Sunday, 30 November 2008

Anything for the weekend Sir? Wales Beat the Aussies!!!

Well done to the Wales rugby team for beating Australia yesterday 21-18, a much deserved win against one of the Big Three from the Southern Hemisphere (South Africa, the cheating All Blacks and the moaning Aussies!) for the first time in three years.
Tries from Shane Williams and Lee Bryne helped Wales produce an excellent first half perform ace.
In the second half the Aussies up there game, but through penalties and a drop-goal scored by Stephen Jones handed Wales a much needed breathing space in the match and ran out winners of a thrilling match.
With the British Lions touring South Africa in the Summer 2009, I would expect after this performace a few players in the Welsh team have booked there tickets for this forthcoming tour?

Sunday, 23 November 2008

2 Bar X-bill, Waxwings and Let it Snow Bunting?!!

lovely cuddly Snow Bunting

Mr Hague and a Snow Bunting


Waxwings again
One of John's photos of the
Two-barred Crossbill.

Another early start as I picked up John at around 5.30 am and we drove north to North Yorkshire and Cleveland to see if we could photo the long staying Two-barred Crossbill and good numbers of Waxwings.
Arriving at Bilsdale, just south of Stokesley we parked the car next to the main road, and then walked up the farm track. As we walked up the track towards Grafitts Farm it started to snow as had been predicted the previous day. Although the snow shower was short lived, it was still bitterly cold and temperature would stay the same all day just above freezing.
Standing by the farm buildings we had to wait about half an hour before the Crossbill showed itself to the small crowd. John took a few distant shots of the Crossbill as it fed in the nearby larch trees.
Whilst photographing the Crossbill, John received a phone call from Steve Lister to let us know that he had re found the "reported" Snow Bunting at Beacon Hill back in Leicestershire.
Moving on to Middlesborough and checking out Skipper's Lane Industrial estate, it wasn't long before we found a flock of 45+ Waxwings feeding on the nearby rowan trees.
Over the next hour the flock flew around the industrial estate and we got some excellent photos of the flock.
As the Snow Bunting was a good bird for Leicestershire we decided to drive back to Leicestershire, so after driving for a couple of hours we reached Beacon Hill.
We checked out the summit but we couldn't find the bunting, so decided to split up and check other parts of the hill.
After a few minutes of searching John then almost stood on the bird as he walked down the left hand track.
With such a confiding bird we tooks lots of photos of this cracking Snow Bunting and finished off an excellent day birding.
Thanks to John for supplying the photos of the Two-barred Crossbill and Snow Bunting.

Monday, 17 November 2008

November Wildfowl Count for Watermead CP North and Birstall.

Hi all, here is the latest wildfowl count for Watermead CP North and Birstall.Great Crested Grebe: 21, Cormorant: 37 (this count included the returning Scottish ringed bird FCX), Grey Heron: 8, Mute Swan: 36, Canada Goose: 25, Wigeon: 246, Gadwall: 89, Teal: 49, Mallard: 100, Shoveler: 34, Pochard: 1, Tufted Duck: 86, Little Grebe: 6, Goosander: 2, Goldeneye: 2, Moorhen: 18, Coot: 86, Kingfisher: 3, Water Rail: 4, Lapwing: 60, Snipe: 2, and Hybrid Goose: 1.
Other sightings seen in the area included 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Cetti's Warbler and 1 Buzzard.
(The Rangers at Watermead also reported a flock of 15+ probable Bewick Swans over King's Lear Lake early afternoon, but I couldn't find them in the area later in the day).

I also checked out Cossington Meadows later in the afternoon, hopefully to find some Short-eared Owls, but for some numpties (or dog walkers for short!) no Owls appeared in gloom.The only other sighting I saw down at Cossington Meadows was a male Stonechat by the entrance to the reserve.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Fudge Duck reappears!

A quick text message in the morning from John Hague let me know that the Ferruginous Duck had been re found by Allen Pocock at Groby Pool. So after finishing the early shift I drove over to the pool.
Meeting up with Brian Moore and Allen we so found the drake Ferruginous Duck on the north side of the pool. Although it was quite distant I could not seen any hybridization in the duck's plumage so it was probably the bird which was previously recorded at Sence Valley Forest Park and Thornton Reservoir.
The only problem was that were the hell had it been the previous couple of weeks?
So after watching the duck for a good half an hour I had to leave the pool as I had a prior appointment in the evening with a few nurses at Chinese restaurant in the city, but that another story!?!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Steppe Grey Shrike OMFL!!!

Numpties chasing the shrike!

As news broke of the "Steppe" Great Shrike on Friday evening I couldn't do anything about until today (Tuesday) due to Wales V South Africa game at the weekend.
Leaving Leicester just before 9.00am I was at the Shrike site within an hour and forty minutes.
As John Hague and Brian Moore had seen the bird the day before I soon realised what there had said about how approachable it was. Viewing the Shrike in the bushes by the footpath, the Shrike suddenly flew past me down to less than a couple of feet away.
As you can imagine I took a few record shots of the bird. It was quite interesting to note that the Shrike looked pinky on the breast and reminded me a little bit of an Isabelline Shrike with this colouration.
Due to work commitments in the afternoon I could only watch the Shrike for just under an hour so it did feel a bit like a tick and run bird!, but thankfully another world tick under the belt!?

Monday, 10 November 2008

So close yet so far..... Wales V South Africa

In the lap of the gods!

Over the weekend myself and my brother Tim went down to Cardiff to watch Wales play South Africa.
With a capacity crowd again in the millennium stadium, the first half belonged to the Springboks as there led 13-3 at half time through an early try scored by Adrian Jacobs and Ruan Pienaar adding a conversion and penalty.
The Springboks extended their lead early in the second half when Jean de Villiers intercepted a James Hook pass to breakaway and score.
After this score the game totally changed and Wales went on the offensive and over the next 30 minutes it was mostly one way traffic as Wales pounded the Springboks try line.
Andy Powell was outstanding on his international debut with a couple of stirring runs, but try as their might Wales could not break the Boks defensive line and were only rewarding with four penalties scored by James Hook.
In the last few minutes of the match Wales made a couple of mistakes as their pounded the line for the winning try and the Boks scrambled the ball away into safety.
So at the end of the match the game finished Wales 15 South Africa 20, and I had lost my voice for shouting too much. I felt that Wales had pushed the Boks all the way but just couldn't score the winning try.
Hopefully over the next couple of weeks in this autumn series Wales can also push the All Blacks and Aussies all the way and finally beat a southern hemisphere team?

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Pinkies and a Scoter.

As I was working later in the day, I decided to check out Dean's Lane, Beacon Hill to do a bit of Vis Migging in the morning.
Although I got there a bit late at around 10.00 am, I noted straight the way that a large movement of thrushes was occurring as I had seen over 200 Redwings and Fieldfares within twenty minutes.
Then at around 11.00am I spotted a group of fourteen geese flying over the ridge just below the lane from a north-west direction. As there came closer I realised that there were Pink-footed Geese and were probably migrating south in the direction of the east coast.
Over the next half an hour I counted more winter thrushes and small groups of finches like Siskins, Chaffinches and probably Lesser Redpolls.
Please of what I had seen over the last hour and half, I then moved onto Swithland Reservoir.
Scanning the reservoir and seeing the usual suspects I noticed something slightly different in a small group of Tufted Ducks. I realised straight the way that I was looking at a female Common Scoter. Although it wasn't a year tick for the county, as I had seen the group of sixteen Common Scoter previously in April of this year, it's always nice to find a sea duck so far inland.
Also as Common Scoters are quite scarce in Leicestershire any time of the year I phoned the news out of the sighting.
After getting better views of the Scoter from the Kinchley Lane viewpoint, I reluctantly drove back home to collect my stuff for work, but was pleased that I had found a couple of good birds for the county.