Sunday, 28 December 2008

Scottish Birding and other things like Xmas!

As most of friends will know I have been in Scotland (Glasgow) since the 23rd to enjoy the delights of a Scottish Christmas and New Year with my brother's family.
Bird highlights over the last few days included:
23rd December 2008:Caerlaverock WWT.
5,000+ Barnacle Geese,200+ Whooper Swans,3 Scaup (1st winter bird and 2 females),Peregrine, 100+ Twite (on the saltmarsh) and also good numbers of Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler.

25th December 2008: Queens Park, Shawlands, Glasgow.
2 Goosanders (Male and Female) on the small boating lake.

27th December 2008:Hogganfield Loch, Glasgow.
Drake Lesser Scaup, 10+ Whooper Swans, female Scaup, Adult Yellow-Legged Gull, 4 Shoveler and good numbers of Goosanders, Goldeneyes, Pochard and Teal.

28th December 2008: Clyde area and Lochwinnoch RSPB.
Lochwinnoch RSPB
16 Whooper Swans and good numbers of Goosanders and Goldeneyes.
Port Glasgow area (Newark Castle and West Ferry shoreline).
500+ Eider, 10+ Red breasted Mergansers,3 Slavonian Grebes and a male Pintail.
Also recorded in the area included good numbers of Shags, Goldeneyes, Curlews, Oystercatchers, Shelducks, Wigeons and Redshanks.

31st December 2008: Hogganfield Loch.
Drake Lesser Scaup, 14 Whooper Swans and 14 Goosanders.

Waxwings again but this time in Leicestershire! 21st December 2008.

Here a few photos of the Waxwings at Barrow-upon-Soar which I saw just before Christmas.
As I had previously said on the Soar Valley Birding Blog, it's amazing how Waxwings seem to find another flock of Waxwings in the space of a couple of days (If you get my drift?!).

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Soar Valley Birding 11th December 2008.

A walk around Watermead CP Birstall/North section produced good numbers of wintering Goosanders (35 at least with the majority seen on the King Lear's Lake). Also noted by the tarmac track towards Plover hide was a calling Cetti's Warbler. Although it didn't show it self it was probably male bird as at one stage it did it's explosive trilling call!
The only other noteworthy sighting in the area was a single Shelduck on the scrape at Wanlip Meadows.

Monday, 8 December 2008

White-winged Gulls again! Sunday 7th December 2008.

After finishing on the early shift at the General, I drove over to Eyebrook Reservoir, to look for the 2nd winter Glaucous Gull which had been re found in fields next to the reservoir.
Parking up next to the hedge by the island, as I got out of my car I heard Mick Ketley's voice shout out that the Glaucous Gull was flying over the road, which upon I looked up and saw the big brute of a Glaucous Gull flying over the road into the fields behind the reservoir. Result!!!
Joining Mick and the Brett's by the island we waited for a few minutes hopefully for the Glaucous Gull to return, but strangely after half an hour the bird had not returned.
With this we started to scan the in coming gull roost hopefully to see the Glaucous Gull again and the long staying Iceland Gull which had been returning to the reservoir for the last three weeks.
Over the next hour good numbers of large gulls joined the roost, with others sightings included a single drake Smew and smart looking male Pintail in the large numbers of feeding ducks.
Then at around 3.45pm I re found the 1st Winter Iceland Gull as it joined the roost. It briefly washed itself just south of the island, and then joined the main roost as it came quite close to the Gull watchers feeding off the point next to the island. My aborted attempt of trying to digiscoping the Iceland Gull failed miserable as there was just not enough light in the day left.
As the gloom descended we scanned the roost for a few minutes more but there was still no sign of the Glaucous Gull. Maybe it had roosted at Rutland Water?
By 4.30pm it was getting to dark to view the roost and decided to call it a day and by now my feet had turned into ice blocks!!
So in conclusion not a bad afternoon's birding with two white-winged gulls under the belt, a now rare occurrence in Leicestershire birding circles!?

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Iceland Gull at Eyebrook Res this afternoon. Saturday 6th December 2008.

After walking round Cossington Meadows I drove over to Eyebrook Reservoir to see if the long-staying Iceland Gull would come into the gull roost.
The majority of the large gulls took their time to come into the roost with the 1st Winter Iceland Gull arriving at 16.20pm. Slightly disappointing for the other gull watchers was the no show of the previous day's 2nd Winter Glaucous Gull in the roost.
Other sightings on the reservoir included 2 nice looking drake Smews which had arrived on the previous Thursday(via information from Mick Ketley!).
Hopefully before the end of the year Eyebrook Reservoir will have more white-winged gull sightings?

Cossington Meadows 6th December 2008.

A walk around the reserve produced an excellent count of six Stonechats (Five males and a single female). Three birds were seen on the Swan Meadow, two on the Lower Marsh section and a single male in fields next to Rectory Marsh. The female bird was ringed.The only other notable sighting around the reserve was a single Little Egret on the Upper Marsh.