Saturday was a day off from birding, to catch up on christmas shopping (did you know christmas is on the way?) and make sure I went to the Albion's game against Southend United. Which was a 3-1 win, but importantly, got my ticket for the Middlesbrough game on the 8th January.
As for Sunday. If ever there was a day when I should've just stopped at home all day, in the warm, this was it. Let me explain............
Starting off at Uttoxeter Quarry. It's still all frozen solid, and as a result pretty birdless, desperate stuff really. And I did I say Cheadle was void of berries the other week? Well that was a load of buncumb, as over the last week a small flock of Waxwings has taken up residence around Lid Lane and Glebe Road.
Could I find them? No. But I wasn't too worried about that, but it would've been nice to see some Waxies in the town nearest to home. In truth, this was all killing time before heading to Blithfield. It sounded like an impressive gull roost the previous evening, with two Iceland Gulls in.
To begin with at Blithers, a Redshank below the dam, and in the small stretch of open water in Tad Bay, 20 Goosander and a drake Pintail. As you can see:
Then the reality of a Blithfield gull roost sets in, where are you going to look from? Unlike Chasewater or Copmere (I miss that roost!), Blithfield is too large to view from one spot.
I suppose the safest bet would be to view from the causeway or Watery Lane, but there were plenty of gulls piling in onto the ice at the bottom end of Blithe Bay from Beech Tree Point. And if any white-winger is going to fly into here, I'd see it well. That was the roll of the dice anyway, a gamble because there's no chance of seeing what's coming into the deep end from here.
It turned out that although plenty of gulls were coming onto the Blithe Bay ice, they were packing themselves in so tightly it was getting impossible to make a lot of them out. So as the gloom started I admitted defeat and went home.
Then came the sinking feeling on the way home, the proverbial kick in the teeth, when the pager mentioned an adult Iceland Gull at the deep end. Noooooooooooo! And to rub salt into the wound, the later mention of a brief redhead Smew from Beech Tree Point. Well I didn't see any sign of that.
Never mind eh, there's always next weekend (hopefully, adding the caveat of "weather permitting"). I suppose I've had a good run recently, with Whooper Swans, Waxwings, Great Grey Shrike in one attempt, and the like. If I'm going to have a bad'un then lets get it out of the way around the time of the shortest day!