Monday, 7 April 2014

5th April 2014 - Plenty to crow about

Another solo Saturday for me this weekend but despite there being apparently nothing about, I had a rather good day. It just shows with a little effort, you can still enjoy yourself and escape from day to day realities just for a few hours. 

First of all, I walked around Westport. Star bird was a Rook that flew over. This is one of those birds that may not excite too many people, but its my first Rook over Westport since 2012! For some reason, they've gone scarce in the area.

Next stop was at Belvide where my target bird was the long staying Velvet Scoter. I'd seen this bird already this year at Aqualate, and caught up with it at Belvide last year. My reason today for seeing it was.....I'd never seen a Velvet Scoter in April before. Now if that's not a good reason to leave the comfort of your settee I don't know what is. Also saw seven of the Scaup

I made a late decision and from Belvide I headed down the M6 and M5 to Slimbridge. Fortunately as I'm a member of the WWT, I didn't have to pay the £76 entry fee. I made the long walk to the furthest hide away from the centre, the Kingfisher hide, and there waiting for me was my target bird of the day - a Hooded Crow. And which list was this going on you may ask......why this was my first ever English Hooded Crow
There were three "easy" species left to get on my English list. I saw Black Guillemot in Portland in December, now the Hooded Crow which just leaves Chough to get. Apparently there are a few in Cornwall so I must pop down there sometime.

Hooded Crow at Slimbridge.

Next stop was an equally long walk to the Holden Tower, at completely the opposite end of the reserve. It was standing room only on the top deck, but I managed to set my scope up and get a decent view in between where people were sitting. Star attraction here were the two Taiga Bean Geese that had flown down from Worcestershire. It always been an issue as to what these geese are called. Its generally accepted as "Tiger" or "Tayga" Geese, but today, one esteemed knowledgeable gentleman called them Tee-Agra Geese. I quite like that name. 

The Slimbridge Tee-Agra Bean Geese

All was going well in the Holden Tower. I was photographing the Tee-Agra's, year ticking the lovely Barnacle Geese when all of a sudden a little old lady came along.

and she saw the empty seat in front of me and so sat in it. She then started moaning how she was never able to get comfortable in the hide and wasn't able to use her scope properly. I know the feeling little old lady. I had two choices - Stand and bellow my disgust or make a fool of her on my blog.

And that was nearly that for the day. I'd still got one more site to visit, and that was back up in Staffordshire. I had such a leisurely day, I even had time for a nap at Strensham Services. Birding with the Clayheads in the fast lane as ever.


I managed to find the Alrewas Long-tailed Duck again

and also find a new site for Heron's nesting. Never seen one as low as this though.