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:

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Vis-migging from the Mammoth

Yesterday morning I did a bit of  Vis-migging (Visible Migration) from the Mammoth at Watermead CP South.
The scores on the doors included the first Meadow Pipits of the autumn moving south. However the highlight of the morning was two"probable" Honey Buzzards which flew south-west over the valley. The first was a dark-phase type at around 9.45am and then another juvenile pale phase type at around 10.15am.
Although most people will think its bollocks to the sightings, but between the sightings I watched the regular Common Buzzards which breed in the area and the two birds looked totally different in shape and jizz to the other Buzzards!
Also I have always wondered why Honey Buzzards are not recorded more in the county, as there seem to breed in nearby counties and regularly recorded on passage? Maybe these birds are just not on Leicestershire's birders radar?
If you want to see the full list of species seen yesterday check out the link for the Trektellen site.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Wryneck and the 140 target!

Well over the last week and since returning from Biscay I have finally added Wryneck to my county list when I saw the long staying bird at Great Glen on the Sunday. After that I found a couple of good birds down the Soar Valley which pushed me past 140 target mark. These included a juvenile Marsh Harrier flying over Cossington Meadows LRWT, which John Hague just about twitched from London!?!, a nice looking adult winter Black Tern at Watermead CP South  and a "dodgy?" Cape Shelduck on Wanlip Meadows LRWT which was a Soar Valley tick for me!
The Wryneck at Great Glen and the Cape Shelduck at Wanlip Meadows.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Biscay shots

Here is a few shots of  my latest Biscay trip last week including some of the wildlife I saw in Santurzi, Bilbao and in the Bay itself!
Birders and Whale watchers on the Pride of Bilbao!
Wryneck on the hillside above Santurzi
Mallow Skipper also on the hillside!
Sunset over Biscay

Last Biscay trip for the time being...

Sightings courtesy of Company of Whales
This time last week I was on the Pride of Bilbao for my last trip in Biscay with the Company of Whales. Although the sea birds sightings were very quiet except for a few Sabine's Gulls, and 1 Sooty Shearwater, the cetaceans sightings on the other hand were excellent as the group recorded 9 species of Cetacean!
The highlights of the trip for me was the sighting of a male Cuvier's Beaked Whale just 30 metres off the ship, large number of Pilot Whales, at least four Sperm Whales and hundreds of Tuna seen in the southern bay.
I would like to thank Mike Weedon and Brian Stone for being great company on the trip and also the guests of Company of Whales for such an enjoyable trip!
A Reed Warbler hitching a lift on the Pride of Bilbao!
Cuvier's Beaked Whale shots taken by Mike Weedon