Sunday 29 March 2009

The best spot

Decided to pay a visit to Moore NR this morning for the first proper day of spring, blue skies and the sun is shinning. Star attraction here at the moment is the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, fortunately i heard one calling and drumming so knew at least one was in the area and after a patient wait was rewarded with brilliant views for some 30 minutes. This has to be one of the, if not the best site in the UK for LSW. It proves patience pays dividends for this enigmatic little bird.

Also on the reserve were at least 4 Chiffchaffs in full song, 2 Sand Martins over and a female Brambling with the Yellowhammer flock.

Saturday 28 March 2009

The (not so) Great Escape

When i received a call yesterday afternoon about a White Stork in West Yorkshire that had apparently been there for 2 days, i tentatively dismissed it as one of the free flying birds from Harewood House. But as the day went on, with reports of it still present and more importantly no news of it bearing rings i thought it may be worth a look. Crap directions led me in circles until i eventually found the Harte factory and sure enough behind the factory stood on a spit in a pond was a White Stork.

Watching it from a gate a local came to to chat, he commented that it had been present for a week but more worryingly it had been joining a pair of Mute Swans at the gate to eat bread from the local man ! He then pointed me in the direction of a path to which led to a better view, no rings where visable that was until it decided to have a little wander. A small grey/silver metal ring on its left leg was clearly visable, oh well there goes this birds credentials.
Its rung and it comes to bread.
So now i have a simple equation : White Stork + Yorkshire = Shit.
That aside its still a smart bird and the first i have seen in the uk.

Thursday 26 March 2009

A Tit and a Hoodie

When i was year listing in 2007 i had no problem getting up at 2-3am and driving 500+ miles in a day then going home, well those days are now just a memory because i struggled like a bitch yesterday ? Woke up at 3.15am with a bugger of a headache got that sorted with pills, only to find myself yawning all day and being absolutely fucked on the drive home. God knows how i did it for 12 months ? Anyway, had a top day out in Devon & Dorset with the obligitory early start. Started off at Youngs Waterpark, Paignton for the Penduline Tit thats been residing there, was struck by the small size of the site and the lack of bullrushes also which is why it came as no surprise we didnt see it.

So we left for an hour or so and went over to Broadsands for the Cirl Buntings, no such problems here with stunning males showing well in the car park.

Back over to Youngs Waterpark for another go at the Penduline Tit was proving fruitless in the ever increasing wind, but just as we were about to leave it was picked up feeding on the bullrushes fortunately right next to the car.

Our next port of call was Dawlish Warren, first up was a Sandwich Tern battling against the wind then we picked up the female Surf Scoter loosely associating with her common cousins. From there we paid a token jesture visit to the Otter Estuary for the 1w American Herring Gull, no sign but there was my first Whimbrel of the year feeding with a Curlew. Tried at Bridport whilst passing for the Yellow-browed Warbler but no sign so continued with our next stop being Radipole Lake for the now (it seems) resident Hooded Merganser. A few Swallows and Sand Martins were welcome signs of spring in the blustery wind, we eventually tracked down the Hooded Merganser associating with the Tufted Ducks outside the Gurkha Restaurant, at first it was quite distant but soon plucked up the courage to come closer (after i went and purchased a loaf of Hovis). Even though it was coming to bread it always looked quite nervous and was quite skittish. Yes, i may have an ulterior motive for wanting to believe the duck is in fact a wild bird and not something that has escaped/been relased from a collection. All that said, nothing can take away the fact that it is one hell of a stunning duck and of course, of truely wild origins !

Ended the day with a visit to Lodmoor and picked up Spoonbill, Green Sandpiper and Willow Warbler.

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Knock knock !

Confined to the office today but had the pleasure of watching a pair of Blue Tits making home in one of the boxes.

Sunday 22 March 2009

Love is in the air

Signs of spring were all the more evident today, a pair of Blue Tits checking out one of the nest boxes and singing Siskins, can't ever remember hearing them singing in the garden ? And a pair of Robins have started building a nest in the Yucca, again.

Just read an account of a probable/possible Pallid Swift that was taken by a Sparrowhawk yesterday at Etherow Country Park ?

Saturday 21 March 2009

Does exactly what it says on the tin !

Popped over to Frodsham this morning for the residing Cattle Egret, quite a flighty bird but showed well enough and the first time i have seen one actually following cows ! A textbook bird. From there went home, got changed and went paintballing. Fuck me i forgot how much it hurt and am i feeling the effects of it now, my poor body is riddled with raised red blotches that will turn to bruises i am sure but great fun.

Friday 20 March 2009

North & South, its an epic

Just to clarify the situation for anybody who is wondering ? Just got back south with an empty van, the contents of which are now in place up in Shetland. The title of the last post was i think a little misleading. We officialy move north at Easter, well that is my wife and son as i will have to commute back south when needed. So for anybody who was wondering, there you go.

On the way up to Aberdeen on monday managed to call in on the Ring-billed Gull at Strathclyde Loch, could this be the Dundee bird ? Nearly gave up hope on seeing it after dispatching a loaf of bread to the Mute Swans but in true scavenging fashion it appeared but didnt hang around.

A smooth crossing later from Aberdeen to Lerwick and i was back home. Its quite strange you get used to all the artificial noise, be it cars, planes, trains etc, then when you dont hear any of it its quite eerie. the days were still calm, Skylarks were singing, Oystercatchers and Curlews back on breeding territories. Wouldn't trade it.
Small selection from the garden, Houb and Symbister.

Managed to grab 30 minutes at the catch before getting the ferry back to Aberdeen, only 1 Iceland Gull but a showy one.

Sunday 15 March 2009

Its moving, moving !

I forgot how stressful moving house is, just finnished loading the van which is floor to ceiling high boxes, cabinets etc in preperation for our move up to Shetland. Bloody hell it takes it out of you, all your worldly possessions crammed into boxes. But it will all be worth it and cant wait to be back on patch, not that i expect much to be there atm. So as a parting gift heres a Blackbird that was 'showing well' this morning.

Saturday 14 March 2009

It was a howler ?

The now fortnightly visit to Arpley landfill was upon us once more and with blue skies and brilliant sunshine was expecting a cracking morning. The one thing i hadn't took into account was the 25mph wind blowing straight across us, to be brief it was a bloody waste of time ! The gulls were distant and very flighty so best on offer would only be a Glauc or Iceland, and indeed the only gull i got onto was a 1w Glaucous Gull that was flying around. Only lasted 45 minutes and called it a day so spent an hour or so checking Birchwood & Pumphouse pools. Birchwood pool had a pair of Oystercatchers prospecting the small island, Pumphouse held a few gulls and reportedly 2 Sand Martins through. Checked for the LSW on Lapwing lane earlier but only had GSW showing and a GW yafling, and a calling Chiffchaff.

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Pretty much the same

Back to Audenshaw this afternoon/evening, juv/2w Iceland Gull again the wind had changed direction slightly hampering viewing as most of the gulls were arse on ! Not too up on my bats but had one buzzing around my head, pipistrel sp ?

Monday 9 March 2009

From the Med to Iceland !

Another venture over to Audenshaw Reservoir for the gull roost the afternoon/evening. A slow start was rewarded with a nice Adult Med Gull, unfortunately in between me getting my camera and getting back to my eyepiece the bloddy thing had vanished. Constant searching for it was fruitless but a juv/2w Iceland Gull was found amongst the black-heads. From the range we were viewing it from it was hard to tell whether it was the same 2w from the previous 3 roosts or a new juv/1w ?

Sunday 8 March 2009

Here we go again

Again the Yellow-legged Gull seems to be the centre of attention. Above is an uncropped version of the same bird taken yesterday only taken with the camera (not digiscoped), in the field the gull was daintier (possibly female) clear darker mantle then the accompanying argenteus, legs dull yellow, cant say i noticed the colour of the orbital ring but was also mindful of a mistake i made last week regarding an argentatus i called incorrectly. I ran the photo in photoshop and increased the vibrance and saturation to full and shows the legs as yellow and the accompanying gulls as pink. The same below with the original digiscoped photo, the enhanced photo also shows a hint of the red orbital ring.

Any constructive comments would be most welcome.