Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Tuesday 30th November

Managed a couple of hours this afternoon and the cold snap produced the goods with another year tick for me in the form of a Green Sandpiper. There were some notable counts today with 97 Shoveler, c.60 Pochard, 53 Wigeon, 14 Goosander and 12 Teal. The only passerines of note were Meadow Pipit and Fieldfare.

I also have roosting Tawny Owl which I have seen on a couple of occasions but they are near impossible to see during the day in the dense conifers.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Sunday 28th November

I managed to fit in a couple of visits on Sunday – early and late as I had been dragged (kicking and screaming) shopping! Early on there was much the same as yesterday although there was no sign of the Smew or the Goldeneye, however, the flock of Wigeon has reach 40. Wildfowl generally had increased with c.40 Teal, c.30 Shoveler, c.80 Pochard, plus late on there were 25 Goosander which use the Reservoir as a roost site. There were a couple of small flocks of Lapwing heading south, but on a couple of newly ploughed field to the north of the site there were around 150+ Lapwing with good numbers of mixed corvids.

I took the dog for a walk over to Coleshill Quarry late afternoon and only saw about six species, the site is completely frozen over (more than likely the source of Shustokes, Teal and Shoveler). But out of the six species one was new for me and I think the site and came in the form of a Woodcock, this is a species that I have been searching for regularly recently at Shustoke and just goes to show what birding is like that I jammed upon one by accident!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Saturday 27th November

It was a cold and frosty morning, with a sprinkling of lying snow, so I thought there might be a bit of cold weather movement. On arrival things looked promising, the reservoir was ice free and from the car park there were 13 Goosander and a Goldeneye. I walked around clockwise into a biting wind, the launch from the sailing club went out (braver man than me) putting up the wildfowl there were c'50 Pochard and 4 Shoveler amongst the commoner birds, at this point the Goosander and Goldeneye departed. I carried on around and in the east corner there were 10 Teal, this was proving to be a good day. It was then that a small duck flew in fast and landed, straight away I realised it was a redhead Smew, at this point the sun came out so I had to hurry round the the east end to view up the reservoir and the bird was halfway towards the sailing club feeding happily.

The small pool held a dozen Wigeon and most of the duck from the main reservoir relocated here as in the meantime sailing had begun. I saw Kingfisher, 40 Redwing a few Bullfinch and a dozen or so Siskin.

I had a quick check on the way back but could not see the Smew but it could easily have been feeding near to the edge and I could easily have missed it. The only other sighting of note were 12 Common Gull.

2010 now equals the best ever year for Shustoke Reservoir.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Wednesday 24th November

Left work at 4pm with the hope of walking the dog around the reservoir before dark. In the event it was pretty dark when Joy the Mutt and I arrived. There were the usual duck species but it was too dark to count, but the highlight was undoubtedly the 15 Goosander (5 males) that were on the main pool. The gull roost held a 1000 of so gulls with a good number of Herring amongst the many LBB’s but it was too dark to scan the raft. That was about it. Hopefully get over on Saturday at some stage.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Sunday 21st November

Took a walk around the perimeter today, far to many people for my normal walk around the reservoir. It was a bit better than yesterday, it was certainly marginally brighter. Most of the duck had relocated to the small pool and there were c.90 Pochard, 12 Shoveler, 5 Wigeon. There was a two foot long dead Grass Snake on Bixhill Lane which is only the second I have seen, but at least the first one was alive.

The area around the small pool looks best at the moment for passerines but apart from a few Redwing it was rather quiet. I utilised the new path and followed the railway line along the north end and connected with the tit flock but apart from the common species it was poor. The field at the far end held a couple of Reed Bunting the first for a while.

I took the dog over to Coleshill Quarry later in the afternoon and there were c.80 Teal, 20 Wigeon and 2 Green Sandpiper. Unfortunately even at a distance of 300 odd yards as soon as the bird caught sight of me they were off. Really could do with a Public Hide or a screen in this area!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

What colour is the sky again!

On yet another grey bleak day, I took an early morning walk around the reservoir, passerines were noticeably by their absence, in fact it was the first time I had ever failed to see Blue Tit! I think they must all be at my bird feeders. However, duck numbers were ok with 24 Shoveler, 85 Pochard, c.100 Tufted, c. 140 Mallard and 4 Wigeon. I failed to see the Red-breasted Merganser but it may still be there as the sailing club launch moved the birds around a bit.

There were a few Redwings around and I tried hard for Woodcock as we need one species to equal the best ever year for the Reservoir. There are still six weeks left for either the aforementioned Woodcock or even Lesser Spotted Woodpecker to put in an appearance. I live in hope!

On a personal note I have recorded 108 species this year and am missing some really dollies, the identity of which I am not prepared to divulge. So I will be looking hard for those as well.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

I’ve got the Shustoke Blues

It was to say the least, a shock to the system. The Negev Desert it isn’t! It was a cold dank morning so I thought I had better go for a stroll. I was delighted to see the Red-breasted Merganser was still on the Reservoir I had received a text from TP in Israel about the bird, as did Steve Cawthray and Bobby D and at £1.50 a time he may well live to regret that. (By the way Tom - that’s why you didn’t receive a text by way of thanks!)

There was a good variety of duck species today but the wintering flock of Wigeon seem slow to return with just a single bird on the small pool. I think that the Reservoir is far to popular now as this species feeds on the grassy banks and there unfortunately is just to much disturbance now.

It was a rather disappointing morning with around 30 Redwing, 5 Siskin and not a fat lot else.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The blur that was early November

Hi all, as you can probably gather I have been away. I have been birding Israel with a few of the Tame Valley’s regulars. We were based in the Eilat and Dead Sea area with a number of really good birds – the rarest of which arguably was a Yellowhammer!

Although the hotel in Eilat resembled a Bail Hostel, the main disappointment was that Eilat seems to have changed out of all recognition and is extremely expensive now. £6 a pint was enough to ensure that I didn’t wake up with a sore head very often.

While I have been away there has been a Red-breasted Merganser on the reservoir which Dave Hutton has kindly provided a photograph of (thanks Dave). There was also a Little Gull in the roost one night. I should be able to get back into the swing of things soon and will reverse the lack of posts.

Red-breasted Merganser – Dave Hutton