Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Draycote Water

Arrived at Draycote this morning at 0600 in thick mist - just my luck! But it improved and a good day was had. Despite the mist, it was good to see hedgerows full of mixed flocks. Large numbers of Blackcap, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and mixed Tits. The valve tower was shrouded in mist with eerie images of the female Goosander and Wheatear.

Goosander in the Mist

Pied Wagtail & Wheatear in the Mist


Very little could be seen along Draycote Bank with two juvenile Little Ringed Plovers near the inlet and a juvenile Shelduck which later showed well near the wind sailing area. The bushes at the inlet held Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Common Whitethroat, and Chiffchaff. A Nuthatch was seen in the wooded area below, with a second bird being heard below Farborough Bank.
The sun began to burn off the mist as I approached the Outlet and Hensborough Bank. Five Ringed Plover were off Hensborough Bank with three Dunlin. Two Little Egrets were mobile around the reservoir, at least fourteen Yellow Wagtails at various locations and the smaller hirundine flocks contained at least ten Sand Martins. Onward towards Toft only produced a Sparrowhawk and Toft Bay held one Common Sandpiper and the long staying Egyptian Goose. While in Toft, Bob H phoned me to say that a Sanderling had been spotted in Rainbow Corner. My car was parked in Thurlaston, so I legged it back, noting Buzzard and Jay, before heading to the main car park. Huffing and puffing and near to collapse, I arrived back on Hensborough Bank and the very obliging Sanderling! An adult Yellow Legged Gull engaged in a fly past and a Grey Wagtail showed briefly.

A good number of local birders made the most of the sunshine - Bob H; Richard M; Francoise F; Kath E; Max S; Mark P; Dennis; Terry B and others unknown.

A complete list of sightings can be found at the end of this post.


Chiffchaff as the mist begins to lift

Ringed Plover & Dunlin

Ringed Plover & Dunlin over Tufted Duck

Sanderling

Sanderling

Sanderling

Sanderling

Little Egret

Little Egret

Juv Shelduck

Juv Shelduck

Juv Shelduck


(More Images on my website - see link opposite)


Todays Sightings:

Robin; Green Woodpecker; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Wren; Blue Tit; Jackdaw; Blackcap; Song Thrush; Black Headed Gull; Great Crested Grebe; Moorhen; Magpie; Great Tit; Goldfinch; Chaffinch; Blackbird; Coot; Mute Swan; Long Tailed Tit; Bullfinch; Dunnock; Chiffchaff; LBB Gull; Mallard; Teal; Grey Heron; Dabchick; Tufted Duck; Wheatear; Goosander; Pied Wagtail; Yellow Wagtail; Little Ringed Plover; Willow Warbler; Common Whitethroat; Shelduck; Lapwing; Nuthatch; House Martin; Swallow; Gadwall; Reed Bunting; Ringed Plover; Dunlin; Cormorant; Pheasant; Canada Goose; Little Egret; Yellow Legged Gull; Sparrowhawk; Common Sandpiper; Sand Martin; Egyptian Goose; Stock Dove; Greenfinch; Jay; Buzzard; House Sparrow; Sanderling; Grey Wagtail; Wigeon; Rook.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Draycote Water on an Appalling Day!

A day off and appalling weather! Well, it was stay at home and tidy up or brave the persistent rain and go out birding. No contest - the birding won! I arrived to an empty carpark at Draycote Water (not surprising), donned waterproofs and set off. Not really expecting to see much, I walked to the valve tower and back, then to Toft and back.

Hensborough Bank held a single Dunlin, two juvenile Little Ringed Plovers, two adult Ringed Plovers and two Common Sandpipers. A Sparrowhawk patrolled the fields behind Draycote Bank and the female Goosander was located near the valve tower. Huge numbers of hirundines were making the most of the insects with at least 100 Sand Martins. It was pleasing to see at least 50 Swifts over the water, the most I have seen this late in the year. At least four juvenile Yellow Wagtails were around the perimeter, at least five Common Sandpipers and in Toft Shallows, one Green Sandpipers. Grays Barn held three Little Egrets and the Egyptian Goose was off Toft Bank. Stopped off at the bird hide for my coffee to find Bob H and Richard M in residence. No doubt they will inform us all of their observations in due course. (A list of sightings can be found at the end of this post).

Today was not a good day for taking photographs! I foolishly persevered, and to coin a phrase from Max, below you will find my "crapographs" - please don't laugh! Dark, dull gloomy and optics steaming up - not good. I bet the sun shines tomorrow. AND IT DID! - and some good birds were discovered and photographed - but I was at work!


Now how does an Ostrich do it? - Lapwing

Where did I put my................? - Goosander

My fierce pose - Goosander

I don't want my picture taken! _ Gadwall

Dunlin

Little Ringed Plover

Dunlin & Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover

That Goose again - Egyptian Goose

Juv House Martin


(More poor quality images on my website - see link opposite)


Todays Sightings:

Great Crested Grebe; Dabchick; Cormorant; Grey Heron; Little Egret; Mute Swan; Canada Goose; Egyptian Goose; Mallard; Gadwall; Teal; Tufted Duck; Goosander; Sparrowhawk; Coot; Moorhen; Ringed Plover; Little Ringed Plover; Dunlin; Common Sandpiper; Green Sandpiper; Lapwing; Black Headed Gull; Herring Gull; LBB Gull; Wood Pigeon; Swift; Green Woodpecker; Sand Martin; Swallow; House Martin; Yellow Wagail; Pied Wagtail; Dunnock; Wren; Robin; Blackbird; Chiffchaff; Willow Warbler; Long Tailed Tit; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Starling; Magpie; Jackdaw; Rook; Carrion Crow; House Sparrow; Chaffinch; Greenfinch; Goldfinch.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

No Longer a Virgin!!!

Ospreys - Rutland Water Manton Bay


Well it had to happen! A window of opportunity opened, I took it and I am no longer a Bird Fair Virgin! After 22 years I finally made it through the turnstiles. Was I impressed, well yes and no. The organisation and support from the exhibitors was second to none. I did feel that the foreign holiday companies overwhelmed the marquees but of little use to someone who has never flown or even been on an airport! This fact seemed to throw some of the "pushier" vendors, much to my delight, and I really should have come clean to one Gambian tour operator when I informed him I could not have a passport due to some "misdemeanours"! (I do actually have a passport - never used, though!). I could easily have parted with £10000 for a new Canon camera and lens, but I did not have this amount so this purchase will have to wait until I retire, then I could call myself "a photographer"! Eventually, after four hours touring the stands, I began to feel claustophobic and needed to do some actual birdwatching. I headed down to Manton Bay bridge just off one of the bends on the A6003. Here, good but distant views were had of the Ospreys but necessitated an ongoing battle with hundreds of cyclists and a non stop stream of cars. Overall, a good day, glad I made it, but the Bird Fair is not really my scene.

(Although not really a birding day, a list of sightings can be seen at the end of this post).




The Manton Bay Flasher? - Grey Heron

Ospreys - Rutland Water, Manton Bay


(More images can be seen on my website - see link opposite)


Todays Sightings:

Great Crested Grebe; Cormorant; Little Egret; Grey Heron; Mute Swan; Canada Goose; Grey Lag Goose; Shelduck; Mallard; Gadwall; Shoveler; Pochard; Tufted Duck; Buzzard; Osprey; Hobby; Coot; Moorhen; Green Sandpiper; Ruff; Black Tailed Godwit; Lapwing; Snipe; Black Headed Gull; LBB Gull; Common Tern; Wood Pigeon; Collared Dove; Green Woodpecker; Swallow; House Martin; Pied Wagtail; Robin; Blackbird; Sedge Warbler; Chiffchaff; Long Tailed Tit; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Starling; Magpie; Jackdaw; Carrion Crow; Rook; Tree Sparrow; House Sparrow; Chaffinch; Goldfinch.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Draycote Water

Asleep at his post! - Egyptian Goose


With all the good birds found at Draycote yesterday, while I was at work - (insert rude word ****), I decided that due to time restraints today, an early morning visit would be in order, to see what was left! Arriving at 0600, I was soon in Toft, in time to see two Greenshank's head off towards Rainbow Corner, but unfortunately not relocated on my yomp. A rather mobile Little Egret was also in Toft, but flew to Rainbow Corner and then settling with a second bird in the Grays Barn area. Toft and Farborough Bank held at least eight Yellow Wagtail's (with at least five others around the perimeter) and a Buzzard was seen near the overgrown scrape. The Egyptian Goose was found asleep in front of the closed visitor centre. Approaching the outlet, a Greater Black Backed Gull posed, with waders consisting of Lapwing, adult and juvenile Ringed Plover, juvenile Little Ringed Plover and a Dunlin. Four Common Tern's patrolled Hensborough Bank but little else of note. As I arrived back in Toft, a Spotted Flycatcher busied itself at the end of the boardwalk.

Little Egret

Little Egret

A rose between two thorns?

Greater Black Backed Gull


Greater Black Backed Gull

Greater Black Backed Gull

Common Sandpiper & Lapwing

Ringed Plover

Magpie with Breakfast

Goosander

Goosander


(More images on my website - see link opposite)



Todays Sightings (0600 - 0930):

Pied Wagtail; Wood Pigeon; Blackbird; Wren; Carrion Crow; Magpie; Green Woodpecker; Moorhen; Lapwing; Black Headed Gull; Tufted Duck; Mallard; Great Crested Grebe; Mute Swan; Dabchick; Goldfinch; Canada Goose; Chaffinch; Coot; Great Tit; Swallow; Robin; Grey Heron; Greenshank; Little egret; LBB Gull; Yellow Wagtail; Buzzard; Starling; Cormorant; House Martin; Egyptian Goose; Sand Martin; Teal; GBB Gull; Little Ringed Plover; Dunlin; Ringed Plover; Common Sandpiper; Common Tern; Blue Tit; Rook; Sparrowhawk; Jackdaw; Long Tailed Tit; Goldcrest; Willow Warbler; Gadwall; Spotted Flycatcher; House Sparrow.

Friday, 13 August 2010

A murky morning at Marsh Lane!

Well it is Friday 13th! The day did not look promising and lived up to my initial impression - murk! I decided to visit Marsh Lane as this is one of my favourite reserves, but one I visit very infrequently. The hides here are reasonably close together so shelter is easily had. The day was one of heavy showers, gloom with a sprinkling of sunshine but a biting north wind, reminiscent of late autumn. Recent reports of a Garganey spurred me on but after five hours searching it could not be found.

The car park pool produced a drake Pochard, one Green Sandpiper and at least twelve Sand Martin's. Oak and railway pools were quiet with one Common Sandpiper of note. The oak hide feeders held Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Tree Sparrow's with the expected tits and finches.

Not a lot in five hours searching! (A complete list of sightings can be found at the end of this blog).


From the screens, hoping to equal Max's excellent Reed Warbler's, all I got was this juv Moorhen!

Common Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper


(More images on my website - see link opposite)


Todays Sightings (0700 - 1200):

Jackdaw; Carrion Crow; Magpie; Wood Pigeon; Mallard; Goldfinch; Wren; Coot; Dabchick; Pochard; Grey Lag Goose; Mute Swan; Grey Heron; Gadwall; Starling; Moorhen; Green Woodpecker; LBB Gull; Tufted Duck; Stock Dove; Cormorant; Greenfinch; Chaffinch; Swallow; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Pheasant; Black Headed Gull; Shoveler (f); Lapwing; Pied Wagtail: Great Spotted Woodpecker; Black Swan; Reed Warbler; Nuthatch; Teal; Tree Sparrow; Common Sandpiper; Blackbird; Canada Goose; Reed Bunting; Green Sandpiper; Sand Martin; Buzzard; House Martin.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Rutland Water - Distance, Disappointment and Despair!

Water Rail


I enjoy Rutland Water and its reserves at Lyndon and Egleton but know from previous visits that most birds will be distant making images difficult. I really needed to get Osprey on my year list as I tend to miss them visiting local waters, so I headed over and waited outside the visitor centre to get my permit (now £5) when it opened at 0900 (rather late in my opinion as I like to be birding much earlier). Starting at Lyndon I walked to the waderscrape hide and was pleased to see the two adult and three juvenile Ospreys, albeit distant.

Typical view of the three juv Ospreys

Typical view of the two adult Ospreys

Juv Osprey

Juv Osprey


My disappointment is that what looked like decent images of the juv Osprey flypast on the camera was not so good when placed on the computer! and I am beginning to despair that I will never get a really "class" image, worthy of praise!!!

While waiting in the hide, a rather obliging Water Rail performed in the reeds, giving reasonable views. It was also rather nice to be in the company of Monica who with husband Tony are regulars at Brandon Marsh and publish images on Flickr.



I decided that it was getting rather busy at Lyndon with a "Family Osprey Day" taking place so I moved over to the Egleton Reserve. Here, progress was being made erecting the huge marquee's for the Bird Fair at the end of the month. A quick trot up to the new lagoons saw me watching two Spotted Redshank, a further solitary Osprey, Ringed Plover but little else. The hides overlooking the older lagoons gave good views of Little Egret, Green Sandpiper, Ruddy Shelduck, Greenshank, Ruff, Redshank, Black Tailed Godwit, Snipe and Common Sandpiper.

A few more images of the commoner birds that remained still long enough for me to capture them!


Goldfinch

House Sparrow

Mallard

Collared Dove

Great Tit

My main objective of Osprey was met, so I am quite happy. Problem with Rutland Water is its shear size, one day or part day obviously cannot do it justice. Seeing the preparations for the Bird Fair made me want to attend this year - guess what? - I am working! (Again)


(More images on my website - see link opposite)



Todays Sightings:

Magpie; Long Tailed Tit; Carrion Crow; Robib; Wood Pigeon; Wren; Black Headed Gull; Pheasant; Rook; Swallow; House Martin; Chaffinch; Goldfinch; Mallard; Mute Swan; Lapwing; Great Crested Grebe; Coot; Moorhen; Grey Heron; Blue Tit; Common Tern; Cormorant; LBB Gull; Little Egret; Tufted Duck; House Sparrow; Great Tit; Dunnock; Willow Warbler; Pochard; Canada Goose; Osprey; Egyptian Goose; Sand Martin; Pied Wagtail; Blackbird; Reed Warbler;Jackdaw; Buzzard; Water Rail; Oystercatcher; Reed Bunting; Greenfinch; Collared Dove; Green Woodpecker; Kestrel; Spotted Redshank; Grey Lag Goose; Ringed Plover; Green Sandpiper; Ruddy Shelduck; Gadwall; Wigeon; Shoveler; Snipe; Greenshank; Stock Dove; Whitethroat; Blackcap; Sedge Warbler; Black Tailed Godwit; Common Sandpiper; Starling; Shelduck; Sparrowhawk; Blackbird; Great Spotted Woodpecker.