Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Wednesday 29th November

After seeing a Richards Pipit at Hartshill Quarry on Sunday I have been rather busy. I managed a morning at the Reservoir today seeing two Goldeneye, 7 Teal and just a single Pochard.

There are good numbers of Goldfinch and Siskin in the Alders I think a trip further down the river could pay dividends.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Monday 13 November

At Shustoke there has been an arrival of wildfowl with a single Goldeneye, 28 Pochard (all male), and twelve Gadwall which were all on the small pool.

The were good numbers of winter thrushes with c.150 Redwing, 40 Fieldfare plus a good scattering of Blackbirds and a few Song Thrush.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Hartshill Hayes Weds & Thurs

I visited two mornings on the trot ,Wednesday and Thursday and I have paid the price for standing on a lonely hilltop in cold temperatures in wellies, I have come down with man flu.

The total for the two days are as following:

                                       Weds                 Thurs

Stock Dove                           5                        8
Skylark                                 2                        –
Fieldfare                             25                        –
Redwing                               1                      56
Mistle Thrush                       2                        5
Chaffinch                            24                     24
Brambling                            2                        3
Goldfinch                           14                      18
Greenfinch                           5                        5
Redpoll                                –                        2
Hawfinch                             –                        4
Bullfinch                              –                       1
Siskin                                 66                       2
Reed Bunting                       –                       1

Other birds seen, which I considered not to be migrants include: Jay, Jackdaw, Raven, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Song Thrush and Yellowhammer.

Hopefully I will get another couple of days in before migration grinds to a halt, might even try the Fillongley Alps having had my head turned by Hartshill Hayes.


I have not forsaken the Reservoir, its just that there has been very little to report, Thursday Joy and I walked around the Reservoir seeing only three Shoveler and a single Pochard.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Sunday 5th November

I arrived early at Hartshill Hayes it had rained heavily earlier so I wasn't that hopeful. I stood overlooking the Leicestershire plains for nearly 30 minutes in slight drizzle before the first birds flew over – 3 Redwing. As the weather improved there was a trickle of Chaffinch but little else.

I was joined by John Harris and it was still quiet (if you know what I mean), eventually the weather started to improve and birds started to come through but not in great numbers.

After about 90 minutes a call above us, alerted us to a Hawfinch which promptly landed in the closest tree, it sat for about 30 seconds then continued its journey. Over the next hour we saw a further nine Hawfinch taking the tally to ten in total. By 11.00am my feet needed thawing out so I left, to my knowledge no other Hawfinch came through.

Totals for yesterday

Lapwing                    2
Wood Pigeon      c.350
Raven                        2
Skylark                      7
Starling                    41
Fieldfare                  54
Redwing                  38
Mistle Thrush            3
Chaffinch                 32
Brambling                 1
Hawfinch                 10
Bullfinch                    1
Greenfinch                 2
Redpoll                      1
Goldfinch                 16

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Friday 3 November

Joy and I made an early morning visit to Hartshill Hayes CP in search of Hawfinch, on arrival I wasn’t hopeful as there was virtually no wind and it was misty which restricted visibility a little. We joined the semi-resident John Harris who had arrived early but had had a quiet morning.

There was a trickle of birds coming through but no great numbers, the birds seemed to be passing quite high and good ears were needed. Most birds were silhouetted against the grey sky. Pretty soon we had good views of a Brambling which flew in and perched up in one of the nearby trees.

By about 9.00am Joy was loosing interest so I set a cut-off time to leave. Typically it started to pick up with a flock of c.30 Fieldfare flew in from the north-east. We were considering leaving when JH heard a Hawfinch go over, it was above my hearing limits but we gave it another five minutes, we were then literally about to leave when two Hawfinch flew in the the poplars behind us, one flew across the front of us landing in a tree that was partly obscured. Although I managed to get the scope on it the bird was facing away but Joy got a scope view.

Hartshill Hayes

Brambling                1
Chaffinch               29
Greenfinch               7
Goldfinch               17
Redpoll                    8
Hawfinch                 2
Mistle Thrush          4
Redwing              178
Fieldfare                67

After we left John Harris had a further 10 Hawfinch.

In the afternoon we went to Bubbenhall Meadows where we eventually saw the Dartford Warbler which was mobile and difficult.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Wednesday 1st November

I made an early morning trip to Hartshill Hayes for a spot of VisMig, I have done reasonably well for birds including Hawfinch on the Fillongley Ridge but Hartshill has proved to be the premier Warwickshire site for Hawfinch and VisMig in general.

It occupies a commanding view over the Leicestershire countryside with a glorious vista taking in a large area. I was a little late and there were already three birders present on my arrival. Two Hawfinch had been seen earlier by John Harris and there was a steady stream of birds passing overhead.

A few birders joined us at various points and we attracted the interest of the local dog walkers keen to know what we were up to. It was quite late on when I just happened to glance behind picking up three birds dropping into the treeline, a quick look confirmed they were Hawfinch but by the time I had sputtered out HAWFINCH they had dropped down. We scanned the trees and Steve Haynes located one sat in the tree tops, it was only there for c.20 seconds but long enough for everyone to get on it.

In the afternoon I received a call from Steve Haynes to say he had found a Lesser Yellowlegs on a private site he has access too. He had been given permission to invite a handful of birders, fortunately I was one of the handful. I arrived with a boot full of shopping and enjoyed good views of the bird though it was about as far away as it could be.

Thursday morning saw me up early on the Fillongley Ridge, when I arrived there was very little wind and it seemed quiet, I gave it an hour but there was very little movement. In the afternoon Steve had arranged access for birders with the landowner, for a small fee which was to go towards conservation at the site. I offered to help with the parking arrangements. On arrival an old friend who I haven’t seen for nearly ten years was there so me managed to have a bit of a catchup.

There was a steady stream of birders and over £100 was raised, we even had a visit from birding Royalty with Lee Evens arriving at c.3.00pm he didn’t stay long as he wanted to get to Rutland Water for a Cory’s Shearwater. I recon he had around 90 minutes to get there, I thought he had no chance, but apparently he made it.

Steve has received some stick in some quarters about inviting friends to view the bird on Wednesday. Comments were made that I think were below the belt, there really are some people out there full of there own self-importance.

Unfortunately a local birder broke the news of the bird before Steve had a chance to arrange access which wasn’t helpful. Access was arranged for Thursday afternoon so birders in general could enjoy the bird. Steve was there at first light to make sure the bird was present and I went down myself to help with parking. Everyone that came seemed to enjoy the bird and everyone left happy.

Somehow I even got involved in an argument on the internet with a birder who was critical of how Steve handled the situation, seems he doesn’t like criticism himself.  I don’t know him and don’t wish to know him, I find it strange that a lot of the people have forceful opinions and say things they would never say face-to-face. I think until they find themselves in the position as Steve they wouldn't know how they would react, I certain would want my friends to enjoy the bird. Maybe they should keep there opinions to themselves.

This person called me Obnoxious and Ill-educated, it seems he knows me!

I haven’t been called Obnoxious since we used to play the rich kids at football! As for Ill-educated I’ve made the best of what I’ve got.