Friday, 30 October 2009

Vis-mig this morning- very quiet!

Got up early this morning to do some vis-migging before my late shift at the General.
Reaching Deans Lane at around 7.20am I noticed that the visibility was shite and you could only see about a mile distance in all directions!
So over the two hours I was at Deans Lane, the highlight of the morning was a flock of 14 Crossbills in the nearby conifers just after 7.30am.
Other sightings over included 630 Starlings, 248 Redwings, 4 Fieldfares, 156 Wood Pigeons, 39 Chaffinches, 19 Siskins, 8 Redpoll Sp, 12 Meadow Pipits, 13 Skylarks, 13 Finch Sp, 1 Stock Dove, 1 Blackbird, 2 Yellowhammers and 1 Grey Heron migrating South-West.
As the weather looks pants for the weekend, strong winds and rain showers I will probably spent a bit more time in bed this weekend?

Thursday, 29 October 2009

More Owls at Cosso!

After yesterday's discovery at Cossington Meadows I went down again this evening. I met up with John, Roger Davis and Steve Campsell on the reserve. So over the next hour we scanned the Swan Meadow and the surrounding fields and found at least 3 Barn Owls (maybe even four?!), 2 Short-eared Owls, 3 Little Owls and a single Tawny Owl calling.
Although it's only the end of October, I think its been an excellent year down the Soar Valley sites and just shows what potential this area can produce!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Owl-tastic Cossington Meadows this evening!

After finishing my night shifts this morning and a few hours sleep in the morning I decided to check out Cossington Meadows in the afternoon to see the long staying Barn Owls.
Arriving at the site around 4.00pm it was pretty quiet for a half an hour as I scanned the Swan Meadow, but then briefly I saw a Barn Owl flying over the nearby "Moor" for a couple of minutes.
I then meet up with Steve Campsell and his wife who had also seen the Barn Owl briefly.
Over the next 20 minutes there was no sign of any Owls, Steve and his wife left me just before it started to get dark, and then suddenly I picked up two Short-eared Owls hunting over the northern end of the Swan Meadow. This was followed by at least one Barn Owl hunting over the same meadow. Then finally as I just about to leave for home I had two Little Owls calling in the nearby trees and the large hedge between Swan Meadow and the Moor.
So an excellent fifteen minutes of sightings before dusk and I would imagine that a few more birders will be at this site in the next day or so?!

Visible Migration at Work!?

Once again I'm on nights but what is interesting is that I can hear Redwings and Fieldfares calling as their go over the General Hospital and this is at 1.30am in the morning.
Checking out the Trektellen website it looks like a major movement of winter thrushes is occurring as large numbers were recorded on the east coast between Norfolk and Flamborough Head and the West coast of Holland and Belgium.
Although I will be asleep later this morning I would imagine good numbers of winter thrushes will be recorded at a number of inland sites via some visible migration?!......

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Arse stuck at work!! and a Blowout?!................

Two photos of the Little Bittern
at Cossington Meadows LRWT.
(copyright of Jim Graham).

As usual after taking a week off from work, and back to work on the Monday the megas turn up!
Firstly, Jim Graham found a Little Bittern down at Cossington Meadows, the first live sighting in Leicestershire period and a mega tick for the local patch. But as I was stuck at work I couldn't do anything about until the next day at the earliest. So to cut a long story short I spent the next two days at this site trying to re find the Bittern, but as usual the bird had probably flown the previous night? (I did however get a Soar Valley Tick though in the form of a Barn Owl hunting over the swan meadow, which was small compensation!).
Following this two days later after I checked out Rutland Water for the Red-throated Divers and a variety of wildfowl in the north arm(Whooper Swans and Common Scoters), I had a major blowout on my front left tyre driving towards Preston village on my way to Eyebrook Res!
So as I didn't have the back-up team for Sebastian Loeb rally car it took me the next two hours to change the wheel.
So when I returned home later in the evening, what goes and happens but the bloody MEGA alert goes off and an Eastern Crowned Warbler (first record for the UK- see link above) has been found at South Shields in Geordieland!!, and I knew that I couldn't do anything about it as I was stuck at work until the Monday at least.

Update on Sunday morning:
So as I write this I know that the warbler has buggered off saturday night and pleased that I don't have to make the journey up to geordieland, fight the twitching masses to see the bird and hopefully in a year or so time the drunkbirders will find one on Shetland?! He's hoping.....................

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Vis Mig over the week..........................

Over the last week I been doing a lot of Vis Migging (Visible Migration) at Deans Lane, Beacon Hill, near Loughborough.
The highlights over the week have included a Ringtail Hen Harrier flying SW over the lane on Wednesday. Large numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares have steadily increased over the week, with excellent count of Redwings on Friday and Saturday (1261 on Friday and 1485 Saturday).
Other highlights have included small numbers of Crossbills, Bramblings and good numbers of birds of prey over this site.
Like with seawatching Vis-migging can be very addicted and would I recommend it to any birder who interested in migration and hopefully in the next couple of weeks more exciting sightings to come?................

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Brown Shrike OMFL!!

Above: Two record shots of the
Brown Shrike at Staines Moor.

Twitchers at the Brown Shrike!

On Tuesday following info the previous day, that a Red-backed Shrike had been re-id as a 1st winter Brown Shrike at Staines Moor, near Heathrow, West London.
So following news via my Birdnet pager it took me a couple of hours to drive to the site after leaving Leicester around 9.30am.
Arriving at the moor, it was only a matter of time until I finally saw the Brown Shrike in the nearby hawthorn bushes. Over the next hour or so, I watched the shrike as it flew around the nearby bushes and as usual I took a few record shots of the Shrike.
Happy with seeing the Shrike and it firmly on my tick list I drove home with no hold up on the motorways except for a couple of Tw*ts in a BMW and White Van Man driving like arseholes!!

Caspian Gull Watermead CP South 12th October 2009.

Hi all, here is a couple of digishots of the adult Caspian Gull at Watermead CP South yesterday afternoon.
I first saw it on the largest pit next to the car park and then on the large "sprint" building roof with other Lesser BB Gulls, before flying off north.
I relocated the Casper later on at Birstall Meadows as the gulls came into pre roost at this site at around 5.00pm.
Although its not a major rarity I think this is probably the first record for the Soar Valley?
* Foot note* As Steve Lister thinks this bird is not a Caspian Gull I just wondered what other people think of the above Gull, I look forward to your comments..........................

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Vis Mig again............. Redwings and Fieldfares!

Before my late shift today at the General I had time to do a bit of vis-migging at Dean's Lane, Beacon Hill in the morning.
Meeting Steve Lister at the viewpoint at around 8.00am, it wasn't long before we started to pick up small groups of Redwings as there flew over the lane.
Over the next two hours we saw good numbers of Redwings, an assortment of Finches, 4 local Crossbills and the probably the first two Fieldfares recorded this autumn in the county.
Taken from the Trektellen website here is the count for the morning:
Common Snipe 1
Song Thrush 1
Black-headed Gull 5
Redwing 119
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1
Starling 136
Skylark 14
Chaffinch 43
Meadow Pipit 7
Greenfinch 21
alba wagtail sp. 7
Goldfinch 3
Fieldfare 2
Totals: 360 individuals, 13 species, 2:35 hours

With the movement of winter thrushes I can say that Autumn has finally arrived and hopefully some decent sightings in Leicestershire for the next few weeks?!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Lists..............slightly worrying!!

As I'm currently on my last night shift for the week and to pass the boredom I thought I would look up the different lists I keep. I don't know if its me or not but most birders or even males seem to have an Asperger's syndrome trait when collecting different lists.
Looking up the different lists which I keep range from my current BOU list through to the number of orchids species I have seen in the UK and finishing with the list of Cetaceans I have seen in European and UK Waters.
Here is a list of the current lists I keep!!
Bird Lists:
BOU List: 435 species
Leicestershire (VC 55) List: 247+ two heard only (Bearded Tit and Lapland Bunting).
Local Patch List: Soar Valley, Leicestershire 183 species.
Midlands Region List: Not sure but probably close to 300 species?
Leicestershire Day List: 110 species seen on 29th April 2007 with help from Mr Rob Fray (county record).
Orchid Lists:
UK Orchid List: up to the present day 38 species + numerous varieties and hybrids seen out of a possible 56 species recorded in the UK.
Leicestershire Orchid List: 15 species out of a possible 23 species recorded on the VC plant list.
Cetacean Lists:
UK waters Cetacean List: 9 species seen in the UK.
European Waters Cetacean List: 21 species mostly seen in Biscay and off the Canaries.
Dragonfly List:
UK Dragonfly List: Not sure how many I have seen but probably in the mid forties?
Butterfly List:
UK Butterfly List: Again not sure how many I have seen in the UK but probably around 40 species seen.

So looking at the list I keep at least 11different lists of the birds, animals and plants I have recorded over the last thirty years I have been interested in wildlife. Possible due to my lack of sleep I think this is slightly worrying?!

Monday, 5 October 2009

I spoke too soon............Pec Sand at EBR!

After finishing my latest entry(see below) and what goes and happens but a Pectoral Sandpiper is found at Eyebrook Reservoir! (Thanks to John and Colin for letting me of the bird).

Although I didn't need it for the year as I had connected with the two spring birds at Cossington Meadows, you never say no to a Yankee wader in the county. So after finishing my early shift at the general hospital, I was soon at EBR, but one slightly problem happen as I got out of car, the bloody thing flew off!, Bugger!!
So over the next half an hour I searched for the bird around the island but of course I should have just gone to the inflow end as the bird reappeared there in the matter of a few minutes.
Reaching the inflow end I meet up with Dave Mack and his daughter Hilde and spoke about next week if a biggy was found on the Scillies?
Scoping from the roadside I picked up the Sandpiper in a large group of Lapwings as it feed on the muddy shoreline, and as usual I took a few crappy record shots of the bird.
The only other notable sightings I saw at the inflow end included one male Red-crested Pochard and a couple of Pintails before driving home to watch the Ospreys play Edinburgh via BBC Wales to gem myself up for the forthcoming Tigers v Ospreys game next weekend.
So on the whole not a bad afternoon and I just wondered if any county in the UK has had three Pec Sands in one year?

Sunday, 4 October 2009

All quiet on the Leicestershire front!

With the proverbial fan going off in the Northern Isles, Leicestershite has been very quiet by comparison over the last week.
As usual we had a couple non twitchable Arctic Skuas fly through Rutty Water, but the rest of the county has been devoid of any note able birdlife!
I've flogged the Soar Valley to death over the week and the only highlight has been a single Little Egret at Cossington Meadows ,and a few Golden Plovers on the scrape at Wanlip Meadows.
On the vis-migging front the highlight so far has been a late Yellow Wagtail over Dean's Lane and a good passage of Meadow Pipits over the week at this site.
As I have got nights this week, I will hopefully get out in the afternoons to see if anything unusual have been reported in the county?! Here's hoping.........................

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Student no more.............

On Wednesday I finally found out that I had passed my last assignment for my nurse training.
So now my job title will be changing to Staff Nurse and the end of the era as I will not be a student any more!!
I will still be working at the General Hospital but I will have more responsibilities like giving out medication and stabbing people legally with needles and hopefully a bright future in my new job role?!