Thursday, 30 April 2009

Indiana Dave and the search for Orchids!?!

As it's the first of May tomorrow, the official start of my Orchid hunting begins.
Over the weekend I will check out a couple of local sites and then on the Bank Holiday Monday I will be going down to Kent to finally see Early Spider Orchid.
Photos and the trip report to follow shortly, well in the next couple of days........

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Soar Valley sightings 28th April 2009.

Hi all, check out a few sites in the valley yesterday, although there wasn't much to report!?Probably the highlight of the day was seeing 3 Little Egrets and 1 Yellow Wagtail on the Hobley Pool/Upper Marsh section of Cossington Meadows.
Other sightings included the long staying drake Red crested Pochard and good numbers of Swifts (20+) at Watermead CP South.
Strangly for the time of the year Wanlip Meadows was very quiet with only a Common Sandpiper and 3 Common Terns the only noteworthy sightings.
Hopefully with the weekend looking good weather wise we should get some more unusal sightings or probably I'm just tempting fate?!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Adder in Vc 55 plus bits and bobs.....

Adder in Vc 55!

Early on Wednesday morning, I nipped over to Rutland to see if I could find the reported Adders which had been showing on and off for the last few days.

Arriving at the location and using the directions from Colin Towe and Chris Lythall, within in five minutes of checking the site I saw an Adder basking itself on rocks next to the footpath.
As you can imagine I took few record shots of the Adder as it slowly warmed itself up on the rocks.
The Adder took about half an hour to warm up and then slowly moved back in the vegetation.
With the quarry under the belt, other sightings in the surrounding area included a singing Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Green Woodpecker and Jay.
Happy with what I had seen I then moved on to the dam at Rutland Water.

Scanning from the dam I finally picked up the long staying Great Northern Diver after a few minutes which was actually just off Whitwell Creek!!, and then the "showy" drake Scaup which was just off the dam.
From the dam I drove back to Soar Valley as I need to digiscope the two Pec Sands which were still at Cossington Meadows, but that another story.......

So on the whole my quick nip into Rutland had been quite productive with a year tick in the form of Diver and an excellent county tick in the shape of the cracking Adder!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Pec Sands at Cossington Meadows over the last few days.

Pectoral Sandpipers at Cossington Meadows.

As usual I was at work when the news came out about the Pec Sandpipers at Wanlip Meadows, then later the next day at Cossington Meadows.
I finally caught up with the Sandpipers on the Tuesday afternoon when there were showed well on Plover Meadow.
So over the last couple of days due to no work commitments I have taken a few record shots of the Pec Sands.
Other sightings I seen in the valley have included the long-staying Whooper Swan still at Wanlip North/Cossington Mill area, and a single Green Sandpiper.
Birds in the same area as the Sandpipers have included a single summer plumaged Dunlin and 1 Little Egret, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and the usual waders.
So over the last ten days the Soar Valley has had a great run of rare and unusual birds for Leicestershire, and I'm just wondering what's next on the list? Hopefully a Cattle Egret or another rare wader in the form of a Broad-billed Sandpiper or something of the same?!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Red crested Pochard at Watermead CP South. 17th April 2009.

After finishing work I checked out Watermead South to see if there were any Terns around?
Getting out of the car and walking towards the shoreline. I noticed straight away a MEGA bird for the Soar Valley. The MEGA bird was a lovely drake Red-crested Pochard!!
In almost twenty years of watching my local patch of the Soar Valley this was the first time I had ever seen a Red-crested Pochard in the Soar Valley.
So over the last week I've had three local patch ticks, Red-rumped Swallow, Avocet and the icing on the cake, the drake Red-crested Pochard.
Knowing that the duck was quite rare in the valley I texted and phoned my birding mates of my find.
As the duck was showing very well off the car park due to constant feeding of bread by the locals I took a few record shots of the bird.

Just before driving home I checked out the scrape at Wanlip Meadows and noted that two Green Sandpipers was still there, but no sign of yesterday's Avocet.

Cheers to John for the supplying the top shot of the Red-crested Pochard.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Soar Valley sightings 16th April 2009.

Avocet at Wanlip Meadows!!

Hi all, I checked a couple of sites this morning in the Soar Valley.
At Cossington Meadows this morning sightings I saw included a Grasshopper Warbler "reeling" on the Lower marsh section, but there was no sign of the previous day's Avocets on Hobley Pool. Other spring migrants seen included Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and good numbers of Swallows, House Martins, and Sand Martins.
At Wanlip Meadows I re found one of the Avocets feeding on the scrape and other waders seen included 2 Green Sandpipers, a couple of Dunlins, an Oystercatcher and the other usual waders.
Other spring migrants recorded on the scrape included 3 Yellow Wagtails and small numbers of Martins and Swallows.

Soar Valley sightings 15th April 2009.

Hi all, check out a couple of sites this morning and saw at least three Green Sandpipers on the scrape with the other usual waders at Wanlip Meadows.The only other noteworthy sighting I had in the morning was in the form of a female Common Scoter on Watermead CP South next to the island.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Red-rumped Swallow....Watermead CP North NOW !!!, bugger, shite, stuck at work!!!

Red-rumped Swallow twitch.

Yesterday Morning at around 8.15am I got a phone call from Rob Gill who was at Watermead CP North and he had found a Red-rumped Swallow in the mobile hirundine flock.
At this point, panic struck in as I knew that I couldn't get out of work until mid-afternoon at the earliest, so I thought, bugger, shite, stuck at work!!
I phoned and sent text messages around to let my birding mates of the discovery of the Red-rumped and then got back to dealing with the day job.
Checking my Birdnet pager and Birdguides on the ward computer at regular occasions, to make sure the bird was still there, it wasn't until after three pm, that I finally left the hospital.
As Watermead CP is not that far from the General Hospital, I finally arrived at the "Pec Pit" opposite the Hope and Anchor pub just after 3.20pm.
It took me a few minutes to locate the bird as it flew over the gravel pit feeding with the other hirundines, but was relieved that the bird was still around and finally seeing it as it was a local patch tick to boot!!
Watching the swallow for the next hour or so the bird showed well over the gravel pit.
Meeting up with Ben Croxtall later he let me know that close by at Cropston Resevoir the 2 Red-breasted Mergansers and Common Scoters were still around.
Leaving the small crowd at Watermead, it only took me a few minutes to drive over to Cropston Reservoir.
Viewing from the dam, I picked up the assorted seaducks straight away as there feed in front of the dam.
Also as usual I took a few record shots of the Mergansers and the more distant Scoter.
Pleased with seeing these scarce ducks in Leicestershire, I then returned to Watermead CP North to see if the Red rumped Swallow was showing any closer before driving home?
Arriving back at the site the Swallow was now showing down to a few feet and I got the best views I ever had of seeing this species. So at the end of the day I would like to thank Rob for finding an excellent bird and maybe I didn't need to panic so much at work earlier in the day?!?
Thanks to John Hague and Ian Merrill for the excellent photos of the Red-rumped Swallow.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Avocets once again at Eyebrook......1st April 2009.

Avocets at Eyebrook res

Although it was my day off from work, I had to do a few things in town, so I couldn't get over to Eyebrook Reservoir until the afternoon, as a pair of Avocets had been reported at the inflow end.
Getting to the reservoir early afternoon, I was soon ticking off Avocet for my slowly increasing year list.
The two birds were were feeding on the shoreline and not too far from the viewing point, so I decided to take a few digishots of the birds.
Whilst at this site other sightings I saw included the long staying Green-winged Teal, a female Pintail (which was a year tick!) and one of the local Red Kites.
After leaving Eyebrook I checked out Cossington Meadows, one of my local patches in the Soar Valley before returning home.
Birds I recorded included 3 Little Egrets, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, a couple of Oystercatchers and finally a couple of Swallows flying over the tern pool.