Sunday, 8 July 2012

Saturday 7th July 2012 - Mopping up in East Staffs

Apologies for no blog last week, but the only bird of note that we saw was a Black-tailed Godwit at Branston Pits. And that have made a short blog entry.

Black-tailed Godwit at BGP's on 30th June 2012 

And so onto this Saturday. We were trying to have a trip to somewhere, but there was just nothing to go for. So I suggested we stayed in Staffordshire.....again. Westport was quiet as it had been all week. There were two birds at Gailey and Belvide, so we headed there first.

At Gailey, a s/p BLACK-NECKED GREBE had been present for a few day. Unfortunately, it didn't stay for the weekend masses and there was no sign. We did see 14 Common Terns and a family party of Little Grebes.

Next stop was Belvide for the eclipse drake Red-crested Pochard. CJW eventually found it after I had tried to string a sleeping fem Gadwall as it. Old birders often talk about spending hours with Richie Richardson on the East Bank at Cley. Well we've got our own version in Staffs - Bernie Smith and we managed to bump into him and spend a few moments listening to his latest tales and escapades - always a pleasure! 
The Red-crested Pochard at Belvide - showing well from the next hide!

We made the cross county trek to East Staffs, and onto Branston pits. It had rained heavily again on Friday (a month's worth in one day was forecast) but we were amazed at how it had affected the pits area. Water levels have been high all summer, but it was plainly obvious there had been some serious rainfall here.

Path beneath the pylons waterlogged

The overflow pipe on the path to the Sandy Pit - usually high above the water

This picture shows the tide mark where the flood came up to - half way inside "Dead Man's Wood"!
The path and gate to the Pec Scrape - it was about an inch below welly height here!
  The water levels on the Pec Scrape are so high Tufted Duck have moved on

The Pec Scrape - the levels would have been disastrous to any breeding waders here (unfortunately they've all been predated tho but that's another story!)

We just made it back to the car before the heavens opened again (poor Richard Powell wasn't so fortunate). We headed to Uttoxeter Quarry, hoping that we would drive away from the shower. We did managed to arrive when it was dry, but it soon rained afterwards. Again, we witnessed the after effects of yesterdays rain. We couldn't walk the usual way to the main pit as the path was waterlogged.

 Chris soon found out this water was deeper than his wellies - we found an alternative path in

A small stream today - but look how high the water came to yesterday

Our target bird - a distant diving Common Scoter

Uttoxeter Quarry - May 2011 at the time of the Lesserlegs
Same view today - the pit is full!