Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Albert Village revisited....24th February 2009.

2nd Winter Iceland Gull.

1st Winter Iceland Gull.

Before my late shift in the afternoon at the General I nipped over to Albert Village Lake again to check out the gulls.
Over the period of a couple of hours of watching the gulls I noted again that the 1st winter and 2nd winter Iceland Gulls were still around. As you can imagine I took a number of record shots of the birds.
Other gulls sightings included at least 1 adult Yellow-legged Gull, 1 adult Caspian Gull and a "probable" 3rd winter Caspian Gull.
As this site seems to be going through a purple patch at the moment I would imagine that I will checking it on regular basis in the next month or so?

Friday, 20 February 2009

White-winged Gull fest at Albert Village Lake.....20th February 2009.

2nd winter Glaucous Gull

2nd winter Iceland Gull

Adult Iceland Gull

After my exploits down in the south of the county looking for Iceland Gulls at Shawell tip I decide to check out Albert Village Lake in the extreme north-west of the county to see if there were any more Iceland Gulls to photo?
So earlier this morning myself and Dave Mack (McWilliams) drove over to Albert Village to see if we could see any of the Iceland Gulls which had been reported over the last few days.
Parking the car by the large locked car park, Dave suddenly realised that he had forgotten his bins and left them at home!!
So Dave using my Nikon bins and me using my Kowa scope we walked down the track and slowly started scanning the gull flock from the shoreline.
Within in about 5 minutes of scanning the large gull flock we found a 2nd winter Iceland Gull resting on the water!
Pleased on finding this bird I took a few record shots as this was a new bird to be reported at this site.
Scanning further along the line of gulls, I then found another Iceland Gull, but this time it was a 1st winter bird. This bird showed a typical 1st winter plumage and was much darker than the bird I had seen at Stanford Reservoir.
At this point I phoned Steve lister, John Hague and Birdnet to let them know about the sightings. The gulls then flew closer to us on the shoreline and we started to scan the gulls again.
Then suddenly me and Dave then picked up another white-winged gull as it flew along the line of the gulls but this time it was a 2nd winter Glaucous Gull!!
This was starting to get a bit silly as we had only been at this site for a half an hour and we had seen three different white-winged gulls in the space of fifteen minutes.
I took more record shots of the Glaucous Gull and then phoned John, Steve and Birdnet again about the sighting.
Due to work commitments in the afternoon myself and Dave could only spend another half a hour at this site, so we decided to scan the gulls again, we picked up the 2nd winter Iceland and Glaucous Gull again, but the 1st winter bird had disappeared. I took more record shots of the two birds and then John phoned us about the sightings. Whilst on the phone to John, Dave suddenly shouted out again and stated that he had another white-winged gull but this time it was an adult Iceland Gull!?!
Dave put me on the bird and then I took a few record shots of the bird.
As time was pressing, I phoned Birdnet again and let them know what we had seen over the last hour, which was truly remarkable.
Happy with the gulls we had seen we walked back to the car and then drove back to Leicester.

So to put this in context in gull watching terms for me in Leicestershire I had never seen so many white-winged gulls in one place in a single hour, and probably only Eyebrook Reservoir may have had the same number of white-winged gulls on a single day?

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Wales v England Six Nations Rugby 14th February 2009.

After finding the Iceland Gull I went home to watch the Six Nations and hopefully a Welsh victory against the old enemy Ingerland....

As usual the predictable bias from John Inverdale and Austin Healy was clear to see, and listening to the pundits(minus of course Jiffy) you would have thought that England were favourites to win the match minus the fact that Wales were the current Grand Slam champions! How wrong there were!!

With Martin Johnson managing the England Team, it wasn't surprising that England had come to Cardiff with negative ideas of how to play the game (ally Leicester Tigers) and as expected England played a very defensive game.

In the end the game was of a war of attrition between the two packs of forwards, but it was great to see that Wales were the composed team and ran out worthy winners in the end 23-15.
Although Joe Worsley won man of match for his defensive duties, I thought Gethin Jenkins, Ian Gough and Ryan Jones were very impressive in the Welsh pack and have probably booked there places for the up coming Lions tour to South Africa.

So two victories so far for Wales in the championship, and up next is the Allez Bleus (France) in Paris, maybe another great match to come?...

Oh it's an Iceland Gull!! 14th February 2009.

Following information from the LROS website the previous day that a 1st winter Iceland Gull had been seen at Shawell tip near Lutterworth I decided to nip out late morning to see if the gull was still around?
Getting to the tip just before the morning shift had finished I parked up in a nearby lay-by and watched the gulls by the roadside.
Scanning through the large number of gulls I could not pick up anything which looked like an Iceland Gull. At this point most of the gulls got up and flew off in a southerly direction, Bugger!!
Checking the fields just east of the village there still no sign of the Iceland Gull but a good assortment of the commoner gulls. From here I moved on to Stanford Reservoir which was just down the road.
Parking on the roadside, I walked down to the dam and noted that most of the reservoir was frozen. In the free bits of water were good numbers of Pochards, Tufted Ducks and 8 Goosanders. Scanning further right over a mix of large gulls standing on the ice I noticed straight way a 1st-winter Iceland Gull. Get In !!!
I don't know if it was the same bird which had been at Shawell Tip as it looked lighter than the bird I had seen on the website.
Walking quickly back to the car I picked up my camera and got back to the dam and then took a number of record shots of the gull so hopefully the local rarity committee can figure out if its a different bird or not?
Please with myself on finding the Iceland Gull I phoned a few friends of the sighting and then made my way back to the car, as there was a very important rugby match to watch in the afternoon, but that another story.....
Folllowing on from my sighting a 1st Winter Iceland Gull was reported via birdguides at Shawell Tip at around the same time I was photographing the Iceland Gull at Stanford Res so maybe there are two birds around in the same area?

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Glasgow and return to Tebay.....

Views of the countryside by Tebay.

View of snow covered trees near Queen's Park, Glasgow.

Queen's Park, Glasgow looking towards the Trossochs.

Same view but with more Snow!

Another view from the Tebay services.

More photos of Glasgow in the Snow and more photos of Tebay services when I drove back home from the Rugby match.

Tebay Motorway Services with lots of Snow.....

On route to Scotland for the Six Nations match I stopped off at Tebay Services probably the most pictureque motorway services in the country to take some photos of the lovely Snow!

Six Nations Rugby Scotland v Wales....Sunday 8th February 2009.

Over last weekend I stayed with my brother Tim and family (Lou, Laurie, Hector and Tammy the dogs) in Glasgow for the Six Nations rugby match Scotland V Wales which was played at Murryfield stadium in Edinburgh.
As usual with this fixture, Welsh supporters were out in force and a good 20,000 must have made there way up from the valleys to get up to Scotland, and I would imagine possible the same amount of pints were drunk over the period of the weekend!?

Wales ran out comfortable winners in the match 26-13, with Wales scoring tries from Tom Shanklin, Alan Wyn Jones, Leigh Halfpenney and the magical Shane Williams. Scotland replied with a nice try scored by Max Evans (Maybe Mr Hadden should have had him on from the start?).

Hopefully this is the start of another Grand Slam for Wales?

More Snow Pictures......

As it has been snowing over most the last week I took a number of photos of the heaviest snowfall for the UK for the last eighteen years.
These range from my local park to my journey (Tebay services and surrounding area) into Scotland to watch the rugby match between Scotland and Wales.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Support for my mate John!!

Here is small reply for my mate John's Blog "The Drunkbirders". As he seems to be getting grief from a TWAT called petetank11, why don't you just grow up and stop being so thin-skinned.
I think it is called freedom of speech and we don't live in a fascist state, so if you are not happy with his blog, DON'T READ IT!!!!
Rant over, normal service will return shortly......

Monday, 2 February 2009

Let it Snow, Let it Snow.... 2nd February 2009.

Views of my garden and local park covered in lovely snow!!

Anything for weekend Sir?... Blyth Spartans,Waxwings and not a student any more!!

The mighty Leicestershire Spartans!

Over the last weekend me and John went to our annual trip to Hinckley United to see them play the mighty Blyth Spartans.
Before getting to the match, we stopped off at Avery Hill, Braunstone to look at the large flock of Waxwings which had been around for the last few days. Counting at least 45 birds in the nearby trees we were soon back on the road to Hinckley.
Meeting up with Mark and a couple of friends at the Railway Inn in Hinckley town centre, we had a couple of drinks there before meeting up with the rest of Blyth Spartans away support at Hinckley United social club.

The match was pretty uneventful except for some shite decisions by the referee, some fanastic unhealthy food in the shape of a beef burger and chips at half-time and Blyth going down to two goals to one at the final whistle.
As usual the banter was great from the Blyth supporters and it always surprises me the amount of supporters this great non-league club take to away matches!
Hopefully before the end of the season I will try and see the mighty Spartans again!
Finally as most of my friends will know I finished my nursing course over the last week and will not be a student any more. It feels a bit strange but I'm glad now that its all over except of course for my final results which come out in Mid February?!