Saturday 7th March, Cannock Chase, 8:00 - 11:40
A bit of a marathon stint today, starting off on a calm, sunny Cannock Chase with the Brightsiders.
Various spots were covered, including a new area for me, the Glacial Boulder. If I'm being honest, I thought the boulder was a bit of a disappointment. I was expecting a great big huge thing that's been there for thousands of years. So to see a rather small boulder, that's from Scotland apparently (watch out, Alex Salmond will be wanting it back, see "Stone of Scoun"), on a concrete plinth, was a bit of a let down.
Birding highlights included 15 Crossbills around the cadet huts, plus Stonechat, a few Yellowhammer, Willow Tit, Green Woodpeckers galore.
As Kay and Max had to head back to Brummyland, I was toying with the idea of heading over to the Seven Springs car park area of the chase. Although knowing it could be busy with people, and the banging of the clay pigeon place next door. So it was a relief to receive a text from Martyn "The artist formerly known as Blurred Birder" Yapp, of a Common Scoter at Blithfield, seen from beech tree point.
Blithfield Reservoir, 12:00 - 14:30
On arrival at the Admaston end of the causeway, sure enough a drake Common Scoter was there. The 4 Scaup were still there, along with 3 Shelduck right in the middle of the deep end.
Then into Tad Bay. Asides from chatting with Martyn about birding, blogging and India, birds here included 8 Goosander, 2 more Shelduck and 2 Raven.
Uttoxeter Quarry, 14:45 - 16:15
As soon as I parked up so did Steve, so we walked round the quarry together. The main highlight for me was a personal site tick, in the form of a pair of Gadwall. Other birds here included 24 Goosander, 2 Green Sandpiper, 3 Oystercatcher, 1 Curlew, 3 Pochard.
I was also glad I wasn't alone today, because at one point Steve and I spotted the latest "local" person, following on from the streaker last year. This chap just stood like a statue within a small copse of trees. Dark, greasy hair and very bushy eyebrows, with a stare like a psychopath. In fact, thinking about it, he reminded me of Tom from "Father Ted", but without the "I Shot JR" T-shirt:
Then back at our cars, Steve and I passed a butchers van. Oh dear, a psycho AND a butchers van!!!!! Looks like they've got an arrangement with some special stuff, time to go home!
Sunday 8th March, Whitemoor Haye/Croxall area, 12:15 - 15:45
It's about time I got over to Whitemoor Haye to look at some of these wild geese. It has been an excellent winter for wild geese in Staffordshire.
10 Barnacle Geese were there on arrival, including the three ringed birds from Svalbard. As for the others I suppose it's anyone's guess if they are genuinely wild or feral, I wouldn't like to confirm. Way too blustery to be bothered photographing them, so there should be some photos of them here.
No sign of the Greenland White-Fronted Goose however. But there were 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Redshank.
Also showing at Whitemoor Haye was Barry (I suppose my birding mentor as a young lad), Martyn "Changing his identity more than David Bowie" Yapp, and Mr Archie Archer. I really should've introduced myself, and I apologise for not doing so. Wasn't deliberate, but I've seen his "Birder Profiles" and I'm a bit worried!