Sunday, 26 October 2008

Anything for the weekend sir? Lets Dip!....25th and 26th October 2008.

Over this weekend via Kidwelly in west Wales to look for a reported Little Blue Heron and then locally for another Ferruginous Duck in the county at Thornton Reservoir I have dipped (did not see!) twice.

So briefly following news on Friday afternoon of a Little Blue Heron (a first for Britain) was reported at Kidwelly,near Llanelli in west Wales, myself, John, Ben and Carl Baggott drove down to Gwendraeth Estuary early on Saturday morning.
Meeting up with the Warwickshire crew of Neil Howes (desert storm), Tony Shephard, Bob Duckhouse and Colin we searched the surrounding estuary for the next eight hours. Over the day we saw numerous Little Egrets in the nearby salt marsh, but no sign of the "reported" Little Blue Heron.
However we did see a nice 1st winter/male Hen Harrier quartering the marsh, a couple of Peregrines and a Cetti's Warbler was also heard calling in the reed bed behind us.

Although we didn't see the bird it was a good day just for the craic with fellow birders from all over the country.
Hopefully in the near future the bird will show again and maybe we will have a memorable day on the very under watched South and West Wales estuaries?...

Whilst down in Wales John received a text message from Andy Mackay that Andy Smith had found a Ferruginous Duck at Thornton Reservoir. As we couldn't do anything about it at the time I checked the site out the next morning.
Meeting up with John, Allen Pocock, Andy Smith and Andrew Cliff at the dam, there told me that there was no sign of the duck.
After a bit of chit-chat some old Yorkshire duffer came up to us and said he had seen the bird at the far end of the reservoir, so we trooped off in the direction of the sighting.But as usual surprise surprise the bird had disappeared by the time we had got round to the west arm.
At this point I could have lost my temper with the old duffer and called him a stringer, but in hindsight we should have just walked off in a different direction when the old duffer had claimed to see the bird from half a mile away!
Walking back to the car park, I left John to check out Swithland and Cropston Resv but to no avail of the sighting of the duck.
My final port of call of the morning was Cossington Meadows and as usual it was pretty quiet except for a nice 1st winter/male Stonechat near the entrance of the reserve and good numbers of Wigeon, Gadwall and Shoveler on the tern pool.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Anything for the weekend sir?....Lets count birds! 18th and 19th October 2008.

Over the weekend I counted loads of birds. Firstly myself and John did some visual migration at Burrough Hill Country Park on Saturday morning.
Starting at 7.30am we watched this site until just before 10.00am. On the whole we had good numbers of thrushes pass over us, but the jewel in the crown sighting (or more heard only) was a Lapland Bunting heard calling with a small group of Skylarks as it flew over the hill in a north-west direction.
John kept note of the birds which we saw and heard and the totals were:
Redwing: 300, Fieldfare: 195, Chaffinch: 78, Starling: 70, Skylark: 13, Meadow Pipit: 4, Linnet: 4, Siskin: 3, Greenfinch: 2, Song Thrush: 1, "Alba" Wagtail: 1, and the best for last 1 Lapland Bunting! (This was a county tick for me but I won't be adding it to my county list due to only hearing it call).

After dropping off John at home and sorting a few things out at home, I was out again to count ducks down the Soar Valley for the monthly Wildfowl count.
The totals were:
Great Crested Grebe: 24, Little Grebe: 2, Cormorant: 49, Grey Heron: 9, Mute Swan: 26, Canada Goose: 33, Greylag Goose: 85, Greylag Goose (Farm yard type): 13, Wigeon: 303, Gadwall: 95, Teal: 14, Mallard: 112, Shoveler: 39, Pochard: 1, Tufted Duck: 92, Scaup: 1, Moorhen: 20, Coot: 101, Kingfisher: 1, Water Rail: 2, Lapwing: 51, Green Sandpiper: 1, Redshank: 1, Golden Plover: 150+, Curlew: 1 and 1 Gadwall x Mallard hybrid.
The highlight of the count was me finding a female Scaup seen on the water ski pit. Other highlights included good numbers of Wigeon and Shoveler counted at Birstall section.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

More Shetland Shots

Here is a few shots I took last week on Shetland, the non-photo shy Long eared Owl was at Quendale Mill, the ponies were at Grutness and the two landscapes are views of the Pool of Virkie in the South mainland.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Tigers v Ospreys once again....

As I got home early from Shetland, I had the chance to watch Leicester Tigers play the Ospreys on the Sunday.
Sitting tightly in the home crowd, I watched another rubbish game of rugby between these two teams.
Although I've lived in Leicester for most of my life, my family connections are rooted in Welsh history and culture, so I was supporting the Ospreys on this occasion.
As usual the game was not a great free flowing game of attacking rugby, but more like the two teams defences cancelling each other out.

Toby Flood scored all the points for the Tigers in the form of four penalties, but Jamie Hook had an off day with the boot as he missed three kicks in attacking positions.
The game was very tight right until the very end, and if Tommy Bowe had not been hauled down by his Irish International colleague Geordan Murphy very close to the try line, the Ospreys may have gone home with an unexpected victory.
With this final chance of a try the Tigers ran the clock out to win the game 12-6.
Although the Tigers won the game I think the next time the Ospreys play the Tigers again in the Heineken cup it will be a totally different game?

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Back to the Mainland from Shetland.

I returned home yesterday afternoon from my trip to Shetland.

On the whole it was very quiet from my previous trip last year, with only a couple BB rarities seen during the week.
I think the problem with the trip was that the weather conditions were not great for Shetland to produce a fall of migrants.
The highlight of the trip was John, Andy Lawson and myself finding a Siberian Stonechat in fields just below the top quarry at Sumburgh Head. Hugh Harrop joined us later and with help from his camera we identified the bird as a probable 1st winter male.

Other highlights of the trip included finding a Barred Warbler in the garden of the house(Nordgerdi) we were staying at; finding at least six Yellow-browed Warblers in a variety of locations in the South Mainland and seeing Little Bunting and Red breasted Flycatcher at Sumburgh head, an elusive Great Grey Shrike at the Sumburgh hotel gardens, a fly-by Red throated Pipit at the valley of plenty(Clevigarth I think?) and a non camera shy Long-eared Owl at Quendale Mill.
Although I didn't have any life ticks this time around I will of course be looking forward to my next trip to Shetland hopefully sooner than later.

photos of the Siberian Stonechat copyright of Hugh Harrop.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Hello Shetland!

Well , me and John, finally arrived in Shetland this morning. The Weather was pants and crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick wasn't great. With the only highlight of trip John saying hello to the toilet just after finishing our evening dinner!
Although the weather currently isn't great at the moment I expected the drunkbirders to find a few rarities in the next few days? Maybe....