No pictures this time, you'll just have to read it.
A lot of birding blogs have been mentioning the recent megas of Tufted Puffin and Sandhill Crane, and quite rightly so. But don't forget that we're also having an unprecented influx of Glossy Ibis at the moment. So when's one going to settle in Staffordshire? Well I think I know. Two weeks time, when I'm away in Portugal. It'll happen!
Uttoxeter Quarry, 12:30 - 14:45.
The Garganey and Pintail still around, plus a Stonechat, 1 Green Sandpiper, 4 Jays and a Swallow (last one this year?). But really, the water level's too low at the moment.
Back in the spring I paid a few visits to the Weaver Hills. I would give precise directions but I can't be bothered. But if you look on a map it's roughly between Uttoxeter and Ashbourne. Anyway, thinking about it now I tried to bite off more than I could chew in the spring. Considering all the other habitats you want to cover at that time of year. But maybe autumn would be more convenient?
Well, one Wheatear was around, along with many Meadow Pipits, good numbers of Goldfinch and a few Skylarks. The Wheatear's a little result in itself, certainly whetted my appetite to try again.
Sunday 27th September. Weaver Hills, 9:45 - 11:00
I had mentioned this site to the Blurred Birder a while ago, who seemed quite impressed when looking at it on Google Earth, especially as he's a fan of a form of birding that's inspired by Viz mag, or something like that?
After the last week with hospital visits and the like, I wasn't intending on getting up really early, but when I did arise I noticed a text from Martyn saying he was at the Weavers. On arrival and finding Martyn it was rather misty, not really the required conditions for visible migration.
But after a while, in amongst conversations of our impending birding trip to Portugal, we could hear the call of geese. Does the nearby farm keep any? But the calls got nearer, and they didn't sound like Greylag or Canada Geese?
Sure enough, eventually out of the mist above us appeared a skein of 41 Pink-Footed Geese, fantastic stuff! They were flying west, so must be heading to Martin Mere or the Ribble estuary. Also a Snipe and a Raven around, so that's a resounding result for me.
Uttoxeter Quarry was the next port of call. However, on rejoining Martyn after getting a bit of shopping done, he had lost his mobile phone. On trying to ring it there was no noise from the car, so must've lost it up on the Weavers. So Martyn went back to find it and I had a look round the quarry.
A little later my phone rang. It turned out that a group of walkers had found Martyn's phone and were at Stanton, the next village along. You know, I think the retrieval and return of someone's mobile phone is worth a Portuguese pint?
As a matter of fact, when I arrived at the quarry two birders were leaving, complaining that another "birder" had decided to walk across the bottom of the main gravel pit, flushing every bird in sight. Please, if you're going, stick to the footpaths. Especially as a lot of new excavation work has recently started. And if I was there at the time, I would've taken a photo of said offender and put it in view of the whole internet. As I did with the Spotted Sandpiper flusher at Tittesworth last year.
The day ended at Blithfield, although Martyn had to leave abbrubtly when told, probably on his mobile phone thinking about it, of an Aquatic Warbler in Warwickshire (two pints?). Not a lot out of the ordinary at Blithers, although the flock of usual waders (Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Snipe, Lapwing) in Tad Bay did lead one of those nice Peregrines off on a merry dance. They just lead the Peregrines into temptation.....