Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Saturday 17th March

And so for the fourth consecutive Saturday, we stayed in Staffordshire again. There was a rare full Clayhead turn out at Westport. We did manage two new Chiffchaffs, plus a cracking view of a Woodcock over the sewage works. Amazingly, this is now the third year in a row I've manage to see Woodcock at Westport - no longer a Westport mega?

Woodcock in flight over Westport - photoshopped by PJ

Then the twitching began, we made a rare visit to the barbed wire mecca that is Berryhill. True to form we did end up in a paddock with no way out, and one member did get his foot stuck in between two strands of the finest wire. The reason for our visit was a 1w male Ring Ouzel had been found, my earliest one in Britain by nine days. We also saw three Wheatears. Spring is slowly sprunging into life.

PJ did very well to get this shot as the ROuzel was quite distant.

We bade farewell to PJ and headed off south. First stop was a brief visit to the Chase. Its still rather quiet on there, and we only saw a few species in total. Then it was on to the pits. And yes, more pictures of the White-fronted Goose. There were a few waders still around, including a Black-tailed Godwit. We also had a site tick - a Stonechat!

More pictures of the immature WFGoose.

Bird of the day (not quite) - a Branston GP tick

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Saturday 10th March - Same old Staffs!

Another day spent in Staffordshire. We visited Westport where a bit of drizzle got our expectations up, but in the end we saw nothing new. There was a bit of movement though, with thirteen Mute Swans flying in, giving the lake its highest count of swans since Sept 2010!

We were at a complete loss as to where to head to next. Staffordshire is going through a bit of a stale patch at the moment. Spring is here, but its not quite yet arrived and we are still waiting for those migrants to drop in en masse. In the end, we headed up to the moors. First stop was for DIPPER. We were soon watching two birds showing well, plus a pair of Grey Wagtails. We then saw two RED GROUSE, but unfortunately, we found out they were in Derbyshire. We had a brief check of a few sites in Staffs, but time was marching on and we soon gave up.

Next stop was Branston Pits as per usual. There was an amazing ten birders on site today, among them bloggers Local Birder, Alrewas birder, Regional tick, Man in a Blue Van, ochrurus and veteran British birding stalwart DIM Wallace. Branston was alright today, but most of the birds were the same as we'd seen on previous visits. The immature White-fronted Goose was still present (first found 11th Feb), the Knot was still present (found 4th Feb) plus four Ruff, seven Green Sands, Redshank, Curlew etc. Bird of the day was found by Richard - a pair of Pintail. These are only my second Pintail at Branston GPs, the first way back in Dec 2001!

The five waders on the Sandy Pit - three Ruff, a Redshank and the resident Knot

The immature White-front

A Pintail

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Saturday 3rd March 2012

We contemplated a visit to North Wales this weekend, but by the end of the week, most of the decent birds that we planned to see weren't being mentioned anymore. So we decided to stay locally again. It was great as we plodded round a fairly damp Staffordshire to hear news of the North Wales birds as they came on the pager. Wrong decision made again!

Westport at the moment is going through a fairly quiet spell, and on Saturday morning, I walked round with CJW and we were done in less than an hour! Then it was off to the Chase. We hoped to see a ****** ********** and a ****-***** ***** and even the long staying suspressed ***** ********** at ******** Wood but in the end we only saw a few bits. The Chase on a wet and windy day ain't a very good place to be. If anyone wants any information and the above birds you can **** ***.

We visited the Pits afterwards, and we met fellow Pitter Chris Cook - nice to put a name to a face! The immature White-fronted Goose and Knot were still present, plus a three Ruff and up to 8 Redshank and six Green Sands. We also managed to see the Smew later in the day as well.

Sorry for the lack of photo's today. It was either raining or the bird was showing distantly.