Saturday 28 April 2012

Sleepyhead More Like

After a week of working nights down at the Olympic village in Stratford, London it was nice to get out and do some birding yesterday. A bit of recce work for the weekends bird race was in order trying to pin down some otherwise more difficult species. More on that after next Saturday, i wouldn't want to give anything away. I did see some Grey Partridge though that didn't mind having there photo taken.

Whilst out in Dunham Massey mid afternoon i got a call asking did i want to go for the Bufflehead (that i knew nothing about) in Lincs. Seeing that i couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to drive to Cornwall for the long staying bird i decided to go. The bird showed as well as duck can on a reservoir spending the majority of its time fast asleep, the light was absolutely awful so apologies for the crap photos. Also present were a 1w Little Gull and more Yellow Wagtails than i have seen anywhere.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Up S**t Crake?

After setting various nets on Friday evening i set off for Woolston at 3.45am meeting Kieran at 4.15am. Once on the bed we went our separate ways opening nets at opposite ends of no.3 bed. Whilst opening nets in the NW corner (4.45am) my phone rang, it was Kieran? He asked where i was and then told me he had just had calling Little Crake! So as calmly as i could finished setting then made my way over to the 'rail ride'. Whilst walking over it was obvious the Black-headed Gull colony was starting to stir and by the time i had reached the 'rail ride' the noise was positively deafening. Upon reaching Kieran the conversation went some thing like this:
Kieran: Hi mate, it wasn't a Little Crake
Me: Oh?
Kieran No, it was a f*****g Baillon's Crake
Me: Your f*****g joking
Kieran: No, it called about 9 times
Me: F**k
Kieran: As soon as i put the phone down from you i realised
Me: F**k
As you can tell it was quite a tense situation for us both. With the noise from the gulls we had no chance of hearing it again that morning so set about returning that evening. We arrived at 9.30pm and left at 11.00pm with only a distant Water Rail, to be fair the bloody gulls were still at it and wouldn't shut up. So it goes down as potentially the one that got away and Kieran has previous experience with Baillon's Crake so don't doubt for a second it was one. If it stays it could be one hell of an awkward twitch!
That aside it was pretty good on no.3. 2 Little Gulls that were alive were present and the first Grasshopper Warbler of the year was caught.

Sunday 15 April 2012

If At First You Don't Succeed ........

After months of trying, i finally got my rewards? I have set potter traps in various different locations around Woolston but only came up with Magpies. A new location at the end of one of the net rides was looking promising with a brief glimpse of a Water Rail last week. I set the trap with the familiar squeals coming from within the phragmites so was feeling slightly optimistic. I checked the trap on my next net round to find it had fired but the door had only dropped halfway and got stuck, arrrghh! So i set it again and checked the door would drop, thankfully the rail came back and this time couldn't get away. One of the birds i wanted to ring this year had fallen and what a stunning bird. Hopefully a few more set around the bed and we should catch some more.

Friday 13 April 2012

Springull Watch

What better way to spend a Friday morning in spring is there than down at Richmond Bank looking at gulls! The light was fine when i left the house but once the sun came out it was nigh on impossible. But on i struggled with a chorus of Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff around me and a whiff of Arpley tip hitting me in the face off the breeze. Took a while to actually pick anything out, seems an age since i did this kind of thing.
The pick of the larids on offer were 3 Iceland Gulls, a nice 3w and 2 juv/1w types.

2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls also, though with the harsh light this could have been a lot higher.

Now the not so sure gulls? The bird below. i picked it out as a Yellow-legged Gull at first then the structure looked all wrong, very sleek looking with almost long, pin thin lemon legs and a head shape much more reminiscent of a Caspian Gull but the primary projection wasn't overly long and in flight didn't appear to show pale tongues. I am crap at in flight id on gulls but followed it over to the tip then gave up. May be a Caspian Gull but then again it may not.

Next. Again the bird below, 3 options as far as i can see?
A pink legged Lesser Black-backed Gull - I think not.
A very dark mantled argentatus Herring Gull - possible.
Or a hybrid.

 Finally one for Ian, Pete and Tom.

Saturday 7 April 2012

Dead Mega?

An early start this morning down at Woolston was rewarded with a 'Woolston Mega'? But sad news first an adult Little Gull that had been present all week was found dead in front of one of the hides this morning, on a positive note it now lies in my freezer waiting to be stuffed!

Now the 'Mega', well to us it is. A very pale Chiffchaff trapped this morning had a very Siberian look about it, so as it posed for photos it called and a recording was taken. Said recording was emailed to Dougie Preston (cheers mate) in Shetland who did his sonogram stuff and hey presto an absolutely perfect example of a Siberian 'tristis' Chiffchaff. A 1st for Woolston and 4th confirmed record for Cheshire.

Friday 6 April 2012

Nice Pecks

Warm sunny weather then blizzards and the cold! What a week. Managed to successfully twitch the Osprey at Pennington Flash on Wednesday, though no photos due to its distance. Also on the Flash 2 Med Gulls and a House Martin amongst the Swallows and Sand Martins. A couple of trips to Dunham Massey afforded better views of the Green Woodpeckers and a different female Lesser-spotted Woodpecker.

Managed to pop into Moore NR on the way home from ringing Grey Heron chicks today and (like everybody else) had great views of the resident male Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, not photographed him for a couple of years so was nice to get some new images.