Saturday 25th October.
I've done enough travelling over the last couple of months, time to concentrate on some old stomping grounds nearer to home. Despite news of a Welsh double-whammy, namely Little Blue Heron and Siberian Thrush. I can't be bothered.
Blithfield Reservoir, 11:00 - 13:30.
A walk round the deep end first. Wasn't half windy, just like being on Shetland. On arrival at the sailing club, this area of water had been taken over by windsurfers. Meaning that the Long-Tailed Duck had moved on. It must've been on the reservoir somewhere but I didn't see it. Never mind. As a matter of fact, I saw my first Long-Tailed Duck at Blithfield in 1988!
2 Pintail and 9 Goldeneye in Tad Bay, and a Grey Wagtail on the causeway. When about leaving Blithfield I received a text from birding pal and fellow Uttoxeter Quarryman, Andy, of a Jack Snipe there. Time to cut my losses at Blithers for today. I also saw not one other birder here, has everyone gone to Wales?
Uttoxeter Quarry, 14:00 - 16:00.
Needless to say I didn't see the Jack Snipe. But there were three new site ticks for me this time, in the form of 5 Fieldfare, a pair of Stonechat and a covey of 23 Red-Legged Partridge.
Following the quarry, and making the most of British Summer Time, a drive up into the North Staffs Moors for the evening produced a Short-Eared Owl. There do seem to be quite a few in the Peak District at the moment. There's an intruiging article from the BTO recently, with the discovery of the numbers of Kestrels migrated from Scandanavia after such a successful breeding season. No doubt Short-Eared Owls have gone the same way as they share similar prey.
On arrival back home, I found the comforting news that there was no sign of the Little Blue Heron, and the Siberian Thrush is still only a possible. Phew, vindicated! I also made the welcome discovery that now dark nights are here, my world of the ridiculous has been boosted by the return of "Harry Hill's TV Burp" on the telly. Hurrah!
Sunday 26th October.
Uttoxeter Quarry, 12:30 - 14:15
No new site ticks today, but there were 2 Pintail, 1 Goosander, 1 Green Sandpiper, 20 Snipe. Whilst at the quarry my thought were turning to another drive up into the moors again. Looking at my watch, hmm, nearing 3pm I'm cutting it a bit fine. Then arriving back at the car, I then realised I hadn't put my watch back an hour. Doh!
Another trip into the moors until dusk produced a male Merlin this time. Just need Hen Harrier for the set now!
Just an aside. Has anyone been watching the Electric Proms? In particular, the first one with Burt Bacharach? I don't mean to have a go at him because he's one of the greats. But after watching it I can understand why he got other people to sing for him (well, apart from Cilla!), because he murdered "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head"! Almost of Paul Shane proportions!
There has also been the "Saturday Night Fever" prom as well, which included the song "Disco Inferno". My particular favourite re-enactment of that song was performed by Keith Lard on Phoenix Nights (another child orphaned). I can't believe I can't find it on Youtube. That may be because of Keith Lard's other habits, and Peter Kay's large payout to Keith Laird!