Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Wednesday 30th October

We were up early this morning and on-site at just at 7.00am, unfortunately a car pulled up with two yapping dogs at 7.01am and followed us round with his dogs barking the whole time – so much for a bit of piece and quiet. In fact the only quiet thing was the birds, apart from several Shoveler and 20 odd Pochard there was very little on-site. The Red-crested Pochard looks well gone!

We got home for 8.00am and I walked the dog to the top of the field and back seeing an impressive 28 species. Highlights were double figures of Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Treecreeper, Fieldfare, Redwing and a small flock of 20 odd Lapwing!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Out of it

Been a frustrating week so far, on the weekend Joy and I walked the Malvern Ridge, a fantastic walk which turns up some good birds now and again. As you heard in the news there was a bit of a blow on, so birds were at a bit of a premium. Lots of Redwing and even more Fieldfare.

On Sunday not content with Saturdays walk the wife dragged me to Cannock Chase for a yomp! During the course of which we didn’t see Great Grey Shrike. We did however, have good views of Brambling and poor views of Crossbill.

Shustoke wise I popped over Monday morning feeling strangely cheated that we hadn’t felt the full force of the Storm! There was hardly a wave of the surface of the Res when I got there. I had a quick scan from the car park and there was very little.

However, J Harris reported a Red-crested Pochard on the small pool although there was no sign today.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Sunday 27 October

There was a Little Gull briefly this morning (S Roper). I have been too busy to get over this weekend but it looks like the fun might start early next week as this storm comes through. It might be little late in the autumn for good numbers of birds, but I am hopeful that something will come of it.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Monday 21 October

I had two visits today, one in the morning and one mid afternoon.

In the morning it was pouring down but feeling intrepid I headed out, I had gone about 300 yards when what looked like a Bunting flew up about 60 yards in front of me, I got very little on it. About the only thing I can be certain of was that it wasn’t a male Reed Bunting or Snow Bunting. It appeared rather nondescript and plain faced and appeared rather compact. But other than that I haven’t a clue. By the time I had uncovered my bins and got it in view it was above my eyeline and flew off south gaining height steadily. I last saw it high over the sailing club and it kept going until I lost it, or to be more precise, until my bins were completely soaking wet. On the off chance I went back to the car park and searched the south shore just in case but drew a blank.

Later in the day when the rain relented I when back over with the Captain. Again it was quiet but there is a bit of a build up in the wildfowl department with around ten Shoveler, 28 Pochard and the first three Goosander of the Autumn. There are a few Redwing around at the moment but I haven’t come across many Fieldfare as yet.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Sunday 20th October

Haven’t been able to get over much but the Whooper Swan were seen on Thursday early on! Also Steve Haynes had a fly over Greenshank at the weekend.

Unfortunately I have lost my phone, and hence all my contacts. I would appreciate it if you can email me your numbers or conversely text them to me on my new phone.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Monday 14th October

After a long day at work I eventually got over the reservoir at just after 6pm, more for the exercise than the birding! There were a lot of gull in the roost a lot of the “bigs” and I picked out an obvious adult Yellow-legged Gull amongst the numerous Herring and Lessers.

I carried on round noticing that there were several Swans, there have only been around a maximum of four Mute Swan recently so I thought I might be in with a chance given the winds and the rain over the last couple of days. When I got closer I checked them out in the fading light, to my surprise the last two were both Whooper Swan. I hadn’t taken my phone, because it got soaked the other day and by the time I got home it was dark, so apologies to anyone who feels gripped off!

Apparently, there have also been three Rock Pipit seen today, plus Dave Hutton got some good shots of the Tern and it was an Arctic Tern. So I will amend my notes from yesterday then! Thanks Dave.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sunday 13th October

With very poor weather Joy and I made two trips over today, seeing very little due to the weather. The Rock Pipit was reported but I drew a blank with it twice! There was a Tern on the jetty at the sailing club which look like Common to me when I saw it flying around on my second visit.

There were four hirundines (Steve Haynes) but were too distant to be specifically identified.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Son of Sam and Saturday at Shustoke

I took Joy away to Cornwall for a few days birding and getting away from it all. Or at least that’s what I thought. We travelled down on Wednesday morning stopping at the Hayle Estuary. From the car park an Osprey was soaring over the estuary we were pleased – the local gulls weren’t! We walked down the very busy road were the Black-winged Stilt was performing really well. On the other side of the road there were lots of wildfowl mainly Wigeon and there were two Med Gulls amongst the hundreds of other gulls.

Black-winged Stilt, Hayle Estuary, Cornwall
From there we went straight to Pendeen to see what was passing. We had two Arctic Skua’s a few of both Manx and Balearic Shearwaters, 30 odd Common Scoter, 1000’s of Auk were passing as well as good numbers of Kittiwakes and Gannets.

We then when in search of the Wryneck that was present but didn’t connect. There was a Yellow-browed Warbler just down the road near St Just so we had search for that but the wind was so strong it was difficult to pick out the movement of Wood Pigeons! We soon had enough of that and headed back to Pendeen where we continued our seawatching. We were lucky to see a Sooty Shearwater and another Arctic Skua, but there was not as much passing as earlier, so we decided to try for the Wryneck again. As we were making our way back to the car we met Tom Perrin and Julian Allen from the Tame Valley. We walked along the coastal path to see a Snow Bunting then it was back for the Wryneck search.

Snow Bunting, Pendeen, Cornwall

As we were staking out the Wryneck I though that maybe it might be better to search out of the wind. There we were joined by another birder from Solihull who follows this blog, (never did ask his name). As we were chatting a passerine flicked up and immediately dived for cover, I didn’t get it in my bins but it looked like a very large warbler, but I thought there was a good chance it was the Wryneck and was seething I hadn’t had a better look, back at the b&b Joy dropped into the conversation that she had been impressed with the Wryneck. Puzzled I said what do you mean. I got a good look at it through my bins! she says. Now we have been married 34 years (yes, I married young) and she hasn’t learned that:

A: If you see a good bird, shout out and get me on it; or

B: If you see a good bird and don’t shout out, don’t tell me later, take the secret to your grave!!!!

Anyway, after a pleasant meal at the Dolphin Inn in Penzance, who should walk in but Julian and Tom, we finished our meal and joined them. I treated myself to a nice single malt Laphroig then spent the next ten minutes talking whisky.

The next morning we headed to Pendeen and as we approached I realised I was following Julians car! After 30 minutes sea watching was proving fruitless and with an approaching squall coming in we said our goodbyes and headed to the car, we had no soon sat down when the heavens opened. The wind was very strong, so we decided that we would travel up the coast to Zenor to search for Turtle Dove, we had a look around the village church but drew a blank. The Julian and Tom turned up! We eventually located the Turtle Dove, a rare bird nowadays.

We then headed for the Cot Valley and spend the rest of the day staking out another Yellow-browed which didn’t show. As we were there, a passing car, stopped wound down his window and asked what we were looking for. I though I recognise that face, Ian Kendal, who worked at RSPB Sandwell Valley back in the day. It was the first time in around 10 years that I had seen him. The rest of the day proved fruitless.

Friday morning saw us return to Pendeen, were we met “Ian Kendal”! He was birding the fields so we left him to do a little sea watching, as we pulled up two Peregrines were hanging in the wind just above the car giving superb views. There were still a few Balearic Shearwaters and another couple of Arctic Skua but the wind was not quite right and very strong so we called it a day. We spend the rest of the morning in one of the Valleys near St Just’s were we had a few Chiffchaff, Blackcap and a Merlin.

We stopped briefly at Hayle see four Med Gull then we headed home.

Med Gull, Hayle Estuary, Cornwall

On Saturday I was dragged out shopping even though conditions were perfect for Shustoke – ie it was tipping down with rain, so it would be quiet! I eventually received a text about a couple of Rock Pipit. I got over and who should be there but Tom Perrin! I saw the Rock Pipit but a passing boat tacked in the wind and the sails cracked and the bird flew off! But at least I had seen it. There was a Common Tern and Arctic Tern plus a Ringed Plover seen, but I missed all those but as it tipped down and I headed home. There were a couple of Pochard and a Shoveler but I saw little else in the rain.

Rock Pipit, Shustoke Reservoir

Monday, 7 October 2013

5 October

I have been over the Reservoir a couple of times but there has been very little to write about. There was a Gt Black-backed Gull in the roost as well as a dozen or more Common Gull. But I failed to see the Med Gull Steve Haynes saw earlier in the week.

On Saturday, I went twitching with the Captain an activity that usually ends in tears, my success rate with him is poor to say the least. Bad luck doesn’t come into it. Anyway, I felt a bit sorry for him, his wife has broken her ankle and he has had a knee operation so they are both on crutches.

I picked him up early on Saturday morning (minus Parrot and eye-patch) and we headed down to the Gower for an Isabelline Wheatear which had been present most of the week. It looked promising it was dull, always a good sign so after four hours we were within two miles when my wife, who had internet access phoned to say the bird was still there! I was hardly going to turn around. To cut a long story short we saw the bird and had a good couple of hours birding in what was a very impressive site. There was visibly migration going on with over a hundred Swallows passing over. There was a constant stream of Meadow Pipits and Larks overhead, obviously Isabelline Wheatear, several Northern Wheatear, 3 Blackcap, Chough, Raven, Peregrine, although we missed a Wryneck we left happy.

Isabelline Wheatear, St Martin’s, Pembrokeshire