Thursday, 30 September 2010

Wednesday 29th September

I was stuck at work until late so I took the opportunity to walk the dog over the western meadow and check out the field on the other side of the river as this used to hold Little Owl. Needless to say I didn’t see Little Owl, in fact apart from tit flocks there wasn’t much. 

However, earlier in the day there were 8 Little Gull (Ad, 2nd Winter, 6 1st Winter, plus Wheatear and 65 Swallow. per S Cawthray, S Haynes et al.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Tuesday 28th September

Got over late, with the intent of finding Little Owl in an area where the were quite common a few years ago, this area lies south of the small pool in the hedgerow that runs to the main road. Although not quite dark I had a good look and drew a blank. I checked out the paddocks again and no Little Owl, this was the last territory occupied and a banker for this species up until a year ago.

I cannot help but feel that the increase in Buzzard numbers has had an adverse effect on Little Owl numbers, as they have a habit of sitting out in the open and therefore would be easy prey for a species that likes sitting targets! Having said that the last sighting I had was in the obvious tree looking towards the railway at the west end and that bird was being harassed by a Kestrel! I assumed at the time that that was competition for a nest site as it was early spring.

Anyway, nature will have its way, and there is not a lot I, or anyone else can do about it. If Buzzards are the cause of the Little Owls decline, they are a natural part of our birdscape whereas Little Owl are an introduced species.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Monday 27th September

It was dank and bleak but I walked around anyway with virtually no wind I wasn’t expecting to come across anything – and I wasn’t disappointed. The winter wildfowl have been turning up in recent weeks in dribs and drabs and tonight was no different. There were 2 Shoveler and 10 Pochard which was about all to show for the visit.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Sunday 26th September

Decided to avoid the crowds and went over early this morning, it didn’t look promising at first but at the east end I picked up a female type Common Scoter (122). It was feeding and associating loosely with a small group of Little Grebe. At 9.30 the activity at the Sailing Club started and the speed boat that goes out first fortunately concentrated on the west end of the reservoir, as did the eventual race. I left at 11.30am and the bird was still present. I also had a group of 60+ mixed hirundines, Willow Warbler and four Chiffchaff.

I paid another visit at dusk and the Scoter was still present as darkness fell.

Note: Shustoke Reservoir has now recorded the same number of species as it did in 2009 and we still have 3 full months left! The most species ever recorded in a single year is 128 in 2008 plus White Wagtail, which I count as a sub-species in brackets, (I know that Pied Wag is the sub-species … but what can I do). I also don’t count Feral Pigeon.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Saturday 25th September

None of last nights Black Terns were present this morning, something I could have predicted as I had taken my camera! There was a mixed group of Sand Martin, House Martin and Swallow than numbered 50+. Marsh Tit was in with the main tit flock and there were single Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. There were 130+ Great Crested Grebe present on the main pool.

Willow Warbler, Shustoke.
Not a great photo but had to include something.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Friday 24th September

Have been a little busier this week, subsequently that and the shorter daylight hours have combined to reduce my birding time at the Reservoir. However I managed to get over for the last hour of daylight tonight and was rewarded with 3 Black Terns. There were good numbers of gulls again in the roost but with just binoculars this evening they went unchecked.

Autumn is very evident at the moment, and after last nights Goosander, tonight brought 3 Pochard, 2 Gadwall, and a “Scottish Play” Duck. I checked the paddock using the last shafts of sunlight but still no Little Owl, there are a pair on the other side of Shustoke but this species is still absent from the year list. There used to be at least three pairs in the vicinity but all the territories appear vacant at the moment. Still I will check the other territories out at dusk and see if I can conjure one up from somewhere.

Common Tern, Kingfisher reported per Matthew Griffiths

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Thursday 23rd September

It is quiet at the moment I had a walk around in the afternoon but there really wasn’t a lot around around the small pool there was a Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and a couple of Nuthatch.

I checked out the gull roost tonight and there was a good number of gull but it contained nothing unusual. And it would appear that the Little Gull has departed at last, wether is was present yesterday I could not say. There was however a female Goosander on the main Reservoir tonight along with a male Pochard.

Garden Update
2 Tree Sparrow

Wednesday 22nd September

Didn’t get a chance to go over today but on a personal note I put my feeders up at the weekend and had my first Tree Sparrow today.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Tuesday 21st September

Took my walk about 9am this morning just as the mist was starting to clear and the day develop in to a fine clear day with little or no wind. There had been a clear out overnight and after a week the Little Gull has departed.

There were no hirundines to be seen and summer migrant were restricted to 1 Willow Warbler and 2 Blackcap. The only new bird today were a pair of Shoveler on the main pool.

Went over to do the Gull roost tonight and lo and behold the Little Gull was still there! So that is nine days now.

Monday, 20 September 2010

On the Eighth Day

The Little Gull is still here for its eighth day and still looks settled (giving an occasional glance upwards). There were only single numbers of hirundines mostly over Shustoke village none over the Reservoir itself. The Marsh Tit was still in the same area but it was generally quiet.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sunday 19th September

The Little Gull has now clocked up seven days, which is good going considering it has nearly been eaten once to my knowledge. However, generally the Reservoir was quiet with the highlight three Teal. Around Warbler Corner the Marsh Tit was seen again, it is quite vocal and relatively easy to connect with at the moment. Didn’t however see the Willow Tit today. There has been a marked decrease in recent weeks of birds on the main reservoir with most of the summer migrant having disappeared now. There was a couple of Chiffchaff, plus a lot of hirundines feeding over Shustoke village.

Spotted Flycatcher reported near Cottage per Julie Mitchell

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Saturday 18th September

Up bright and early with the sun starting to rise most of the gulls had gone by 6.45 but Sparky the Little Gull was still there for his 6th day. Three Shelduck dropped in 2 adults, 1 juvenile but the main pool was remarkably quiet.

Around the small pools there were Marsh and Willow Tit and a single Nuthatch was seen. Might have a look and see what the gulls roost has to offer tonight.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Battle to the Death

I had to make my way to Coventry for lunchtime so I dropped in to scan the res from the car park on the way. The Little Gull was still in the same general area feeding away as it has done for five days now. Then like a streak a immature male Peregrine singled out “Sparky” who bobbed and weaved, but the Peregrine was getting closer with every swoop. It brought back memories of the Leach’s at Coton the other day trying to avoid the attention of Black-head Gulls. Eventually “Sparky” had had enough and started to try and gain height the Peregrine doing the same, for me there was only going to be one winner. I lost them to view as they drifted south-east but I left convinced that “Sparky” was a gonner!

I returned late afternoon and had a walk around I scanned from the car park to start with, 150 mixed hirundines, mainly House Martin. There were loads of Buzzard up with six high above Ladywalk, four over Hoggrils End, and another couple over the small pool. Walking round there was a Greylag in with the Canada’s, a couple of Grey Wagtail, then to my genuine amazement there was “Sparky” he had survived his encounter with natures instrument of death! The Peregrine had no doubt learnt that speed is one thing but not when you are going in the wrong direction!

By the small pool there was a single Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 4 Kingfisher, 1 Green Woodpecker and a single Raven. This evening the gull roost was impressive and on the shore by the sailing club was a single Common Sandpiper.

I shall be going over early tomorrow with “Daylate” so no doubt “Sparky” will have moved on!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Thursday 16th September

Combined walking the dog with a bit of birding this time taking the track on the other side of the river follow alongside the railway track, I saw Hobby and 2 Raven but not a lot else. The Willow Tit was in the vicinity of Warbler Corner as was a Kingfisher.

On the main pool gull numbers hadn’t started to build up but the Little Gull still performing. There was also a male Pochard at the west end.

A Ringed Plover was reported mid August before the individual last Friday. (per Steve Haynes)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Wednesday 15th September

Another good bird today with a Little Stint, I flushed it of the shoreline on the west end it was calling and was flying with incredibly quick wing beats in the wind, it didn’t settle and headed off to the west into the wind. That represents the second record of the year for this species. The Little Gull was still present this evening. By the small pool there were two Willow Tit in with the tit flock, strangely it has been mostly Marsh Tit that I have been seeing recently. There are still a few hirundines around and four Chiffchaff. There was also the return of the Common Sandpiper with a single bird present near the sailing club. (per Steve Haynes)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Tuesday 14th September

An early walk around this morning in light rain with the wind from the south-west. The Little Gull (juvenile) was still there though surprisingly elusive, it was difficult to find when it was resting on the water. Apart from that there were around 40 mixed hirundines, a couple of chiffchaff and a flock of c.100 Lapwing.
This evening the Little Gull was still present and showing well (if distant), when Steve Cawthray turned up we were talking about Hobby when one flew in front of us affording good views. The Reservoir was a little choppy tonight so not a great night for checking the gull roost.

Coleshill Quarry
A brief visit late on 5 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Curlew and 8 Meadow Pipit.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Monday 13th September

After giving the Reservoir a miss yesterday, I was twitching with Keith (Daylate) Wimbush and we missed our quarry for the second successive weekend! I did see the bird briefly in flight for about the same amount of time it takes my dog to decide to eat his food.

However, I digress today at the Reservoir we are hitting that time where the summer visitors move on but haven’t yet been replaced by the winter visitors. But I can’t complain it has been a very good period for the Reservoir. The last two weeks of August and first two of September in my humble opinion are always the best time of year here. No doubt there will still be a couple of surprises in store, but not today.

There were a couple of Grey Wagtail, 2 Jay, 30 Greenfinch, 120 mixed hirundines, 118 Cormorant but for the first time in ages no Common Sandpiper. I will try again tonight and see what that brings.

Well it brought a Little Gull 1st winter (Steve Haynes) second record this year. The gull roost is picking up with around 30 Herring Gull, 200+ LBB Gulls and a lot of Black Headed. Also a small group (c.12) Wigeon flew over heading south.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Saturday 11th September

The bird I have been expecting all week finally arrived this morning with a Black Tern (121) resting on the buoys in the centre of the reservoir this represents the first for the year and takes the year list to 121. There were still two Common Sandpiper on the edge but yesterdays Ringed Plover appears to have gone.

There was a large mixed tit flock of around 100 birds mostly Blue, Great, Long-tailed but it was hard to get on birds as they moved through thick vegetation but I picked up a few Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Chaffinch and Bullfinch in with them.

Another good species today was a Raven by the railway line behind small pool. I saw the male Sparrowhawk again today.

After a text from TP about an Arctic Tern at Shustoke, I curtailed my visit to Coleshill Quarry (Greenshank still) dropped the dog at home, picked up my scope and returned to the Res, the juvenile Arctic Tern was found in flight with a juvenile Common Tern allowing for a comparison of both species in flight. The Black Tern was still present and all three species could be savoured at the same time! Common Sandpiper number had increased to three.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Friday 10th September

The rain never really materialised, but none the less I ventured forth, it didn’t look very promising at first glance, the Common Tern appear to have moved on, although there were around 60 hirundines hawking insects over the reservoir, but then there were about 60 over my house, and about double that number looking towards Coleshill.

Highlight was undoubtedly the Ringed Plover (120) a first for the year at the Reservoir, I had walked past it first time around. There was also a single Common Sandpiper. Passerines were thin on the ground due to the wind,  but I did have a Blackcap.

Steve Cawthray reported Tawny Owl (119) in the car park in the last week.

Late on there were single Greenshank and Snipe, strangely no Green Sandpiper!

Thursday 9th September

It was back to the usual fare at the Reservoir today. The excellent run that we have had has come to an end, hopefully temporarily. There were still a couple of Common Tern, and around 20 hirundines at the east end. Wader wise, 50 Lapwing and a single Common Sandpiper were seen. The Little Egrets appear to have abandoned us – but with so many in North Warwickshire to paraphrase Arnie “They’ll be back”!

Other birds seen included, Sparrowhawk, Kingfisher, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Bullfinch.

The weather forecast to today if for rain, heavy at times. I can’t wait to finish work!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Wednesday 8th September

Walked around the reservoir before work today, there was little about, generally bird numbers seem to have dropped off. Hirundines have certainly cleared out with just a handful of Swallows and a couple of House Martins present. The Little Egret was in the south-east corner, the Common Tern were still around and there was a single Common Sandpiper. A couple of drake Pochard were on the main pool. Looks like things are getting back to normal.

Grey Plover (nearby) and Greenshank reported Steve Haynes.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Tuesday 7th September

A bit quieter today, with a Little Egret, 7 Common Tern, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Blackcap.

Keith Wimbush reported an Osprey flying south-west.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Monday 6th September

Little Stint, Dave Hutton

Briefly this morning saw a Hobby rip across the Reservoir. Hopefully more later.

Little Egret, Dave Hutton
Another good bird for the Reservoir, this time Little Stint (118) which spent its time feeding near to the outflow tower towards the west end of the reservoir. By evening it had moved from here, where it had left or relocated elsewhere around the reservoir is hard to say but with heavy rain falling it wasn’t worth searching. The two Little Egrets are still around with one bird usually found on the edge by the car park. There was also a Common Sandpiper and upto seven Common Tern. This mornings Hobby was seen twice this evening as there are good numbers of Swallows and House Martins around.

Little Stint, Dave Hutton
Spotted Flycatcher and Yellow Wagtail were also reported today.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Sunday 5th September

The 1st winter Med Gull was in the roost tonight along with a Herring Gull, 2 Common Gull, 150 LBB Gull, 1,000 BH Gull. There are now two Little Egrets (Debbie) and they were still present tonight. Two Common Sandpiper were seen and there are now seven Common Tern. The Kingfisher has taken to using the main pool and has been seen on several occasions. A single Grey Wagtail was recorded the first for a while.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Friday 3rd September

A little quieter than of late, but the Little Egret is still hanging around and doesn’t appear phased by people and dogs, when I left this evening it was resting up on the south bank.

Still a few warblers around with Blackcap, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff seen. There were two Common Sandpiper, six Common Tern and a Grey Wagtail around the reservoir.

Med Gull in roost per Steve Cawthray

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Thursday 2nd September

Yesterdays Dunlin appear to have moved on but one of the Spotted Flycatchers was still in the vicinity of Warbler Corner. A Little Egret spent most of the morning feeding on the edge of the Reservoir and was seen on three occasions during the morning. Two Redshank flew off at about 8am and were not seen again. There was a single Teal which again flew off early morning. There were still double figures of Chiffchaff, several Blackcap (all female) and three Willow Warblers. Three Common Tern continue to linger and there was a steady passage of Swallows moving south.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Wednesday 1st September

Five Dunlin


Good night at the Res, five Dunlin were feeding along the west bank, seemingly oblivious to the disturbance that the numerous people and dogs caused them. Warbler Corner had three Spotted Flycatcher, Whitethroat and several Chiffchaff.

Spotted Flycatcher

P Forbes/K Wimbush


Tonight two Curlew, 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Snipe.

Tuesday 31st August

Not a lot tonight in a quick view from the car park. There were still a couple of Common Tern and the gull numbers are building up nicely.


Tonight there were 4 Green Sandpiper, 6 Snipe, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker, Kingfisher  plus the evenings highlight which was a Whinchat.