Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!!


Home from Home!

Off up to Filey, tomorrow for a few days in the caravan, while daughter Abigail is on a school trip to Germany. Hope to get to Bempton Cliffs to photograph the seabirds at (hopefully) close quarters, and a few other local sites. Year list? Hopefully will be increasing, dramatically!!!

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Brandon Marsh

With reports of a Woodchat Shrike on Newlands, yesterday, from the Carlton Hide, I arrived at Brandon this morning just before 0500. With no one else around, I walked to the Carlton Hide, with a brief look over East Marsh in case anything caught my eye - it did not! The sun was about to break over the horizon as I opened the flaps, so it would not be good for searching. However, I persevered, with others arriving in one and twos - more eyes to search! It was to no avail and the bird was not located. Unfortunately, time had also run out so I headed back to the car at 0800, walking around the Newlands path, just in case.
Although my prime task was to locate a "lifer" I still amassed 49 bird species. All the usual suspects were about but the best was a Barn Owl hunting over Newlands. I hope that someone re-locates the shrike but it does not look good with a SMS message indicating no sign at 1135. Sorry, no Photo's today.

Todays Sightings:

Cuckoo; Robin; Pheasant; Carrion Crow; Blackbird; Song Thrush; Wood Pigeon; Green Woodpecker; Canada Goose; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Chiffchaff; Cettis Warbler; Magpie; Reed Warbler; Mallard; Coot; Wren; Great Tit; Reed Bunting; Water Rail; Redshank; Common Tern; Oystercatcher; Lapwing; Sedge Warbler; Heron; Shoveler; Common Whitethroat; Cormorant; LBB Gull; Swallow; Kestrel; Swift; Dunnock; Greenfinch; Willow Warbler; House Martin; Sparrowhawk; Moorhen; Barn Owl; Stock Dove; Goldfinch; Blue Tit; Blackcap; Great Crested Grebe; Grey Lag Goose; Tufted Duck; Rook; Garden Warbler.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Draycote Water


Canada Geese


Canada Geese


Canada Geese


Tufted Duck


Carrion Crow - Trying to look pretty!


Bright Eyes


Pied Wagtail

It has been sometime since I visited Draycote Water (for birding), so decided to walk the perimeter. Arrived at 0700 and amassed 54 bird species before leaving at 1100. Weather was mild but cloudy and a few sunny intervals and the wind was quite light. Unfortunately, not a lot to get excited about - I think I need a pair of special bins!!! As I was driving into the country park, a pair of Shelduck flew over towards the water, but I was not able to locate them on my walk. Although it is half term, it was not too busy but the fishermen were out in hordes and at one point I almost got hooked by an over zealous cast off the inlet! At the end of my walk I was looking forward to an early lunch but the refreshment van was not in its usual place. I eventually found it in the country park, near to where I had parked and felt duty bound to partake of a bacon & egg roll.
Todays Sightings:
Carrion Crow; Blackbird; Wood Pigeon; Wren; Rook; Chaffinch; Shelduck; Dunnock; Goldfinch; Robin; Willow Warbler; Chiffchaff; Bullfinch; Coot; House Martin; Tufted Duck; Mallard; Mute Swan; Great Crested Grebe; Pied Wagtail; Song Thrush; Canada Goose; Cormorant; Magpie; Swift; Jackdaw; Lapwing; Grey Wagtail; Gadwall; Moorhen; Whitethroat; Long Tailed Tit; Great Tit; Swallow; Greenfinch; Blackcap; Grey Heron; Blue Tit; Treecreeper; Green Woodpecker; Starling; Garden Warbler; Common Tern; Mistle Thrush; Stock Dove; Reed Bunting; Kestrel; Pheasant; LBB Gull; Skylark; Yellowhammer; Black Headed Gull; Buzzard.




Monday, 25 May 2009

We're Closed - You Can't Come In! (Brandon Marsh)


Chaffinch


Lapwing


Oystercatcher Family


Lapwing


Oystercatcher Family


A couple of hours sleep following a busy night shift and I needed to get out. The weather forecast was for heavy rain so I decided to go to Brandon Marsh with hides to shelter in rather than risk the banks at Draycote with no protection. I arrived at 1600 and went to enter the visitor centre, but stood aside to allow an elderly couple room to exit. Seeing I was about to enter, the door was locked and a verbal shout informed me "We are closed!". The "volunteers" were not going to be moved despite visitors still in the centre. Ok, I will go to the side gate - it was locked! May be I should go home? Anyway decided to walk down the back lane (stuff them - I am tired!). It was very warm and sunny but with a hint of rain in the air and I walked to Carlton Hide, East Marsh Hide and around Newlands, amassing 52 bird species before leaving at 1900. I did not get wet (plus point!) and only have a few mediocre photo's to show for my efforts (tiredness?)
No year ticks and all the usual suspects in attendance the best being Hobby and Cuckoo in the dead tree from Carlton Hide. The Oystercatcher family (2 adults and 2 young) were quite amusing as the young swam between the islands.
I constantly scanned the sky in the hope of raptors - another blog reporting local Red Kite, Honey Buzzard and Goshawk! As usual, I had to make do with Common Buzzard, Crows and Pigeons!!! Some may call me "cynical!"
Sitting in Carlton Hide, enjoying the Hobby in the dead tree, when, crash, bang the door opens and in comes a small group. Talking loudly and knocking equipment against the woodwork. Seen anything interesting? asks one. Nice Hobby in the dead tree, I reply. Ignored. Looks like a woodpecker in the dead tree says another. Its a Hobby I reply. Ignored. Crash, Bang - more noise. Then, its a Hobby (loud voice)! More noise as they all try to get on it. Some might say that I am not a nice person, as I do not tolerate fools very well! When I am tired, I AM horrid! Time to leave.

Todays Sightings:

Swift; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Swallow; Robin; Green Woodpecker; Pheasant; Coot; Wren; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Jay; Chaffinch; Mute Swan; Chiffchaff; Reed Warbler; Cuckoo; Mallard; Moorhen; Willow Warbler; Gadwall; Canada Goose; Grey Heron; Tufted Duck; Common Tern; Cormorant; Oystercatcher; Whitethroat; Lapwing; Cettis Warbler; Reed Bunting; Sedge Warbler; Hobby; Dabchick; Stock Dove; Buzzard; Blackbird; Magpie; Grey Lag Goose; Ringed Plover; Little Ringed Plover; House Martin; Sand Martin; Redshank; Great Crested Grebe; Song Thrush; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Long Tailed Tit; Blackcap; Garden Warbler; Greenfinch; Goldfinch.





Sunday, 24 May 2009

Draycote Water


Dunnock


Dunnock


Robin

I attended Draycote early yesterday afternoon in my professional capacity to examine a cyclist who had taken a tumble on Lincroft Point, when his wheel found a hidden rabbit hole. Dislocated shoulders are very painful so dosed him up with entonox and intravenous morphine and he was soon away with the fairies. Chatted with Lee J while waiting for an ambulance to arrive (I operate out of a small van) and he reported very little about and I did not see any other birders. Took my time leaving the site but could not see anything other than the usual suspects. Would not be ethical to attach any pics of the incident (mobile phone pics taken by family & friends) so have included some from a previous visit!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Marsh Lane


Little Ringed Plover


Lesser Whitethroat


Lesser Whitethroat


Lesser Whitethroat


Garden Warbler


Garden Warbler


Redshank


Redshank


Wigeon

Decided to pay a visit to Marsh Lane this morning as I had not been there for over six months, a pity really as it is a super little reserve, and not too far between hides in inclement weather. I arrived at 0630, but was not the first on site, and amassed a total of 62 bird species before leaving at 1100. It was bright and sunny but a keen wind cooled any thoughts of summer and wearing shorts! Year ticks were Tree Sparrow and Lesser Whitethroat. Had a brief chat with Nick B before meeting Max and ended up with Max on the old road chasing Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and Common Whitethroat (I bet his pics are better than mine!!!). More pics on my website.


Todays List:


Carrion Crow; Chaffinch; Swift; Robin; Wood Pigeon; Sedge Warbler; Jackdaw; Rook; Grey Lag Goose; Redshank; Lapwing; Pheasant; Common Tern; Greenfinch; Wigeon; Tufted Duck; Cormorant; Skylark; Starling; Dabchick; Mallard; Coot; Wren; Oystercatcher; Little Ringed Plover; Song Thrush; Goldfinch; Great Tit; Cuckoo; Moorhen; Reed Warbler; Mute Swan; Magpie; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Blue Tit; Black Headed Gull; Shelduck; Great Crested Grebe; Ringed PLover; Gadwall; Reed Bunting; Willow Warbler; Common Whitethroat; Blackbird; Dunlin; Shoveler; Swallow; Linnet; Pied Wagtail; Green Woodpecker; Garden Warbler; Blackcap; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Dunnock; House Martin; Sand Martin; Black Swan; Tree Sparrow; Buzzard; Kestrel; Lesser Whitethroat.





Tuesday, 12 May 2009

A Collection of Tits!


Blue Tit


Great Tit


Blue Tit


Great Tit


Great Tit


Talking about Tits with work colleagues is fraught with danger and ridicule!!! Start talking about Blue and Great and well.....................................................!!!
I arrived at work early and noticed quite a bit of activity with a pair of Great Tit's and Blue Tit's obviously collecting food for their respective broods. Although it was bright sunshine, I had a few problems with light and speed, ending up using ISO 800. Later in the day, one of the Great Tits had trapped itself in the vehicle garage and was desperately attempting to get through the glass roof windows. Despite opening the the main doors, it took several attempts to persuade the frantic bird to leave. Hopefully, its experience will not have affected its brood. More pics on website.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Brandon Marsh


Canada Gosling


Willow Warbler


Willow Warbler


Sedge Warbler


Sedge Warbler


Sedge Warbler


Tufted Ducks


I don't normally visit the same area two days running, but I wanted to get out relatively early, and just after leaving home, it rained heavily. I decided to go back to Brandon Marsh as if the weather remained wet, the hides would be very welcome. I need not have worried as I soon drove out of the rain and arrived at Brandon to sunshine and a strong wind. Between 0615 and 1030, I spotted 59 bird species, and visited all the hides and pools. Not a lot had changed since yesterday, with my only year tick being Garden Warbler. The Common Sandpiper was on Willow Island with Ringed and Little Ringed Plover and it was pleasing to see the Oystercatcher offspring. A wagtail caught my eye on Willow Island - a resplendant White Wagtail. A Cuckoo was seen in the dead trees off Teal Pool and again in the dead trees at Carlton Hide. I spent some time on Newlands photographing Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler but no chance of getting pics of the Cettis Warblers, though! It was also pleasing that the other birders present today were sociable, communicating and with no begrudging grunts!!! More pics on website.
Todays List:
Yellowhammer (Brandon Lane); Carrion Crow; Robin; Swallow; Pheasant; Wood Pigeon; Grey Lag Goose; Great Tit; Chiffchaff; Blackbird; Wren; Green Woodpecker; Magpie; Blackcap; Canada Goose; Great Crested Grebe; Song Thrush; Cettis Warbler; Willow Warbler; Whitethroat; Kestrel; Stock Dove; Dunnock; Bullfinch; Garden Warbler; Chaffinch; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Reed Warbler; Sedge Warbler; Reed Bunting; Lapwing; Mallard; Cormorant; Gadwall; Wigeon; Oystercatcher; Tufted Duck; Coot; Water Rail; Mute Swan; Redshank; Ringed Plover; Little Ringed Plover; Sand Martin; Common Tern; Moorhen; House Martin; Cuckoo; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Swift; Starling; Blue Tit; Heron; Long Tailed Tit; Jay; Common Sandpiper; White Wagtail; Greenfinch; Dabchick.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Brandon Marsh


Canada Gosling


Sedge Warbler


Sedge Warbler


Moorhen


Grey Heron


Grey Heron


Lapwing


Managed a couple of hours sleep after a rather hectic night shift and decided to have a walk at Brandon this afternoon. Arrived at 1430 to a blustery but warm and sunny afternoon, walking my usual route to East Marsh and Carlton Hides and then back around Newlands. It was rather quiet with 53 bird common species before heading home at 1800. My only year list addition was Cuckoo. A Common Sandpiper briefly bathed off Willow Island for about 10 minutes before departing. Good scope views of Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers side by side on Willow Island would have made a good picture, but alas not close enough for my camera. Managed a few pictures of the commoner species, with more on my Website.
Most people at Brandon are friendly and are willing to engage in conversation. However, today I met Mr Grumpy whose only effort at conversation was a series of rather begrudging grunts! Ahh well everyone to their own.........................................................................!!!
Todays List:
Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Robin; Swift; Swallow; House Martin; Magpie; Coot; Blue Tit; Blackbird; Mute Swan; Mallard; Canada Goose; Lapwing; Common Tern; Shelduck; Oystercatcher; Redshank; Cettis Warbler; Wren; Heron; Moorhen; Sedge Warbler; Jay; Ringed Plover; Wigeon; Sand Martin; Chiffchaff; Whitethroat; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Pied Wagtail; Little Ringed Plover; Buzzard; Common Sandpiper; Reed Warbler; Great Tit; Willow Warbler; Pheasant; Chaffinch; Cuckoo; Reed Bunting; Dabchick; Long Tailed Tit; Blackcap; Green Woodpecker; Gadwall; LBB Gull; Great Crested Grebe; Kestrel; Song Thrush; Bullfinch.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Draycote Water


Chaffinch


One too many last night?


Now where did I put my...................................?


You put your left leg in, you take your...............


Vociferous Mallard thinking it can sing like a blackbird!

I worked an extra 1200 /0000 shift yesterday and finished late so did not get to bed until 0100 this morning. I really wanted to have a walk at Draycote, so set the alarm for 0600 enabling me to arrive at 0700 when the gates open. Was I tired? well that is an understatement! The cold north west wind and occasional light showers soon had me wide awake though. Pity it was so quiet on the water though. Met Richard and Dave in the car park and walked towards Toft, visiting the sewage works on the way (such a delight!). Only recorded 39 bird species and a fox. Chatted for a time with Lee J in Toft before heading back as decorating is still the bain of my life!

Common Sandpiper (1) on Farborough Bank, with Pied, Grey (2) and Yellow Wagtails(1); Sparrowhawk (1); Treecreeper (3) in Toft Shallows; Whitethroat (5); Willow Warbler (2); Sedge Warbler (2) were the best sightings.

I am sure that once I start wallpaper scraping, someone will find something! Not much in the way of pics either so a few common birds attached.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Brandon Marsh


Coot v Mallard


Coot v Mallard


Coot v Mallard


Redshank


Redshank


Record Garganey Pic


Having finished a night shift and managing a couple of hours sleep, I decided to take a stroll around Brandon this afternoon. Arriving at 1330 to warm sunshine and taking a leisurely pace to East Marsh Hide, Carlton Hide and finishing around Newlands, I was able to amass 61 bird species. Frustration of the day was the very poor quality of my photographs, and a drake Garganey that refused to come in close!
All the usual suspects were spotted, best of the day, and year ticks, were the drake Garganey on East Marsh Pool and two Hobbies from the Carlton Hide.
It was fascinating to watch a very aggressive Coot attempting to show who is boss on the Carlton Pool. No peace for the Mallard's and the Garganey on East Marsh Pool was singled out a couple of times, but was not forced close to any of the hides.
Today's List:
Garganey (1m); Hobby (2); Carrion Crow; Robin; Starling; Swallow (40+); Heron (3); Wren; Dunnock; Chiffchaff (5); Wood Pigeon; Feral Pigeon; Pheasant (3); Blackbird; Mute Swan; Canada Goose; Coot; Cettis Warbler (3 seen, 7 singing locations); Mallard; House Martin (100+); Willow Warbler(5); Reed Warbler (6); Redshank (3); Wigeon (3); Lapwing; Magpie; Oystercatcher (2); Moorhen; Grey Lag Goose; Common Tern (7); Shelduck (2); Sedge Warbler (4); Ringed Plover (2); Little Ringed Plover (3); Cormorant; Tufted Duck; Gadwall; LBB Gull (2); Teal; Snipe (4); Pied Wagtail; Blue Tit; Sand Martin (50+); Whitethroat (5); Reed Bunting (4); Dabchick (2); Kestrel (2); Herring Gull (1 over); Jay (1); Kingfisher (1); Great Crested Grebe (2) ; Green Woodpecker (1); Chaffinch; Barnacle Goose (1); Great Spotted Woodpecker; Song Thrush; Stock Dove; Long Tailed Tit; Greenfinch.
More pics on website.