Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Birding in Fog & Floods

Saturday 24th November 

Stubbers Green, 8.30am 

Despite good numbers of gulls here, there was nowt even slightly unusual amongst them. Most notable were 18 GBBG and 2 Common Gull. Wildfowl included 8 Shoveler, 29 Tufted Duck and a Pochard. Also a flyover Redpoll was noted.

We would have lingered longer but the gulls were then all flushed by activity at the farm. 

Chasewater, 9.30am 

Next, the Swag (or Jeffrey’s Swag as it's also know, I’ve no idea why). Locating the Great Northern Diver was slightly harder than anticipated, due to a thick blanket of fog that descended.

The Diver was viewable from the railway line and gave some good views. It seemed to be holding its bill slightly parted throughout our visit, which is perhaps cause for concern. Let's hope not.

Great Northern Diver - images by Martyn Yapp

Also here 10 Goosander, 3 Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, 10 Golden Plover over and good numbers of Wigeon and Pochard.

Cannock Chase

Finishing the morning around Tackeroo, it was now virtually impossible to bird as we were enveloped by fog. The only sound was the chacka-chacking of Fieldfare.

Noted; a fine pair of Bullfinch, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Jay and a decent sized thrush flock, that was mainly Fieldfare, but with smaller numbers of Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush and 1 Song Thrush.

Sunday 25th November

Croxall Lakes, 8.00am

After the storms of last night, much of the Trent Valley was underwater and many roads were impassable.  At Croxall Lakes the lake had extended somewhat which was odd to see, but the hide was still functional.

A large Golden plover flock was on the fields over the road, numbering up to 400 birds joined by c200 Lapwing and c300 Black-headed Gull, plus the odd Common Gull.

Wildfowl numbers on the main lake totalled 123 Pochard, 187 Teal, 8 Wigeon, 8 Gadwall 8, 3 Great Crested Grebe and a pair of Goldeneye.

At another nearby pool we counted 36 Goldeneye.

Lichfield, 11.30am

As we were so close we called in at Cappers Lane, where a large number of Waxwings have been feeding. There were about 30 in the area, that we could see, but by the end of the day up to 80 had been counted.

Unfortunately my camera battery was dead. But whilst I can’t bore the Waxwing haters with my shots, I can with Martyn’s...

Waxwing - what's not to like? Image by Martyn Yapp

Blithfield, 1.00pm onwards

A watery battle to get here. Unfortunately we could not see the Great Northern Diver at the deep end, due to sailing activities that had pushed it out of our view.

After lunch, we relocated to Tad Bay hide where two female type Scaup were viewable from the hide; the birds flew south whilst we were watching them, but a nice gull pre-roost was building up. We were also now joined by Richard Powell and a bit later, Martin Whalley.

It wasn’t long at all before we were lucky enough to pick out an adult Caspian Gull, a crisp classic looking bird, showing all the salient features. Very nice indeed.

Richard managed to get some digiscoped pictures...

Caspian Gull - digiscoped images by Richard Powell

There were also 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls here and 14 Goosander.

Despite the inclement weather, some very good birds could be seen in Staffordshire this weekend, proving that it is always worth going out.

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