Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Early April catch up

Having returned late Sunday evening from Hungary and had about four hours sleep before work, I didn't really appreciate the news that a COMMON CRANE had been seen near to Kingswood on the Monday night. There was no way I could simply pop down again, and so I turned down a lift. Unfortunately, this bird didn't play ball, like all previous other recent Cranes in Staffs.

However, it was relocated on Thursday evening, 5th April in Stafford. I worked out there was about an hours light left and it was all systems go. Except my wife was out and I was looking after the girls. I tried to persuade them that a CRANE was quite interesting, but they didn't understand the importance of this bird and my Staffs list. In the end, I managed to drop them off at my mums and I headed down to Stafford.

The motorway was running fine, and then I drove into Stafford. From the start, we were unsure of the precise location of the CRANE, and so I headed towards the Wildwood estate. I almost got down to the canal from here but there was a playground in the way. Then I remembered it was by the boat club. I found the entrance to this, but it was all locked up. Time was rapidly running out, and the light was seriously fading by now. I rang PJ who informed me he was watching it still. He gave me directions to where he was parked and I hurtled off.

I parked up and headed across the large grassy area opposite the Radford Bank pub and made my way down to the canal. The path I was on soon disappeared off into a small wood, and then I had a horrible thought. I rang PJ and asked him which side of the canal he was on. I was only on the wrong side and I knew there was no chance of getting back round to the correct side as it was almost dark my now. I carried on through the wood and eventually found PJ and PL on the opposite side of the canal. I then realised I'd made another mistake by not bringing my scope as I assumed I would be looking through PJ's. The Crane was distant, the light was fading, I'd mess up. PJ then relocated the Crane and started shouting out directions. PL found it through his bins, and I eventually saw the grey blob feeding in the field. Fortunately it flew a short distance, giving me distant gloomy flight shots. I walked back to the car alone - everyone else was on the other side of the canal!

I returned at first light the following morning with GAS.

Crane at Radford Meadows SWT early on Good Friday.

Easter Monday saw the family head off to Christchurch for the week. Mixed birding fortunes, but I did get to see the Rose-coloured Starling at Hordle.

Little Egret at Stanpit

Finally, Saturday 14th April was spent back in Staffs - my first Saturday spent in Staffordshire since mid March! A fairly decent day was had, including these deer showing well on the Chase.