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!

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