Monday, 31 January 2011

Another Casper at Watermead CP South!! Maybe not!!!

2nd winter Caspian Gull Watermead CP South
Funny looking Herring Gull!
Back view of the Casper!
Herring Gull species!
Front view of the Casper!
Funny looking Herring Gull species!

With my new camera in toe I nipped down to Watermead CP South for a spot of digiscoping. Meeting up with John Hague in the car park, we checked out the pits for the long staying Pintail and maybe a singing Cetti's Warbler for the City list challenge. John couldn't stay long due to a previous engagement but we were out of luck for the time being with the Cetti's and Pintail no show!
Leaving John I walked round the southern edge of the park scanning the wildfowl and then on to the mammoth viewpoint.
Viewing from the mammoth I noticed a strange goose on the island which looked like a Pink-footed Goose?, but I needed a better view. So walking back towards the car park I scanned the island for the dodgy goose, when suddenly a gull looking very much like a Caspian Gull type landed next to the geese flock. As a confirmed gull lover I totally forgot about the goose and started grilling the Caspian type!
Taking a number of digishots and filming the bird with the new camera I was quite happy that I was looking at a 2nd Winter Caspian Gull!! GET IN!(possible only the third for the Soar Valley!!).
Then suddenly another couple of surprises as the drake Pintail then swam in front of me and "Rocky the Ruff" ran behind the Casper Gull on the island!!
Sometimes it amazes me that birds seem to pop up from nowhere, after you had grilled the site for a good half an hour before!?
With time against me due to work commitments in the afternoon, I let John and Mark Skevington know of the city sightings and as usual happy with the sightings I saw in the short period of time I had down the Soar Valley!

Post script: Researching the above photos of the Casper, I now feel that the bird is not a Caspian Gull but a funny looking Herring Gull type, and just shows that sometimes Gull ID is bloody hard!! Although it does show a large bill and dark eye and reasonable long legs, there just something not right about the bird!
Back to the drawing board for me then!?! 

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Dodgy film: 3rd winter Glaucous Gull at AVL!

Today I bought myself a late Christmas present in the form of the Nikon Coolpix S4000 for a spot of digiscoping!
Although I need to figure out how to work the camera, this afternoon I filmed the long staying 3rd winter Glaucous Gull at Albert Village Lake.
Other sightings on the lake included at least two adult Caspian Gulls and two Yellow-legged Gulls (Adult and 2nd winter birds).
Over the next few weeks hopefully the filming and digishots should get better?!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Norah Jones - Nightingale

Over the last week I have been on nights and have been listening to Norah Jones for some light relief!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Rocky the Ruff the film!

Here is some footage I took of "Rocky" the Ruff via my mobile phone over Christmas and New Year!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

More Gulls: Caspian Gull and Glaucous Gull

Over the last couple of days I've have been gull watching at Shawell GPs in the south of the county and Albert Village Lake and Tip in the north-west.
At Shawell I found 2 Caspian Gulls (adult and 2nd winter birds) in the fields opposite the balancing lake (Ok it was in Warwickshire, but there did fly back into Leicestershire later!)
Today I checked out Albert Village Lake and the tip and again for some reason, there was hardly any gulls on the lake. So once again I looked over the tip from Pick Wood.
Although most of the gulls were a good distance away, after a few scans I picked up a 3rd winter Glaucous Gull on the banks of the tip. It was probably the bird I saw last week at Foremark Resv and as usual a took a few record shots of the bird. After that I phoned and texted the news out of the bird.
So not a bad haul for the year so far, two white-wingers and at least four different Caspers in the space of a week!
3rd winter Glaucous Gull at Albert Village Tip.
Adult Caspian Gull at Shawell.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

1st Iceland Gull of the year!

Yesterday I went to Albert Village Lake for my first visit of the year, and strangely there were hardly any gulls on the lake. So to cut a long story short I went and explored the nearby tip which you can look over via the local footpaths.
Noticing that most of the gulls were at the far end of the tip I retraced my steps and then walked back towards the nearby national forest land which overlooks the tip. I started to scan the gulls from this viewpoint but nothing stood out except for a gull showing characteristics of Glaucous x Herring type! 
 With the gulls moving around the tip all the time, I then noticed more gulls roosting on a nearby bank and a very creamy looking gull which was head on to me at the time. I thought straight away that this bird looked good to be an Iceland Gull, due to the size and plumage of the bird. I waited for the bird to move and slowly it showed itself and the diagnostic features I saw included pure white primaries, blotchy creamy-white breast, lemon-green coloured bill, pale eye and pinky legs. GET IN!!! 2 nd winter type Iceland Gull.
With these views as usual I got the news as quickly as possible. The only problem with this was that before I could take a record shot of the Iceland Gull, it was flushed and flew off towards the lake. Bugger!!
Going back to the lake, there was still no sign of the Iceland Gull but at least 4 adult Yellow-legged Gulls were noted on the lake over the next couple of hours.
Whilst at the lake I met up with Alan Amery who was also hoping to see the Iceland Gull, but after getting cold for the next two hours, we decided that it might be worth checking the gull roost at Foremark Res to see if the Iceland Gull came into the roost?
Meeting up with the locals Gullers ( Dipper, Martin and Glyn Sellors) it wasn't long before I found a couple of Caspian Gulls (2nd winter and adult) in the gathering roost and then at around 4.15pm, Dipper picked up the regular 3rd winter Glaucous Gull. Although it was quite distant on the sand bank opposite the car park, it was nice to see and two white wingers in a day is not a bad haul.
By dusk the Iceland Gull hadn't arrived, so I called it a day on the birding front.

At home I did a bit of research on the Iceland Gull and looking at the recent photos of the Iceland Gulls reported I think the bird I saw was probably the bird which has been seen at Stubbers Green in the West Midlands?!

Monday, 10 January 2011

This week I've mostly been... looking at Waxwings and Bitterns

Over the last week I have been looking at the local Waxwings on Hinckley Road/Westcotes Drive and watching the Bitterns down at the reed bed at Watermead CP North.
Talking about the Waxwings as usual the shopping area on Hinckley Rd has been a favourite haunt for these birds in the last ten years and currently at least 150 birds have been noted.
With the Bitterns at Watermead at least three birds have been present in the reed bed by crake hide for the last ten days and would imagine that more people will be coming this site due to the photographic opportunities!
Waxwings on Hinckley Rd, Leicester.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

This year I will be.....

This year I will be mostly checking out under watched sites in Leicestershire!.....
So with this resolution ringing in my ears I went out this morning, with my old man,Jon my brother and his partner Robin to Burrough Hill CP for a walk around the hill fort.
Well to cut a long story short, walking back to car I scanned the trees next to the toilet feeders for hopefully a few Tree Sparrows, but noticed almost straight away a Hawfinch sitting in the furthest tree. Result: GET IN!!
Showing the bird to my family I realised that it was just too far to get a decent record shot and any way I had left my camera in the car!
As usual I quickly got the news out and scanned the trees again with the Hawfinch still there and noted good numbers of finch species and the odd Tree Sparrow on the bird feeders.
Happy with the views we returned to car and you could say a good start to the New Year!!

Happy New Year to my friends and followers to my blog!