Sunday, 27 July 2008

Ozzy Goes Fishing!

Sunday 27th July. Blithfield Reservoir, 13:00 - 15:00.

My turn to be given a lift to Blithfield today, after I took Andy over there last week.

The warm weather is certainly having an affect at Blithers. Not only with the water level, but as you see here in Blithe Bay, the blooms of algae that start appearing. Doesn't particularly smell nice either. And apart from a Wheatear, nothing much else of note.

When reaching beech tree point I turned round to look towards Blithe Bay, and low and behold, my old chum Ozzy the Osprey was flying around. A hunt was on. The first dive was unsuccessful, but the second dive into the water produced a fish. A bit of a tiddler, but enough to be getting on with.

Then in Tad Bay, apart from 2 Ruff not a lot else really. A few more Teal are building up, hopefully a Garganey will soon join them.

After buying, and quickly downing, a bottle of water from Tescos garage in Uttoxeter, another check of the quarry produced this gull:

As it was with half a dozen adult Lesser Black-Back's, I just assumed another one. But Andy was pretty sure it's a first summer Yellow-Legged Gull. It certainly had a paler grey coming through on the back. And checking other photos on t'internet I do agree that this is a first summer Yellow-Legged Gull. If I'm feeling really naughty I'll upload it onto the ID area of Bird Forum and cause a mass argument!

Now time to cool off this evening as I've sweated like a pig. I see "War of the Worlds" is on telly this evening. I've never seen this version of the film before, but I am a fan of Jeff Wayne's musical version. Especially when Richard Burton says "the horses bits were covered with foam". Personally I don't wish to know that!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Clash of the Sports, what are Sky doing!

What's going on here? The Twenty20 Cup Final on Sky Sports 1 (Middlesex v Kent), and the World Matchplay Darts Final on Sky Sports 2 (Phil "The Power" Taylor v James "The Whimsy" Wade)! I'm currently flicking between the two, with Sid Waddell morphing into Bumble (aka David Lloyd). They've messed this up, surely the darts final could be tomorrow?

Speaking of David Lloyd, there's a fantastic piece on Youtube here!, where he describes a rather eye-watering moment when facing Jeff Thomson.

Just a quite look round Uttoxeter Quarry in the late morning. Not a lot really, but a mixed flock of Great and Blue Tits also contained Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap and Garden Warbler. I always think it's now a good time of year to find Lesser Whitethroat in amongst tit flocks. They become easier to see than in the spring.

I also took my butterfly book along with me, as a warm sunny day equals perfect conditions for butterflies. In amongst all the Meadow Brown and Large White I managed a few Small Skippers, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell and Gatekeeper.

I also found a Holly Blue in the garden today. I admit that does sound like someone who should belong on a late-night TV channel for discerning gentlemen. But unfortunately for me, it's another butterfly.

Just to add a bit of colour to this blog entry, some photies from my garden. You can't beat a pot of Petunias!

My Honeysuckle's blooming for the first time in years! I really hacked it back heavily last winter.

I replaced the old french lavender in one of my big pots, that had nearly had it (cuttings have been taken), with a Chocolate Cosmos. The flower really does smell of chocolate!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Osprey Name

Ok, just a thought. "Ozzy" If the Blithfield Osprey is male. But if it's a female Osprey, then it has to be "Sharon"!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Sunday 20th July

Right, England are getting thumped by the Proteas, let's get out and about for a bit. There's always the dulcit tones of Henry Blofeld on Test Match Special to keep track of the score (my dear old thing!).

After a quiet visit at Uttoxeter yesterday, typically I was informed of a Sanderling in the quarry this morning. No sign by the time I got there however, but there was 1 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper, 1 Dunlin, 6 Common Sandpiper, 8 Goosander.

Blithfield Reservoir, 16:00 - 18:00.

A walk along the Admaston side of Blithe Bay produced 1 Dunlin, 4 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Redshank, 3 Common Sandpiper. Also a singing Sedge Warbler which is a rather unusual record for this part of the world.

In Tad Bay there was 1 Little Egret, 14 Black-Tailed Godwit, 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Redshank. Then low and behold, at 6pm, my friend the Osprey appeared again!

As the Fulmar that appeared at Blithers at the end of May was christened "Freddie", I think the over-summering Osprey should have a name. I think "Ozzy" would be appropriate, with West Midland connections and all that. Assuming it's a male Osprey of course. Perhaps I need to get this ratified by the Blithfield committee.

This week sees another of my highlights of the sporting year. The World Matchplay Darts from Blackpool. This part of the world, north staffordshire, is the spiritual home of darts. That being the old "Jollees" nightclub in Longton, and we have the greatest darts player of all time, in Phil "The Power" Taylor. Did you know Eric Bristow lives in Leek, it's true.

But best of all, is the appearance of another of my favourite commentators, the great Sid Waddell. I could go on about some of his quotes, they're easily found if you do a search on google. My personal favourite is "The players are under so much duress, it's like duressic park out there!".

Oh what the heck, here's a link to some Sid quotes here!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

It's gone quiet again

Not a lot to report birding wise. I suppose it is still summer, despite the weather. Despite a decent haul at Uttoxeter Quarry on Wednesday evening (including 1 Hobby, 3 Dunlin, 1 Green Sand) it was very quiet today. I'll give Blithfield a try tomorrow.

In these quiet birding times it does give me a chance to make a few arrangements. I've got a couple of trips lined up now. Shetland in October, and I make my return to India in February. Something to look forward to anyway, and I can't wait for both of them!

Actually, I think it's time to don my cricket whites again, if I had any. If someone can get into the England team after playing SIX county championship games, I think I'm in with a chance. And I haven't turned my arm over for fifteen years!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Glorious Godwits

Sunday 6th July, Tittesworth Reservoir.

I love wader passage, especially living miles away from the coast. A lot of Black-Tailed Godwits passing through today. Including a flock of 25 at Tittesworth. Like the Ruff at Blithers yesterday, all in glorious summer plumage.

Also a couple of Little Egrets present.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Saturday 5th July

With no international cricket to watch on the telly this weekend, let's get some birding done. I'm quite looking forward to the test series against South Africa, it's always good to get one over on Graeme Smith.

Blithfield Reservoir, 13:00 - 16:00

There is now a bit of a shoreline forming at Blithfield, just in time for the first returning waders. A walk along the Admaston side of Blithe Bay produced a Greenshank and at least 16 Common Sandpiper. Some of them getting close in front of one of the hides.

I definitely found it easier to digiscope within a hide, much easier to see the camera's viewfinder without the glare of the sun on it.

Over at Tad Bay there was a cracking male Ruff and another Greenshank. Shame the Ruff was too far away to photo.

Another check of the quarry at Uttoxeter next. At the end of May I took a photo of the Canada Goose family with their three adopted goslings. I'll now do the embarrassing auntie thing now.

Haven't they grown? It's now apparent there is no Canada Goose genes in these goslings. Mother Goose, pictured in a previous blog entry, was obviously being a bit of a floozy with another Greylag/Domestic type goose. She then subsequently shirked her maternal responsibilities and laid her eggs in or near these Canada Geese. You wouldn't get a story like this on Eastenders!

My best attempt to photo one of the two Green Sandpipers still around. It really is there, honest.