Saturday 21st March.
Something a bit different this time. I had a friend from the India trip over to stay for the weekend.
As Fran is from Norfolk, I thought "Hmm, where could Staffordshire out-do Norfolk, bird-wise?". Tricky I know. But, apart from the odd contintenal Black-Bellied Dipper (such as the bird on the River Glaven this winter), then our good-old British Dipper does the bizzo!
I managed to get Fran onto three Dippers today. A pair at Danebridge, on the Staffs/Cheshire border, and one at Oakamoor in the Churnet Valley. Fran is also a bit of a culture-vulture and a fan of castles. So not all that far from Danebridge, is Mow Cop Folly:
(mental note, perhaps "Local Tours for Local People" should also include culture as well as wildlife).
Sunday 22nd March.
Fran eventually had to travel back home to Norfolk. I then went out to do some birding during the afternoon. Did I say I'd bide my time for Avocet? Well, er, a week was enough! I eventually found the gravel pit at the huge complex between Branston and Barton-under-Needwood (it really has grown!), with the Avocet and the Ruff on.
Following Branston GP's, Uttoxeter Quarry didn't hold much. Thanks to some eejit walking his dog around most of the newly-pumped out shoreline. Grr! After giving that up as a bad job, I decided to drive back home. However, prior to that I thought I would check Croxden Quarry.
About half a mile or so before arriving there, for some unknown reason I decided to turn my head to the right. And what was there? Only a bloomin Red Kite!
After years of looking, that's my first Staffs Red Kite! And like waiting for a bus, my second in the midlands after the bird at Shawell last week (well, if you don't count those seen along the M40!). I'm keeping my eye teeth.