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


The Last Two Weeks

The following information was gleaned from the Tame Valley Birders Blog, (thanks Tom hope you don’t mind). I have a lot of gardening to catch up with over the weekend but I will try and get over, hopefully with the weather turning it could be good.

19th April
2 Dunlin North, 4 Common Tern, LRP (S Haynes)

21st April
Lesser Whitethroat (S Cawthray)

26th April
2  Swift, 50 House Martin(S Cawthray)

28th April
3 Arctic Terns 4.30pm at least, 10 Swift (D Hutton et al)

29th April
3 Arctic Tern, Common Sandpiper, 4 Swift (D Hutton, S Haynes et al)

1st May
4 Bar-Tailed Godwit thru early morning. Also Common Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper, 20 Swift, Cuckoo (S Roper)

2nd May
Whimbrel for 10 minutes early morning then flew North, Curlew, Yellow Wagtail, 65 Swift (S Roper)

3rd May
5 Black Tern, 3 Little Gull (2ads, 1st Sum) by early evening (Many Obs)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Hello, hello I’m back again

Hi all, sorry about the lack of posts but I have been birding in Panama for the last two weeks and it was a brilliant experience. I saw 360 species in 14 days 240 of which were new to me, it was absolutely stunning and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in birds. I will put some pics up and a quick report of my visit which was a week at Canopy Tower followed by a week in the foothills at Canopy Lodge.

Anyway this evening I came back down to earth with a bit of a bump with a walk around the reservoir, there were several Common Tern a pair of Gadwall singing Chiffchaff and Blackcap and not a lot else, not one Motmot, Trogon or Puffbird to speak of. I’m sure I will recover and get back to normal. I will trawl my emails and put everything that has been recorded up on a post.