Sunday, 26 February 2012

Saturday 25th February 2012 - A sawbill fest in Staffordshire

After our usual start to the day at Westport, we headed down to Penn Common for the long staying FIRECREST. This was our only target bird of the day and we thought it might take us some time to find it. There was no need to worry because when we arrived on site, the Firecrest had just been located following an hours search. We had good views of it, but it was feeding fairly high up in the trees. This is my first Firecrest in the county since the Hanchurch bird in 2008.

So after securing our target bird, we headed off to Branston GP's. There were two Little Egrets on the first pit, the 1w European White-fronted Goose was feeding with Canada Geese in the field, on the Sandy Pit there were four Green Sands, three Ruff, a Dunlin and 129 Golden Plover, and the Knot was on the far pit with a Redshank. We also had a Marsh Tit in the wood.

The 1w White-fronted Goose

Golden Plover on the Sandy Pit

Distant shot of a distant Knot

We then went in search of a flock of SMEW. We called into Barton North GPs, and were soon watching three Smew, a fine drake and two females.

On our final pit of the day, I saw another redhead Smew amongst other things.

A pair of newly returned Oystercatchers showing well in the sun

A poor picture but this Cormorant has probably the whitest head I've ever seen. Almost pure white!

My third redhead Smew of the day

A few Heron's!

We were heading for home when fellow Clayhead PJ rang to say he'd found a stunning drake RED-BREASTED MERGANSER at Copmere. We were only the other side of the county, but with these light nights, we headed over, arriving at just after 17-00hrs. There was just enough light to take a quick video of the drake as it displayed to the Goosander.