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!!
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