Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Monday, 28 December 2009

Bitterly Cold Brandon

Despite it being a Bank Holiday, I arrived at Brandon this morning at first light. It was bitterly cold, and of course, all of the pools were frozen! This of course meant very few birds! The Bank Holiday meant lots of people - it was packed! Between 0800 and 1545 I only amassed 46 bird species, walking around Newlands and then to East Marsh and Carlton Hides. It was good to meet Di Stone (at last) in Carlton and a few other regulars.

The best birds were a Sparrowhawk on Newlands, three Cettis Warbler's between the golf course and Carlton, a Buzzard in the dead tree and a second one over the sheep field. Water Rail were heard but not seen in two locations and five Snipe were located on the island in front of the Wright Hide. Despite sitting it out for hours, the Bittern(s) did not show and neither did the Barn Owl(s).

A full list of sightings below images.


First Light


Frozen East Marsh Pool


Frozen East Marsh Pool


Opportunist Magpie on Swallow Pool


Blue Tit from Carlton


The closest bird - Magpie in front of East Marsh


Frozen East Marsh Pool


Frozen East Marsh Pool


Here come the (Mute) Swans


( More images on my website - link opposite )


Todays Sightings:

Pheasant; Magpie; Wood Pigeon; Robin; Carrion Crow; Chaffinch; Green Woodpecker; BH Gull; Dunnock; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Redwing; Blackbird; Mistle Thrush; Song Thrush; Mallard; Cettis Warbler; Cormorant; Sparrowhawk; Moorhen; Water Rail; Coot; Canada Goose; Shoveler; Gt Sp Woodpecker; Tufted Duck; Snipe; Wren; Bullfinch; Stock Dove; Reed Bunting; Mute Swan; Common Gull; LBB Gull; Teal; Buzzard; Jay; Herring Gull; Long Tailed Tit; Kestrel; Grey Lag Goose; Grey Heron; Siskin; Greenfinch; Collared Dove; Starling.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Christmas Day Redwings






While preparing to leave for work today (unfortunate to land a 1200 /0000 shift!), I noticed the berry tree at the bottom of the garden was full of Redwing. They begged to be photographed, unfortunately, the camera operator could not do them justice!

I hope you all had a good Christmas and are now looking forward to the New Year.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Draycote Water


Frosty Fisherman - Grey Heron


Festive Robin


Lesser Redpoll


Lesser Redpoll


Lesser Redpoll


Long Tailed Tit


Smew


Smew


Smew


Smew


Goldeneye


Distant Buzzard


Buzzard


Reflections - Mute Swan


Goldeneye Exercises


Goldeneye Exercises

(More images on my Website - see link opposite)


Today dawned crisp, dry and sunny so I headed for Draycote arriving at 0830 and amassing 52 bird species before leaving at 1300. The water, for a change, was calm and "mirror" like, meaning that if a feather was on the surface, you would see it!

Walking anti-clockwise, all the usual duck species were soon located and distant views of a Great Northern Diver was the best I would get. The trees near Lincroft Point held a good group of 20+ Lesser Redpoll but interestingly, no Siskin. Goosander between the Valve Tower and the Inlet numbered seven male and ten female, with possibly more. The drake Smew was located off Draycote Bank and came closer than on previous visits, at one point within 30yards. Three female Common Scoter were together off the Inlet, close to buoy Y.

This will be my final birding trip before Christmas as I am required to work over the festive period.

May I wish you all a very Happy and safe Christmas.


Todays Sightings:

Magpie; BH Gull; Chaffinch; Rook; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Robin; Wren; Jackdaw; Gt Tit; Goldfinch; Blackbird; LBB Gull; Cormorant; Mallard; Tufted Duck; Gt Cr Grebe; Grey Heron; Coot; Canada Goose; GBB Gull; Pied Wagtail; Lapwing; Goldeneye; Dabchick; Common Gull; Great Northern Diver; Mute Swan; Gadwall; Starling; Wigeon; Goosander; Teal; Shoveler; Grey Lag Goose; Moorhen; Kestrel; Meadow Pipit; Dunnock; Blue Tit; Redwing; Bullfinch; Lesser Redpoll; LT Tit; Fieldfare; Green Woodpecker; Smew; Pochard; Herring Gull; Buzzard; Common Scoter; Gt Sp Woodpecker.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Brandon Marsh

Two days off in a row! This must be a record!

I had not been to Brandon for some months, so decided to pay a visit today. Arriving at 0830 I was able to amass 46 bird species, in the seasonally fresh conditions, before leaving at 1145.

The water was not too frozen despite below freezing temperatures. I concentrated mainly on East Marsh Pool, hoping of course for a Bittern to show, but alas, it was not to happen. The pool held most of the expected duck together with one male and one female Goldeneye, a female Goosander, and two Wigeon. A lone Dunlin flew in and was later joined by five Snipe. Three Water Rail's were along the path to East Marsh and a lone Cettis Warbler flitted and called in front of the hide. Large numbers of Siskin (50+) along the paths with about 15 Lesser Redpoll along the Wright Hide path. The snow unfortunately made visibility over the pool very difficult and blowing straight in through the hide flaps. As a result, no photo's were taken! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Todays Sightings:

Magpie; Wood Pigeon; Gt Sp Woodpecker; Robin; Dunnock; Gt Tit; Blue Tit; Chaffinch; Carrion Crow; Jackdaw; Jay; Coot; Moorhen; Kingfisher; Tufted Duck; Shoveler; Teal; Cormorant; Blackbird; BH Gull; Mallard; Goldeneye; LT Tit; Siskin; Lesser Redpoll; Fieldfare; Redwing; Water Rail; Gt Cr Grebe; Grey Heron; Gadwall; Goldfinch; Cettis Warbler; Dunlin; Wren; Lapwing; Grey Lag Goose; Snipe; Common Gull; Mute Swan; Sparrowhawk; LBB Gull; Goosander; Wigeon; Bullfinch; Stock Dove; Muntjac Deer; Common Seal.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Draycote Water


Blackcap


Blackcap


Bullfinch


Grey Squirell


Goldeneye


Smew


Smew


Smew


Smew


(More Images on my website - see link opposite)



My day started at Draycote where I met up with Richard M, Bob H and Francoise F. A pleasant walk around the perimeter in sunshine, but a keen seasonal blow. A Great Northern Diver and two female Common Scoter were seen over towards Rainbow Corner from Farborough Bank but not relocated when we arrived there. The drake Smew was initially elusive but eventually appeared off Draycote Bank. The hedges below Thurlaston village gave good views of a male Blackcap and at least eight Bullfinch's. No sign of the Green Winged Teal.

Todays Sightings:

Great Northern Diver; Gt Cr Grebe; Dabchick; Cormorant; Grey Heron; Canada Goose; Grey Lag Goose; Wigeon; Mallard; Gadwall; Teal; Pochard; Tufted Duck; Goosander; Smew; Goldeneye; Common Scoter; Buzzard; Kestrel; Coot; Moorhen; Lapwing; BH Gull; Common Gull; GBB Gull; LBB Gull; Wood Pigeon; Collared Dove; Green Woodpecker; Gt Sp Woodpecker; Skylark; Meadow Pipit; Grey Wagtail; Pied Wagtail; Dunnock; Wren; Robin; Blackbird; Song Thrush; Redwing; Mistle Thrush; Blackcap; LT Tit; Gt Tit; Blue Tit; Starling; Magpie; Jackdaw; C Crow; Rook; Chaffinch; Greenfinch; Siskin; Goldfinch; Bullfinch; Linnet. Blue Whale.  Also, Muntjac in field below Farborough Spit.

Great White Egret - Long Lawford (Day 3 The BEST Day!)











(More Images on my website - see link opposite)


Having spent the morning at Draycote in the company of Richard M, Bob H and Francoise F, we decided to visit Long Lawford to see if the Great White Egret was showing now that the sun was shining.

On arriving at Clayhill Lane, there was initially no sign, but it eventually appeared in flight, landing in the field off the footpath near West St. We quickly arrived and carefully crept towards the stream. The GWE was soon located but again flew towards Holbrook Grange. Richard & Bob called around at John J's house for a brew but I decided to forgo this treat and drove to the bridleway that passes through Holbrook Grange. The GWE was soon relocated, but was well hidden near the sewage works, and again it was soon in flight, landing further down the path on the stream it favours. Excellent views were obtained and  appreciated by Bob and Richard when they caught me up.

The cold wind and snow showers soon got the better of us and a retreat was made to the cars.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Great White Egret - Long Lawford (Day 2)

I had to go back and there it was! The stream at Clayhill Lane, Long Lawford must be the favourite roost for the Great White Egret. Today, I was ready with camera on the passenger seat, set at a high ISO as it was still semi darkness and of course, the obligatory drizzle. Again the Egret was not going to hang around and was soon in the air, heading towards Church Lawford.

However, I managed a couple of record shots (a few more on my website - link opposite).




Monday, 14 December 2009

Great White Egret - Long Lawford (Day 1)

Well my brief window of opportunity opened to a dark, dull and drizzly morning, but full of hope I headed to Lawford to try for my first Warwickshire Great White Egret. I arrived at Clayhill Lane at 0820 and where the stream crosses under the road, and within 50yards of the road was the Egret. I had it to myself for two whole minutes, remaining in the car as not to flush it. I need not have worried as this deed was performed by a dog walker and the Egret flew west. I drove up the hill to view the area but nothing, then I the drove to the field footpath opposite West Street and walked to the stream then to the top of the hill but nothing.

My experience of Great White Egret so far has involved wet, dull rainy days, distant birds or quick glimpses!


So, success in seeing but failure in no pics. Had I planned better, and had my camera in the car and not in the boot - Ahh well....................................................!!! Next time (will probably be the same!).

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Coombe Abbey

The sun was shining this morning so I decided to visit the bird hide at Coombe Abbey and continue my battle getting to grips with my 30D settings. I did not do very well (again). I had not visited Coombe for over six months and arriving in the car park, I soon noted the increase in parking fees, now standing at £3.20. Walking to the hide, I realised that the sun would be shining directly at the hide, resulting in most shots being over exposed and when the sun eventually hid behind the building clouds, I was having to increase the ISO. The bird table has gone with seed and suet now being placed in and on the trees and fallen branches making images a little more natural. I had the luxury of the hide to myself. The brightness and glare made the waterfowl difficult to observe.

To end my morning, I walked around the back route to the old toilet area and around the ponds in the hope of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Imagine my dismay, when nearly home, a text message from RBA informs me that a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker had been seen in this area at 1030.

I am not sure what happened, but when I got home and downloaded my images onto the computer, I had lost some. Missing were those of Dunnock, Blackbird and Coal Tit to name a few. Ahhh well - who said photography was easy???



Black Headed Gulls


Nuthatch


Blue Tit


Chaffinch


Bank Vole


Great Tit


Marsh Tit


Marsh Tit


Marsh Tit


Nuthatch

(More boring images on my website - see link opposite)


Today's Sightings:

Gt Cr Grebe; Dabchick; Cormorant; Grey Heron; Mute Swan; Canada Goose; Grey Lag Goose; Wigeon; Mallard; Gadwall; Teal; Pochard; Tufted Duck; Kestrel; Buzzard; Pheasant; Water Rail (Heard); Coot; Moorhen; BH Gull; Stock Dove; Wood Pigeon; Kingfisher; Green Woodpecker; Gt Sp Woodpecker; Grey Wagtail; Dunnock; Wren; Robin; Blackbird; Redwing; Fieldfare; Mistle Thrush; Cettis Warbler; Blackcap (f); LT Tit; Marsh Tit / Willow Tit; Coal Tit; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Treecreeper; Nuthatch; Starling; Jay; Magpie; Jackdaw; Rook; Carrion Crow; Chaffinch; Siskin; Bullfinch; Lesser Redpoll; Minke Whale.