Wednesday, 4 September 2013

End of summer and onto Autumn

Back to normal routine Staffs birding now and getting all ready for Autumn. A full day out around the usual sites on Saturday August 25th saw a visit to Blithfield Reservoir, seeing two juvenile Black Terns and two Osprey sat in their usual tree in Tad Bay. 

Two Ospreys in Tad Bay

We visited Branston GP's afterwards but there really wasn't much on show. Its not been a vintage year at Branston yet this year, but hopefully the Autumn wader passage will be more productive. 

The following Saturday, 31st August, I'd agreed to take the girls to North Wales for the day, and so we were out birding on Sunday instead. A decent rarity had turned up in Cheshire the previous day, and CJW had hurtled up to Neumann's Flash to see the STILT SANDPIPER (amazingly his 2nd for Cheshire). As it was so close to Staffordshire, we decided to pop up there after Westport, and CJW got to see the Stilt Sandpiper for the second day running. 

Stilt Sandpiper at Neumann's Flash. 

Stilt Sandpiper is one of those birds that I've managed to photograph every single one I've seen. My first was the Pennington Marsh bird in Hampshire in July 2002.

Then there was the Brownsea Island bird in August 2006 - my big year listing year and a solo trip to boot!

Stunning views

Then we went for the juvenile bird in Cumbria in September 2008. This was only the third ever juvenile bird in Britain at the time. We went for it because I was off for the week and it was somewhere and something to see!

The rest of Sunday was spent in Staffordshire. We ended up at Blithfield again to look for the Little Stints but they had departed during the day. Big thanks to CJW for his efforts during the day. 

And so onto a busy start to Autumn. On Monday 2nd September, the Stilt Sandpiper was flushed by a Sparrowhawk, and a few hours later it was relocated on Elton Hall Flash at Sandbach. I had to take my daughter to Congleton after tea, and a trip to Sandbach on the way back fitted in nicely. It would have been a bit rude of me not to have seen it at Sandbach as it was so close to home. Although not a Sandbach lister like a lot of the Clayhead birders, I do like to see the decent stuff up there when it turns up. 

Unfortunately, it was a little bit distant. The video shows the bird clearly (if you look hard enough). 

And the busy week continued when MPR found a CATTLE EGRET in Tad Bay at Blithfield. It was 19:20hrs and the sun was still out. I knew I was in with a chance of getting down to see it. I phoned GAS and he was very prompt in picking me up. However, as soon as we were on the A50, the sun dropped, despite sunset being reported as 19:55hrs. I almost considered turning back but I carried on. We pulled up in Newton Hurst Lane at the end of Tad Bay at just before 20:00hrs. I knew it would give me a few minutes more of light instead of driving to the hide in Stansley Wood. A quick glance thru my bins and there was the adult s/pl Cattle Egret still sat on the shoreline. A fine Blithfield tick and my second in Staffordshire having missed the Doxey bird due to being in Portugal on holiday.

Video showing distant Cattle Egret at dusk. Beautiful!

Finally, congratulations must go to the number one Clayhead stalker Ian Burgess on reaching the magical 400. Wherever we go, he's always there first. See you soon Ian!