for a quick walk around Hanchurch Woods along the path from the Wood Cutters Cottage, being close by its a nice quick place to head for.
Walking along the track we could hear a Raven calling which eventually came into view along with a nice Buzzard perched on a dead tree.
The high light came when a flock of 21 Crossbill came down to settle in a Birch tree and eventually one or two dropped down for a drink in a pool a bit further back from the path.

Crossbill at Hanchurch

Saturday, 10 August 2013

In the Night Garden

I did my usual trick and found out about the Night Heron that had turned up at a reservoir in Leicestershire too late to really do anything about it, so I crossed everything I had and hoped it would just stick around till the following weekend, checking last night if it was still there and finding out the positive news, and with directions obtained early in the week the decision was made we were off to the East Mids.

It was not that hard to find Thornton Reservoir and it turned out to be a nice little spot although we walked the long way around to the bird after parking at the wrong side of the dam, well the walk did me some good and the weather was fine.

The bird was partly hidden in a small gap within the trees but we could make it out alright and it did move into a bit better spot to be viewed so we did end up getting quite good views through our scope.

We also got to see it's larger Grey Heron cousin and a Little Egret plus a brief fly past by a Kingfisher.

After this we decided to head for the near by Tropical Bird Gardens as it was only earlier afternoon and no point in heading off straight home, the cream teas are quite reasonable although no clotted cream so they lost points there. Lesley made a new friend as well.

Rudyard Lake

With news of the Caspian Tern being found out about on the 26th Jul all my original plans for the weekend were rather put on hold.

Originally the plan was to to send the morning sat on the end of Crewe station mainly to see the GB staff rail tour to llandudno but that was now on hold awaiting news if the Tern was still around on the Saturday.
A quick check on the computer and we were soon off to Rudyard to do a spot of life ticking.

It took a while to find the road that led down to the Northern end of the lake, on Streetmap it looked like a proper road with a nice car park at the end we were after turned out it was a dirt track with just a bit of a pull over area at the end. No matter we were there and as it appeared every birder from around the area judging by how packed the area was.

We soon found the spot to view the Tern and straight away regretted not taking the scope, but we were taken pity on and a kind gent allowed Lesley and me views through his scope.

Ok they are crap shots but it at least proves I saw it.

After here we headed for the Leek show which was quite a nice way to spend the afternoon.

That evening I decided I still fancied seeing the rail tour so looking up the return times on Real Train Times website it was off to Crewe to grab a few shots of the return leg back to Cardiff.
The 20's looked and sounded great, would have preferred both London Under Ground liveried choppers but that's just me.