Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Monday, 23 May 2011

Earlswood Lakes Re-visited

I had to go back! The possibility of a life tick in the form of a Night Heron was too good to miss - and it was in Warwickshire! This time, I was determined that I would not leave until I had seen it or it would be too dark to see it! Arriving about 3.30pm, I walked down to the scrubland area beyond Windmill Pool, but no sign. Back at the causeway, I met the Nuneaton Bird Club group and we settled down for the wait. While waiting, the drake Mandarin performed for us, never far from his female Mallard companion and protecting her with vigour should a male Mallard come too close! Also while waiting and waiting and waiting, I observed my first Hobby of the year high above Windmill Pool. The wait continued and birders arrived and drifted away. Eventually, as darkness increased, the ardent few were about to give up all hope, when, the Night Heron flew over Windmill Pool. It was quite high and disappeared towards Solihull, but it was worth the long wait (10 hours over two days). Unfortunately, I was not able to get any images but I am well pleased with my life tick! As consolation, I offer some more images of ...........................................................................................................the Mandarin!



Bathing with the "missus"









Earlswood Lakes - A "Rare Bird" ?

While waiting for the Night Heron to show at Earlswood Lakes, I could not resist the temptation to take pics of another "rare" bird! Kath, you're a star! (Terminology has been modified!).



Why am I here?


I could be watching paint dry at home!


When will my torture end?


Did someone mention the pub?

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Earlswood Lakes 21st May 2011



Mandarin

This was my first visit to Earlswood Lakes and I must say that I was impressed. The goal for the day was of course the Night Heron which failed to show, until fifteen minutes after I left! Typical! However, the day was not lost with a very obliging drake Mandarin taking over the starring role. This was actually my first Mandarin in Warwickshire (true!) and my first to be seen in three years! Not really bothered about "plastic" claims! It was rather "seasonally fresh" standing on the causeway from 3pm until 8pm but the company was good, with a good gathering including Matt G (original finder of the Night Heron), Craig (MidlandsBirder), Steve S & Ann, Dave H, Bob D, Di S plus others whose names escape me! I shall return!








Protective & Proud - Mallard Family






Monday, 16 May 2011

Fitness Training with Dave Hutton (plus a Black Throated Diver)!



You've heard of Birding with Bill Oddie, well today i've had fitness training with Dave Hutton! Also involved was the Black Throated Diver at Shustoke Reservoir, which led us a merry dance. Where does the fitness training come into this? Well while the Diver was doing what it does best i.e. diving, I foolishy tried to keep up with the more "youthful" Dave as he "sprinted" to the best vantage points! I'm totally knackered, but it was worthwhile to get this fantastic bird - my first in Warwickshire since the Draycote Water bird some years ago.












Sunday, 15 May 2011

Black Stork - Weedon, Northants



A report of a Black Stork near Weedon, Northants (Lifer), had me walking the infant River Nene first thing this morning, in an almost comatose state due to no sleep in the last 24hrs. A couple of birders informed me that they had accidently "flushed" the bird when they walked along the path and it had flown east. An hour spent searching soon had the Stork in the bag as a distant flight shot, soon to be mobbed by Corvids and disappear further east. A long search with many others proved fruitless, so I decided to scan the valley from an elevated position. Birders were spreading out over the search area and it was not long before the Stork was re-located on private land near Flore. The landowner granted limited access for a small number and I am very appreciative of a phone call from Bob H informing me of this. Arriving at the access gate, I was just in time to gain access and a group of about 20 quietly approached the River Nene. The Stork was located in the river but obscured by reeds. Soon, it took flight allowing a few "grab" shots which looked good on the camera, but of course were poor record shots when on the computer! Still it was a good bird to see and the company was good! Now, where's my bed?!









Saturday, 14 May 2011

Spotted Crake in Birding World!

Really pleased that Birding World have included one of my images of the Spotted Crake, Brandon Marsh,  in their May edition. It makes the long wait to see the Crake all the more worthwhile!


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A Nightingale Sang In ..................................


It was pastures new, again today with my first visit to Paxton Pits in Cambridgeshire. Being an "early bird" myself I left home at 0500. Driving down the A14 at 70mph, I was aware of a car overtaking me at great speed and soon disappearing into the distance. As it passed me, I glanced over to see it was being driven by a white haired old lady of about 80, grasping the steering wheel with true determination, and sat beside her was an even older lady with the facial expression of a dogs bum! I was gobsmacked - they left me standing!

Arriving at Paxton Pits, I began to get my bearings and headed for the Heron Trail where Di Stone had told me was best for Nightingales. A local chap soon caught me up and told me that an obliging Nightingale could be seen and heard near the bench just past Kingfisher Hide - well it was there but I would not say it was obliging and it led me a merry dance!

This area also proved something of a Warbler fest with Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler all competing to see who was the loudest! Close by a single Turtle Dove hugged the tree tops.

I walked all of The Heron Trail, River Walk and Meadow Trail and a list of birds seen can be found at the end of the post. Unfortunately, the photographic opportunities were not great with most of the birds that showed well being in direct sun. Still, it was a great day.

Nightingale











Common Whitethroat





Todays Sightings:

Goldfinch; Willow Warbler; Jackdaw; Wood Pigeon; Blackbird; Black Headed Gull; Cuckoo; Blue Tit; Cormorant; Dunnock; House Martin; Robin; Rook; Carrion Crow; Green Woodpecker; Mute Swan; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Nightingale; Great Tit; Magpie; Chaffinch; Grey Heron; Grey Lag Goose; Great Crested Grebe; Common Tern; Collared Dove; Greenfinch; Chiffchaff; Coot; Tufted Duck; Wren; Long Tailed Tit; Bullfinch; Whitethroat; Garden Warbler; Blackcap; Pheasant; Sedge Warbler; Canada Goose; Mallard; Turtle Dove; Sand Martin; Lapwing; Reed Bunting; Skylark; Sparrowhawk; Song Thrush; LBB Gull; Kingfisher; Jay; Lesser Whitethroat; Moorhen; Cettis Warbler; Swift; Pochard; Swallow; House Sparrow; Buzzard; Reed Warbler.