Ooohh its Halloween! Spooky! No, never really understood it. If you're a Pagan it's all very well, but the americanisation of it all leaves me cold.
Anyway, while I was away enjoying myself on the Scillies, a Dipper has taken up residence at Uttoxeter Quarry. Not in the gravel pits of course, but along the River Tean. We've always thought that the river looks ideal for a Dipper, so now there's one around I'd quite like to see it.
Saturday 30th October.
Starting off at the owd patch there were 15 Golden Plover, 2 Dunlin, 1 Green Sandpiper, 9 Snipe, 1 Goldeneye, 17 Goosander, 1 Peregrine, 3 Fieldfare, 3 Siskin. But no sign of the Dipper.
Onwards to Blithfield next, where a record breaker is in residence. A Little Ringed Plover is with 2 Ringed Plovers in Tad Bay, and now holds the record of the latest ever one in the West Midland Bird Club region. There was also 65 Golden Plover, 3 Pintail, 4 Goldeneye, 1 Peregrine, 1 Yellow-legged Gull. Also a Wheatear by the sailing club, another very late record.
I also stuck around until dusk for the gull roost, just in case the Franklin's Gull that has been roosting at Foremark the last few days decided on a change of scene. But Franky, old blue eyes, stuck to Foremark. Quite a few Common Gulls around, but nothing really out of the ordinary.
Sunday 31st October.
Making of most of the clocks going back, a phone call from Andy informing me that Dipper was along the River Tean again! Bloomin thing, it wasn't there yesterday. So that got me out of bed and out the door, and again didn't see the Dipper! Although I don't think two blokes taking their dog for a paddle in the river helped. The only real difference to yesterday were 2 Green Sands and a Kingfisher.
If the disappearing Dipper is the Halloween trick, then Brookleys Lake most definitely provided the treat.
After scanning through the duck, which included 2 drake Pochard, 16 Mandarin, 90 Tufted Duck, I put the lense caps back on the scope and was about ready to go. Then four large white objects appeared in the sky, over the trees from the north. Halloween ghosts perhaps? No, they were Swans, better get the scope on them. On closer inspection they were Whooper Swans, woohoo!
Its a pity they didn't land on the lake, but changed direction and headed east towards Ellastone and the Derbyshire border. If they had landed then no doubt the resident Black Swan would've sent them on their way!
Then drove up to Swallow Moss to finish. As another bird to catch up with while I was away is Hen Harrier, good to know that a female has been around. But it didn't show tonight, but perhaps not great Harrier conditions as it wasn't very windy. They can put on a good show with a bit of a breeze around.