Saturday 13th February.
Blimey, where do I start this time? Well, at the beginning I suppose. A very good place to start, as they say in "The Sound of Music".
First port of call was Park Hall Country Park, in the Weston Coyney area of the potteries. Which didn't last very long due to the lack of Long-Eared Owls in the usual roost tree. If they're not in that tree then I don't really know anywhere else to look, so that scuppered that. A nice view of a Little Owl in Hulme Quarry though.
Blithfield was next. Four Pink-footed Geese were with the Greylags in Tad Bay. More Pink-Feet, can't get away from them at the moment. I then duly rang the pager company to inform, who then decided to put it out as 12 birds! What's all that about? You trying to get me into trouble? I'll be strung up in Stansley Wood Court for that, it wasn't my fault guv!
Feeling that today wasn't going to be my day, I headed over to the patch, that being Uttoxeter Quarry. Where there was a very showy Little Egret, first one I've seen here during the winter.
Also here were a couple of species that I think are the real harbingers of spring, or at least a sign that winter is coming to an end, 2 Oystercatcher and 2 Curlew. But all in all, not the best day's birding I've ever had.
Sunday 14th February.
Let's see if I can get a better day in, starting off at some sites near to home. There is a farm near to my house where I've seen Tree Sparrows in winter before, so thought I'd give that a try first. And oh yes, three of the little beauties were there, lovely jubbly!
But an even larger surprise were a pair of Goosander at Croxden Quarry! Which doesn't get many mentions on this blog, mainly due to the lack of birds, and I really do mean that! Not a lot around Hales Hall Pool either. But there was this sign which, to me, didn't make much sense. In fact, if "That's Life" was still on the telly, I'd send it to them.
So does that mean there's a fishing match on or not? And if there is a fishing match on, are they allowed to catch any? If not, then what's the point? If it's too hard I can't understand it!
It's a stage of the year where I really don't know what to do with myself birding-wise. I don't want to go driving around to chase birds all the time. But on the other hand it would be nice to birds you don't see all the time. So with that in mind, I thought I'd try Doxey Marshes in Stafford, to try for Water Pipit.
Even though I work in Stafford, I do check Doxey sometimes during my lunch break but I don't enough time to cover the whole site. So it's good to be able to go there and take my time. And to see a Water Pipit, I certainly needed it! It took while a while for one to appear, wandering out of the sedge and to the water's edge of the scrape near to Boundary Flash.
Whilst waiting for any Pipits to appear, I scanned through the nearby flock of Canada Geese. Ooh, what's that? Oh no, not more Pink-Feet! Yep, two more Pink-footed Geese were there, are they following me around or something?
I shouldn't complain though, just recently it's about the only scarce bird I'm finding. Although I was impressed with this picture I took, below and to the left of the Pink-Foot is a Canada Goose with two heads!
Mission accomplished at Doxey, with an added bonus, now what do I do? I could've easily travelled further south to Chasewater for the gull roost, but decided to stay closer to home (this is Local Birding after all!) to Uttoxeter Quarry.
That Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid that Martyn, Kay and I found at Blithfield the other week is now here. It's a smart looking thing, and he's definitely got his eye on a female Pochard, well it is Valentines Day after all. However, I still can't turn it into a Lesser Scaup.
Andy and I also had a excellent Goosander roost this evening, with a record count of 50 birds! A magnificent half-century, which was reached with a four to long on, time to raise your bat for the applause. Or in less cricketing terms, the final four flew in at the top left-hand corner! But that was a better day than yesterday anyway.