25 Jun 2010


Highlight of the week so far has been a Quail at Lymm. Found by local birder Richard Hargreaves in a field by his house. Picking up Al Orton last night we were soon on site but had to wait an hour for the little b*gger to call - twice. Then silence...................

More locally the only garden birds of note were two Nuthatches that spent last Sunday in the garden whilst a Lesser Whitethroat has started singing again nearby.  A quick trip to Rivacre Valley was nice as both Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail were seen along Rivacre Brook. Vert little else though apart from a very dodgy sounding Chiffchaff near the rangers hut.

Garden birds!

18 Jun 2010

Plastic fantastic & an anniversary.

Things are getting bad in the birding World. Hot on the news that a Black Woodpecker seen in Cumbria earlier this year comes the following gem from Birdguides:

"Further to the earlier report of Great White Egret in Suffolk, birders should note that the large egret viewable on a small pool from the Needham Market-Stowmarket train is in fact plastic."

It brings a whole new meaning to the derogratory birding term 'plastic'

The anniversary?

15th June 2009 - see here:

Theres still time for a rare tern to show on the Wirral and with a Roseate shacked up with a Common Tern at nearby Seaforth a prolonged seawatch might just bring rewards.

Most of the activity locally centres around the feeders and with a new generation of young birds now making use of them I'm having to fill them daily.

The Moorhens are managing to hang on to most of their second brood on the pond but one
 youngster was found dead during the week and looked as it had fallen prey to a local cat.

There are now five from the first brood and five from the second brood plus two adults on the pond. In the last week the adults have started getting more aggressive towards the first brood and chae them across the pond presumably trying to drive them away to find their own territories.

Only a mother could love this ugly little thing.

13 Jun 2010

A survivor.

Despite the exceptionally cold winter and the gloomy forecasts that our smaller birds would suffer I've been suprised to find both Goldcrests and Wrens still in good numbers locally. This male, having survived the cold winter, obviously feels industructible and not even a heavy rain shower was going to put him off singing. Goldcrests have  fledged young in Stanney Woods and I know if three other singing males in our area.

Unfortunately our Robins were predated by a Magpie Saturday morning - I woke up to hear  a commotion and looked out to see two Magpies on the garage roof and fearing the worst, went out to find the nest destroyed and empty. That's two Robins nests and three known Blackbirds nests a single pair of Magpies have destroyed in our garden this year.

Birding quiet at the moment and I've not been able to get out to Hilbre for a couple of weeks now. Plenty of other wildlife around though:

Chicken of the Woods.

Bee Orchid - only one flowering plant so far this year.

11 Jun 2010

Water fowl.

Called in at my secret pond today just in case a Great Reed or Cetti's Warbler had decided to call it temporary home. You never no......................

Nothing so exotic but a female Pochard was a nice surprise and the local Coots have raised a brood.

Slightly closer to home our local Moorhens have hatched a second brood of four chicks and the orignal brood are busily helping their parents feed their siblings. Our Robin has hatched four young in the nest by the garden gate, the Bluetits and Great Tits have all fledged as have the Goldfinches in the Laurel hedge. The feeders are now teeming with young birds. Sad news on the Blackbird front though  - I actually saw a Magpie raid the nest and steal the eggs.

Another trip to Nottingham Thursday morning was brightened considerably by a Red Kite flying over the M6 near J18 as the traffic slowed for the inevitable tailback at Sandbach. Someday soon they will surely nest in Cheshire.

8 Jun 2010

Great Reed Warbler

Finally caught up with Ilkestons Great Reed Warbler today after working nearby. Although the weather was poor with heavy showers I decided to make the attempt and I'm glad I did! What a ridiculously large and loud bird for a small bit of phragmities.

I was the only person there and as soon as I arrived the GRW proclaimed its presence, shattering the peace and drowning out the local Willow Warblers with its strident song. Suddnelly it appeared on the reeds in front of me and proceeded to preen before having another sing song and shooting off to the other side of the small lake where it clambered up and down bullrush stems looking for insects.

6 Jun 2010

Marmora's Warbler, Gwent

I was working in Leeds when news broke of this major blocker on territory in S Wales. As I'd seen the Yorkshire bird whilst still a tender Undergraduate at Manchester University in 1982 I wasn't unduly worrried! Besides, work committments meant I'd not been able to get out at all during the week as often I'd not got back until it was almost dark. Twice I'd driven past the Great Reed Warbler in Derbyshire!

However, an oppurtunity presented itself this weekend when Malc ' camper van' Curtin & Mark Payne decided they'd go for it on Sunday morning. Deciding to make up the numbers and help the intrepid duo with the identification (!) we arranged to meet up. The best laid plans were scuppered when the bird seemingly disappeared yesterday afternoon so a rethink was required. Deciding we'd go on news this morning I wasn't hopeful and had just clambered back into bed when Malc rang and told me it was still there! B*gger!

Quickly dressing I said good by to my long suffering wife and shot out the house to pick up Mark before meetign Malc and settting off down the M6.

We found the site easily enough in glorious sunshine and within minutes of getting out of the car we were treated to spectacular views as the bird sat in the open singing its heart out!

Not the best pictures around and I wish I'd taken the big lens.

A fantastic site though with singing Tree Pipits and Whinchats all around us with spectacular views. Although the crowd today was quite small (30 people) they were generally well behaved. According to one guy who'd travelled up from Plymouth yesterday and missed the bird (but travelled up again today!) the reason it disappeared in the afternoon was due to the constant noise from the watching birders. The usual story I'm afraid - loud talking, mobile phones and generally poor fieldcraft. Still, I'm glad he saw it today.

A stunning little bird - one so special that our mate The Apprentice, who saw it on its first day, decided that none of the birds he saw on his two day trip to Norfolk were worthy of him getting his binoculars out of the car! Anyone want to buy a pair of Leica's?