Sunday, 23 January 2011

White-fronted Goose, The Sequel!

Another round up of my weekend's birding. Last weekend I was told of a probable Nordic Jackdaw near Croxden Abbey, so that's where I started on Saturday morning.

Finding a field between Great Gate and Croxden Abbey, with plenty of Rooks and Jackdaws in, as well as a couple of Stock Doves. There was one Jackdaw that looked like it had a bit of a faint neck-collar on it, but I don't think it was enough for a Nordic. At least its an excuse to add a winter country scene of feeding corvids.

Onto Brookleys Lake next, and what a difference a year makes here. This time last year I was enjoying myself with Ferruginous Duck, Scaup, record breaking counts of Mandarin and a Tufted Duck x Pochard hybrid. A few nights of frost in the week, combined with being surrounded by trees to block any breeze, has the caused the lake to completely freeze over again! Very frustrating. As a result, only 131 Mallard, 4 Mandarin and 2 Teal, all stood on the ice.

Thankfully Uttoxeter Quarry was much better, no freezing over here. But if there was ever a sign of a harsh winter, then it's this burst pipe in the quarry grounds. Glad it's not outside my house!

But it does mean that water is being pumped out, hopefully there'll be some mud and shoreline in time for spring. But in the present time, a pleasing selection of stuff. One of the White-fronts was still around with the Greylags, close enough to have it's photo taken this time.

Other birds around were a rather tatty-looking Pink-footed Goose, 35 Goosander, 3 Goldeneye, c150 Wigeon, 24 Teal, 8 Pochard, 1 Green Sand, 3 Curlew and a Barn Owl. Also a quarry rarity in the form of two Great Black-Backed Gulls, that didn't hang around for long.

As for Sunday. Tried to fit in a woodland walk near home, trying to find flocks of finches, Redpolls, Crossbills that kind of thing. So I tried Hawksmoor. Absolutely no finches here, but there was the usual woodland fayre of tits, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper. A walk down to the pond at East Wall farm produced 2 Little Grebes, the first I've seen since before the harsh weather at the end of November. That is one bird I have wondered about how well they would survive during this winter, so it was good to see two here.

Another quick check of Uttoxeter Quarry didn't produce much different from yesterday, apart from an increase in Tufted Duck and the Greylag flock wasn't around. So I thought I would try the gull roost at Blithfield to end with, and that didn't produce anything out of the ordinary either.

Well, there'll be no birding for me next Saturday, as I'm off to watch a little game of footy in Burnley. And all being well, I'll be picking up a new camera. Nothing particularly professional, but it should have enough umph to put another selection of rubbish pictures on this blog. So expect some Blue Tits at feeding stations coming soon!

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