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