Monday, 8 March 2010

Jack Snipe gets Baaaahh'ed

Saturday 6th March.

A shorter day's birding today, due to a wardrobe malfunction in the week. Thankfully my trousers split at home and not in the office, that would not have been a pretty sight!!!

But once the new trousers were bought, a well-furrowed birding path was taken. Brookleys Lake was still looking quiet so up to the Weaver Hills, for the first time this year.

Walking towards the trig point, I noticed a bird that jumped up slightly so not to get trampled on by a flock of sheep. It's a Snipe, but with a short bill and a dark back, that's got to be a Jack Snipe. I knew where it landed but completely out of view once the sheep had passed.

Gradually creeping up on the bird it eventually took off, it obviously knew it's presence was given away. Silently, with the obvious braces on the back, white underneath. A definite Jack Snipe, crackin stuff! Also present were a Curlew and 3 Skylark.

Onto Rocester next, and a pleasant surprise of the two female Scaup on JCB's south lake, as seen up the top there. The same pair that were at Brookleys a fortnight ago, but where were they last week?

Finishing off at Uttoxeter Quarry. A nice number of Curlew building up now, with a count of 16 birds. Also 6 Oystercatcher, 3 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper and 20 Goosander.

Sunday 7th March.

To make up for yesterday, a full-on day's birding with Andy. And what a gloriously sunny day it was too!

The morning was spent covering various spots on Cannock Chase. Including Freda's Grave (Factoid: Freda was a Dalmatian!):

And the still disappointingly small Glacial Boulder:

If it was a boulder like these then I'd be impressed, although Penguins are optional:

But anyway. We had cracking views of Green Woodpeckers and Yellowhammers, Ravens cronking away overhead, Siskins and a distantly calling Crossbill. We also found a pair of Stonechat, not easy to come by after this winter.

After a McDonalds break (mental note, double cheeseburgers are actually pretty good value!) obviously we had to check our patch of Uttoxeter Quarry next. Birds seen that were different to yesterday were a drake Gadwall and a female Pintail. Another check of JCB south lake in Rocester produced one of the female Scaup, the scruffier one on the right pictured above.

The day was completed with a drive up into the North Staffordshire moors, where eventually we were treated to excellent views of a hunting Short-eared Owl.

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