Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Sightings over the last week or so.....

Little Egret on Plover Meadow at Cossington Meadows.

Record shot of the Great White Egret at Sheepy Magna.

Here is a list of sightings I saw over the last week or so....
17th January 2009: Soar Valley area.
Cossington Meadows LRWT.
2 Stonechats near the entrance to the reserve on sedge meadow.
1 Little Egret on the Plover Meadow/Lower Moor area.
Wanlip North "Lakes".
1 Dark bellied Brent Goose.
15+ White-fronted Geese.
2 Pink-footed Geese.
1 Buzzard.

18th January 2009: Sheepy Magna/Sheepy Parva.
1 Great White Egret seen by the fishing lake next to the San Giovanni restaurant.

24th January 2009: Leicestershire.
No sign of the female Ferruginous Duck at Wistow Pool.
Wanlip North "Lakes".
1 DB Brent Goose.
15+ White-fronted Geese

Cossington Mill and fields next to Cossington South GPs.
Juvenile Whooper Swan.
1 Brambling.
1 Lesser Redpoll.
30+ Chaffinches.
15+ Reed Buntings.
20+ Red-legged Partridges.
50+ Fieldfares.

Eyebrook Reservoir.
10+ Smew (6 drakes and at least 3 red-heads).

Monday, 26 January 2009

The internet back on!

Since last Friday my Internet connection has been down due to a fault at the local exchange. So a phone call from BT this morning told me the fault had been fixed so I'm back online! Hooray!!!
I will update my blog in the next day or so....

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Wildfowl count Watermead CP North/Birstall 19th Jan 2009.

Here is the list of Wildfowl I saw down at Watermead CP North/Birstall on the 19th January 2009:
Great Crested Grebe: 18, Cormorant: 18 (the FCX ringed bird was seen again), Grey Heron: 10, Mute Swan: 27, Canada Goose: 53, Greylag Goose: 9, Wigeon: 110, Gadwall: 52, Teal: 109, Mallard: 138, Shoveler: 74, Pochard: 22, Tufted Duck: 140, Goosander: 18, Goldeneye: 1, Little Grebe: 2, Gadwall x Mallard hybrid: 1, Moorhen: 13, Coot: 89, Kingfisher: 4, Lapwing: 360, and Golden Plover: 250+.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Oh I almost forgot Glaucous-winged Gull OMFL!!

Glaucous-winged Gull copyright of Newton Stringer

Twitching crowd for the Gull

Following news from John and Brian while I was at Caerlaverock, that their had seen the Glaucous-Winged Gull which had been found a couple of days earlier, myself and Dave Mack decided to go to Cleveland the next day as it would be a lifer for both of us.

Arriving at Cowpen Bewley landfill site at around 11.30am, and just as we were joining the crowd, the Gull flew from it's position and was lost from view as it when into the landfill site. Bugger!!!
Dave and me then waited and waited but the Gull wasn't playing ball, So after an hour and half waiting for the Gull and getting very cold we decided to get some chips in Hartlepool.

After Homer (via my Tomtom) had directed us to Hartlepool Headland we found a nearby chippy and a nice hot bag of fish and chips. Whilst eating the chips the pager went off and the Gull had been re found in the ploughed field next to the landfill tip, so after finishing the chips we drove back to the tip. On route to the tip we stopped a few birders by the roadside to tell them that the Gull was back at the ploughed field, which then unfold into a scene from the cartoon "Wacky Races" as the group got back into their cars and raced down the road!!

Arriving at the ploughed field it was a couple of minutes before myself and Dave picked up the bird feeding behind the farmer's tractor. Although it was difficult to pick up first the dark grey primaries stood out like a mile and it's distinctive head pattern was clearly seen.
We then watched the bird for the next ten minutes as it feed with the other assortment of gulls at this site.
Other features clearly seen included it's dark pinky legs and dark eye and the structure of the bird was more like a Glaucous Gull than the hundreds of nearby Herring Gulls.
Pleased of seeing the bird we decided it was time to drive back to Leicester via Middlesborough (for some Waxwings) as the quarry had been firmly tick on the list.
Just as we were leaving we met up with Simon Mitchie (Fellow Drunkbirder) and had a quick chat about the bird and the New Year.
Stopping off at Yarm/Eaglescliff and drive around the surrounding supermarkets we finally picked up the reported flock of 40+ Waxwings as there feed next to the nearby railway track.
Once again the North-East had come up with the goods and although it was bitterly cold for most of the day, it was refreshing to know that Glaucous-winged Gull was on my fu**ing list!!(OMFL).

Friday, 9 January 2009

Brent Goose OMF Soar Valley List!!!

Following another text message this afternoon from John Hague via Ben Croxtall to tell us that a Dark Belllied Brent Goose had joined the Geese flock down at Wanlip North GPs floodplain.
This was a MEGA bird for the Soar Valley recording area, so as you can imagine I drove pretty quick to get to the floodplain before it got too dark.
Parking by Cossington Mill, I soon joined Ben and Steve Lister who were watching the Goose.
Looking over the floodplain from the footpath, the Brent Goose was slowly feeding with a group of at least fifteen White-Fronted Geese and good numbers of Greylags and Canada Geese.
I punched the air after seeing the bird as this was a tick for me on my local patch.
Allen Pocock then joined us as we scanned the flock, and then suddenly Steve found a Egyptian Goose further right of the flock, and we all stated that who needs to go Norfolk when you get an assortment of geese on your doorstop!!
The Egyptian Goose was also a good bird for the Soar Valley (maybe one record a year if you are lucky?) so I expect a few local birders will be down the Soar Valley in the next couple of days.
Walking back to the cars at Cossington Mill, Ben confirmed that the Juvenile Whooper Swan was still with the Mute Swans by the Mill.
If I get time tomorrow I will try and get some photos of the assorted Geese and hopefully the Whooper Swan?

Return to Caerlaverock 2nd January 2009.

A fantastic shot of the Richardson's Goose!

small race Richardson's honest!

A very cold Folly's Pond in the afternoon sunshine.

As I returned home from Glasgow last Friday I stopped off at Caerlaverock WWT on way home.
I have only been to this reserve a couple of times but it's fantastic to see Geese and Ducks at a very close range. Sightings I saw around the reserve included the Drake American Wigeon, 4,000+ Barnacle Goose, a"small race" Richardson's Canada Goose,100+ Whooper Swans, 1st winter female-type Scaup, and good numbers of Wigeon, Teal and Tufted Duck. Also on the mammal front, I noted a nice group of six Roe Deers feeding in fields by the Avenue Tower hide.
Although I didn't connect with the other "small race" Canada Geese it was still a joy to watch and hear the calls of the Barnacle Geese coming into roost towards dusk.

After watching the Geese and Swans coming into roost the only problem was the long drive home!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Geese and Swans 8th January 2009.

After a text message via John Hague from Steve Lister that a Juvenile Whooper Swan, a Pink Footed Goose and at least five White Fronted Geese were feeding in fields between Cossington Mill and Wanlip North GPs. Meeting up with Allen Pocock at the site we soon saw the Whooper Swan as it was with a small group Mute Swans on the canal at Cossington Mill.As the Geese flock had been spooked by a Police Chopper earlier, myself and Allen took the footpath towards the Wanlip sewage works. As this footpath looks over the private fields at Wanlip North GPs, we soon saw the large flock of Geese in the surrounding fields.At this point the Geese got up and flew to a further field away, but we both picked up the Pink-Footed Goose in flight and a little later as the geese settled down, we saw at least five White-fronted Geese feeding in the middle of the Greylag flock.I think the wild geese in this flock has been around since last Autumn so hopefully there will stick around for a few days more?

Monday, 5 January 2009

Images of Scotland part 2.

More images from Scotland: from the the top Hector the superdog, Frost at Lochwinnoch RSPB, Lesser Scaup at Hogganfield Loch, Camphill at Queen's Park, Glasgow and Queen's Gate at Queen's Park.

Whoopers in Scotland ( Hogganfield Loch, Caerlaverock WWT and Lochwinnoch RSPB).

Over the Christmas period I saw good numbers of Whoopers Swans at three sites in Scotland.
Although Whoopers are quite a scarce bird in Leicestershire it was quite surreal to see Whooper Swans being fed by the general public.
Probably the most outrageous sighting was the group of fourteen swans at Hoggenfield Loch being fed by the locals down to two feet away!
Almost in the same vein was the count of over 200+ birds at Caerlaverock from the comfort of a nice and warm Peter Scott Observatory viewing tower showing down to five feet and finally slightly more distant than the previous birds was the group of sixteen Whoopers at Lochwinnoch RSPB.

Images of Scotland part 1 (Stirling Castle).

Here is some images of Scotland I took whilst staying with my brother Tim in Glasgow.