Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Tuesday 20th October

Spent the morning at the Reservoir and the water levels have dropped a bit during the last week. There was a dearth of wildfowl on the main pool apart from Coot, Little and Great Crested Grebe. However, there was a Common Sandpiper and a single Swallow plus two Raven flew overhead.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Monday 19th October

Spend the morning at Middleton Lakes RSPB saw 63 species the highlights included 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Green Sandpiper, Ruff, 12 Golden Plover but that was about it.

Shustoke hasn’t turned up much in the last week although I did have my first Pochard of the winter last week.

Going to give it a go tomorrow but it doesn’t look promising.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Friday 9th October

Joy and I spent a pleasant morning at Middleton Lakes RSPB, the weather was gorgeous way too good for any decent birds. In short the best bird was a presumed feral Blue phase Snow Goose, I’m pretty sure this bird has been knocking around the Midlands recently.

Other birds were a single Dunlin and four Stonechat. Wildfowl numbers are starting to build up but I think the vegetation needs to die back a bit.

We decided to go back over the Middleton Lakes this evening and we witnessed a bit of weird behaviour. Three lads probably late teens early twenties (all had full beards) were on the lower path at the Southern Meadows, they were rather loud but out of sight behind the trees. As we walked further up and looked back they were actually in the field with the horses.

To cut a short story shorter they were trying to – well to be honest I don’t know what they were trying to do. They appeared to be trying to catch a horse, they were chasing them around the field with lots of arm waving with one of them armed with a tennis racket! They may have been the same three I saw earlier in the year using Fishers Mill Lake as a Coconut Shy, lobbing rocks at the Swans!

Needless to say they didn’t catch any horses, they were obviously the wrong colour Indians!!!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Wednesday 7th October

Firstly, I set up my winter feeding station yesterday and within 5 minutes I had two Nuthatch stealing all the nuts! I didn’t see 1 last year, strange! But better was to follow, a Little Egret flew over the house at about 5.30pm only the second I have seen the other was a few years back and was closer to Ladywalk than my place.

I am lazily trying to beat my rather modest years best total of 240, after Shetland I am three species short, so with a potential new species for the year at Middleton Lakes RSPB in the form of a Great White Egret I headed out after dropping Joy off at work. There was a Siskin on the feeders there and I played it cool checking out the southern meadows first where I saw 5 Little Egret together, there was also Chiffchaff and three Swallow. I arrived at Jubilee Wetland at the same time as a work party, so I moved on – as did most of the birds. There was no sign of any GWE and the north pit didn’t look promising as it is rather overgrown, great for birds but not for bird watching.

I had a pleasant morning and on my way back there was a Spotted Flycatcher near the first bench which was showing really well.

Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

I did a few hours gardening later finding out that Bittern and the Great White Egret had both been seen so I decided to go back before dark to have another look. Joy decided to come with me and we made our way out towards Jubilee Wetland. There was no sign of the GWE but a Ruff flew in and landed in front of us. We checked out the other side of the river – Dosthill Pits, I was surprised just how much this area has changed, and not for the better.

With no sign of the bird here so we checked out North Pit, I had just about given up when the Great White Egret flew over the hide and dropped down onto one of the small pools behind the bund. As we made our way around the bird took flight and headed south towards Kingsbury Water Park.

Monday 5th October

Had a good walk around on Monday seeing around 10 Swallows in total the only other remaining summer migrant was a lone Chiffchaff. Steve Cawthray had counted around 1,100 Coot last week and I got to around 900 but it is hard to be accurate as they seem to congregate at either end.

Along the River however, I had two flocks of Siskin which totalled over 40 birds but generally it is quiet, its been rather a poor year so far so I am hopefully of a couple of rarer bird this autumn, but I’m not holding my breath!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Shetland Week

Have just returned from a week in the Shetland Isles with The Captain, Bob, Tom and Julien. It all went well and we had a good week of birding. It wasn’t up to the high standard of last year but nothing was going to match the birds we saw in 2014.

It got off to a good start when a Lanceolated Warbler turned up at Vale of Walls but as we were within a mile of an American Golden Plover we went to see that first. There were around 40 birders present when we arrived at Vale of Walls, like a lot of places in Shetland it has more letters than houses. The bird was being pushed around a fair bit, but unfortunately that is the name of the game in Shetland! There is so little cover but the birds use it well. This bird was running around on the ground in amongst the long grass like a mouse! The next day (Sunday) we went south again to Toab where were saw Blyth’s Reed Warbler and this bird was being pushed as well and we only got flight views.

The garden of the house we were staying in had a Sycamore in the front garden “The Tree of Dreams” and it held a Lesser Whitethroat for the whole week, whilst the back garden had a Yellow-browed Warbler. In a way the bird of the week was Yellow-browed Warbler, every tree in Shetland seemed to have one and we must have seen in excess of 50 during the week, more than I have seen in 35 years of birding.

Monday saw us on Unst where our luck changed missing Arctic Warbler and Pallid Harrier, to compound things a Grey-cheeked Thrush turned up on Mainland! Unfortunately wrong place, wrong time.

Tuesday the wind had increased and we went for and missed the Grey-cheeked Thrush which had moved on overnight, we then missed a Eastern Subalpine Warbler then a possible Icterine Warbler, it was starting to be a recurring theme. In the afternoon with the wind blowing a gale The Captain and I spent a couple of hours at Quarff where we saw a couple of Red-breasted Flycatchers and several Yellow-browed Warblers.

Wednesday started with a trip north to look for a Pechora Pipit that was seen late last night, we were lucky and connected with the bird straight away. In the afternoon it was again very windy and birding was hard work, The Captain and I birded around Boddam where we were given a verbal volley from a women when we were in the garden of a derelict house! We found a Woodcock sitting in a field and there were bird coming in off the sea with Redwing, Snipe and Swallow all arriving looking knackered from fighting the wind. We did however catch up with a Bluethroat and a Pied Flycatcher further South.

The rest of the week drifted but we really enjoyed birding some of the settlements in the south we didn’t find anything rare but it was enjoyable just birding and not chasing rare birds (although a chance would have been nice).

There was a bit of a mix up with flights on the way back with one of the party missing an earlier flight and being stung over £300 to get home, but that is airlines for you.