Monday, 27 December 2010

Woodcock from Kingfisher Hide, Watermead CP North.

Another sighting I had yesterday included up to three Woodcocks around the country park, with two showing well from the Kingfisher hide and another flew over me on the water ski pit.
Two shots of one of the Woodcocks at Kingfisher hide, Watermead CP North.

Scaup at Cossington Mill

Here is a record shot of the female Scaup which I found a few days ago on the river between Cossington Mill and Wanlip North Gps. At this site a red-head Smew, a drake Pintail and a "dodgy" Ross's Goose have been present over the last week.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Rocky the Ruff and another ringed Gull

Well first off Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year to my friends and followers of my blog!
Ok next here is a couple of photos of "Rocky" the RUFF!! at Watermead CP South.

And here is another colour-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull on the ice I saw this morning. Also to up date you on the other coloured ringed gulls. The Black-headed Gulls had come from Denmark and Norway and the large gulls had been ringed by the Severn Estuary Gull group.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Counting Ducks! and a Ruff?!

Ok so it's been a bit of cold of late and yesterday's monthly duck count at Watermead CP was not too hard due to very little unfrozen water!
The highlights during the count included the long staying female Red Crested Pochard on the water ski pit, 2 Ruddy Ducks at a site nearby, a male Brambling and Water Rail at the feeding station at Kingfisher hide and up to four Cetti's Warblers in the park!
After finishing the count I nipped down to Watermead CP South to meet Mark Rossell and Conor Thornton who were watching a Ruff walking round the car park and feeding area and showing down to five feet away!
I got the feeling that the bird was a bit knackered and was feeding like mad and didn't care to much about the passing public or the bare footed jogger!!
 Ruff in the car park at Watermead CP South
Talking to Mark he told me that he was selling his Canon D30 and before you could say Santa Claus a deal was struck and I said I would buy it off him!?
With the deal struck, Mark and Conor wimped out of the Gull roost due to the cold, but in hindsight maybe there had the right idea as I found nothing special in fading light!
So at around 4.00pm I called it a day and left the Ruff still feeding in the car park!?

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Another colour-ringed Gull at Watermead

Here is some photos of another colour-ringed Black-headed Gull at Watermead CP south I saw this morning.
I will hopefully find out in the next couple of days were it was ringed?

Monday, 13 December 2010

Classic bit of interviewing!!

Sightings over the week: More ducks,a few gulls and some Waxwings!

Over the week between work and home I have spent time at Watermead taking photos of the gulls and ducks, a quick trip to Groby for Allen Pocock's Waxwings and more gull watching down at Shawell.
Here is a few photos I took over the week.
  Male Goosander at Watermead CP South.
Female Red-crested Pochard also at Watermead CP South.
Waxwing at Groby
Another shot of one of Waxwings in Groby!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Coloured-ringed Gulls

Black-headed Gull at Watermead CP which had been ringed in Norway
Another Black-headed Gull at Watermead CP
Lesser Black Backed Gull at Albert Village Lake

Here is a few photos of gulls which are coloured-ringed. The top Black-headed Gull was ringed in Norway and hopefully over the next few days I will found out were the other gulls were ringed?

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Watermead CP over the week

With all the Snow and Ice over the last week I have been staying local except for the odd trip down to Shawell balancing lake. So here is a few shots taken from Watermead CP South over the last week.
A tame Shelduck!
Six Curlews flying south over the park!
 The Mammoth looking at home in the snow!
The adult Common Gull is thinking I didn't know Bean Geese occurred at Watermead CP!! 

This week I've mostly been... Listening to ELO, a classic tune!

Apart from looking at gulls,this week I have been listening to ELO "Mr Blue Sky" a classic tune!

Thursday, 2 December 2010


 Yes I know it has Snowed for the last few days, so here is few photos I took of the lovely stuff!!
Snow plant,Shawell.

King Lear's Lake Watermead CP North

This reminds of one of those 19th century English landscape paintings!

More sexy Gulls!

Over the last few days I been looking at more gulls at Watermead CP and Shawell Balancing Lake.
Here is a few shots of the gulls I have seen.
Caspian Gull? at Shawell
Black-headed Gulls at Watermead CP South.
Caspian Gull at Watermead CP south with Black-headed and Common Gulls.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Caspian Gull Watermead CP South

Here is a few shots of the adult Caspian Gull I found this morning at Watermead CP South. This is probably a first for the Soar Valley!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Following on from John and Mark this week I have been listening....

As it says above this week I have been listening to classic tunes from my student days! One of my favourites was this tune by the superband Electronic "Get the Message" Enjoy!

Monday, 22 November 2010

No sign of Laughing Gull in Leicestershire,but.....Un cuppa TV

Following news on Saturday evening of a Laughing Gull at Foremark Reservoir in nearby Derbyshire, I decided to check out Albert Village Lake, as the bird might drop in to this site the next day?!
So over a couple of hours looking at the gulls, there was no sign of the Laughing Gull but I did find 2 Adult Caspian Gulls and a single Adult Yellow-legged Gull.
Trying to digiscope the gulls I had forgotten to put my flashcard back into the camera, so no photos of the birds! Bugger!!, and as I know that Caspian Gull is a description species for Leicestershire the best I could do was try and film them with my mobile phone!!
So below is my efforts!
Walking back to the car I noticed a flock of birds land in nearby trees and then the unmistakeable sounds of Waxwings calling! Get In!!
Watching the flock by the main road I noted at least 13 birds feeding on the nearby Rowan bushes before there moved off again towards the village.
On this note I called it a day and drove back to Leicester for a spot of work!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Bearded Tit OMFL!!

As the statement says above Bearded Tit on my fooking list! So after my third attempt of trying to see the bleeding things I finally connected yesterday morning, as the group of three males and two females flew across the moor pool reed bed at Cossington Meadows LRWT.
Looking at the Soar Valley Year list, the beardies now puts me on 145 species. I added Waxwing to the list the previous Sunday, when I had four birds calling over the reed bed at Watermead CP North.
So with a few weeks left until the end of the year, I might just added a couple of species to the year list, here's hoping?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

John Bishop Top bloke!

Last night, myself, John and his lovely wife Leigh went to see John Bishop at De Montfort Hall, Leicester.
All I can say is that he was BRILLIANT!, and I haven't laughed so much for ages!
Although it wasn't "At The Apollo",you get my drift from the video above!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Last Vis-migging of the season?

With the weather looking good for some Vis-migging on the Wednesday, as usual I positioned myself on the Mammoth viewpoint from 7.30am.
It was bloody cold and after two hours of watching I called it a day for probably my last vis-mig session of the autumn. No major highlights down the valley and a bit of a quiet end to the season!
The full results can be seen at the trektellen site here:

American Bittern OMFL a bit late!!

Just a quick note, American Bittern OMFL!! Myself, John Hague and Dave Mack went down to Cornwall last Friday to see the bird and in due course we saw the bird.
Please see the link of some great footage taken by John on-site of the Bittern!

Un cuppa TV Tigers v Australia

More experiments with my mobile phone! This time some footage of the recent Leicester Tigers v Australia match at Welford Road.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Grey Phalarope Un cuppa tv!

Here is my first attempt of un cuppa tv of the Grey Phalarope myself and John Hague saw at Rutland Water dam today!
If this doesn't work try the link below:

Monday, 1 November 2010

Vis-migging from the Mammoth and some gulls!

With the last count of the month, Vis-migging from the Mammoth watch point was actually very quiet and not much was moving. The only highlight of the morning was an Little Egret flying north @ around 7.50am.
The full details for the watch can be found here:

Due to an adult Franklin's Gull dodging the county border in nearby Derbyshire and roosting at Foremark Reservoir for a few nights, I checked out Albert Village Lake (AVL) again in the hope that the gull would appear here? However the gull had other ideas and at the moment still refuses to cross the county boundary! So the two days I was at AVL last week I found a 1st winter Med Gull,an adult Caspian Gull and at least two adult Yellow-legged Gulls in the large gull flock.
A couple shots of the adult Caspian Gull at AVL.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Vis-migging from the Mammoth again!

Over the last few days I have continued to do some vis-migging from the mammoth viewpoint at Watermead CP. The highlights have included a Soar valley tick in the form of a Rock Pipit noted flying over the viewpoint on the 27th, with good numbers of Starlings(1411 birds) and two late Swallows seen on the same day.
Today highlights from the mammoth with John Hague in tow included an impressive movement of Wood Pigeons (727 birds) down the valley in the first hour and more Starlings (795 birds) over the two hour watch.
Full details of the watches are here:

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

What the FooK!! part 2

Taken from Euro spotters and Surfbirdspotters tonight:

"just two new species have occurred in Britain and 

EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (at Pelistry, St Mary's, Scilly - KEV et al)

SCANDINAVIAN ARCTIC REDPOLL (a first-winter on Shetland)

Can you tell what the FooK are the above birds? As I thought there were just a YELLOW WAGTAIL!? and an ARCTIC REDPOLL!?!

Fooking bird spotters!!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

What the FooK!!

Taken from Birdspotters forum: A great quote about an unidentified seabird!!!

An intriguing report, which might be summed up as "Bird sp, almost certainly rare".

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Vis migging this week: Fieldfares Galore!!

On Wednesday and Thursday this week I was once again on the Mammoth viewpoint for a bit of vis-migging.
The outstanding highlight of these two days was the passage of Fieldfares down the Soar Valley. On the Wednesday 2291 Fieldfares passed down the valley between 9.00am and 11.45am, and then the next day another 1760 birds passed through between 8.30am and 11.30am.
Other highlights on the two days included a skein of 120 Pink-footed Geese flying over Leicester on the Wednesday and a notable movement of Finch species through the valley on the Thursday which included at least three Bramblings!
The full account of what was seen over the two days is logged at the trektellen website here:
and here:

Monday, 18 October 2010

This week I've mostly been... Vis-migging,counting,counting and seeing a few things

Ring Ouzel at Bardon Hill
Brambling at Wanlip North
Well with a week off from work I have been down the local patch on most days, Vis-migging from the mammoth, a trip to seaside to find migrants (Gib Point NNR) and finding a few local "Scarces".
10th October:
Highlights of the day included a good passage of Redwings (835 birds) and Skylarks (108 birds) over the mammoth in the morning and seeing a Little Egret in the afternoon on the wildfowl count at Watermead CP North/Birstall.
Full Details are here:

11th October:
A trip to Gibraltar Point NNR today, was actually a little bit poor really. On the migrants front I saw quite a few common migrants but the only birds of note I found were a couple of Ring Ouzels in the east dunes!
12th October:
A little bit quieter over the mammoth today, but I did have a Soar Valley year tick in the form of a migrating Brambling! The only other noteworthy sightings I had included three Goldeneyes flying North and a Swallow and Pintails in the other direction.
Full details are here:

13th October:
A change of scenery today due to the Watermead South car park gates being locked!
 I ended up at Deans Lane,Beacon Hill for some Vis-migging with Allen Pocock,Andy Forryan and Andy Howes.
The highlight of the morning was a close-by fly over Hawfinch at 09.55am.
Full details are here:

15th October:
Today I checked out a few more sites today which included Burrough Hill CP for a late morning Vis-migging session and the Charnwood reservoirs.
Looking around Burrough Hill CP for migrants it was pretty quite, so I decided to vis mig from the trig point from 10.30am as I had noted good numbers of Redwings and Skylarks migrating overhead.
Then at around 11.30am I noticed a Bunting flying south low over the escarpment and calling. This is when panic kicked in as I knew that call straight way as I had heard it all last week whilst on Shetland. The bird was a Lapland Bunting!! As the Lap Bunting flew in front of me the features I could see included the dark mark around the ear coverts on the face and the spotting on the breast. I watched the bird until I lost it from view over the far ridge heading in a southerly direction towards Whatborough Hill.
Then realisation and self doubt kicked in, a single observer seeing a rare bird for Leicestershire for only a couple of minutes as it flew south it will be hard to convince the rarities committee, oh bugger another description to write!?
I phoned Andy Mackay about the bird to put it out on the twitter feed, as I was 99% convinced the bird was a Lap Bunting?
After the previous minutes of panic and brief notes of what I had seen, I regained my composure and watched until 1.00pm.
Full details of the Vis-mig is here:
In the afternoon I checked out a few sites as previously said above and found a female Red-crested Pochard,Pintail and a showy Water Rail at Swithland Res South section.

16th October:
Back down the Soar Valley and the sightings I saw today included another Brambling(see the photo above) with the Linnet flock at Wanlip North Lakes,and a Green Sandpiper on the nearby fields.
Then following a phone chat with Ben Croxtall I drove over to Bardon Hill, as Andy Forryan had found at least three Ring Ouzels on the mound.
Scaling the heights of Bardon Hill it took me just over an hour to find the Ouzels as usual there skulking buggers at the best of times!
View from the track above the mound, I noted that in fact there were four Ring Ouzels on the mound which included two males, a female and a juvenile/1st winter type. As I knew that these were good birds to see in the autumn I phoned and texted a few people of the sighting.

17th October:
Due to me watching the Tigers playing the Scarlets in the afternoon for a little rugby match with Colin Green, I spent the morning doing a circuit of  the Soar Valley and Charnwood Reservoirs.
Sightings included the long staying Red-crested Pochard, an eclipse male Garganey, 3 Mandarin ducks and two Green Sandpipers at Swithland Res South section.
The only other highlight of the morning was a singing Cetti's Warbler at a new site in the Soar Valley!

So I'm finally up to date on the blogging front and back to work today for the late shift. My time off work has been great and over the next couple of weeks will be putting in plans for next year's Shetland Trip!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Shetland Highlights: Some snaps

Here is a few photos I took last week on Shetland:
Sumburgh Head from the Pool of Virkie, Marsh Warbler at Levenwick and a Siskin at Sumburgh Quarry.

More shots of the Lancy!

Here is a couple of more shots of the Lancy and the Twitch!

Caption Comp: Tw*tt at a Bus Stop!?!

Taken from the world famous Bus Shelter on Unst, here is the new caption competition!
Comments are welcome:

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Lancy OMFL!!!

Well on our final full day in Shetland we started by doing a bit of vis-migging in the garden of Melstadr and then the phone rang to let us know that the Lanceolated Warbler was still at Skaw on Unst. So the wacky races began as it was a lifer for all of the drunkbirders! After catching two ferries to Unst via Yell we were on site by early afternoon. Initial the bird didn't show but after a couple of minutes and me changing my shoes the bird showed fantastical well as it crept along the field edge like a mouse!!
As the bird disappeared back into the long grass, it was high fives all round with the other birders and then a steady drive back to Lerwick for the ferry in the evening.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Swainson's Thrush at Levenwick Quarry?!

Taken from Euro twitch and Surfbirds tonight: I THINK SOMETHING IS MISSING MR LGREGOS!!?!

It has been SHETLAND which has been making all of the headlines in the past 
week and with up to 160 observers scouring every nook and cranny of 
suitable habitat in search of rarities, an impressive haul has been unearthed. 
The star of the show still remains that snowball of a first-winter 
remains at Esha Ness and a presumed SYKES'S BOOTED WARBLER is still being 
fleetingly glimpsed at Channerwick. The Out Skerries continue to host both a 
BLACK-HEADED BUNTING and a CITRINE WAGTAIL, with the two juvenile 
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS still by the lighthouse at Esha Ness machair and at least 
two LITTLE BUNTINGS remaining on Unst. Elsewhere, a scattering of 
Yellow-browed Warblers, Barred Warblers, Lapland Buntings and Common Rosefinches.

So what's this then?....
Thank you Mr Drunkbirder aka John Hague for the photo!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Shetland Highlights: Milky Tea and Swainson's Thrush!!

The Swainson's Thrush Twitch
Well sorry for any updates recently but the house in Shetland does not have any WiFi!! So basically what we have seen has included some Yellow-browed Warblers,a Marsh Warbler,good number of Autumn migrants like Bramblings, Siskins and Redstarts. However the highlight of the trip so far was us finding a Swainson’s Thrush at Levenwick Quarry!!!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Shetland here we come!!

From tomorrow myself, the Drunkbirder ( Mr Lawson will be travelling to Shetland for the annual Drunkbirders field trip!
So over the next week I will try let you know how we get on and if we find a rare bird the news will be put out as humanly possible,so to keep the birdforum dudes happy!?! ;-)

This week I mostly been...not going to Norfolk for the Many Flycatcher and Vis-migging!

Well over the last few days I chicken out of going to see the Many Flycatcher at Blakeney Point (Actually it would have been quite difficult to see due to my shifts at work!) and instead did a bit more vis-migging at the Mammoth!
So on the Sunday(26/9/10), myself and John Hague over a few hours stood by the Mammoth and saw a good selection of migrating birds. These included small groups of Golden Plovers heading North, the first Redwing of the Autumn counted as it flew South and then via a phone call from Steve Lister around 9.30am telling us of Pink-Feet moving over the county.
Scanning the skies I suddenly then picked up a large Skein of 160+ Pink-Footed Geese flying east over the Soar Valley, GET IN!!
Getting John on to the flock, we tracked the birds as there flew over the Soar valley and slowly lost them as the migrated east towards Rutland airspace and then maybe Norfolk?
After this it went a bit quiet with only a few Meadows Pipits and Swallows noted south, so we decided to try and twitch the very brief Arctic Skua at Cropston Resv which had been reported earlier! But as usual no sign of the bird greeted us on the nearby Charnwood reservoirs!

The totals for the Sunday watch can be seen here:

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Caption Comp: T*at in a hat!!

As it's been a while since my last Caption Competition and to add a bit of humour to my blog I thought I would added a new section to the blog T*wat in a Hat!
Comments welcome!

Return to the Mammoth!

View from the Mammoth looking North at Watermead CP South

Whilst at work yesterday I noticed a few Swallows migrating over the hospital, so after finishing the early shift I drove down to Watermead CP South for a bit of afternoon vis-migging.
Scanning the car park pit I noticed that the Juvenile Black Tern and Arctic Tern were still present and a small gathering of Lesser Black-backs Gulls. 
Then climbing the heights of the Mammoth I viewed the Soar Valley for the next hour or so.
Although it was quiet for most of the hour and to keep the Llama happy, I noted that at least 78 Swallows, and 2 Snipe flew south! ;-).
With only a few working days left before I go to Shetland for the annual drunkbirders field trip, I'm hoping of going to the seaside tomorrow (Flamborough Head) for a bit of Seawatching and migrant bashing with the return of the mack! I will keep you posted what happens?
PS Happy Birthday to the Drunkbirder today!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Sightings over the week: More Vis-migging and Wildfowl count

Digiphoned Black Tern on the Waterski pit!

Although I have been very busy at work lately,when I have had time I've been down the Soar Valley Vis-migging and I did the first wildfowl count of the Autumn/Winter.

15th September 2010:
 After finishing work I found maybe another Juvenile Marsh Harrier in the Soar Valley as it flew over the reedbed at Watermead CP North at around 4.45pm and then slowly flew north towards Cossington.

16th September 2010:
The first wildfowl count of the Autumn/Winter 2010 season at Watermead North (which includes the Pec Pit and Wanlip Meadows LRWT). The highlights of the count  included a Juvenile Black Tern on the water-ski pit, a couple of Hobbies around Wanlip Meadows and a record count of 27 Chiffchaffs moving through the country park.
Here is the rest of what I saw on the count:
Great Crested Grebe:43,Cormorant: 19,Grey Heron:10,Mute Swan:74,Canada Goose:59,Wigeon:21,Gadwall:26,Teal:42,Mallard:134,Shoveler:21,Pochard:1,Tufted Duck:34,Moorhen:32,Coot:119,Little Grebe:4, Buzzard:4,Hobby:2, Greylag Goose:56,Kingfisher:4,Kestrel:2,Lapwing:146,Meadow Pipit:43,Linnet:2,Chiffchaff: 27,Cetti's Warbler:1 and Black Tern:1.

18th September 2010:
Amazingly I actually got up early for me to do a bit of vis-migging before going to work in the afternoon.
The scores on the doors included a good movement of Swallows and Meadow Pipits down the Valley, with 80 Meadow Pipits and 105 Swallows migrating south between 7.30am and 10.30am and at least 4 Swifts still present on site.
For the full lit of the sightings check the Trektellen website at this link:

20th September 2010:
More Vis migging at Watermead CP South, but also a text from Ken Goodrich had me hot-footing it down the valley as Ken thought he had a marsh tern  flying around the lake.
Meeting Ken in the car park I noticed the Tern straight the way and came to the conclusion via scope views that it was a Juvenile/1st winter Arctic Tern.
On the Vis-mig front it was much quieter than the previous Saturday but still had two Swifts present on-site.
Check the link for the counts: