Friday, 27 April 2012

Friday 27th April

What a good day it was, driving rain cold wind and of course Friday! Managed to clear everything at work and took the afternoon off. After this mornings Hobby and Whitethroat, I thought the afternoon looked promising. Phoned the Captain, he was available – game on. There had been two Arctic Tern (Steve Cawthray) but they had moved on by the time I got there. There were however eleven Common Tern. Walking around the reservoir an Oystercatcher called and disappeared towards Ladywalk, immediately a Common Sandpiper called and flew past. It looked promising! There were good numbers of hirundines and half a dozen Swift. At the far end there were a further three Common Sandpiper and as we walked along the southern hedgerow we had a further three Common Sandpiper there were probably seven – maybe more.

A bird shot up both of us together shouted Yellow Wagtail and it was a stunning bright male. The Captain  picked up a bird skulking in the grass, as we grilled the movement, it shot up and flew 20 yards into a stand of Blackthorn, it was an unmistakable Grasshopper Warbler which to the best my knowledge is a first for Shustoke Reservoir, one I have always thought possible and a day like today was the right conditions. I had a text to say there were four Little Gull at the reservoir, we had been there for quite a while and hadn’t seen any. There were however, four 1st summer Black-headed Gull which can be a trap for the unwary. Anyway we got past the sailing club and had a good search for any Little Gull but none. One of the Black-headed was flying around and it was showing quite a dark underwing. Anyway, there may well have been four Little Gull but we either missed them or they were gone before we got there.

Anyway, I was champing at the bit to go back over tonight but was told in no uncertain terms that I was going shopping – that was me in my place.

Two things before I sign off. Firstly, there will be a break in transmission for a week as I head for Scotland to get the hill walking season off to a flier. I do all the planning and I have a 13 mile walk (1 Munro),  a 18 mile walk (3 Munro’s) and a 25 mile walk (two Munro’s) planned for next week. But then I had planned to get back to the Reservoir tonight!!!

And lastly, to those Villa fans who have asked me if I can have a word with the lads to do them a favour tomorrow. Well if super Roy picks me in goal you might have a chance, but thats not likely, I never go to the Albion expecting anything (44 years a fan has seen to that), but I honestly can’t see anything but an Baggies win. There you go, Villa fans – tempting providence – that is all I can do for you. For the record I hope the Villa stop up, I wish the Wolves had stopped up, no point in local rivals if you can’t play them. Having said that I hope the Blues stop where they are! (sorry Captain - but you saw that Gropper before me).

Thursday 26th April

Not one but two trips today, I was over early morning before work but all of last nights good birds had gone. The only bird of note was a Shoveler. In the evening I met up with the Captain and we worked our way around. A south-westerly wind was blowing quite strongly but it was surprisingly cold.

There were still several Common Tern, four Swift, plus a mixture of hirundines mainly Swallow but this time including a few House Martin. The Shoveler was still present as was the Teal. There was very little singing although we picked up a few Blackcap and the occasional Chiffchaff. There were a pair of Nuthatch and probably the best bird of the day a Raven.

This morning (Friday) I had my second sighting of Hobby this week in the Shustoke area along with a couple of Whitethroat.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Wednesday 25th April

With heavy rain forecast for most of the day, combined with the date, it didn’t take to much working out that it could be a good day bird wise. Shustoke is can be a magnet for Terns at this time of year and so it proved. In all there were up to six Common Tern, one Arctic Tern plus a Black Tern. Added to that an adult Little Gull (late afternoon only) it was a good day.

There were lots of hirundines, but strangely no House Martin, at least three Swift were also present. I had Marsh Tit singing and calling between the pools and a single Redshank was joined by two Oystercatchers late on.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Tuesday 24th April

I had a mixed day today, what with a heavy cold and lack of sleep I took the day of work, but by mid morning I was bored out of my skull. I thought a bit of fresh air would do me good, so I headed out.

First Cuckoo of the year, a couple of Common Tern and an Oystercatcher put me in a better mood.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Saturday 21st April

Trip over early Saturday saw probably the same three Shelduck. This time the power walkers didn’t flush them straight away. I had my first Willow Warbler for the site and there were two Common Sandpiper. There seemed more Blackcap than of late but on the whole it was rather quiet.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Thursday 19th April

After hearing about two Arctic Terns I again trooped over after work to find the aforementioned birds had departed. However, it was a good evening, with two LRP, Oystercatcher a Peregrine Falcon and the Scaup all seen. I still haven’t had Willow Warbler at the reservoir but I think if the sun ever comes out again its a cert!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


I have been contacted by “The Captain” to say he has had a 1st Summer/Winter Little Gull at Shustoke Reservoir. Let us hope it is there after 5pm for those of us who have to work for a living!!!

Got over just in time as 15 minutes after my arrival the Little Gull flew off high. The weather was poor, plus Severn Trent or rather their associates were working on the reservoir replacing the green floaty things that are strung out across the east and west ends. A little bit late really as the Grebe and Coot had already started to use them as nesting sites. However, not to be too down about it, the new ones look larger and more sturdy so they may have more success in the long run.

Today Thursday two Arctic Tern (J Harris, B Duckhouse). Also a report of one yesterday.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Tuesday 17th April

Just a quick one, there was a male Wheatear in the field behind the house this morning whilst walking the dog. It looks like they are planting potatoes this year and they are attracting a good number of birds. I have seen Raven, 2 Lapwing, 20 LBB Gull, Herring Gull, 12 Linnet, 4 Yellowhammer and a good variety of other birds over the last week. Hopefully this evening I should get over and check out the Reservoir.

Went over after work bumping into the Captain, I was expecting too much really on the strength of a good downpour before leaving the house. There was a surprise in store but later – a single House Martin was as good as it got new bird wise. The injured Teal was still in the same place and the White Wagtail was seen with around four Gadwall still present. There is also still the single Common Sandpiper. The surprise however, was the Scaup was back after an absence of four or five days – has it been missed or was it elsewhere in the meantime, we will never know!

There were around a dozen Swallow over the small pool but still no Willow Warbler (I have seen one elsewhere).

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Friday night/Saturday Morning

Managed to get over after work and it was reasonable there were two LRP on the slipway and a Common Sandpiper on the south shore. I couldn’t find the Scaup and it looks like it has finally moved on. There were also double figures of Swallow and Sand Martin. Still no Willow Warbler I did pick up a couple of singing Goldcrest in the Pine belt.

This morning there were three Shelduck on arrival but they moved on quickly (a party of power walking ladies, were also power talking, you could hear the conversation at 200 yards). There was no sign of yesterday’s LRP but the Common Sandpiper was still there. There appeared to be a few more Blackcap in.

I managed to get over in the evening after the football and had my first House Martin of the year and the added bonus of a couple of Redshank which promptly flew off north.

This morning whilst walking the dog I had my first Whitethroat of the year in the hedgerow next to the garden.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Thursday 12th April

Have been over the last couple of nights but it has been really quiet with this northerly wind seemingly stopping birds from coming through. However, the Scaup is still around and was showing a bit of interest in a female Pochard last night. There have been a couple of Swallow and the odd Sand Martin but little else. Oh, and there was a White Wagtail as well at the east end.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Monday 9th April

Tipping down with rain but we decided to walk the dog around the reservoir and see if anything had dropped in. On arrival it looked rather quiet but there were loads of people around they weather was putting them off.

It was pretty uneventful and I wasn’t searching much as it was raining rather hard. I then saw a pipit, it was feeding on the edge but I had no sooner seen it than it flew about 20 yards along the shoreline. We got a bit closer and I could see the bird was grey headed with a supercillium and had a pinkish wash to the breast, I started to think Water Pipit but it was too heavily streaked on the breast, but it was so wet and the light so bad plus wet binoculars it wasn’t easy. I managed to clean my bins out of the wind, then I circled back to have another look. The bird was far to streaked on the underparts to be Water Pipit but too well marked to be a typical Rock Pipit. The thought was springing to mind that it was more than likely a Scandanavian Rock Pipit, I texted a few people and Steve Haynes texted me back to say “sound like Scandanavian Rock Pipit’. The bird was rather nervous and on several occasions took flight only to relocated until it was flushed again. All in all it favoured the area on the north shore near the second bench.

I went back over this afternoon when I mistakenly thought the weather was improving. I did see the bird and got a couple of record shots, Dave Hutton also had his camera and has kindly provided the three shots below plus one of Grey Wagtail.

Also today at on various visits I had three Swallow, three Sand Martin, two LRP’s and one Common Sandpiper. This evening there where 3 Goosander and the Scaup was still in its usual place.

Dave Hutton and Tom Perrin also saw Wheatear this afternoon.

The above photographs Dave Hutton the efforts below are mine

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter Sunday

Again a miserable day, and I didn’t venture out till late, a break in at work had me out of bed until 2am so I lay in rather this morning. Tonight I didn’t expect much and I wasn’t disappointed. The Scaup is still there and there were six Goosander and one Teal. Yesterday’s Common Sandpiper was still present but there was little else apart from one singing Blackcap and a solitary Swallow.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Saturday 7th April

Again it was an other dark cloudy day with occasional light drizzle. I walked over and thought things might be interesting as there was a Blackcap singing near the entrance. I scanned the Reservoir from the car park and I was rather surprised that there were no hirundines to be seen. I walked round taking my time but there was little of note apart from a Sparrowhawk. I resorted to counting the Gt Crested Grebe and there were 68 in total. Towards the east end I picked up my first Common Sandpiper of the year, then a small party of six Sand Martin went straight through.

Kingfisher buzzed over my head as I crossed the metal bridge and amongst the 96 Tufted Duck on the small pool was the male Scaup. Contrary to my previous statement it did look larger, it was asleep and appeared broader in the body that the Tufted. There were another couple of singing Blackcap but little else and no Willow Warbler. I also added another to my list of bird watchers asking my where “Warbler Corner” was.

A singing Skylark was welcome. I briefly checked out Moat House Lane where there was another singing Skylark, Yellowhammer and a few Greenfinch.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Good Friday

Well it wasn’t bird wise, although the Scaup was still around there was little else on a dull day. Very few birds singing with most of the resident birds probably tied up with breeding and the migrants either not there or too cold.
Saying that three Blackcap were the most seen so far, I still haven’t heard or seen Willow Warbler yet. There were two Swallow and a dozen or so Sand Martin but as I said little else. The pair of Grey Wagtail were seen again today with 20 or so Pied Wagtail but no White Wagtail or Yellow for that matter.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Thursday 5th April

The Scaup was still there with seven Goosander, eight Gadwall and a Teal. The only hirundine was a single Sand Martin. There was little else on show with very few birds singing.

3rd & 4th April

With rain on Tuesday and rain and strong wind of Wednesday I managed to get over after work and pretty well had the place to myself.

Tuesday reports of House Martin, Swallow, Little Ringed Plover, I had Swallow, Sand Martin and four Reed Bunting which in Shustoke terms constitutes a flock.

Wednesday it as Arctic like, I saw the Little Ringed Plover but no hirundines. The Scaup is still there.

Looking forward to a long weekend.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Monday 2nd April

It was a little colder and a cloudier than of late. But I thought it might be a little better for birds, and so it proved. The Scaup was still there and is a lot more active than it was, probably a sign that it will be off soon. I have to say and I am not suggesting anything, that it doesn’t look particularly big for a male Scaup, it obviously is one, but it must have been the runt of the litter.

The highlight today though was a male Wheatear on the west shore my first of the year. Migrants though have been thin on the ground and apart from a couple of singing Chiffchaff and a couple of Sand Martin late on. Also a Goosander late on came into roost.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Sunday 1st April

Added a couple of Swallow this morning and Blackcap numbers are increasing two to three. The Scaup was still on the small pool, but generally it is still quiet, with the weather taking a turn for the worse this week bird wise it might pick up. Rain comes in handy but we could do with a bit of south in the wind.

I heard Lesser Spot as well this morning and it was seen later on. This evening I paid a brief visit but the only species of note was Goosander with three birds coming in to roost.