Thursday, 19 May 2016

Thursday 29th May

Spent the morning at Middleton Lakes RSPB where I had a pleasant morning, I wrongly thought the rain from yesterday may well have produced something exotic on the wader front – I was wrong!

Most of the warblers were singing, well the ones I could hear, I’m afraid I struggle with Gropper now but the rest are strident enough for me to identify, whilst Cetti’s pretty well announces itself with a fanfare of trumpets . . . I will know I’m truly deaf when I can’t hear Cetti’s!

Jubilee Wetland held three each of Dunlin and Ringed Plover I also funnily enough had three LRP. The four Avocet appear not to have chicks, or they have they are not accompanying them!  There was little else apart from Cuckoo.

Might have a little walk around the Reservoir now that its started raining.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Wednesday 18th May

With heavy rain falling, and, a good number of Sanderling turning up at Belvide, I thought I would have a go to see what Shustoke had to offer.

It didn’t look promising and to  be honest wasn’t much good, but there was a Little Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper, so it wasn’t all bad. Plus I had a Hobby trying to catch a Swallow high over the Reservoir, with both birds trying to gain height to get above the other.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Spreading my Horizons

I have been over the Reservoir but apart from Hobby and the occasional Common Sandpiper it has, as expected been rather quiet.

Last week I payed a visit to Draycote Water where there were not one but two White-winged Black Terns, as well as c.20 Black Tern, Arctic Tern, Common Tern. It was a miserable day and as I was scanning through the birds in drizzle and general clag I picked up a distant Little Tern, the bird was pretty obvious being so small and its flight action is what is best described as rapid. None of the other birders on-site where aware the bird was present, until I pointed it out. Most including me had arrived looking for WWBT and with the weather the way it was I for one wasn’t walking around this time. There were also a couple of Turnstone hiding amongst the rocks.

Cannock Chase was visited on Saturday morning and it was rather quiet – apart from Tree Pipit and Wood Warbler it was a little disappointing.

I have visited Middleton Lakes RSPB a few times seeing Garganey, Greenshank, Med Gull, Ruff and a good variety of other species.

With rain forecast for tomorrow I can see myself visiting Shustoke, it does tend to be better when the weather is poor.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Monday 9th May

After a day of rest following Saturdays epic I made my way around the Reservoir this morning. It was however rather quiet. I did add Hobby for the year and there was one Common Sandpiper plus a single Raven.

There was very little singing which was a bit of a surprise, but maybe I should get there for 4.00am!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Saturday 7th May – The Bird Race (Good birds, good company and posh sausages)

Firstly on Friday there were five Black Tern at the Reservoir which I popped into see on the way home from walking in the Malverns, unfortunately they were not present on Saturday.

I was invited to join the Ladywalk Loons as we took on other birding sites in the Midlands to see who could record the highest number of species in a day. I was really keen as it was the first bird race I had been involved with and I was looking forward to it.

I set the alarm for 3.30am and was on-site at 4.05am where everyone was stood in the car park waiting for me! I hadn’t really rushed as I was expecting to be first.... My blushes were spared somewhat by the fact that Adam Archer hadn’t arrived, so I wasn’t last. He arrived 20 minutes later, as, on automatic pilot at that time of day he forgot to get off the motorway and was making his way to work – been there, done that.

Birding in the dark, is a strange experience and it brought home to me just how bad my hearing has become, I really struggled to hear anything, even a distant Tawny Owl eluded me. Then when the others picked up a reeling Grasshopper Warbler, I just couldn’t hear it, eventually later in the day I managed to get close enough to pick it up. But it looks like I may well have to seek medical help.

I though we might get around 70 to 80 species during the course of the day, amazingly the total stood  at 81 species by the time we stopped for breakfast in the car park at around 9.30am. Pete Softley’s pick-up was transformed into a mobile kitchen and a barbecue was lit and some rather Posh sausages (Steve Haynes) were produced. There is something about eating outdoors, that I can’t quite put my finger on, but they tasted fantastic.

The team consisted of Pete Softly, Steve Haynes, Steve Cawthray, Adam Archer, Myself and Kev and Mick who I hadn’t met before, we were joined at breakfast by Dave Hutton and Donna who timed there arrival just as the sausages had reached perfection on the barbie!

We then split up to try and locate a few extra species that were missing from the list, with SH and myself driving to the Environmental Studies centre to search that area, whilst Steve Cawthray, Kev and Mick worked there way along the river to meet us in what was a vain attempt for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. We search some undeveloped areas of the old Hams Hall site that none of us knew existed adding nesting LRP and a single Ringed Plover. We all agreed that a weeks ago we would probably have caught up with Wheatear or Whinchat at the very least as this area looked good.

I went home and had a snooze and returned at around 5pm by that time the running total had risen to 91 species. I thought the heavy rain that fell in the late afternoon may well drop a few birds down. We regrouped in B hide where we added Yellow Wagtail then after I went to check another area of the reserve the others added Hobby taking the total to an impressive 93 species. Everyone looked knackered and by 7.30pm we had run out of steam and called it a day.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and I would not hesitate to do it again. As i tweeted, Good birds, good company and posh sausages.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Tuesday 3rd May

The last week or so has seen me at Shustoke but there has been very little to report although others have seen Little Egret and a scattering of passage birds.

Today, for a change I visited Middleton Lakes RSPB on arrival news had broke of another Pied Flycatcher for Warwickshire (I saw my first on Saturday at Ladywalk). I was soon on the bird and as I had taken my scope I managed a couple of photographs. I noted on looking at the pics that the bird was ringed. It was a little grotty for a male Pied Flycatcher so assume that it is a 1st summer male.

I met Dave Hutton and Donna Mallon and we caught up with two fine Whinchat on the reserve. I also saw three Dunlin in total a good number of warblers and wildfowl. The best was to come with a Hobby that performed for ten minutes or so. I also had a calling Water Rail – that would suggest to me that there might be a breeding attempt.

Pied Flycatcher, Middleton Lakes RSPB

Pied Flycatcher, Middleton Lakes RSPB

Whinchat, Middleton Lakes RSPB