Thursday, 29 July 2010

Stafford - Egret Country!

No birding was done last weekend, visiting family and enjoyed a Sunday afternoon of watching stock-car and banger racing in County Durham. I haven't gone to watch banger racing for years, great fun!

Meanwhile, when I was away a juvenile Cattle Egret has decided to take up residence at Doxey Marshes in Stafford. Andy and I did have a look on Monday evening, and out of all the Cattle Egrets seen anywhere in the world, this must've been the worst ever view! It was showing from the metal hide, but had started to roost deep within a bush.

So I thought I would try again in my lunch break today. Unfortunately it was a bit rushed due to forgetting to take my butties, so I had to go to Asda first. But the bird was showing much better this time, from Creswell Flash.

Also an added bonus in the form of a drake Common Scoter at Boundary Flash.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Frankie Goes to Chasewater

Now complete with a new wheel on my car. The Wood Sandpiper remained at Uttoxeter Quarry throughout the weekend, along with varying numbers of Green Sandpipers.

Saturday 17th July.

As the Franklin's Gull at Chasewater was going missing during the day, for a couple of days now into it's stay, I was thinking to myself "hmm, I wonder if it's been getting to Stubber's Green?". So that's where I went on Saturday afternoon, and to my surprise the Blurred Birder was there. Great minds thinking alike you see.

Well, there was no Franklin's Gull at Stubbers. Just the usual Blackheads, Lesser Black-backeds and a few Herring Gulls, along with a Common Tern and Common Sandpiper. Onto Chasewater then, where a couple of birders there had just refound the Franklin's Gull.

Most of the time the bird was sat on a gravel bank in the centre of the reservoir, but interestingly it was associating with the Lesser Black-backed and a few Yellow-legged Gulls. But unfortunately, digiscoping wise, even more distant than on Thursday evening. There was also a first-summer Med Gull flying over the boating lake next to the education centre.

Just a picture here, to illustrate how low the water level currently is at Chasewater, due to the construction work on the dam.

Sunday 18th July.

A most pleasing selection of birds at Blithfield today. In Tad Bay a pair of Whimbrel flew through, as well as a Greenshank, a most unseasonal Pintail, 1 Snipe, 1 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 7 Little Ringed Plover and 9 Common Terns.

Blithe Bay was even better, with such delights as a Turnstone, another Greenshank, adult Yellow-legged and Med Gulls, Little Egret, 1 Common Sandpiper, 6 Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plover and 5 Little Ringed Plover. Great stuff.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

A find and a twitch

That's better! See what a bit of a change in the weather can do. Although you'll realise that it's simple to work out which one of the following two birds is a find and which one is the twitch.

Wednesday 14th July.

A few showers around so I thought I would give Uttoxeter Quarry a try. And I'm very glad I did because it paid off, as I found a cracking Wood Sandpiper.

Quite a brightly marked bird so I assume it's a juvenile. Other notable wader counts included 3 Green Sandpipers, 14 Oystercatchers and 5 Curlew.

As for this evening, Thursday 15th July. Well, what I thought was going to be a quiet evening at home changed completely at about 7pm, as news broke of a Franklin's Gull at Chasewater. Right in the middle of cooking my tea, talk about a curry in a hurry!

Tea was scoffed down in record time, and with Andy arriving at my house with perfect timing, off we went through Uttoxeter, Rugeley and Hednesford, down to the sailing club at Chasewater. And here's the result!

Still can't see it, how about a bit more cropping?

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Three Wheels on my Wagon............

........and I'm still rolling along, but the Cherokees aren't after me. Thanks to a crack in one of my car's wheels and it gradually letting air out, got the spare wheel on my jam jar at the moment. It limits how fast you can go, so that scuppered a twitch to Slimbridge to see the White-tailed Plover.

But I have been pottering around. Just a couple of visits to Uttoxeter Quarry. Notable highlights on Friday evening (9th) included 8 Green Sandpipers, 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 Ringed Plover, a Curlew and 2 Oystercatcher.

As for today, Sunday 11th July, the quarry held a single Black-tailed Godwit, a Little Egret, 1 Common Sandpiper and an acrobatic Hobby, hawking dragonflies at the eastern end and causing panic among a Lapwing flock.

Also managed a butterfly picture, Small Skipper I think.

So that's the birding up to date. Apart from the hassle of buying a new wheel, at least there's the World Cup final to enjoy this evening. As it turned out, the real star of the World Cup has been Paul the Soothsaying Octopus! Now the World Cup is about to finish, perhaps Paul should branch out into other predictions? Like where the White-tailed Plover is going to turn up next.

But perhaps Paul should stick to football. Certainly the best pundit I've ever seen, apart from Jimmy Hill!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Still Rather Quiet......

Well it's still all rather quiet on the birding front locally. Hopefully things will pick up soon. I always think that July can be a good month for birding. Finding a Spoonbill last July proved that, but a bit of luck helps of course.

On last Saturday evening (3rd July), Uttoxeter Quarry held a Green Sandpiper, 8 Common Sandpiper, 4 Curlew, 4 Oystercatcher. With hardly water left in the main gravel pit, there's currently some nice areas of mud. But without any rain soon, how long will that last?

Then on the Sunday, it was looking similar at Blithfield. Well not that similar, it would take one heck of a drought to dry the reservoir up. But certainly looking lower at the end of Blithe Bay here:

Notable totals here included 27 Little Ringed Plovers, 8 Common Sandpipers, 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Redshank, 1 Little Egret, 3 Wigeon, 6 or so Common Terns. And that's your lot for now.