Thursday, 12 April 2012

Easter Weekend Stuff

Had a trundle around Sutton Park on Good Friday morning, birding-lite. Main purpose really to get a bit of practice with my camera.

Herring, LBBG and BHG on Longmoor Pool
Herring Gulls (adult and 3rd cy) on Longmoor Pool

A Mipit in a tree - monster hind claw showing
Carrion Crow

Notable were 2 Common Buzzard, 3 Grey Wagtail, 4 Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, a Swallow over Powell's Pool and singing Blackcap and Chiffy.

Saturday I met up with Martyn for a Staffs Day, however not before we perused a couple of ghetto birding sites once again. I’ll not say much on this matter, as birding around derelict buildings and canals is not everyone's cup of tea. We were slighty surprised to see a female Blackcap in Buddelia in the Jewellery Quarter, but then even more surprised to find a Willow Warbler in subsong at the side of a Digbeth canal. Also noted a pair of Grey Wagtail.

Later in the morning we arrived at Radford Meadows, where the Common Crane showed well, but fairly distantly, providing me with a regional tick. Very occasional Cranes are recorded passing through the region, but a twitchable Crane in Staffs is a very good bird. This Crane arrived on 5th April and is presumably the same bird that was at Kingswood earlier that week. At the time of writing the bird is still present. Also here an elusive pair of Garganey that only provided one all too brief swim-past view and a Wheatear.

Staffordshire Crane - image courstey Martyn Yapp

Elusive Garganoids - image coutesy Martyn Yapp

The temptation of Ring Ouzel on Berry Hill was all too much and we were soon on the road to this Stoke-on-Trent migration hotspot. Two had been reported here this morning, but this remaining single male was more than enough. We enjoyed fine views although the bird was at one point needlessly flushed from its favoured slope by some pretty clueless birders who saw fit to walk through it. This is a great spot for migrating birds, however there was nothing else around of any note, everything else (including that mornings Wheatears) had apparently all passed through.

The day ended with a visit to Gailey Reservoir. Noted here 13 Swallows, 3 Oystercatcher, 1 Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Reed Bunting and 3 Little Grebe.

Easter Sunday and Monday I spent some time around south Warwickshire haunts Draycote Water and BrandonMarsh.

At Brandon Marsh, waders included 2 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Redshank, 4 Oystercatcher and 15+ Common Snipe. Hirundines were now in large numbers and these included 3 House Martin, c20 Swallow and larger numbers of Sand Martin.

A Willow Tit was noted and Blackcaps, Chiffys and Willow Warblers and Cetti’s Warbler could all be heard belting out song all around the reserve. There was also an early Reed Warbler in the Gorse Pool reedbed, which gave occasional subsong but did not show. Water Rail was also heard. 10 Common Gull were on the reserve on Sunday.

Willow Warbler - image courtesy Mark Rayment

Some Coot violence was witnessed from Carlton Hide, when a Coot tried to disturb a female on the nest. Her mate returned quick as a shot and proceeded to attempt to drown the infiltrator, grabbing it from from the back of it's neck. Facinating, but brutal bit of bird behaviour there.

Draycote, as it has done in previous years provided me with first sightings of Yellow Wagtail with single birds on Farnborough Bank on the 8th and one in Toft Bay on the 9th. 2 Little Ringed Plover and a lone female Goldeneye were also in Toft. The rainy stormy conditions produced 2 Arctic Terns in the middle of the res with around 200 Black-headed Gulls and 20 or so Common Gull. Also provided a thorough soaking to finish off the weekend with.

Great Crested Grebe

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