Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Nov 30th 2014 - Great Grey Shrike, Swynnerton Old Park

November 2014 had been a largely forgettable month for those with British lists of over 250. I'd not left the county and had mainly been watching the gravel pits, hoping to strike it lucky. The best bird so far had been the early Smew at Belvide.

Finally on the last day of the month, a few bits appeared for us to see. Originally we had hoped to go to Cleveland to see the ISABELLINE WHEATEAR but it did a Thursday night flit instead of the usual Friday night. So we decided to stay in Staffordshire instead.

After finishing off at Westport, we all met up at Hanchurch where a Great Grey Shrike had been found the previous day. By the time we arrived, the Shrike was already being watched by a small crowd of North Staffordshire birding stalwarts. It put on a fine display as it fed in front of us, perching on the stumps and coming quite close at times.


A small gathering of North Staffordshire's birders

The video and the drawing

Phil Jones latest artwork

We were heading off towards the East Staffs pits when we received news of a GREEN-WINGED TEAL came on from Derbyshire. We were heading that way and it was still relatively early so it fitted in nicely with the day. It took CJW ages to find the site as it was just by the junction of the A38 and A61 - a roundabout we fly round many times on the way east (sorry Flyboy but not that type of flying!). All we knew was that it was on some floods. We drove down the A61 a short way, parked up and walked back to view the floods. Second teal I saw was the Green-winged Teal. It was as easy as that. Petty we were standing next to such a busy road.

The flood field just before the roundabout at the A38/A61 junction. A new site for us

And so we finally arrived at the gravel pits where the highlight of the visit was a very large gull roost. We managed to find at least three Yellow-legged Gulls, adult Mediterranean Gull and a fine adult Caspian Gull. It's amazing what you can see in Staffordshire.

A few photos of the Caspian Gull