Friday, 26 August 2011

Friday 26th August 2011 - Westport Lake, Staffs

Today CJW finally found a twitchable Black-tailed Godwit for the masses instead of all these dodgy fly over ones I have. It was successfully twitched by at least five of the regulars. It appeared quite knackered and would allow walkers and joggers to go past without flying off. BTG's are becoming more regular now at Westport, and this is the fourth consecutive year it's been recorded. Furthermore, this is the second bird this year.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Pictures from my garden

A few butterflies have been visiting my garden this week. Here's a few pictures of them.

and then this one turned up

Saturday 20th August

A shorter day trip today due to family commitments, so I headed to Branston GPs and Blithfield with CJW. It appears that Branston has been visited quite frequently during the week, and to my complete shock today as we entered, two birdwatchers were walking out. These are the 3rd and 4th birders I've met here this year. Certainly things appear to be picking up in Staffs at the moment, and even more surprising, the field has finally been cut, and so access now is a lot easier glad you took my advice Mr Farmer).

Highlight of the visit was a site tick for me, found by old sharp-eyes himself, CJW

Two Collared Doves - a Branston GP tick!

We managed to eventually found the juv Spotted Redshank again, plus a large count of 15 Green Sands.

It was then off to Blithfield, and we just sat in Tad Bay and never moved, seeing the juv Black-necked Grebe again

...a Peregrine...

...and the two Garganey

Thursday, 18 August 2011

17th August 2011 - Gailey

A quick trip to Gailey after work eventually saw the s/pl Red-necked Grebe showing well from the causeway. This is my first RNG in Staffs since the Alrewas 2006 birds. Its also amazingly my 5th summer plumage bird. We have been blessed with these recently. Below are the other four s/pl birds that I've seen.

1987 Staffordshire Blithfield Reservoir A s/pl on 23rd April.
1989 Staffordshire Belvide Reservoir A s/pl on 28th May.
2000 Staffordshire Chasewater A s/pl on 29th April.
2003 Staffordshire Blithfield Reservoir A s/pl was seen on 7th & 22nd June.

I also managed to visit Pops in hospital after tea. He was in good spirits following his successful operation to mend his ankle. They even made precautions so that they stuck his leg back on the right way round.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

13th August 2011 - Blithfield, Branston & dancing at the Bloodstock Festival

Well for the fourth weekend running we stayed in Staffordshire and plodded the same old familiar route. We weren't expecting much today, although there had been a little bit at Blithfield recently. Westport was quiet today, and so we were down at Blithfield before 0900hrs. The sun was out so we headed over to Blithe Bay first where the light would be better. It was not a bad start to the days birding with five Dunlin, fifteen Ringed Plover, a Green Sand and two Black-tailed Godwits.

Black-tailed Godwit in Blithe Bay

We walked round Beech Tree Point and saw the ever faithful "Bird of the Day" - the Osprey perched in his usual tree, surveying the world and thinking what was for dinner today.

Osprey in Tad Bay

From the hide in Tad, where we met up with Graham, Roger & Steve, we had a Black-necked Grebe, two fem-type Garganey and seven Ringed Plovers flew in. It turned into rather a good visit this week.

Two Garganey (above) and the Black-necked Grebe

And so it was onto Branston for our next stop. The field still hasn't been cut yet, but I now know where the tracks are that run through it, so it wasn't so much of a slog this week. (If you are reading this Mr Farmer at Branston, the field on the way to Stansley Wood with the same crop in it as yours was cut a fortnight ago! Have you forgotten about it this yr?). There were six Little Egrets on the first pit but that was about all. I walked round to the Sandy Pit, had my usual chat with the nice security guard (bit serious this week - warned me about the moving vehicles on the track. I told him that they don't work on a Saturday afternoon. He laughed then promptly told me he'd just seen four Buzzards! Bless him). There was a Greenshank, but it walked beneath the reeds in front of me and out of view. A quick scan revealed two Green Sands, but that was all, as per usual. Then, I presumed the Greenshank had come back into view. When I lifted my bins, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a juv Spotted Redshank. At last, a semi-decent wader at Branston. I managed to take a few shots, but it was flushed by two Greenshank and flew off.

Spotted Redshank at BGP

I decided to walk back towards the bridge just in case any waders were down the bottom corner. To my complete surprise, there was a whole flock sitting roosting on a bank. It was just like Minsmere, except it was a gravel pit in Staffs. A scan thru revealed the two Greenshank, ten Green Sands and a Wood Sand all roosting on the bank. It had turned out to be rather a good visit for a change.

So we headed off to another pit nearby to see what was there. Pops joined me after his nap. There was another reason for him joining me - it was the Bloodstock festival again, and the stage is clearly visible from where we were going to. Pops is a thrash metal fan, and his favourite heavy metal group, The Evil Slashers were playing. We could bird, and listen to thrash metal at the same time. As I set my scope up to scan the lagoon, The Evil Slashers belted out their iconic hit, "Slash, acid and death". Pops was in heaven, dancing away. Now, being 77, he's not the dancer he used to be. I tried to warn him, but he slipped, and ended up in a heap at the bottom of a slope. Now, those of you who know the area, realise its about a one mile walk back to the car. Pop's ankle was at a different angle to what it should be and minor panic set in. I'm not sure how, but we managed to get back to the car after an hours struggle, and Pops was clearly in a lot of pain. I drove home, got changed and we were up the accident unit for five hours. Pops had managed to break his ankle!