Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Big Garden Watch

On Sunday with it being rather damp and grey it was the perfect day to do the RSPB's Big Garden Watch.
On the Saturday I stocked up on Sunflower Hearts and invested in a new Niger seed feeder to see if the finches that are visiting our garden would take to it alongside our standard seed feeders.

Well we had quite a decent number of birds visit the garden and my count noted the birds not just on the feeders but also those awaiting there turn on the feeders in the trees and shrubs surrounding the garden on the fence line.

40 - Goldfinch
2 - Brambling
1 - Siskin
1 - Greenfinch
1 - Willow Tit
3 - Great Tit
5 - Long Tailed Tits
3 - Blue Tits
1 - Coal Tit
12  - Starling
2 - Collared Dove
1 - Black Bird
2 - Robin
1 - Dunnock

Made for a pleasant hour spent staring out of the patio doors with Gem munching on biscuits and drinking tea.

Hopefully next weekend wont be as damp and I can actually get out with Gem somewhere.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Titesworth Reservoir

I finally manged to pop along to Titesworth reservoir having waited all week with fingers crossed that the Lesser Scaup would hang around, couldn't go yesterday as I had said I would go off to Donny to do a spot of gricing.
So on a nice a sunny winters day Gem and me headed off to bag this lifer (2 in 2 weeks can't be bad).

The Lesser Scaup was showing but at some distance being on the far side hanging around with a few Tufted Ducks, but at least I was getting some good views.

I eventually walked down to the causeway and my luck was in as the Lesser Scaup had swam down to being much closer to the causeway allowing me to grab a few shots.

Lesser Scaup at Titesworth Reservoir

Other birds on view were Brambling and Redpoll on the feeders by the first car park and a Common Gull on the lake.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

In the Buff

We headed along to Burton Marsh and Burton Mere today for a day out, the first port of call being Burton Marsh for the long staying Buff Bellied Pipit, as we turned up there were quite a few parked cars and we could gauge by the crowds where we needed to look.
Soon enough we had located our target and were enjoying nice close views of this Pipit, with the odd Stonechat thrown in for good measure.

Stonechat Burton Marsh

Buff Bellied Pipit Burton Marsh

Stonechat Burton Marsh

After going to turn the car around at the end of the lane I decided on a try at photographing a few Meadow Pipits for comparison but these flew off leaving just holding my camera. Something then moved on the fence I had forgotten about the reports of the Siberian Chiffchaff and there it was right in front of me.

Siberian Chiffchaff at Burton Marsh

The cold was starting to get to us and Gem so it was off to Burton Mere for a warm and look around.
Well I missed out on the Short Eared Owl but I did bag the Little Stint alongside a support cast of Wigeon, Teal, Black Tailed Godwit, Dulin, Lapwing, Snipe, Siskin and Little Egret.

Snipe at Burton Mere

Before heading home we went down for one last look at the Buff Bellied Pipit it was soon found which was easier than finding somewhere to park. I finally got my comparison shot of a Meadow Pipit as well.

Monday, 6 January 2014

The Start of 2014

Well 2014 bird wise has started off rather slowly, with work, jobs around the house and the weather getting in the way of getting out and about.

The garden though has produced some good birds in the shape of Willow Tit, 6 Bullfinch and a single Male Brambling that comes in with the Goldfinch so watching the feeders is quite enjoyable right now although they are going through quite alot of seed.

Yesterday was our first true venture out to see some birds with a trip down to Gailey Reservoir, although the M6 didn't play ball with a shunt between a car and a lorry meant our arrival was some what delayed.
When we finally got there we started to scan around to try and find the Great Northern Diver and Great White Egret, at first every bird that ducked and dived turned out to just be a Great Crested Grebe and the only Egret like bird we could find was a Heron. Eventually Lesley found the diver between the island and the pontoon on the sailing lake so that was at least one target bird in the bag. With time getting on and before the cold got too much for Gem we headed off home.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Year Summary

Well my 2013 year list beat my 2012 list and that was with out really trying to, and although I only managed to see 142 species which is quite pathetic in respect to many birders standards having a 2 year old in tow does tend to mean I am rather restricted in what birding I can do and early morning birding is a thing of the past.

So here is to 2014, a Brambling has started to pay the odd visit to our feeders so that should make for a nice easy tick when the time comes.

Birthday Birding 20 Dec

The last couple of years I have headed off to North Wales often firstly heading for the Snow Bunting at Kinmel Bay but as I had not heard that they were around I decided to try for the Twite at Flint.

Getting there for around 10 it was rather cool to say the least but at least it was dry and sunny. No joy in finding the Twite just Reed Bunting in regards to LBJ's with a flock of Dulin flying down the river and Redshank and Oystercatcher feeding in and around the marsh.

From here it was on to Abergele for long staying Hoopoe but by now the weather had taken a turn for the worse with rather a strong cold wind and rain so not ideal conditions to go looking for a bird more suited to the med than North Wales in the winter, strangely enough we did not find the bird just a large flock of Greenfinch drinking from a puddle on the beach.

The last port of call was Rhos on Sea for Purple Sandpiper or at least that was the plan which the way was going I wasn't that hopeful.
On the rocks by the prom the only bird around was a lone Shag.

On the small patch of beach by the break water were a number of Turnstones, Rock Pipits and Redshank plus a single Oystercatcher, probably if I had bothered to look I am sure I would have found a few Purple Sandpipers but I lost urge to go looking for them.


On the 02 Nov I decided to try and see the class 97 hauled RHTT train through Crewe I had no such luck as it must have run early I did though see a couple of light engine moves of 97's with 97304 coming off the Stoke line and 302 heading back the other way from the Electric depot so it wasn't a total loss.