Monday, 29 March 2010

Separating the Wheat(ear) from the (Chiff)Chaff

That's a terrible blog title, but it's all I can think of at the moment.

Saturday 27th March.

Following the Blurred Birder's successful twitch of the Cheadle Brent Goose first thing in the morning, we decided on a yomp up the Weaver Hills. Not a huge selection of birds to be seen, but to be expected. But we did find 3 Wheatears amongst the Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, 2 Ravens and 4 Buzzards.

Onto Blithfield next, where there was a real mix of seasonal crossover species. Another Wheatear below the dam, a smart male:

Freshly arrived Chiffchaffs back and a female Brambling in Stansley Wood, a flock of Sand Martins in Blithe Bay, 5 Pink-footed Geese still in Tad Bay and 16 Goldeneye around the reservoir. But perhaps the biggest surprise was a Common Tern between Beech Tree Point and the causeway. Definitely the first one back in the midlands, in the whole country perhaps?

Seeing your first "Commic" Tern of the year is always a bit of a headache, remembering the differences between Common and Arctic Terns. Takes a bit of raking of the old grey matter to remember the differences at distance, especially when you haven't seen any since about September.

The evening was spent with my dad celebrating his birthday. Admittedly I did have to put up with watching Andrew Lloyd Webber's new search-for-a-star-type-show-thingy. Although I am impressed that this time, his lordship has decided to do a musical based on Blizzard of Ozz, except that none of the contestants resemble the "Prince of Darkness" himself:

Sunday 28th March.

If I could've mustered up the energy to drive to The Lodge in Bedfordshire today, I would've done in order to twitch the Two-Barred Crossbill. A bit bushed after an early start and late back home yesterday. Still, Easter is on the way, fingers crossed it will stay around until Good Friday at the earliest.

After the success of finding a couple of Avocets at Branston last week, I thought the Trent Valley gravel pits, between Burton and Alrewas, warranted another check.

And it was a good start at Croxall, in the form of a Ruff. Most of the time asleep amongst the Redshank.

Also at Croxall were 22 Goldeneye, 1 female Pochard, 13 Redshank, 3 Oystercatcher, 2 Shelduck, 1 Chiffchaff, as well as 3 Ringed Plovers at Whitemoor Haye. As for Branston, typically, a lot quieter this time. Best I could manage was 4 Curlew, Little Egret and 3 Red-legged Partridges.

Roll on the Easter bank holiday.........

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