Sunday, 25 December 2011

Xmas Day

Merry Xmas to all!

Took the wife and dog for an early morning walk around the reservior. Having been there yesterday I was keen to show her the Redpoll but as luck would have it couldn’t locate any. It was really mild but there was a bit of a breeze blowing.

It was quite quiet, the Raven were still around and at last I found a small group of four Wigeon the first of the winter – not quiet a flock!

There were not as many thrushes today but I saw a few Siskin around. I think we need a cold spell to get some birds moving.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve

Broke up from work yesterday so today was the first time I have had time to get over – it was that or shopping! It seemed quiet, wildfowl numbers this winter have been extremely disappointing so far. There were around 150 Pochard and at least I had a couple of Goosander fly over, the first since September. There were two pairs of Raven fighting it out over the right to reside at Shustoke, I don’t know who won but they were very noisy about it. I had a Green Woodpecker and Nuthatch near the small pool.

There were a lot of winter thrushes with 400 Fieldfare/Redwing in the area. I also had two flocks of Redpoll number around 30 birds the first of the year.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Sunday 18 December

I took a walk over early this morning but there was not a lot to report. There were a lot of winter thrushes around especially Redwing. On the small pool there was a single Teal and there were 150+ Pochard. The Wigeon flock has not returned yet this year, but it was late on last year before they arrived.

The weather was strange this morning with bright sunshine hampering views to the south, whilst a snow shower and heavy grey clouds hampered viewing to the north – you can’t win sometimes.

My feeders at home have been strangely quiet as well with very few birds around.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

I have been away

Hi folks, sorry for the lack of posts but I have been in Tenerife for eight days, it is the only chance my wife gets for anything like a normal holiday! I still managed to take my small binoculars with me – not that there was much in the way of birds. The apartment is situated between Los Christianos and Playa de la Americanas, concrete jungle would be an apt description. However, I did see a few species, with Whimbrel, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Dunlin and Ringed Plover representing the waders. African Blue Tit, Monk Parakeet, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Spanish Sparrow, Spectacled Warbler, Blackcap and Canary Island Chiffchaff.

I doesn’t seem like there has been much around although the Smew was seen a couple of times after it was first reported. I will get over at the weekend then I should be getting a little bit more back to normal after that.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Wednesday 30th November

Redhead Smew, (S. Cawthray).

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sunday 27th November

Managed a walk around today with a brisk breeze (oops)  blowing from the south west. It was relatively quiet with not many passerines to be seen, but maybe it was the wind keeping them low. There were however a lot of winter thrushes to be seen in the hedgerows around the railway line. A party of over 20+ Rook flew over (not regular this year). Much to my surprise the Red-crested Pochard were still on the small pool sleeping amongst the raft of Tufted and Common Pochard. There large size making them instantly recognisable even when the were tucked up asleep.

I paid a trip to Coleshill Quarry in the afternoon and I’m afraid that it has past it sell by date, it is now completely overgrown and there was not one area of water, surprisingly I saw a single Snipe and a Green Sandpiper, but compared to previous years that is very poor.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Work in the way

I have been too busy to get over this week and again I am stuck at work but there have been three Red-crested Pochard (A Dean). I doubt where they will survive the weekend sailing but I hope to get over tomorrow morning so we will see!

I was wrong!
3 Red Crested Pochards were still present today on the small pool 1 male, 2 females. (Keith Barnsley)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Steamy Weekend

Been over a couple of times with the wife to walk the dog, on the whole I have avoided the Reservoir and stayed on the outskirts. On Saturday as we crossed the river to follow the railway along the back edge I was surprised to see up to 20 people with cameras, at first I though they were sad enough to be birders, but I was wrong – they were sadder, train spotters, having said that it was a steam train and it eventually provided a pleasant distraction.

I struggled to get my phone operating properly to take a photo of it and failed, although Joy managed to take a video as it went passed. We then had one of the moments where we looked at each other and realised we were that busy trying to film the bleeding thing that I don’t think either of us actually saw it!

Bird wise, Pochard numbers have reached 63 but there was little else although there was a good passage of winter thrushes over the weekend.

At home there have been up to three Raven in the area and a pair of Sparrowhawk appear to have opened up a flythrough Great Tit takeaway, it is starting to become embarrassing for me, and dangerous for Great Tits! Also this evening I had upto 80 assorted Finches mainly Greenfinch roosting in my conifers, which is bad news for them as I want to get them cut down to a more manageable size over the winter.

Lastly, whilst crossing the field on the other side of the river adjacent to the railway I found a couple of owl pellets, so if you get the chance check out the field before dark!

Friday, 18 November 2011

The weekend the clocks went back!

Paid a couple of trips over this weekend, it was quiet, typical for late October, all the summer visitors have departed and the winter bird have yet to put in an appearance. I didn’t bother with the main reservoir with sailing and lots of walkers around it was going to be poor, so I crossed the river and walked alongside the railway to the small pool. I had this bright idea that it would be a good area for Firecrest a bird never recorded at Shustoke, needless to say it still hasn’t.

Saturday there were small groups of Redwing and Fieldfare around but most were moving in one direction SOUTH. With sailing going on wildfowl were mostly congregated at the east end and on the small pool. There were around 20 Pochard and I counted 130+ Tufted Duck on the small pool. I did spy the Raven but it wasn’t flying in formation with a Red Kite for me!

Sunday, the Captain and I followed the same route seeing Treecreeper, a few Goldcrest and not a lot else. There was a Kingfisher on the new pontoons for the fishermen on the small pool. The field off Bixhill Lane were barren not a dicky bird, I so wish that the farmer that resides in Moat House Lane farmed this land, his set aside fields last winter were brilliant, with Linnet, Tree Sparrow, Finches and Yellowhammer galore. 

Hopefully I will get a bit more time over the next few weeks and pay a few trips.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Tuesday 15th November

I took the afternoon off work as I had been working most of the weekend. It was a bright sunny afternoon, the reservoir was busy and it didn’t look promising. If I had been in Norfolk or anywhere on the east coast I would have been excited – there was a good easterly wind blowing, ideal for migrants, though granted a little late in the year.

The birding at the reservoir has been poor recently, the edge is very overgrown and if there were any waders around I doubt wether anyone would see them! There are quite a few willows taking hold and I would have thought Severn Trent would want to keep the edge clear of vegetation as the roots must break up the concrete banks, the rabbits take care of the rest. So come on SEVERN TRENT get your blokes over there to do some management work. Also the river behind the small pool is very overgrown the overhanging branches need clearing. The weir always used to have Grey Wagtail and they bred in the area, but not now it is all too overgrown, probably more importantly to the birders there is very little chance of another Dipper.

Anyway, back to birding. It was poor, very poor, I saw very little, a few Goldcrest, Bullfinch and Coal Tit were the highlights. But, as I made my way up Bixhill Lane all the wildfowl took flight heading for the east end. The noise of 300+ Coot pattering over the water was audible from where I was standing. I saw a Grey Heron heading in the general direction so assume it had caused the panic. The wildfowl settled down and I was just about to carry on when a Little Egret banked and came down on the south-east edge. That was the first for the year, for me at least.

So it just goes to show, there is (nearly) always something there to find!

PS If anyone knows anyone at Severn Trent responsible for management of the Reservoir could you email them or let me have their email details so I can.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Sunday 13th November

Firstly, there was a Little Gull on Saturday (S Haynes). Sunday when I got over it was rather quiet with a light easterly wind blowing. I went over in the morning seeing little although I saw Willow Tit in Warbler Corner and the Kingfisher was seen a couple of times. There was also a small group of half a dozen Siskin along the river just west of the bat box. The paddocks were quiet busy with nearly 20 Pied Wagtail and mixed finches, these were all put up by a Sparrowhawk which buzzed through. It was a lovely morning, but as is the case on such days the car park was heaving. My main problem is that in winter/autumn the sun is that low looking south is nearly impossible.

Got a call from the Captain so I ended up going over again at about 3.30pm but the boats were still out and although we waited until well after 4.15pm the boats were still out and there were very few gulls although there were around ten Common Gull down the far end.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Monday 7th November

Got away from work a little early and took the dog around, but it was dark, dank and misty. There was little that I hadn’t seen over the weekend and I was rather disappointed with the numbers of wildfowl. I thought that maybe the Goosander that were roosting mid September might be present but they weren’t.

There was a good size gull roost this evening and although it was difficult to specific there were in excess of 300 LBB Gull. Again no sign of any Little Owl around the paddocks.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Fireworks or a damp squib

Damp squib I’m afraid. Paid two trips at the weekend and saw very little. A few Fieldfare and a couple of Siskin were the only birds of note. The Kingfisher is now more regular, especially on the river behind the small pool, but the mild weather has contributed to it being rather flat at the moment. Wildfowl numbers are still static with 12 Pochard and 100+ Tufted but little else, to be fair it is probably better during the week but I am unable to get across apart from weekends at the moment.

I visited the new RSPB reserve at Middleton late on Sunday and saw one possibly two Short-eared Owl and five Little Egret. But despite requests for birders not to walk on the bund there is always one! I don’t think it is selfishness just a complete lack of fieldcraft!

Monday, 31 October 2011

The weekend the clocks went back!

Paid a couple of trips over this weekend, it was quiet, typical for late October, all the summer visitors have departed and the winter bird have yet to put in an appearance. I didn’t bother with the main reservoir with sailing and lots of walkers around it was going to be poor, so I crossed the river and walked alongside the railway to the small pool. I had this bright idea that it would be a good area for Firecrest a bird never recorded at Shustoke, needless to say it still hasn’t.

Saturday there were small groups of Redwing and Fieldfare around but most were moving in one direction SOUTH. With sailing going on wildfowl were mostly congregated at the east end and on the small pool. There were around 20 Pochard and I counted 130+ Tufted Duck on the small pool. I did spy the Raven but it wasn’t flying in formation with a Red Kite for me!

Sunday, the Captain and I followed the same route seeing Treecreeper, a few Goldcrest and not a lot else. There was a Kingfisher on the new pontoons for the fishermen on the small pool. The field off Bixhill Lane were barren not a dicky bird, I so wish that the farmer that resides in Moat House Lane farmed this land, his set aside fields last winter were brilliant, with Linnet, Tree Sparrow, Finches and Yellowhammer galore. 

Hopefully I will get a bit more time over the next few weeks and pay a few trips.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Monday 24th October

I am struggling to get any birding in at all at the moment, the garden is nearly put to bed for the winter and I have now recovered from getting a year older, but unfortunately demands of work and the wife have put paid to any birding recently.

However, Steve Cawthray saw a Red Kite around 2pm yesterday being mobbed by two Raven. I will try to put an appearance in before the weekend, if not at the weekend.

Monday, 10 October 2011

That was the week that was!

Seems like ages since I last visited the reservoir. Hopefully I can start to get over again soon, just need to get the garden ready for the winter – no small job.

However, Sunday there was a Common Tern and a Bar-tailed Godwit seen (Steve Cawthray/Steve Haynes)

My week of hill walking was a complete wash out, rain I can cope with but not very high winds (up to 90mph) so being based in Perth and with all the hills I need to climb being at least a 300 mile round trip we just didn’t bother. The winds caused me problems with birding as well and it was a poor week bird wise. The highlight was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper in Cumbria on the way up. We were going to travel via Edinburgh for a White-rumped Sandpiper but as we crossed the border the rain started and we opted for the  football instead, Saints won 2-1 in the pouring rain and being honest the week peaked here.

I tried for Surf Scoter in Largo Bay but the sea was that rough that it was nearly impossible to view but I did see a couple of Red-necked Grebe, and then fish and chips in the best fish and chip shop in Scotland (so they say)

After five days sitting around doing very little we travelled home on Thursday morning, the Sandhill Crane in Suffolk being a draw. A quick phone call to the Captain put us on standby if the bird was seen. It was and we were on our way, we were literally 30 miles from the site when we received news that the bird had flown off – high to the south. I had to stop in a layby for the Captains’ call of nature – it did cross my mind to drive off and leave him there, but I’m not that kind of person - but if it happens again! However, as a last throw of the dice we continued to Languard on the off chance we might pick up the bird as it drifted south – but no luck.

Depressed, but not surprised – I was with the famous “Captain Daylate” though in this case “Hourlate”. Since then I have been gardening maybe something I should have done on Friday as well.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Cumbria

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Cumbria

Friday, 30 September 2011

Friday 30th September

Have been over a few times this week but with high pressure dominating the weather systems it has been beautiful weather, but unfortunately that is not what you want for birding. Needless to say that it has been rather quiet. I have had a couple of tries for the Little Owl on Bixhill Lane but have drawn a blank.

Fortunately/Unfortunately I am off to Scotland for my last week of Munroing, it appears that the weather hasn’t been quite so kind north of the border. So tomorrow I will travel up, hopefully having a look at a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Arnside in Cumbria (just off the motorway) and then its either off to watch Saints at Kilmarnock or White-rumped Sandpiper near Edinburgh - choices, choices.

When I get back most if not all of the summer visitors will have gone and we will be welcoming in the winter species, I love watching the seasons running their course.

If I see any good birds whilst I am in Scotland hopefully I will get some photographs and put them on the blog on my return.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Tuesday 27th September

It was such a pleasant day we decided to take our lunch break and walk around the Reservoir. There was little in the way of birds around although there was a small passage of Swallow all heading south and another sign of autumn, a small group of six Meadow Pipit passing over.

There were two Raven between the two pools that were very vocal probably due to the fact there were Buzzards up soaring everywhere I looked.

I went back over this evening but it was still quiet and I saw nothing much else.

Had an email from Steve Cawthray who had a Tawny Owl calling by the Bat Box (I wonder wether Adam West has a bird feeder there!) and the first of the year – a Little Owl on Bixhill Lane that is the first reported for two years! So, guess where I will be tonight!

The Little Owl brings the number of species recorded to-date this year to 131 which is equal with last year which was the best ever. I can say with certainty that we will beat last years total as there is still no record of Snipe or Woodcock yet! And, probably more importantly there are still three months of the year left.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Monday 26th September

Didn’t get over until nearly 6.30pm this evening so I was restricted to the car park, but with the light good and gulls a little closer I managed to pick up a adult Yellow-legged Gull in the roost.

Very little else due to time constraints.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sunday 25th September

I have had one of those weeks were life has got in the way of birding. I prefer birding!

I have been over late afternoon but the three Black Tern that Steve Haynes had early had gone. The Captain had a few Siskin late last week but it has quieten off a lot as the autumn advances.

This afternoon apart from 20 or so Swallow I saw very little. I also checked out the gull roost Thursday and Friday but I could not pick up Yellow-legged Gull or Med Gull.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Wednesday 21st September

Have recently got into the habit off walking the dog (and wife) around the reservoir after work but it won’t be long before it is too dark.

There was a fair westerly wind blowing tonight, but the Reservoir was rather quiet, I did however have a year tick but don’t get excited, I don’t know how I have missed this species this year but I have, so a warm but belated welcome to “Rook”!!!! I appreciate that some of you out there have seen ROOK this year at Shustoke, but I haven’t and it isn’t the kind of bird to generate Emails making one aware of its presence.

Anyway, if you think that’s bad I haven’t got Meadow Pipit on the list yet!!!!! I think being in Panama for two weeks in April has left a few holes.

After completing our circuit Joy took the dog home and I scanned the gulls for Yellow-legged, after humping my scope around I thought I had better put it to good use. For all you gull boffins there must have been close on 200 Herring Gull tonight 600 LBB Gull, 6 Common Gull, 1,500 Black-heads (these are estimates there could have been more or for that matter less).

I thought I had a Yellow-legged Gull again this eveing. The candidate tonight looked a shade darker on the back than Herring, was longer in the body and wings, the head shape looked good and it only appeared to have streaking behind the eye, but for me the bill wasn’t thick enough and it didn’t look bulky enough. Unfortunately, with the wind the gulls were all head-on most of the time, the light was fading, they were a long way away, and I’m no expert on gulls – not looking to make excuses but – where is Alan Dean when you need him (a wonder if he gives lessons)!!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Tuesday 20th September

Even without the wind, tonight had a real feel of autumn about it, dull, murky, wet and dark by 7.30pm. I had an email from the Capt to say he and his dog Murphy saw a Wheatear and around 30 Swallows this afternoon. Changing the subject I really wish he had called his dog Tenille, that would have more suited the mood of this blog – it could pass for a Muscrat – if you squint a bit!

Anyway, I took a walk around this evening with my own Muscrat, I thought with the heavy rain the Reservoir would be quiet. I subsequently found that a surprising number of people think like me and the place was pretty crowded. As they say there is no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothes.

Before I continue with the bird news, a friend of mine told me that he had seen a birdwatcher around the reservoir (he thinks I’m a one off). I said I probably knew him and asked for a description to which and I quote  “He was getting on a bit, had a big camera with him (could have been a scope, he’s not that observant), oh and he had a Dick Dastardly moustache”. Bobby Duckhouse, star of Wacky Races/Catch the Pigeon take a bow!

Back to the birds – There were still four Goosander in the roost, I connected with the Wheater but there was little else and no hirundines. On my return to the car park I met another Shustoke regular Steve Cawthray enconced in the force field (come to think of it has he got a moustache). Anyway, apparently two Little Egrets had flown behind me and looked to have landed near the small pool, that is the first record for the year.

He also had a Yellow-legged Gull, but as a Buzzard had flown over and spooked the gulls they had all flown and settled down the far end of the Reservoir. He kindly set his scope up and in the gathering gloom we managed to picked out a likely candidate, and whilst I am pretty sure it was a YLG it was a long way away and it was rather gloomy, in all honesty there were a few candidates! In fact there were a good number (for Shustoke of larger gulls with c.50 Herring, 200 LBB Gull and 800 Black-headed Gull. There were also a good number of Lapwing tonight with close on a 100 birds.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Monday 19 September

Firstly, I forgot, on Saturday morning at 4.45am when my and Capt started our trip to Cornwall a Barn Owl flew across Castle Lane about 200 yards up from the Shustoke junction, the first I have seen in the area since January.

I took a walk over in the gloom tonight, and another sign of winter was this autumns first Goosander with four Redheads roosting on the Reservoir, there were no hirundines at all but it was late.

Some more pics from my Cornwall weekend.

Long-billed Dowitcher (Dogwatcher), Stithians, Cornwall

Spotted Redshank, Lesser Yellowlegs, Common Redshank, Drift, Cornwall

Curlew Sandpiper, Drift, Cornwall

Bar-tailed Godwit, Hayle, Cornwall

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Nothing to do with Shustoke

Got back early from Cornwall after two tremendous days birding. Started off yesterday with a Long-billed Dowitcher at Stithians Reservoir, Cornwall, from there we went to Drift and saw Lesser Yellowlegs. We then connected with two Black Kite near Lands End.

Sea watching at Pendeen then netted, 400 Manx Shearwater, 20 Balearic Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, 40 Bonxies, 30 Arctic Skua, 2 Black Tern, 1 Fulmar and around a dozen Grey Phalarope. We had a bit of a problem find B&B but eventually stayed the night in Penzance.

We got to Pendeen again at around 9am and it was heaving with both birds and birders. During a two hour period we saw 600 Manx Shearwater, 40 Balearic Shearwater, 2 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Leach’s Petrel, 80 Bonxie, 40 Arctic Skua, 3 Long-tailed Skua, 2 Pomarine Skua, 3 Sabine’s Gull, 4 Kittiwake, 20 Arctic Tern, 60 Fulmar and 800 Gannet.

We returned to Drift were we saw the Semipalmated Sandpiper that we missed yesterday. All in all a fantastic weekend.

Semipalmated Sandpiper, Drift Reservoir, Cornwall

Semipalmated Sandpiper, Drift Reservoir, Cornwall

Friday, 16 September 2011

Friday 16th September

What a pleasant day with no wind! There was very little on the Reservoir, just a single Shoveler was the only bird of any interest. There were however quite a few warblers, with double figures of Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Warbler corner was quite busy today with 2 Spotted Flycatchers showing well. I seem at the moment to be cursed, every time I take my scope and camera I see nothing – and when I do I see nowt!

I am off to Cornwall birding with Captain Daylate for the weekend so hopefully I will get over early on Monday or on the evening, in the meantime if you see any birds of note drop me a line and I will update the blog on my return.

Thursday 16th September

Had a text from Captain Daylate to say that he had been round the Reservoir during the day and had no sign of the Black-necked Grebe we had seen last night, surprising as it looked settled.

I went over for half an hour and stayed within the force field, but apart from the first Common Gull of the autumn and a Common Sandpiper there was very little around.

Kittiwake – Shustoke Reservoir. Bob Duckhouse

Many thanks to Bob Duckhouse for the above photograph of the Kittiwake from last Thursday, it will probably come as a shock to him when he see’s it, but he has never minded before!!!


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Wednesday 14th September

Met up with the good Captain at around 5.30pm yesterday, whilst waiting for him to arrive I scanned the Res with the very first bird I dropped on being a Black-necked Grebe. It was just off the car park and performed really well and was still there when we left at dusk.

There really wasn’t an awful lot else around, still a few hirundines but little else.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Tuesday 13th September

Up and round early again this morning, the two Arctic Tern were still present but by 8am they had gone, apart from that it was rather quiet. The wind had dropped significantly so I will try the bushes and warbler corner this evening if I get the chance. I still haven’t dropped on these Tree Sparrows yet, so will have to put a bit of effort into them.

I am on a bit of a roll at the moment and I ventured back over this evening. At first glance everything looked quiet but I picked up an Arctic Tern – but only one. The wind had gained in strength since this morning and passerines were hard to come by. I checked out Warbler Corner but only had a Chiffchaff to show. On the way back there were around 40 hirundines, mostly Swallow and I had a single Swift which must be one of the latest I have seen in the Midlands.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Monday 12th September

Well I did get up and I did go around early but it wasn’t very good – apart from good exercise! All I had to show were a pair of Jay and a single Reed Bunting. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be anything over the next couple of days, bird drop into the Reservoir at any time, in fact I have never really found early morning that great!

As I said above, being there early is no guarantee of success. I received a text this afternoon to say there were 3 Arctic Tern and 1 Black Tern (S Haynes). I was then contact by the good Captain he had had 3 Arctic Tern, 1 Hobby, 1 Common Sandpiper and 2 Tree Sparrows.

I managed to get over just after 6pm and had just two Arctic Tern which were showing well, I didn’t see any of the other goodies, but hey I’m not retired just yet.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Sunday 11th September

Having spent the afternoon at my old stomping ground (watching the fitba). I had a late tramp around in quite a strong wind, although not as strong as I would have liked. I was a little disappointed there was not a lot around. The highlight was a pair of Raven that flew across the reservoir.

Hopefully the wind will pick up in strength and we will have heavy rain overnight and I will be there early morning – hoping!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Saturday 10th September

Had a few things to do today which involved going near to Sutton Park were it was rather quiet apart from three Redstart which showed well.

On the way back I drove through Wishaw were most birds were keeping their heads down with the wind although I did see a Wheatear.

I wandered around Shustoke late afternoon bumping into a couple of old friends that were connected to my sons football team many years ago. Bird wise it was quiet today as there was a strong south-westerly wind blowing. I did have a male Peregrine and there were 40 or so Linnet off Bixhill Lane.

Wildfowl numbers have dropped in the last week probably due to the wind picking up. However, I had my first two Pochard of the autumn today.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Friday 9th September

Having driven back this morning from rainy Scotland went for a walk around the reservoir this afternoon, it was rather quiet apart from a flock of 23 Common Tern that dropped in for 20 minutes before departing as quickly as they arrived.

8th September 2011

Having gone to Scotland for what turned out to be an aborted trip hillwalking I received a call from the Good Captain to say he had a Kittiwake at Shustoke. However it had apparently gone by the evening.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Wednesday 7th September

I had another morning walk around the Reservoir again today and the first bird I saw was new for me at Shustoke, it came in the form of a Barnacle Goose! There was also a Spotted Flycatcher in the hedgerow near the Water Treatment Plant. I also saw several Blackcap, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and a single Swift.

Hirundine numbers were high with 400+ House Martin, 200 Sand Martin and 150 Swallow.

A belated report that a Whinchat was seen in the field towards the railway crossing on the August Bank Holiday.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Tuesday 6th September

There was a bit of a wind last night and I wasn’t due into work until 12ish so I took the dog around with me this morning. It was windy and light drizzle at first and most importantly I near enough had the place to myself. The best birds of the day were a couple of Yellow Wagtails mixed in with the 20 or so Pied Wagtails.

As I made my way around the rain got heavier until it was bucketing down. Warbler corner was quiet apart from a few of the more common species. I will try and get round again before the weekend as I am off climbing again in Jock for a couple of days.

Later in the day K Sargent had 600+ House Martin and 2 Swift, which goes to prove that birds must be moving through continually. As I had a lot of hirundines today but they were mostly Sand Martin and the total was closer to 300.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Monday 5th September

Had a great day today, birded the reservoir this morning and attended my sons graduation from University this afternoon (proud dad) – I suppose that is when you know you are getting on in life – anyway – goodbye education system!!!

I digress, I arrived at just before 10am and there was a familiar face in his familiar spot. It was Steve Haynes I imagine that at least 50% of the time I have had occasion to meet him he has been surrounded by an invisible force field that restricts him to a 15 metre area of concrete slabs by the car park. Anyway with his usual dry sense of humour he informed me that there was a good bird present! I instantly thought, Tern or Duck, I scanned the water and there were loads of hirundines predominately House Martin, eventually I picked up a Black Tern and said out loud “Black Tern” to which he exclaimed “Where”! Confusing me – easy enough done.

I remember when I first moved to the area years ago I knew Steve vaguely and met him at Coton when over a five minute period three Kingfishers flew past. He turned to me and said “They are Roding” he didn’t crack his face, he confused me then and still does!

After leaving Steve I walked around and didn’t see an awful lot but there must have been 300+ House Martin, 100 Swallow, 30 Sand Martin and 3 Swift. It was a little windy but I had around double figures of Blackcap and Chiffchaff. The field adjacent Bixhill Lane held a lot of finches and I have been informed by Steve Cawthray that he had a Tree Sparrow in that area which is a first for the year.

Anyway I met the aforementioned Steve Cawthray on the car park and there was a Hobby hawking insects over the water there were two birds one adult and a juvenile probably the ones I have been seeing at home. Anyway as we were talking a Peregrine flew in headed in the general direction of Hams Hall, that bird was an immature male although Steve thought it possibily a female (or was it the other way round). Anyway a couple of minutes later a male Peregrine flew in and made a pass at the Black Tern, not in a romantic way you understand!

Next, just to prove that Steve Haynes is not the only person with the ability to confuse I related the story of the probable Spotted Redshank last week that the Captain and I had, I could see he had a confused look on his face, and realised that I had said Spotted Sandpiper, see easily done.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

3rd September 2011

I was at work all day but eventually managed to go for a walk at around 7pm, it was quiet, the usual wildfowl were all present but there were no hirundines at all (probably gone to roost). Apart from a small group of Lapwing I didn’t see any waders.

The water level is starting to rise now, they must be pumping water in as we have had no rain to speak off. Have been quiet at work for nearly 18 months and now just as we come to the best time of year for birding, we start to get busy!!!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Friday 2nd September

Received a text message from the good Captain that he observed a juvenile  Lesser Spotted Woodpecker with a roving Tit flock near the Bat House, one assumed that he had a “Robin” as well – “Holy Tit Flock”.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Thursday 1st September

With September here I decided to get around early this morning, I was on site before 7am but I still wasn’t the first. Things have settled down of late but the LRP was still there and there were a lot of finches along the fields on the southern boundary which have all been harvested recently. Hirundine numbers have dropped off significantly over the last couple of days but there are still a few warblers around with Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff still relatively common.

The best birds of the day was a Yellow Wagtail in the vicinity of the sailing club and a Raven in the fields at the South-east corner, I have heard and seen Ravens a few times recently from my garden so they are probably ranging over this area regularly now.

Chris Doyle had a Spotted Flycatcher near the sailing club yesterday.

The female Hen Harrier on Sunday was a new record for Shustoke Reservoir and takes the total to 187 as far as I am aware, although the existing total was already 188? I don’t count sub-species i.e. White Wagtail etc. I will have to look into this and come back. I wish I hadn’t bothered I just seemed to have confused myself!

If you view the Blog I would appreciate if you would sign up – as I only have 14 members which is just about enough for a Rugby Team!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Tuesday 30th August

Went around twice today, once a 7am and again this evening. It was rather quiet rare bird wise with the only bird of note being the immature LRP which I picked up again this evening. This morning though there were in excess of 500 Coot and an impressive 600 hirundines and 5 Swift. However most of the hirundines had moved on during the day and this evening it was closer to around 40.

Again there were 50+ Gadwall, 3 Wigeon and 6 Shoveler and the number of Gt Crested Grebe must be around 100 although they are that well spread it is anyone guess. It has certainly settled down a little and I think we need another front to get the birds moving.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Monday 29 August

Stepped out of the back door this morning to see a commotion amongst the crows in Long Spinny about 600 yards away. I saw a large raptor gliding through on the other side of the trees, it was obviously something special – you just know. I shot in to get my bins and a male Goshawk soared up and made its way across the back of the house about a 100ft up and we both followed it is circled round before gaining height and glided off in the general direction of Maxstoke. This bird was an absolute stunner the size and power where obvious, it was blue-grey above white below with fine barring on the white underparts. The bulk of the chest and the white supercillium where other obvious features – easily the best species on my garden list relegating Osprey and Merlin to also rans.

Went over with the Captain tonight but it was rather quiet, lots of hirundines and around 10 Swift. Duck numbers were good with around 50 Gadwall, 5 Wigeon, 10 Shoveler. There was no sign of the Black-necked Grebe today and I had a good search so that looks like it has gone. We bumped into Steve Cawthray who had seen a couple of Hobby but little else.

In fact we searched the shoreline with the scope all the way round and didn’t see a single wader (including Lapwing). On arrival back at the car park we were having a last look when we heard a wader call way above us it was relatively unfamiliar but we suspected Spotted Redshank, I have all the bird calls on my phone and I played back Spot Red and the call was the same it was quite late and we scanned the shore we could see but we couldn’t pick up the bird, so I suspect that I flew straight over.

All in all it was an end to an eventful day – I do like this time of year.

Sunday 28th August

What a day, had a text to say the Black-necked Grebe was still there and that a Hen Harrier had been seen flying over (Steve Cawthray). I had a few things to do around the house then off to the footie. Got back from there and rushed over to Shustoke to try and photograph the Grebe. There are that many birds there that I had trouble picking it out, but looking through my scope a Black-tailed Godwit flew past it circled for about five minutes before settling on the mass of weed that has gathered on the surface and promptly sunk into it. It stayed for about five minutes before it flew off and I lost it to view.

I searched for the Grebe but didn’t see it, I believe it is probably still there – if it is distant you really need a scope to pick it out. Anyway there were around 40 Gadwall, 5 Wigeon and 20 Shoveller. Not a bad haul for this time of year. From the far end I scanned the shoreline where the gulls have been gathering and picked out the Godwit again and there was also a Ruff with it. I think both birds are only the second time that I personally have seen these species at this site. I then had to rush home in an attempt to save my marriage as we were going out.

I also think and I will check, that Hen Harrier is new for the site.

Black-tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwit

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Saturday 27th August

Up at 7 this morning and Joy and I took the dog around the reservoir, I also humped my telescope around but to no avail. This evening I just fancied a quick hour so I just took my bins as it look like rain (I was not wrong). I have been a bit disappointed with the lack of waders as the conditions at the res looked really good and tonight was no exception with just the LRP and a couple of Common Sandpiper.

The Good Captain and myself commented earlier in the week that with the number of Little Grebe present that it would not be impossible for them to drag in a Black-necked Grebe, well whilst scanning through the Little Grebe I came across a juvenile Black-necked Grebe, it is more Black and White than Brown and Buff and has a much more angular head. Anyway it was late and I thought about heading back for my camera but it was to far back to the car. Hopefully it will be there tomorrow.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Friday 26 August

I had already written the blog and lost the lot anyway here goes again.

The weather forecast was inaccurate and I ended up birding in rain, the LRP was still present as were two Common Sandpiper and six Dunlin flew over, didn’t land and carried on heading east.

There were a lot of hirundines and a couple of Swift but no sign of any Wheatear or much else passerine wise. Anyway I wrote loads earlier and there is a nice hot bath calling my name. Oh and a nice cold beer!!!

Blackcaps, Warbler Corner

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Little Ringed Plover

Little Ringed Plover

Thursday 25 August

Took a walk around tonight a bit later than I wanted to for various reasons. The hedgerow just outside the carpark held 20 Greenfinches taking advantage of the bumper crop of berries. There were a lot of tits and finches and a few Chiffchaffs in amongst them, but the bird that caught my eye was a Lesser Whitethroat. carrying round the LRP was still in the same place by the outflow at the west end it was joined by a Wheatear. It was getting late by this time and apart from a couple of Common Sandpiper there was little else. I was joined by Steve Cawthray and we checked out Warbler corner but by this time the light was starting to fade and apart from a couple of Chiffchaff and a Bullfinch there was little of note. I think it is fair to say that most passerine had gone to roost.

Bank Holiday weekend so I am hopeful of a couple of trips over the course!!!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wednesday 24 August

Having worked on a tender for work until the early hours I took the afternoon of and used the opportunity to take the wife and dog for a walk around the reservoir. I got off to a good start with a juvenile Little Ringed Plover on the west shore closely followed by a couple of Common Sandpiper. I couldn’t see the Wigeon or Teal but there was a single Shoveler and around 20 Gadwall.

The area surrounding the small pool has always been best on autumn passage and so it proved again today with the highlight being my first Spotted Flycatcher of the year (for Shustoke). There were a lot of Chiffchaff and the family part of Whitethroat were in the same bush with the young all bunched together being fed by the male.

Also connected with a Tit flock containing around a dozen Chiffs by the edge of the sailing club. With a lot of rain forecast for tonight hopefully it will get even better.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Monday 22 August

Had the afternoon off work and had a wander with the Good Captain – it was well worth it and we recorded 50 species of bird. The highlight being a Wheatear on the north shore. We had a calling Curlew but didn’t see it – it was high and distant. There was one Common Sandpiper and – a sign that autumn is on its way a single Teal, two Wigeon as well as around 12 Gadwall.

There was a brood of Little Grebe on the small pool and we had a Kingfisher is the same area. There were a few warblers around with one bush providing us with a family party of recently fledged Whitethroat, upto 5 Blackcap and a very showy Garden Warbler. We encountered a few Tit flocks which contained a Nuthatch, a couple of Goldcrest and a few Chiffchaff.

Not wished to depress anyone but it is September next week!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Friday 19th August

Haven’t got over today had a bit of work to do in the house but I did have a family party of four Raven fly over calling heading towards Coleshill.

Bird Fair tomorrow so I might get over tomorrow evening if not Sunday.

Thursday 18th August

Firstly Steve Cawthray reported 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Common Tern, Hobby, Yellow Wagtail and 100 Pied Wagtail.

I arrived after work to see a large flock of wildfowl and Lapwing circling the reservoir, my first reaction was that there must be a large raptor overhead, probably Buzzard but at this time of year you never know. I was surprised to see a couple with a dog and binoculars walking along the southern shoreline flushing everything as they went.

There is supposedly no access to this shore, but if I check it out I try and stay by the hedge and peer over at various points so as to not cause alarm. Short of marching up and down with a drum kit they could have not caused less disturbance. I did see 3 Common Sandpiper that were flushed fly across the Reservoir.

I checked out the small pool as well and saw Kingfisher, Willow Tit, 2 Willow Warbler, 12 Chiffchaff and a good variety of commoner birds.

Around the car park Bobby D had a Lesser Whitethroat but by the time I got back it had darkened considerably and there was little activity.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Wednesday 17th August

A quick trip around early evening there was a Common Sandpiper with another smaller wader I only had my bins with me and could get no closer than the width of the Reservoir to it. It was more than likely an immature LRP but I could not be sure, there was nothing I could pick up on it other than size and that it was rather plain.

The Little Gull was still there although the Black Tern of yesterday have moved on. A family party of Hobby are also in the area I have seen four together whenever a Buzzard passes close. A Green Woodpecker was heard but unfortunately I have been pushed for time and haven’t really had anything other than a quick walk around the main reservoir yet.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Tuesday 16th August

Had a report of two juvenile Black Tern (J Morgan) whilst at work so I rushed over after work and fortunately they were still present. Also there was the Little Gull which I didn’t see last night. I was a little pushed for time but the Common Sandpiper was still there and a Kingfisher flew across the car park. Can’t wait to get a little more time and the edge is looking really good for waders. Yesterdays Turnstone was near enough the same date as the one last year. I managed a few photographs not up to the standard of the professionals.

A Greenshank was seen at dusk (S Cawthray).

Black Tern, Shustoke

Black Tern, Shustoke

Little Gull

Monday, 15 August 2011

Monday 15th August

The Little Gull from Saturday was still present on Sunday and Monday although Captain Daylate and I didn’t see it tonight. There were still a few Swift around and a small group of Gadwall at the far end. The highlight tonight though was a Turnstone which the Good Captain picked up as it flew across the reservoir flying off the the north-west. The only other bird of note was a Common Sandpiper.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Saturday 13 August

Just returned after a two week break hillwalking and birdwatching in Scotland. 14 hills, 11 new and not many birds. It was surprisingly quiet on the bird front, most of the hills had Ptarmigan a couple had Ring Ouzel and I had a fine male Snow Bunting at the top of Carn Toul in the Cairngorms. But that was about it. A few Divers on a couple of lochs and around 30 Little Gulls on the beach at Arbroath.

Which brings me to Shustoke where there was a Little Gull present (M Inskip) I bumped into Bobby D here and he kindly provided the attached photograph. Apart from that there is a build up of gulls and around 30 Little Grebe with at least one pair having bred successfully. One pair of Gt Crested have young and another pair are attempting again. There was a single Common Sandpiper, plus the shore is looking really good for waders. I am back now so hopefully I can start getting into the birding again.

Little Gull, Bob Duckhouse

Monday, 25 July 2011

25 July 2011

Haven’t managed to get over the Reservoir much recently but there are a few Hobby around at the moment with a couple of juveniles seen (as well as the adults). I also had a fly over Peregrine on Saturday. Lots of Whitethroat around the garden at the moment and I had a family party of Treecreeper and a Nuthatch in recent days. For the first time in nine years I have had no attempts at breeding by Tree Sparrow, however I noticed yesterday a Grey Squirrel checking out the nest boxes. I will have to take measures!

I also have a problem with a pair of Red-legged Partridge that have taken up residence in my garden. They seem to think that I am putting out grass seed for there benefit, so my lawn is still patchy!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Wednesday 20th July

Very quiet, the Common Sandpiper was still present and so were double figures of Common Tern. There was a Kingfisher on the river and a family party of Bullfinch fighting it out with a family party of Chaffinch for the occupation of a berry filled tree!

Lapwing numbers are around 40 but on the whole not much is calling and mid to late evening is not the ideal time to visit but needs must.

Coleshill Quarry held 3 LRP and a Green Sandpiper on Tuesday evening but the site is now that overgrown it has probably past is productive life from a birding point of view. That small area between the river and the footpath would make an ideal local nature reserve, similar to the Sandwell Valley RSPB, a small hide and a bit of management work and it could be a wader haven.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

14th July

Had a pleasant walk around today with the wife and mutt. There were around 20 Common Tern with this years young – so they must have bred locally. There was also a single Common Sandpiper and I had a Hobby but all in all it was very quiet.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Scotland trip

I spent a week in Scotland hillwalking and birding at the end of June. It was really quiet bird wise as I chose to visit Blackdog Sands the day the White-winged Scoter decided not too. But we had a good day out and saw the King Eider at the Ythan.

King Eider, The Ythan Estuary

Common Sandpiper, Glen Almond

Whinchat, Glen Almond

Oystercatcher, Glen Almond

At the summit of my 200th Munro in Glen Etive

Thursday 7 July

After a break of a couple of weeks I managed to get over for an hour this evening, surprisingly the car park was nearly empty all but a couple of cars. Bird wise it was similar but a flyover Oystercatcher was welcome. There were around a dozen Common Tern all adults, hopefully as happened last year they will bring the fledged young and numbers will grow.

Lapwing numbers are starting to increase with around 40 birds now present. Hopefully I will be able to get over more in forthcoming weeks.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The day that you don’t go over! @**&£*@($(%@@@

This hurts!

Thanks to the original photographer (stunning pic – considering he was slicing the mainbrace at the time), and Bobby D who’s website I borrowed this from. I haven’t managed to get over this week, nor next as I am Hillwalking just 86 Munro’s left. I will try and get some Scottish species to put on the blog when I get back. It should start to liven up a little soon. The only report I have received is of four Common Tern (Bobby D).

Red-necked Phalarope, Shustoke Reservoir
Sunday 29th May 2011 (Not June as in pre-corrected post)

I just want to cry!!!!!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Sunday 19th June

Very much the same as yesterday although there were a lot more family parties of birds with lots of juveniles around. At least four family groups of Blackcap were observed. Whitethroat as well we plentiful. There was a singing Skylark on Bixhill Lane whilst the field of Oil Seed Rape in that corner again provided plenty of finches.

Lapwing numbers have hit double figures “10” and there appeared less Terns than yesterday. Also I am pretty sure that I had a sub-adult Caspian Gull briefly last week, I only had my bins with me the only features I picked up were the long bill and as it flew away it had a large area of black on the tail. I only mention it as there have been a couple seen at Dosthill and it is worth keeping an eye out for.

Apologies to all gull enthusiasts for the vague description.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Saturday 18th June

Had a walk around this morning and as expected it was rather quiet. There was an adult Grey Wagtail and a juvenile near the carpark, and I assume that they have bred nearby. There were around ten Common Tern and Lapwing are starting to reappear although at the moment they are still in single figures.

There were the usual warblers singing around the site although Willow Warbler appear to be thin on the ground this year. As I tend to stay in the immediate area I don’t know if that is a general trend or just locally. I had another Reed Bunting at a different site today. I also observed family parties of Great Tit, Blue Tit, Bullfinch and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Recent bits

Have not been over for a week, but did have the best views ever of a Hobby near Shustoke, it was just sat in a tree by the footpath no more than 30 yards away, it obviously thought that I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t believe how gentle it looked – unlike most birds of prey.

There are a couple of singing pairs of Yellowhammer on the ouskirts of Shustoke Village and Little Ringed Plover have bred successfully nearby.

Hopefully, weather permitting, I will get over at the weekend.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Saturday 11th June

Took a walk over around 9am and did my usual circuit. It wasn’t a bad day, there were a few Whitethroats and Blackcap singing, with lots of family parties of birds in evidence.

To the seasoned birder there was little to write home about – but I did see 45 species which good for this time of year. There were a pair of Little Grebe at the east end and a pair of Gt Crested Grebe have decided to try nesting at this end now. All seven pairs that were near the car park have failed.

I saw a single Willow Tit at Warbler Corner and that area also held Whitethroat, Blackcap, Green Woodpecker, Treecreeper and Coal Tit.

The Oil Seed Rape field in the south-east corner held a mixed flock of 150 finches with lots of Linnet, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Chaffinch.

There was also a singing Reed Bunting on the South Shore this is addition to another pair that are breeding in the wet meadows at the west end.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Sunday 5th June

Quiet, very quiet – or so I thought, I actually saw more than I was expecting – which wasn’t much. Highlight was a 1st summer Common Gull, boring I know but unusual for this time of year, and to be fair it wasn’t stopping and went straight through.

There was a single Common Tern, no doubt they will be more regular when the bring their youngsters here later in the summer to feed. It appears Shustoke provides a reliable food source but little in the way of nesting habitat. The other good bird today was a Redshank which was a surprise. Anyway until next time.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Stuck at Work - Wondering

I have received an email today from Mark Fennell to say that were two Red-necked Phalarope at Shustoke reported on Sunday. I will not be able to get over until later but if anyone can get over and see if they are still present I would appreciate it.


more later.

Not much more

Needless to say Sundays Red-necked Phalarope were well gone. I didn’t get over on Sunday but I did manage a trip on Monday after the rain. And although they could be easily missed I didn’t see them then. I had a scan yesterday after work and drew a blank.

Later No.2 son dropped Joy and I + dog at Bentley Woods and we walked back through the lanes via Botts Green and across the Tamworth Road, then around the back of the reservoir. There were a couple of pairs of Spotted Flycatcher at Bentley Woods but the lanes on the way back were very quiet. While not scientific there appeared to be a decline in Song bird numbers from previous years. I didn’t see or hear Little Owl, Tree Sparrow, Lesser Whitethroat, Skylark or Garden Warbler. There were only four singing Yellowhammer heard which is way down on previous years.

At the reservoir a couple of Chiffchaff were singing and a single Green Woodpecker.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Monday 30th May

After a day of pretty heavy rain I ventured forth early evening but it was, as expected rather quiet, most of the birds are busy breeding and there is not much movement or migrants around. There were a couple of Gadwall on the main pool and they were starting to go into eclipse plumage. As expected the Great Crested Grebe are down to one nest only – with the wind and rain of the last few days putting paid to most of the pairs.

The water level is rather low at the moment even given todays rain. There was a family party of Long-tailed Tits seen and there were a few Whitethroat and Blackcap heard. I don’t expect it to really pick up for another six to eight weeks when the return passage begins.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Wednesday 25th May

Took the dog for a long walk, down the Lane around the back of the small pool and back around the reservoir. In truth it was rather quiet with a few warblers still singing. As I suspected the Great Crested Grebes have lost a couple of nests with only five of seven remaining. A pair of Coot have nested on the concrete wall of the outflow pipe, so a rise in water levels would be disastrous for them!

There was a small party of Linnet again on the south-east end of the Reservoir. I though I could hear a distant Cuckoo by the small pool, but it was rather windy. However at the west end on the way back a Cuckoo was heard and seen in the hedgerow on the other side of the wet meadow.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Saturday 21st May

Rather quiet so I strayed off the beaten track a little and checked the field out to the west of the reservoir. I was hoping for Grasshopper Warbler but it is probably a little late in the year – that is if there are any in the area!. I did get Garden Warbler which is normally a bird that I turn up in August on return passage. I found breeding Reed Bunting today and saw a Kestrel which have been few are far between this year, I suspect they have suffered more than most with two hard winters on the bounce!

I fully expect the predicted storm that is due to hit Sunday/Monday will play havoc with the nesting Gt Crests hopefully it will hit further north than predicted.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Thursday 19th May

Haven’t been over but here are a few pics from the other day when the Dunlin was there. Also a pic of the Grebes trying to shore up the nest which held three eggs.

Grebes trying to shore up the nest

The Dunlin that was there on Tuesday

The Dunlin that was there on Tuesday

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Wednesday 18th May

Not a lot to report but there was a Tawny Owl calling in the same place as the early spring. Also I have had a cuckoo most mornings whilst walking the dog near Shustoke.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Tuesday 17 May

Apparently the Black-throated Diver was still present early morning but flew off to the north-west at 7.30 there was also a Ringed Plover present. (P Lathbury).

I went over early evening and it was quiet with no migrants to speak off. I had five species of warbler and a pair of Willow Tit. There was a Green Woodpecker, Linnet (new for the year), 3 Gadwall and several pairs of Great Crested Grebe attempting to nest of the green hay bails at the west end they all appear to be stable, lets hope the wind doesn’t get up to much, but at least this is the sheltered end.

On the fishing pool a Lesser Black-backed Gull took a Mallard chick which it then proceeded to eat in flight in one gulp.

Monday 16th May

The Diver was still present again today, but yet again I have been to busy to get over, will try again tonight, I have been sent a few pics which I promised to post – so here goes.

It was good to see Steve Seal back on-site on Saturday, Steve originally set up this blog before moving to North Staffs – nice to see you again.

I strongly suspect that Lesser Spot have bred at Shustoke this year has anyone any further info?

Black-throated Diver – Steve Seal

Dunlin – Des Ridge

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker – Des Ridge

Common Sandpiper – Des Ridge

Black-throated Diver – Steve Seal

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Sunday 15th May

Unable to get over today but the Black-throated Diver was still present.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Saturday 14th May

It has been a busy day at Shustoke today with the elusive Black-throated Diver still present although it was leading most people a merry dance. This morning Adam Archer had a Turnstone and Hobby. And Steve Seal and Dave Hutton had three Sanderling fly through these were later relocated at Drayton Bassett.

There were in excess of 500 Swift this evening amongst a good number of hirundines. The Black-throated Diver was still on site and still elusive. There was also a Dunlin and an LRP late on, then I got caught in the heavy rain and was soaked to the skin – I came back from Scotland early to avoid this sort of thing!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Friday 13th May

Having been in Scotland hillwalking for three days we cut short our visit due to the weather. Having climbed two Munro’s near Glenfinnan on Wednesday and walked for over 20k soaking wet, I wasn’t too keen for a repeat performance. My mood was lowered somewhat when I received a text on Thursday informing me that there was a 1st summer Black-throated Diver at Shustoke.

We came home today but I didn’t have any great expectation that the bird would still be present. However, the bird was seen at 9am and by the time I had unpacked it was 3pm. On arrival I was met by several birders, who informed me that the bird had not been seen since noon. I scanned the res but nothing, after half an hour I was ready to leave when I just appeared in my scope up against the south shore in an area not easy to see from the car park. I alerted everyone but it was nearly 10 minutes before I picked it up again!

It then promptly disappeared. Assuming that it had made its way back to where it had been I walked around to the other side of the sailing club but could not locate the bird and after 20 minutes I picked it up at the west end. I promptly returned to the car park but couldn’t locate the bird again.

Apparently though it was still present early evening, so if at first you don’t succeed have another look, then another, then another…

Black-throated Diver, Dave Hutton

Black-throated Diver, Dave Hutton

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Sunday 8th May

Didn’t get over today but there were 4 Common Sandpiper and a Yellow Wagtail seen, I’m afraid that my grass needed cutting. I did go over last night and there were still 2 Common Sandpiper also a couple of singing Whitethroat and a singing Reed Warbler.

Most of the main migration has now gone through so we are entering a rather quiet period so if anyone has any confirmed breeding records for the reservoir I would appreciate an email. It would be interesting to know how many species are breeding on site.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Saturday 7th May

Went around early with Captain Daylate, however things were quite quiet with very few birds singing. There were still around 10 Common Tern and there were several Swifts amongst the hirundines. On the bank by the sailing club there were two Common Sandpiper which were new for the year as was the Swift. I will try and get around later today as I have a few warblers to catch up with.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Panama – Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge

We arrived at Canopy Tower on the 18th April and from the off were made to feel welcome, the staff are all friendly and cannot do enough for you. You are made to feel apart of the experience rather than just enjoy it. The birds came thick and fast and we spend our first 2 hours on the observation platform where White Hawk was one of the first birds seen. The hummingbird feeders were busy as well. Over the next week spent mostly with the guide Carlos we saw well over 250 species. With trips to Ammo Ponds, The Blue Mountains, Pipeline Road, Summit Ponds, Summit Gardens, Achoite Road, Metropolitan Park and the Chagres River. There are too many memorable moments but the bird craft of all of the guides is first class. Ask me about the White Whiskered Puffbird and the Little Tinamou when we meet.

The second week at the lodge was just as good an experience with the lodge at about 2,500 ft it was a little cooler at night and easier to sleep. The guide we had for most of the time was Tino and he worked hard to get us new birds. He is just as good as Carlos although it was hard to separate them, again some of the field craft he showed was humbling, I thought I was sharp but these boys were mustard I swear to god that some of the birds they found were invisible to the naked eye, they must have heard the birds hearts beating. Tino heard a Purplish-backed Quail Dove on a trail calling below us in thick jungle, anyone with experience of Quail Dove will know they are sneaky little devils renowned for not giving themselves up. We had a scan with our bins but there were no way. Only for Tino with a SCOPE to announce he had the bird – we all got scope views and it was fully 50 yards away in the fork of a tree surrounded by leaves – I couldn’t get on it with my bins – astonishing! 

I have birded across the globe and it was the first time that I had taken Joy (wife) and she loved it, she found some really good birds herself – she certainly impressed me finding Smoky-brown Woodpecker (a write in) Snowcap and a Tawny-throated Leaftosser. On the negative side she saw two species that I missed, I’m sure the guides avoided those species for the rest of the week as they thought it was really funny. Oh well, I will just have to go back. As I have said it has taken me 35 years to see 450 species in the UK in Panama I saw 360 in two weeks – just GO.

Green-and-rufous Kingfisher

Three-toed Sloth

Black-breasted Puffbird

2nd smallest passerine in the world – the Black-capped Pygmy-tyrant.

Black-headed Saltator

Joy and I with Carlos at Canopy Tower

Keel-billed Toucan

Blue-crowned Motmot

Long-tailed Tyrant

Roadside Hawk

Rufous Motmot

Rufous Nightjar

Semiplumbeous Hawk

Slaty-tailed Trogon

Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker (endemic)


Swallow-tailed Kite

Common Tufted Flycatcher

Violaceous Trogon

White-tipped Sicklebill