Friday, 30 April 2010

A bit of String and a couple of good terns!!

Over the last couple of days I have tried to see a Red-footed Falcon which was reported at Rutland Water but seemingly didn't show to the majority of the local birders and I think a piece of string was involved?! However I did see a couple of year ticks in the form of a lovely Wood Sandpiper on Lagoon 4 and a Hobby over Lagoon 3 (or was it a distant Red footed Falcon?;-]).
Following this I return to familiar surroundings and back to the local patch and three good year ticks. The first was a Hobby hunting over Watermead CP North on the 28th. Then yesterday I found a corking Black Tern feeding over King Lear's lake, Watermead CP North briefly mid afternoon and then moving on to Cossington Meadows to see if any migrants had dropped in due to the weather conditions?
Although most of the reserve was quiet, Hobley Lake was a little gold mine when it came to migrants. Over a period of an hour and half I saw a brief Sandwich Tern flying through the valley, another Black Tern, a Yellow Wagtail feeding at the back of the scrape, 2 Ringed Plovers, at least twelve Common Terns and a mobile Common Sandpiper all in one place!!
So the moral of this story is that sometimes it's  just not worth twitching dodgy birds and sticking to your local patch some times pays dividends for being in the right place at the right time?!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

After some sleep, a Whinchat on the patch......

As some of you would know, I have been on nights at the General Hospital for the last few days. So finishing my last shift yesterday morning and a few hours kip I got a text message from Roger Brett to let me know that a male Whinchat was in the large field next to Worcester Lake down at Watermead CP Birstall section.
So after some food and a shower it was off to the country park.
I was soon scanning the field and thinking maybe I should have got out of bed as I couldn't find the Whinchat!
Walking further around the enclosed field I finally picked up the bird as it flitted around the fence posts and nearby vegetation. Get In!(126 for Soar Valley challenge).
Watching the bird I noted it was a corking female and must admit Whinchat's are lovely looking birds!
Phoning out the news about the bird I also took a few record shots of the bird which you can see above.
After taking some shots of the Whinchat I then took a circular walk around the rest of the northern section of the park. Sightings I noted included now at least eight Common Terns around the lakes, good numbers of Warblers singing including Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat and Garden Warbler and the usual stuff on Wanlip Meadows.
On my way back to the car I met up with Roger and Andy Brett and John Hague and let them know were the Whinchat was, before saying my good byes and back home for a bit more sleep!.... 

Friday, 23 April 2010

Soar Valley update....Spring has sprung!!

With a few days off before my nights start I have been down the Soar Valley most of the time.
So over the last few days I have added more species to my Soar Valley year list, which now stands at 125 species for the year.
These have come in the form of a Common Tern on King Lear's Lake at Watermead CP North on the 17th, a "reeling" Grasshopper Warbler on Barber's rough at Cossington Meadows on the 18th, and five year ticks on the 19th! A Lesser Whitethroat and Swift at Watermead CP South, a summer plumaged Dunlin on Wanlip Meadows, a nice male Yellow Wagtail in horse paddocks by Cossington Village and a Common Sandpiper on Hobley's Lake, Cossington Meadows.
On the 20th, and probably the highlight of the week, Pete Jessop let me know that a Willow Tit was showing well from the Kingfisher Hide feeding station, so it was a good thing I was just around the corner from the hide and connected with the bird within a couple of minutes. Too put this sighting into context, it was the first time in two years that a Willow Tit has been recorded at this site!
My latest year tick came this morning (22/4/10) when I found a singing Garden Warbler at Watermead CP North and it felt like that spring had finally sprung!?
As I'm on nights over the weekend I wholly expect a phone call or text to wake me up and let me know that a good bird has been found in the Soar Valley, he's hoping?!.....

Friday, 16 April 2010

Soar Valley update....Arctic Terns and Common Scoter

Common Scoter Watermead CP North (Water-ski Pit) taken by John Hague.

Although it felt cold in the morning with maybe something to do with the recent volcanic ash cloud? I noticed at Watermead CP South that more spring migrants had arrived over the last few days.
I noted that at least ten Blackcaps were singing around the southern section of the park, but the highlight here was three Arctic Terns seen briefly over the pits before flying north up the valley.
Moving on to Watermead CP North and Birstall section, sightings seen included a nice looking drake Common Scoter on the waterski pit, a large female Peregrine being mobbed by a couple of LBB Gulls and a newly arrived Sedge Warbler singing by the key lakes.
After getting a text from Andy Mackay about a Whitethroat at Cossington Meadows and a quick lunch break I checked out Cossington Meadows.
After about an hour on being on the reserve and not much to report except for the singing Reed Warbler on Moor Pool, it was back to Watermead CP.
At this point I got a phone call from John who let me know that another Whitethroat was singing in the Meadow Lane car park at Birstall. So you can guess were I went next!
Reaching the car park, it took a me a few minutes to locate the Whitethroat as it sang from a large blackthorn/hawthorn bush and trying to remember what this species sounded like.
So on the whole a good day out in the valley with more year ticks and the 120 mark getting closer by the day and cheers to John for supplying the photo of the Common Scoter!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Soar Valley Update.... and few more spring migrants

Over the last few days I have seen a few more spring migrants arrive in the valley and around the county. These included another Ring Ouzel and four Tree Pipits at Beacon Hill CP on the 10th. A nice looking male Redstart at Thornton Reservoir and a singing Reed Warbler (112 species!) at Cossington Meadows LRWT both on the 11th.

Search for Leicestershire avifauna

I sold my soul to.......

I have been very busy at work lately so sorry for the lack of postings....
You may notice that I have started a link with Amazon and before you ask I haven't sold out to the capitalist world, but I thought if I'm going to link my blog and earn a little cash Amazon was probably the best website to do this?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Sightings today:Mountain Blackbird or Ring Ouzel for short!

As I noticed on my pager that good numbers of Ring Ouzels had reported this morning I decided to check out the usual sites in Leicestershire for this scarce migrant bird.
At the first site (Warren Hills) I drew a blank so I then moved on to Beacon Hill CP.
On route to Beacon Hill I noted a couple of Curlews in the nearby fields and hopefully there will breed again in the Charnwood forest area.
Parking in the upper car park I did the circular walk around the top fields of the hill. Just before reaching car park again I suddenly noted a dark thrush sitting in the nearby trees which splits one of the fields.
Scoping the bird I realised straight away that I was looking at a corking female Ring Ouzel!!

More to follow soon.........

Friday, 2 April 2010

Lesser Kes OMFL!! Wednesday 31st March 2010.

Distant shots of the Pallid Swift

With my first big twitch of the year, myself, John Hague, Beast (Colin Towe) and Neil Hagley drove down to Suffolk for the Lesser Kestrel which had been near Minsmere RSPB for the last couple of days.
Arriving on site around 8.30am, we just missed the bird as it did it's first fly-by of the day and then had to wait for another 45 minutes when finally the group picked up the bird hunting over the nearby heathland. Get In!!! (437 BOU tick). Although the bird was a bit distant at times you could clearly pick up the distinctive features of this lovely looking Male Lesser Kestrel as it perched on the fence posts.
With the weather being pants for most of the time we were at Westleton Heath, the group was happy with the views of bird and decided on speedy retreat back to the car and then on to Kessingland for another British tick for John in the form of a Pallid Swift, which had been feeding over the local sewage works for a few days.
Waiting for a short period at the sewage works for the Swift, the weather slowly improved and on cue the Pallid Swift came into view as it cruised over the small throng of Twitchers.
As the Swift feed over the sewage works, I also took some very distant shots of the bird(see above!).
The next port of call was Lowestoft sea front and this was the only disappointment of the day when the Alpine Swifts failed to materialised. I did however pick up an adult Med Gull flying off shore which was small compensation for the dip.
An Alpine Swift was then reported again at Kessingland, so we drove back to the village but our luck was out again as we only saw the Pallid Swift again at this site!
By now we were starting to get hungry and a brief stop at Westleton for the Kestrel again, and then on to the Minsmere reserve for a refreshing Pasty and Coffee.
As Neil had to be back in Leicester for six o'clock we all decided it was home time and were all pleased on the day's proceeding, and thanks to Neil for all the driving!