Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Draycote Water

Only time for a quick visit between snatching a couple of hours sleep and a Doctors review of my newly diagnosed Diabetes. Arriving at 1130, I managed to dodge the showers as I walked to Toft and back. Still with the hope of seeing spring migrants, I only managed five Swallows and four Chiffchaffs. Two Buzzards were distant over Draycote village and two Oystercatchers were in flight over Farborough Bank but not seen to land. Interestingly, the numbers of Pied Wagtails have increased with 43 being counted between the visitor centre and Toft (one way).


One of the many Pied Wagtail's

Mr & Mrs - Tufted Duck

The way I feel! - Great Crested Grebe

(More Images on my website - see link opposite)


Todays Sightings:

Greenfinch; Rook; Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Wren; Black Headed Gull; Coot; Great Crested Grebe; Tufted Duck; Mallard; Canada Goose; Chiffchaff; Pied Wagtail; Chaffinch; Blackbird; Great Tit; Mute Swan; Cormorant; Teal; Gadwall; Goldeneye; Song Thrush; Green Woodpecker; Dabchick; Wigeon; Blue Tit; Goldfinch; Moorhen; Common Gull; Swallow; Jackdaw; Robin; Dunnock; Skylark; Magpie; Buzzard; Pheasant; Reed Bunting; Oystercatcher.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Draycote Water

The spring migration appears to be passing me by, and with very little time off work this week, I decided to visit Draycote to see what was about. Arriving at 1125, having had a few hours sleep due to finishing nights, I decided to walk to Grays Barn and back.

Chiffchaff (12) activity was very evident with many singing birds around the site and a flock of about 50 Starling's also contained ten Fieldfare in flight over the fields behind Farborough Bank. For a change, one of the two Great Northern Divers was close in off Farborough Bank, posing well and calling. Little else of note on my walk to Grays Barn, other than the usual wildfowl but nothing in any great numbers. Grays Barn produced Treecreeper but it was not until I returned along Farborough Bank that a Wheatear appeared. I failed to locate any Sand Martin's  and while scanning the water from the windsurfing area, a male and female Pintail were found off the outlet.



Great Northern Diver

Great Northern Diver

Great Northern Diver

Great Northern Diver

Great Northern Diver

Great Northern Diver

Great Northern Diver

Cormorant

Wheatear

Wheatear

Wheatear


(More images on my website - see link opposite)


Todays Sightings:

Chiffchaff; Jackdaw; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Rook; Wren; Chaffinch; Greenfinch; Tufted Duck; Great Crested Grebe; Coot; Robin; Pied Wagtail; Mute Swan; Mallard; Starling; Fieldfare; Blackbird; Black Headed Gull; Green Woodpecker; Great Northern Diver; Goldeneye; Canada Goose; Wigeon; Common Gull; Gadwall; Pheasant; Teal; Cormorant; Blue Tit; Buzzard; Great Tit; Goldfinch; Long Tailed Tit; Dunnock; Reed Bunting; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Moorhen; Treecreeper; Dabchick;  Wheatear; Pintail; Magpie; Kestrel.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Gigrin Farm - Red Kites (and a few others!)


A few more images from Gigrin Farm, yesterday.



I am quite pleased with this shot as it was almost black due to the contrast against the sky. A "fiddle" about on photoshop has improved the kite immensely (in my opinion) and salvaged a shot destined for the bin!







Ever present Rook
Raven in the Rain

Buzzard with Corvid Minders?

Buzzard

Friday, 19 March 2010

Gigrin Farm - Red Kites

A day out birding with my wife, Heather. Motivated by some fantastic images taken by other photographers of the Red Kites at Gigrin Farm, we had decided to visit today, even though the weather was far from good. A three hour drive preceeded our arrival but we were not in a rush as we had booked space in the Gateway photographic hide. The sunshine that started the day deteriorated into grey cloud about an hour before feeding commenced and the light started to worsen. We had about an hour before the rain started which really destroyed any further opportunities. Problems I experienced today were the poor light and the SPEED of the birds! A few images are appended below. Others may be posted or changes made once sorted and less tired!


(More Images of Red Kites and Others on my website - see link opposite)




Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Draycote Water - Female Scaup (a four year tick!)

A really mild and sunny morning at Draycote saw me overdressed and sweating (Max, please note!) as I walked the perimeter, requiring many layers to be shed, and hoping for any migrants. The water was "mill pond" calm so if anything was on the water, it could be seen. One of two Great Northern Divers was soon located off Draycote Bank but both remained distant. Five drake Shoveler were located off the inlet before drifting across towards the visitor centre, and four female Goosander departed the inlet towards the centre of the reservoir. Five Buzzards graced the skies, the only other raptor being a Kestrel. As I approached Toft, a text informed me of a Sand Martin sighting off Draycote Bank but alas, it did not wait for me. The water held the usual wildfowl but not in great numbers.

Just off the outlet, my attention was drawn to a largish duck resembling a female Scaup. I followed this bird for quite some time debating the merits of female Tufted Duck against female Scaup. Unable to be sure, due to distance, I took several record shots (very distant and almost useless) and later discussed with Bob H and Richard M. The jury was still out when I needed to leave, but Bob and Richard were going to "seek" it out and attempt confirmation or not. Pleased to say that my four tickless  Scaup - less years are now at an end! The Scaup eventually came in close at Rainbow allowing Bob to get this super image, many thanksBob.



Female Scaup - (courtesy Bob Hazell)

Female Scaup - my embarrassing record shot!

Pied Wagtail

Coot

Underwater Mute SWan

Coot

Dabchick

Dabchick


(More images on my website - see link opposite)



Todays Sightings:

Chaffinch; Magpie; Rook; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Song Thrush; Greenfinch; Blackbird; Goldfinch; Wren; Mallard; Cormorant; Coot; Black Headed Gull; Great Crested Grebe; Pied Wagtail; Tufted Duck; Mute Swan; Kestrel; Shoveler; Canada Goose; Goldeneye; LBB Gull; Gadwall; Great Northern Diver; Buzzard; Green Woodpecker; Dabchick; Wigeon; Herring Gull; Reed Bunting; Teal; Jackdaw; Long Tailed Tit; Dunnock; Great Tit; Moorhen; Blue Tit; Robin; Starling; Common Gull; Stock Dove; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Goosander; Skylark; Pochard; Goldcrest; Pheasant; Scaup.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Woodland Birds - Whitacre Heath

I do not get to Whitacre Heath very often (last visit two years ago!), so for a change, decided to make it my destination for today and spent four hours walking the reserve and sitting in the feeding station hide. The warm sunshine made for a very pleasant stroll and the appearance of a female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker near the feeder hide path was a three year tick!

The paths were not as muddy as I last remember and I solved the mystery of the the fifth hide! So far, on my previous visits, I have only found four of the hides at the flashes, feeding station, scrape and main pool. Literature about the reserve refers to five hides, and today, I found the river pool hide, a void has been filled!


Robin

Uneven swing? Great Spotted Woodpecker with Great Tit

Do you come here often? Blue Tit

Great Tit

Female Bullfinch

Willow Tit

Robin

Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll

Blue Tit

Reed Bunting


(More images on my website - see link opposite)


Todays sightings:

Reed Bunting; Wren; Robin; Rook; Carrion Crow; Grey Heron; Green Woodpecker; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Blackbird; Oystercatcher; Goldfinch; Pheasant; Buzzard; Song Thrush; Magpie; Dunnock; Mallard; Stock Dove; Kestrel; LBB Gull; Long Tailed Tit; Lesser Redpoll; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Lesser Spotted Woodpecker; Chaffinch; Willow Tit; Bullfinch; Grey Lag Goose; Jay; Teal; Coot; Shoveler; Dabchick; Tufted Duck; Moorhen; Cettis Warbler; Jackdaw; Black Headed Gull; Wigeon; Greenfinch; Skylark.