Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Monday, 24 May 2010

Derbyshire Delights!

The only Virgin in Derbyshire?!!!


I have been meaning to get up into Derbyshire for some time so it was good to meet up with Dave N & Clive A who were to be my guides for the day (thanks guys). A glorious day with some good birds ticked, but limited opportunities to point the camera (but I am not a photographer - but a birder who carries a camera!). The day was a mixture of moorland and wooded valleys, making a pleasant change from the Warwickshire patches. The day started with Dipper and Grey Wagtail at Cromford followed by Red Grouse up on the moors, both on my red list of not being seen for three years or longer. A long hunt for Ring Ouzel proved fruitless even though we knew several pairs had been reported around our search area. Padley Gorge produced numerous Redstarts, Pied Flycatchers, Spotted Flycatchers and Tree Pipits with the added bonus of an obliging, singing Wood Warbler. Only one Dipper in flight was seen here but others reported seeing young being fed. The images below are my best for the day.

Sorry if anyone feels offended by the title of my first image - I would have been more accurate if I had been in Essex!!! Whoops..................................I'll get my coat!



Meadow Pipit

Wood Warbler

Tree Pipit

Tree Pipit

Tree Pipit

Wood Warbler

Todays Sightings:

Canada Goose; Mallard; Tufted Duck; Buzzard; Kestrel; Pheasant; Red Grouse; Moorhen; Lapwing; Curlew; Snipe; BH Gull; LBB Gull; Wood Pigeon; Cuckoo; Swift; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Skylark; Swallow; House Martin; Tree Pipit; Meadow Pipit; Grey Wagtail; Pied Wagtail; Dipper; Dunnock; Wren; Robin; Stonechat; Redstart; Blackbird; Song Thrush; Wood Warbler; Chiffchaff; Willow Warbler; Blackcap; Spotted Flycatner; Pied Flyctcher; Long Tailed Tit; Coal Tit; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Treecreeper; Nuthatch; Starling; Magpie; Jackdaw; Raven; Carrion Crow; Rook; House Sparrow; Chaffinch; Greenfinch; Goldfinch; Linnet; reed Bunting.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Great Reed Warbler - Straws Bridge, Ilkeston




I suppose I am now a "Twitcher"! Seeing some super images on various local birders blogs and websites, I felt the need to touch base with the long staying Great Reed Warbler and get a life tick! With the weather forecast predicting a sunny day with high temps (not at all to my liking!) I set off up the M1 very early, arriving at Straws Bridge at about 0600. The bird was soon located - its loud "grating" call being heard before its sighting. Unfortunately, the light was not ideal with the sun being behind the reed bed, coupled with the birds desire to remain partially hidden in the reeds! Still, I managed some "record shots" which are shared below with many more on my website. Only other bird of note was an Oystercatcher flying over the carpark.



Wood Warbler (at last!)





Following on from my successful morning at Straws Bridge watching the Great Reed Warbler, I called in at Beacon Hill, Leics in the hope of seeing (and hearing) a bird I have not seen for four years - Wood Warbler. Not being familiar with this area, it was hit and miss as to whether I was in the right area, but consolation was initially taken in seeing my first for the year Spotted Flycatchers and Tree Pipits. I walked around in the heat, hoping. I thought I could here the Wood Warblers call in the distance but I could not be certain. Eventually, I spotted two guys in the woodland and was relieved to see that they had bird watching equipment and were not engaged in other "activities"! As I approached, the Wood Warblers call was more evident, and it was not long before I was having stunning views, some of which I share here with many others on my website.


Saturday, 15 May 2010

Draycote Water


Following on from this mornings rather disappointing visit to Daventry Country Park, I decided to pay a quick visit to Draycote Water this afternoon, braving the hordes and walking to the valve tower and back. Was it any better? Not a chance! Saving grace was a very obliging photogenic Kestrel at the end of Hensborough Bank.

Draycote is definitely in decline and I am not referring just to the birds. A notice informs of the closure of the visitor centre in June and another one informs of the removal of all the portaloo's along the perimeter road. Aah well, at least the bushes have leaves on them at the moment to hide peoples embarrassment!

Best of the birds were Garden Warbler (5), Lesser Whitethroat (1), Yellowhammer (3), Yellow Wagtail (2), and Buzzard (3). A full list at end of post.



The Cuties - Mallard Chicks

Great Crested Grebe attempting hop, skip and jump!

Pied Wagtail (about to have fly for lunch)

Kestrel

Kestrel


Kestrel

Kestrel


(More images on my website - see link opposite)


Todays Sightings 1545 - 1820:

Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Rook; Kestrel; Mallard; Coot; Great Crested Grebe; Swift; House Martin; Blackbird; Great Tit; Canada Goose; Jackdaw; Pied Wagtail; Dunnock; Chaffinch; Pheasant; Stock Dove; Tufted Duck; Magpie; Garden Warbler; Blackcap; Robin; Yellowhammer; Lesser Whitethroat; Willow Warbler; Buzzard; Yellow Wagtail; Swallow; Black Headed Gull; Cormorant; Grey Heron; LBB Gull; Moorhen; Wren; Blue Tit; Green Woodpecker; Greenfinch; Whitethroat.

Daventry Country Park (Needs you..................?)



My shift rotas have not coincided favourably with my daughters Daventry based music lessons so this was my first visit this year. The county park needs you.........................but only if you own a dog (uncontrollable and off the leash preferred), are very loud and communicate over at least a mile, wobble on your bicycle very slowly so that you nearly fall off into the bush where I am trying to photograph a Garden Warbler, and jog making the noise heard on Zulu! Water levels were the highest I have ever seen, in some parts nearly reaching the footpath and very little present in the way of birds. In all a good couple of hours.......................I don't think! Might now give this reservoir a miss until the winter!


Standing on the dam, trying to photograph the Common Terns, along it came, the dog from hell. This dog had the audacity to try and wee on my tripod! Had I have been quicker, it would never had wee'd again as it would have been minus its tackle! Oh, sorry, said the owner, he's just being friendly. Friendly??? So, if I wee on your shoes then, you wont complain, becase I am just being friendly? Later, another pampoured pooch was seen........................swimming with its ball and giving the signal for another three dogs to join it! Maybe this is why the water held very little!




Birds included Common Tern (9), Buzzard (5), Hobby (my first for the year) (4), Sparrowhawk (1), a Kingfisher (1) making at least four trips from bank to bank, Garden Warbler (4), Shoveler (1) and Gadwall (5). A complete list at the end of this post.



Wren

Common Tern

Common Tern

Common Tern

Common Tern

Me after a night shift? - Carrion Crow

Carrion Crow


Todays Sightings 0915 - 1200:

Wood Pigeon; Wren; Great Tit; Chaffinch; Chiifchaff; Blackcap; Carrion Crow; Blackbird; Magpie; Robin; Coot; Garden Warbler; Bullfinch; Great Crested Grebe; Moorhen; Jackdaw; Tufted Duck; Mallard; Canada Goose; Song Thrush; Mute Swan; Blue Tit; Gadwall; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Long Tailed Tit; Dunnock; Buzzard; Common Tern; Sparrowhawk; Green Woodpecker; Pied Wagtail; Willow Warbler; Hobby; Kingfisher; Shoveler; Goldfinch.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Temmincks (Lifer) Stint - Coleshill Gravel Pits

Temmincks Stint

Temmincks Stint

Temmincks Stint

Temmincks Stint

Temmincks Stint

Little Egret


Seeing reports of Coleshill Gravel Pits going through a purple patch, I felt I must pay it a visit for the first time, but as always, work got in the way. My main interest was to be the Temmincks Stints, which were originally three and reducing to two. Would they stay as this bird would be a lifer for me? Finishing my night shift at 0700 this morning, I took my life in my hands as I travelled up the M6 on auto pilot. Arriving at the end of Gorsey Lane, I soon found the footpath, hopped over the gate and watched from the bank. Were they still there? Yes, but it took me about thirty minutes before I located them both. Super little birds which stayed a little distant for my camera and lens, so I had to settle for the attached record shots. It was also nice to see a fly over Little Egret. As I was leaving I met Dave H arriving, so I will wait with interest for his images to appear!

For the benefit of any of my work colleagues reading this, when I said that I was going for a Temmincks Stint, I did not mean that I was going to be doing something rather rude behind a bush (as was suggested)!!! ( And yes, I am still getting over the foolishness of mentioning that I was going for a Shag at Draycote last year!).

Sunday, 9 May 2010

I Hate Sunday's! (Until a Marsh Harrier appears!!)


If you come any closer I will take your eye out - Canada Goose


Cormorant


Moorhen


Marsh Harrier Record Shot


Marsh Harrier mobbed by Corvids Record Shot


Marsh Harrier Record Shot


Marsh Harrier Record Shot


Marsh Harrier Record Shot


Marsh Harrier Record Shot


Marsh Harrier Record Shot


"Wryneck" Gadwall


Corrrrr look at the a**e on that - Gadwall


(More Record Shots on my website - see link opposite)


I have to say that Sunday is my least favourite day for birding. Wherever you go is packed and most of the people encountered are intent on giving me graphic details of last nights TV/Pub/sexual encounters etc. etc from a mile away! Still, today was my day off so I had to grin and bear it, but where to go? I decided on a early morning visit to Brandon Marsh, arriving at 0615 and finding many birders already in situ! Also, I thought that closer views may be had of the Wood Sandpiper's, but alas they were not to be seen.

Indeed, compared to yesterday, most of the interesting birds had either departed or were in hiding. The expected were soon ticked off, with a list at the end of this post. Sitting in the Carlton Hide, boredom setting in, contemplating gouging out my eyeballs with a blunt stick, suddenly it appeared, a female Marsh Harrier! Distant, about level with the owl boxes, performing a circuit of Newlands, until eventually flying off in the direction of Ryton. My first in Warwickshire. The suddeness of its appearance and distance away, meant only record shots were possible, some of which are attached.

Todays Sightings 0615 - 1130:

Robin; Carrion Crow; Song Thrush; Chaffinch; Swallow; Wood Pigeon; Magpie; Blackbird; Pheasant; Mallard; Greylag Goose; Willow Warbler; Canada Goose; Wren; Blackcap; Whitethroat; Long Tailed Tit; Dunnock; Green Woodpecker; Grey Heron; Blue Tit; Goldcrest; Chiffchaff; Lapwing; Garden Warbler; Buzzard; Cuckoo; Tufted Duck; Greenfinch; Linnet; Sedge Warbler; Cettis Warbler; Oystercatcher; Bullfinch; Cormorant; Common Tern; Mute Swan; Coot; Gadwall; Great Crested Grebe; Pied Wagtail; Ringed Plover; Little Ringed Plover; Moorhen; Great Tit; Sand Martin; LBB Gull; Reed Bunting; Swift; Dabchick; Black Headed Gull; Kingfisher; Jackdaw; Marsh Harrier; Sparrowhawk; House Martin; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Reed Warbler; Nuthatch; Coal Tit.