Sunday, 27 January 2013

Sunday 27th January

I abandoned Warwickshire yesterday opting instead for a day out of the county with the Captain. We started out at the Sandwell Valley, where I met Pete Hackett my old birding buddy, in fact we have known each other over 40 years having been in the same class at school when we were 11 – Scary. We didn’t linger long as the underfoot conditions were dangerous. Next stop was Stubbers Green where we  had a scan through the gulls but we couldn’t find the required targets.

Next stop was Whitemore Haye where we were a lot more successful. As we had coffee by the car we had the first of our year ticks when a couple of Greylag flew overhead. Scanning the lake (which has acquired a visitors centre since I was last there) there were around 400 Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall and Goldeneye. We followed the road around and one field held nearly 100 Golden Plover and a flock of 20-30 Skylark. We then bumped into another birder who I know, but whose name escapes me, and rather than guess I will omit it! Then the Captain hit a rich vein of form first picking up a Little Owl closely followed by a male Merlin which sat up nicely on a fence post. By the time I got my camera out and sorted it had gone, it wasn’t the only time that was to happen today.

There were a small group of Tree Sparrow which are not common now in the Midlands. The Captain then had a Little Egret which showed briefly before landing out of sight. That was about the end of the excitement, a stubble field held a few Fieldfare and Yellowhammer but it was clear we had peaked so we headed back to the car. We had a search around the lanes for Fridays Bewick Swan but saw none.

We then headed to Chasewater for the gull roost. First we checked out a pool near Cannock which is good for loafing gulls. We had a 1st or 2nd winter Glaucous Gull, it has hard to tell as the bird was back on to us and backlit by a setting sun. We also had two adult Yellow-legged Gulls. Thinking we wouldn’t see much extra in the roost we checked out the Swag instead seeing two more Yellow-legged Gulls and a scattering of wildfowl.

Today I was rather busy but managed to check Shustoke out briefly from the car park, the Scoter was still there and a male Peregrine flew over the west end. Also on Saturday before I went out I had a Raven fly over the house.

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