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!