Thursday, 30 December 2010

Thursday 30th December

For the second day in a row it was misty, foggy, miserable and dank. However, I decided it was time to have a search of the reservoir. The main reservoir is still largely ice covered with the water level having dropped a couple of feet which has resulting in the ice collapsing at the edges. Bird wise there was little to report with a single Goosander, 8 Shoveler, 5 Teal, 12 Wigeon, 7 Pochard and 2 Gadwall. I think a good wind from any direction should break up the ice quickly.

I had a couple of roving tit flocks with around 40 Long-tailed tits, Treecreeper and a couple of Nuthatch.

From a personal point of view I have seen two species of bird in my garden this week that have not been recorded at Shustoke this year. The first was a Brambling that has spent a few days at my feeders the second, yesterday, was a Little Owl sat out in my Damson Tree 15 yards from the kitchen window. This was particularly annoying considering the amount of time I have spent looking at Shustoke for this particular species.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Boxing Day and the Day after

Yesterday I took a 8 mile walk of the area, Shustoke to Coleshill Quarry and back round via Ladywalk then Shustoke Reservoir. The highlights were a couple of Curlew over the Hams Hall outflow. And a couple of Woodcock one on Watery Lane and the other in the field across from the reservoir.

Shustoke held a small flock of Redpoll and the Siskin still, whilst today Steve Lane reported a Goosander and a Green Sandpiper.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas

A very Merry Christmas to anyone who reads the blog – and to everyone else that doesn’t!

Took a walk in sub-zero temperatures around the reservoir today, the pool is all but completely ice-covered. There were few birds around with 40 Siskin, Nuthatch and couple of Great Spots were about the sum total.

In all honest there are more birds around my feeders with Brambling, Tree Sparrow and a fly over Raven this morning. I am now off to have my Xmas lunch, so again everyone have a very merry xmas.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Friday 24th December

Went over early today with just a small area of water still ice free, there were few duck with 20 Shoveler, 10 Pochard, 4 Gadwall, 10 Wigeon and c.80 Mallard. Yesterdays Skylark could not be located but there was a small group of Redpoll in the plantation near to the house in the south-east corner.

At Coton late afternoon I saw a Bittern, 2 Smew and a Curlew.

The garden produced my first Brambling of the winter as well as around six Tree Sparrows.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Thursday 23rd December

Having broke up for Xmas at lunchtime I returned home via Kingbury to see the 8 Bewick Swans that have been there for a couple of days. Whilst there a flock of c.100 Skylark dropped in to feed.

That fired me up and I headed for Shustoke for the afternoon. It was certainly a little warmer than of late but the reservoir is completely ice covered bar a small area by the sailing club. That held a couple of Goosander, 20 Shoveler, 5 Pochard, 6 Tufted, 6 Gt Crested Grebe and a good scattering of larger gulls.

Passerines were scarce but I had a flock of 60 of so Skylark in the fields down from the Gryphon and another ten in the fields by the paddocks, this was a first for me this year at the reservoir.

There was a Nuthatch near the fishing club but little else.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Sunday 19th December

I fancied a trip over to the Reservoir so Captain Daylate and I had a walk around. The lake was pretty much frozen over, with just two small areas of open water. The temperature on arrival at 2pm was -3°C and it felt like it – it was however a beautiful day.

At first glance there were a lot of big gulls on the ice with 5 Gt Black-backed and around 80 Herring, 100 LBB Gulls, 40 Common and 200+ Black-headed.

The undoubted highlight was a Woodcock (131) which was the first good bird I have had with the good Captain this year, its only taken 51 weeks!

There were around 30 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing, 40 Siskin and Kingfisher.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Saturday 11th December

I took a walk over this morning with the only new birds being a pair of adult Gt Black-backed Gulls. The wildfowl numbers were as follows:

104 Shoveler, 86 Pochard, 50 Wigeon, 164 Mallard, 46 Tufted Duck, 5 Goosander, 460 Coot, 12 Gt Crested Grebe, 4 Little Grebe.

The area was generally quiet although there was a reasonable amount of activity near the paddocks with 20 Chaffinch, 6 Greenfinch, 1 Bullfinch a mixed flock of tits and 20 Redwing, 6 Fieldfare.

Coleshilll Quarry

Late afternoon saw a couple of Goosander on the river 24 Teal no waders at all but there were a couple of Song Thrush, 1 Bullfinch and a Sparrowhawk.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Tuesday 7th December

What a sight, Shustoke with everything covered in a Hoar Frost, it was simple breathtaking, as was the cold air. Someone with a poetic bent could certainly have waxed lyrical about this “feast for the eyes.”

Bird wise there were less wildfowl than of late, but there was still a Redshank and a Green Sandpiper. Coot number continue to grow with in excess of 500 (I did count them but they were that closely packed it was difficult to be accurate). Grebe number are now well down on the highs of the summer and autumn.

Passerine were practically non-existant today with a Grey Wagtail and a couple of Meadow Pipits the only birds of note.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Sunday 5th December

Managed to get over early (going to watch the Baggies), there was just one car on the car park but the place was packed by the time I left. The Wigeon were put up by a Ned who let his Staffordshire Bull Terrier go tearing into the flock scattering them, this was after the dog had nearly upended a couple of joggers (I will refrain from putting down what I actually think, suffice to say, he looked thick as well).

Unfortunately, this is the problem when the small pool is frozen over as the main pool is very popular no matter what the weather. The south bank is too overgrown for Wigeon to graze so they are left to dodge the human footfall, especially at weekends.

Bird wise, there were more passerines with Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Siskin seen. Wildfowl numbers have dropped again, unfortunately one of the ice free patches in right up against the bank and the birds are easily disturbed.

There was still one lingering Redshank but all the other waders appear to have moved on, but it was a good week last week, lets see what this week holds.

Oh and we won 3-1 and that is probably the biggest surprise of the week.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Saturday 4 December

9am foggy, cold, dank, but with the run of birds recently I had to get out even though I had a late night last night with friends from Australia.

The reservoir was mainly frozen, and the first clear patch held 50 Wigeon and 2 Redshank, yesterdays 2 Dunlin were still present. At the east end there appeared to be a slight reduction in wildfowl numbers but there were still in excess of 120 Shoveler and over 450 Coot. There was no sign of any Gadwall, Goldeneye or yesterdays drake Pintail.

I checked out the path along the railway line but passerine wise it was very quiet apart from Redwing, a few Fieldfare and a small party of Siskin.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Friday 3rd December

The Winter festivities continue. I had just arrived at Shustoke with my wife in the early afternoon when I received a text to say there were two Knot at Shustoke. Not that Joy was fussed in the slightest that she hadn’t seen the bird from Wednesday, but was looking forward (in a female way) to seeing them.

As we got to the north-west corner I picked up two waders on the shoreline, but they didn’t appear big enough to be Knot and on closer inspection turned out to be Dunlin. I am not for an instant dismissing the Knot they could well have been there and flown off. Bobby D had 6 Curlew that I didn’t see and I had a Redshank that he didn’t. Suffice to say that with these weather conditions birds are coming and going all the time.

Wildfowl numbers are still high though most of the lake is now ice-covered. The Wigeon have increased to over 80 birds now and I noted 7 Gadwall and the male Goldeneye. There was a Kingfisher on the river but still few passerines.

In the garden Tree Sparrows have reached five birds, which was last years peak.

Yesterday, male Pintail (130) (per Steve Haynes)

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Thursday 2nd December

Sod Work! I took the morning off but there were none of yesterdays fireworks, but it was still good, there were about the same number of wildfowl as yesterday (probably more Pochard, less Goosander) but there was a male Goldeneye. The best bird was a Dunlin that flew through heading east but it did not appear to land and I lost it in the south-east corner. There were plenty of Redwings and about 12 Fieldfare. A Green Woodpecker was picked up along the river but it was still quiet for passerines.

I now believe that we have a record number of species for the Reservoir in a single year, I will tot it up this afternoon and post the new total.

Roll on tomorrow!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Wednesday 1st December

Took the afternoon of work and thought – might be good for wildfowl at Shustoke so I wrapped up warm and headed out. On arrival the snow flurries continued and after a 200 yards a Snipe flew over, that was the first I have seen for a while. Continuing round there were 17 Goosander, but most of the wildfowl were down the east end. As I carried on round I met a neighbour that I had never spoken to and we ended up talking for about 1/2 hour. I was just about to carry on when I picked up three waders flying in from the south I instantly thought Golden Plover, (brilliant never seen one here) I apologised for my rudeness and picked my bins up to see that it was actually three Grey Plover, the black auxilieries standing out (thats arm pits to most of us) they never gave any indication of landing and carried on north.

I was quite excited at this point, my neighbour confused. Anyway we left each other and I hadn’t gone 30 yards before what looked like a Meadow Pipit landed on the edge, but I had given up on that as I picked up the shape of a wader on the shoreline, this was a medium sized bulky bird which I immediately recognised as a Knot, again another new species for me for the Reservoir. I was really bubbling now, I watched the bird for 10 minutes then carried on. Then I saw the Knot flying over the Reservoir before turning and landing in the north-east corne. At this point a couple of walkers with dogs flushed the Wigeon that were feeding in the corner and I saw the Knot no more. It more than likely has relocated elsewhere on the Reservoir (find out tomorrow). I also saw yesterdays Green Sandpiper and 6 Lapwing brought todays wader total to five.

Wildfowl numbers were as follows.
17 Goosander, 152 Shoveler, 5 Gadwall, c.20 Teal, 70 Pochard, c.80 Mallard and 120 Tufted Duck.