Sunday, 29 November 2009

Good Day at Rutty!

Although I'm not a big fan of Rutland Water due to fact that its just to big to do some birding, sometimes it can be brilliant!
Starting at Whitwell and meeting up with Ben Croxtall, Andy Forryan( part of the Groby crew) and Matt Berriman mid morning we were soon looking at 3 Great Northern Divers and 2 Red-throated Divers viewed between Whitwell, the Dam and the North Arm.
Moving on to the North Arm by Tim's cottage and meeting up with the Bretts, the group started to scan the nearby water and a number of sightings included a small flock of "wild" Barnacle Geese, a Little Egret, 5 Red-crested Pochards (3 males and 2 females) and then suddenly Andy Brett shouted out that he had found a Grey Phalarope flying down the North Arm!
With in a minute or so the whole group had connected with the bird as it flew around the north arm and then briefly resting on the water in the large flock of ducks. At this point a Peregrine tried to have it for lunch but strangely enough the Phalarope escaped the clutches of the Peregrine and flew off towards the Lagoons never to be see again.
Although this wasn't a year tick for me as I had seen loads in Biscay this autumn, I was pleased to see a Grey Phalarope in county for the first time in over five years!
Next stop was a food stop in Oakham and a few phone calls about the Phalarope and then onto the reserve and the possibility of a couple of roosting Long-eared Owls or LEO's for short.
Walking up to Fieldfare hide I soon rejoined Matthew, Ben and Andy who were scoping the Owls.
OK so the views weren't great and you can forget any digishots of the Owls, but hey it was year tick so nothing to sniff about!
At this point we then decided to have a look for the Black-necked Grebes off Gadwall hide and soon picked up five birds feeding between Goldeneye and Gadwall hides.
After a small detour to Exton to look for the non-showing Black Redstart it was back onto the reserve to check on the Gull roost on Lagoon 4.
So over the next forty minutes we picked up two Med Gulls (1st winter and a nice looking adult bird) and an interesting looking 1st winter Caspian Gull (well done to Andy for finding it!) to finish off an excellent day and I forgot to say that the Med Gulls were also year ticks as well, so a great way to finish the day!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Caption Competition!

Here is the latest caption competition of a group of butterfly twitchers photographing a corking purple emperor!
The best quote will win a prize of a magic tea-bag!?!

More shots of "Harold" Whooper Swan!

Here is a few more shots of "Harold" the Whooper Swan at Watermead CP South.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Wildfowl Count: Watermead CP North& Birstall section 22nd November 2009.

On the Sunday I did the monthly wildfowl count around Watermead CP North and Birstall section.
So here is the scores on the doors!:
Great Crested Grebe:27, Cormorant: 32, Grey Heron: 10, Mute Swan: 91, Canada Goose: 91, Wigeon: 205, Gadwall: 114, Teal: 184, Mallard: 184, Shoveler: 33, Pochard: 2, Tufted Duck: 92, Little Grebe: 3, Moorhen: 26, Coot: 277, Kingfisher: 3, Greylag Goose: 3, Lapwing: 136, Golden Plover: 213, Water Rail:2 and Goosander: 8.
The highlights were the returning Goosanders, a excellent count of Coots and a nice flock of over 200 Golden Plovers on Wanlip Meadows.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Whooper Swan at Watermead CP 22nd November 2009.

Here is a couple of shots of the Whooper Swan which arrived at Watermead CP South in the last couple of days.

Friday, 20 November 2009

New Feature: Caption Competition!

Looking at some photos I took at the Common Rosefinch twitch, I thought I would start a new feature the "Caption Competition".
So here is the first one, and the person who comes up the best caption will win a prize!.................

Monday, 16 November 2009

Cossington Meadows this evening............

After finishing my early shift today I nipped down to Cossington Meadows and saw three Short-eared Owls hunting over the Swan Meadow and the Moor from 16.30pm. One Barn Owl was also seen hunting over the nearby Wood Meadow and I heard at least three Little Owls calling in the nearby trees.
Whilst waiting for the appearance of the Owls I noted that at least 2,000+ Starlings roosted in the reedbed by the Moor Pool.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Look at the weather?

Over the week I have been on nights at the General Hospital, so very little birding has been done. But looking at the weather for the next few days I predict that Leicestershire and Rutland might have a few pelagic species gracing this landlocked county?
As it's quite late in the year I predict a twitchable Grey Phalarope or even a Leach's Petrel on one of the local reservoirs or gravel pits, but then again I might just be talking a lot of old bull?! Here's hoping...........................

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Cheating All Blacks!!!!

Once again the cheating All Blacks beat Wales 12-19 and the hype of Dan Carter was over the top from the BBC!
Dan Carter is a good player but he did a cheap shot high tackle on Martin Roberts, so why didn't the referee penalise him, because the All Blacks played the referee( ie Sledging, passing the ball forward and Richie McCaw as usual cheating in the breakdown).
I'm passionate Welsh supporter so you can see why I get very frustrated when Wales play the All Blacks and one day Wales will beat New Zealand and finally swipe the arrogant smiles off the All Black faces!

Cossington Owls update

Over the week I have been down at Cossington a couple of times and talking to other birders the total of Owls reads like this: Up to 4 Short-eared Owls (2 pale types and 2 dark types), 4 Barn Owls, 3 Little Owls and a single Tawny Owl.
As Autumn finishes and Winter begins in earnest hopefully the numbers of Owls will increase even more and maybe even a Hen Harrier will winter in the area? (which the drunkbirder is wishing for!)

Finally a mental nurse!?!

This week I got news via the post that I am now a Registered Mental Health Nurse (RMN). So finally after three and bit years of training It's pleasing that I completed the course minus the odd hiccup!
With my new career beginning I shouldn't have to think of a new career change for the forseeable future?!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Owls at Cossington again and a Swallow!

Over the weekend and tonight I checked out Cossington Meadows with the Owls usually showing from 4.30pm. Up to 3 Short eared Owls, 4 Barn Owls and maybe 4 Little Owls have been recorded in the Swan Meadow area.
If anybody gets a photo of the Owls can you let me know so I can put on the Soar Valley blog!
One other highlight of the weekend was the sighting of a Swallow over Cossington churchyard.This was the latest sighting I ever had down the Soar Valley and Leicestershire so a nice surprise to say the least.
As the Shorties seem to be the only one's inland at the moment I would imagine a constant flow of birders will be down at Cossington for the next couple of weeks?