Thursday, 25 February 2010

Not 1st winter Glaucous Gull but Juvenile Iceland Gull at Shawell A5 pool!

It's mid-week again so off I went to Shawell GPs to check out the gulls. The motive behind this was because of a 1st winter/Juvenile Glaucous Gull had been reported at Draycote Water, Warwickshire the previous day and as most of the gulls which roost at Draycote Water feed just across the county border at Shawell tip, so you can see the reason behind this. So arriving at the A5 pool at around 10.15am I was soon scanning the gulls by the busy roadside. Almost immediately I noticed the long-staying 2nd winter Med Gull and then the prize of the morning the Juvenile Glaucous Gull feeding and bathing by the shoreline. GET IN!!!
Although it wasn't a first for the site, this sighting was probably the first at this site for over ten years!?
( 14/3/10:Actually having a better looked at my photos I now think the bird is a large Juvenile Iceland Gull!! and I made a basic mistake and jumped to the wrong conclusion).

As usual I made a few phone calls to let people know about the sighting,then took a number of record shots of the birds before it flew off towards the nearby fields and then the tip.
A little bit later I was joined by Neil Hagley hoping to see if the bird would return? So over the next hour we scanned the large gull flock, but unusually the Glaucous Gull did not return. However other gulls of note we saw included the long staying adult Caspian Gull and two adult Yellow-legged Gulls showing courtship display!
So not a bad morning on the gull front, and although spring is just around the corner I will be watching gulls until at least early April for hopefully more surprises?

Monday, 22 February 2010

Soar Valley Update......Ducks, Swans and Egyptian Geese!

Yesterday was the monthly Wildfowl Count down at Watermead CP and the highlights included the two long-staying Red-head Smews on the Pec Pit opposite the Hope and Anchor Pub, Five Pintails (3 Males and 2 Females) flying over the King Lear's Lake, a female Cetti's Warbler in the complex and another year tick in the form of three Egyptian Geese(No.94) on Wanlip North Lakes!

Watermead North CP Wildfowl count (including the Birstall and Wanlip Meadows section!):
Great Crested Grebe:11,Cormorant:40,Grey Heron:5,Mute Swan:74,Canada Goose:22,Wigeon:519,Gadwall:67,Teal:62,Mallard:169,Shoveler:83,Pochard:22,
Tufted Duck:132,Little Grebe:7,Goosander:34,Smew:2, Pintail:5,Gadwall x Hybrid:1,Moorhen:25,Coot: 144,Water Rail:1,Snipe:5, and Lapwing:27.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Med Gull at Albert Village Lake.

Here is a couple of more shots of the adult Mediterranean Gull at Albert Village Lake I saw on Thursday morning. The bird is now coming into summer plumage...

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Albert Village Gulls....

Adult Med Gull coming into
Summer plumage.

Adult Caspian Gull.

With my day off yesterday I spent most of the day at Albert Village Lake to watch the gulls coming and going from the lake to the nearby tip.
Over the few hours I was at this site I noted at least one adult Caspian Gull and the long-staying adult Mediterranean Gull (which is now coming into summer plumage).

Sunday, 14 February 2010

I see Scaup....and a Tw*t with a catapult!

Yesterday morning I nipped over to Shawell GPs to look at the Gulls, but there was one slight problem some ar*ehole with camouflage combats and a catapult was walking around the pits and scaring off the gulls. I noted that he drove a lemon-yellow Vauxhall Tigra and if I see him again I will give him a piece of my mind!
Any way with this Tw*t walking around the pits he flushed a female Scaup onto the main A5 pool. Although it was a year tick and a shame it wasn't down the Soar Valley but hey it was probably a first for this site?!
Moving on to the nearby tip I noted that there were thousands of gulls feeding on the tip but due to the distance from the road I couldn't pick out anything unusual.
As I was going to watch the Six Nations Rugby in the afternoon I decided to call time at Shawell and check out the Soar Valley as Pete Jessop had left me message about the Golden Plovers being back on the fields at Cossington.
Parking by the roadside next to the village I then walked down the footpath towards the canal and within a few minutes surprisingly I saw a Juvenile Peregrine sitting in one of cropped maize fields, then suddenley a large flock of Lapwings and Golden Plovers flew over me coming from the direction of the main railway line. Yes, Get In!! Number 93 for the Soar Valley Yearlist!
With another tick firmly on the list, I noticed time was against me so decided to call it a day and get home for the Wales v Scotland rugby match, but hey that another story........

Friday, 12 February 2010

Caption Competition

Hi all, here is the latest Caption Competition and as usual the best quote wins a tea-bag!!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Jocky and the Med Gull...

Two shots of the Adult Med Gull
at Albert Village Lake.
"Jocky" Scottish-ringed Cormorant.

Following information from Raymond Duncan via the Grampian Ringing group the Scottish-ringed Cormorant or "Jocky" for short has returned to Watermead CP for its third winter!
Please see the link for the story so far....

Also before returning to work on the Tuesday, I nipped over to Albert Village Lake on the Monday and got a few more shots of the Adult Mediterranean Gull.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Soar Valley update....

I had a good day in the Soar Valley today with a new year tick in the form of the returning Oystercatcher at Watermead CP South.
Other sightings I saw in the park included the long-staying Redhead Smew still on the "Pec Pit", a fly-over Pintail also at Watermead CP North (which I saw later at Cossington Meadows) "Jocky" the Scottish-ringed Cormorant at the Birstall section and "Harold" the Whooper Swan on the water ski pit with the other Mute Swans.
Moving onto Cossington Meadows whilst looking for Jack Snipe I flushed a Bittern from the reedy pool next to the footpath which goes to Sileby, then I saw a nice female Stonechat and a couple of Little Egrets on the upper marsh section of the reserve.
Finishing with the Owls, the small crowd enjoyed at least three Short-eared Owls and two Barn Owls hunting over the Swan Meadow and the Moor.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

More Gulls at Albert Village Lake....

Adult Caspian Gull.

2nd Winter Caspian Gull.

2nd winter Glaucous Gull.

Nipped over to Albert Village Lake again this morning and met up with Ben Croxtall and Andy Forryan. As the fog and mist slowly lifted we soon started picking up a good selection of large gulls. Over the next couple of hours we saw at least three Caspian Gulls (2 adult birds and a 2nd-winter bird), the long-staying Mediterranean Gull, one adult Yellow-legged Gull and probably the highlight of the day the returning 2nd winter Glaucous Gull.
I took a number of shots of the different gulls and came to the conclusion that the 2nd winter Glaucous Gull was a different bird from the one I had seen at this site previously in early January 2010.
So back to work on tuesday and over the next couple of days I will spend more time down the Soar Valley as at the moment I have got my fix of gulls for at least a week!!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Sightings over the week.....More Gulls and couple of ticks!

Adult Med Gull at Albert Village Lake.

Over the last few days I have been spending my time between the Soar Valley, Albert Village Lake and Shawell GPs.
As usual with watching the gulls at Albert Village Lake and Shawell it has been a little bit hit or miss. The highlights have included a nice looking Adult Mediterranean Gull at Albert Village on the 3rd and 4th a ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull and an unusually dark-looking gull?! at Shawell on the 3rd.
Down on the local patch I had a couple of more ticks in the shape of a female Yellowhammer in the maize fields next to Cossington South GPs and then a Little Egret feeding in the ditches on the tern pool at Cossington Meadows. Seeing these two birds my year list is now on 91 species and probably draws me level with John?

Monday, 1 February 2010

Soar Valley update..... Its a Smew day!

Female Red-head Smew at Watermead CP(Birstall).

With the whole week off from work it was down the Soar Valley again and a few more species tick off on the year list.
First stop was Cossington South GPs and the surrounding farmland and sightings I saw included a couple of flushed Grey Partridge, and then a mobile Grey Wagtail. Then the phone rang and John Hague let me know that Mick Braker had found a redhead Smew on the Key Lakes at Birstall (Watermead CP). So off I went to twitch the Smew.
Reaching the Key Lakes I spotted the Redhead Smew on the only un-frozen part of the Lakes. Get In!! So another good bird for the Soar Valley list.
Meeting up with John in the nearby car park we spoke about the long-staying Black Redstart in the new housing estate just off the A6 and decided to include on the Soar Valley challenge. So after John had taken a few shots of the Redhead Smew and the Goosanders on the Key Lakes we met up again on the housing estate and it wasn't long before the corking male Black Redstart came into view!
As this bird was very confiding John got some good shots as it feed around the small gardens and nearby houses.
Via the local McD's for a quick spot of Lunch and the Daily Express newspaper crusade for Princess Diana, it was back to checking Watermead CP North.
Scanning the half frozen "Pec pit" opposite the Hope and Anchor pub, good numbers of ducks were recorded and quality in this group included two more Redhead Smews and a pair of Red-crested Pochards! Get In!!
I must admit but Smews are probably my favourite duck so to see three on my local patch is always an added bonus.
The final port of call of the day was Cossington village and the nearby Cossington Meadows. Checking out the churchyard we noted a couple more species for the Soar Valley list in the form of Goldcrest and Tawny Owl. Then moving onto the nature reserve I ticked off Shelduck which was feeding on the Tern Pool and a little bit surprising the Owls were out early hunting around the Swan Meadow, with at least three Barn Owls and Short-eared Owls counted before dusk.
So an excellent day out in the Soar Valley and the magic number of 100 species on the list very much on the horizon!