Sunday, 31 July 2011

Some little balls of fluff, and some Insects

I haven't gone far this weekend, been concentrating more on watching the second test. Just a quick check of Blithfield causeway after work on Friday, and a couple of visits to Uttoxeter Quarry in amongst the cricket.

Thanks to a pager message mentioning 2 Sandwich Terns and 2 Knot at Blithers. On arrival at the causeway on Friday, I could make out one juvenile Sandwich Tern and at least half a dozen Arctic Terns. No sign of any Knot but a nice chat with Trevor Hardiman.

As for the quarry, it's been ok considering the time of year and the warm, settled weather, but just lacking a rarity. A few Green and Common Sands still around, 2 Dunlin, 1 Curlew, 12 Goosander, 3 Redstarts. More family parties around as well, including Common Terns, Yellow Wagtails, and most endearing of all a family of Little Grebes. There are two fluffy humbugs that are very cute, and waste no time into hitching a lift when they want to.

And as it's summer, I've finally succumbed to getting my camera out to take some pictures of insects. I don't want to sound like I'm bragging or anything like that, but I'm quite an expert at this kind of thing you know. So here we are then, some daytime moths:

And some stick insects:

There, see? I know my stuff.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Ooh it's a Sanderling, and some Crossbills

So what have I got in store this time reader? Well yesterday, met Martyn and Kay at Blithfield. A bit of a selection on offer, which included a Greenshank, 6 Dunlin and 4 Ringed Plover in Blithe Bay.

In Tad Bay were 6 rather early Snipe, 27 Little Ringed Plovers, 1 Redshank, 1 Dunlin, 1 Wigeon and the Osprey which, like the shopkeeper on Mr Benn, appeared as if by magic.

Over at the deep end, a Yellow-legged Gull was stood on one of the buoys, and in Ten Acre Bay were 2 Redshank, 3 Common Sandpipers and this Sanderling.

Next was a "Local Tours" guided walk of Uttoxeter Quarry. Other than 4 Green Sand, there weren't too many other waders around, just 1 Common Sand, 1 Oystercatcher and 2 LRP's. But we did manage to see some nice family parties of birds in the hedgerows, including 4 Redstarts and 3 Lesser Whitethroats. Also a Hobby.

Whilst at the quarry, I was alerted to a sighting of some Crossbills. So when it was time for Martyn and Kay to return back to that place known as the West Midlands, I took myself over to a patch of larches, between Cheadle and Alton.

There were about 12 Crossbills there, those that I could see well were all juveniles. But it wasn't easy looking into the sun. So today, I had another look, and that's all I've done birding-wise. Managed to find a couple of juvenile Crossers, and eventually this one came out of the shadows.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

A Grand Day Out, at Blacktoft

Sometimes, birding a local patch can be tough going. Even more so when you write a birding blog that's mainly about that patch. Uttoxeter Quarry's been pretty quiet of late. Other than Green Sands, there were these 7 Black-tailed Godwits on the 6th.

As for this weekend, lets have a look at the Marsh Sandpiper at Blacktoft Sands. I've seen a few of them at Bharatpur before, but not seen one in Britain. And I'm sure Mad Malc wouldn't say no to a lifer.

It's only just over a two-hour drive away, then a walk to the screen adjacent to the Ousefleet hide, after a short wait the Marsh Sandpiper appeared. Hurrah!

It was a most enjoyable three hours at Blacktoft. Visiting all the other hides, there was an excellent supporting cast. Which included 2 Spoonbills, 1 Garganey, Wood Sand, Spotted Redshanks, Ruff, 6 Avocets, 8 Little Egrets and Marsh Harriers.

Just Blithfield today, on a rather wet day. But a decent array of stuff on offer in Tad Bay. Including 36 Little Ringed Plovers, many of them juveniles.

Also an Osprey, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Wigeon and 3 Garganey. This really is one of them from Tad Bay, and not mixed up with pictures from Blacktoft yesterday!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Bye Bye News of the Screws

It's at times like this when the words of messrs Weller, Foxton and Buckler become rather apt. Why won't The Jam reform? I was only 6 when they split up, and Paul Weller formed The Style Council (what was he playing at?).

Might have to buy the last ever copy on Sunday, just as a souvenir. Or perhaps everyone could have a public burning? I wonder what the headline will be? How about "Whoops"..........

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Lucy the Gull, and a Local Twitch for Local People!

Been a bit under the weather for the last few days. A rotten cold since last Tuesday, and only just feeling better from it now. In recent checks of Uttoxeter Quarry from the last few days, not much to report apart from 3 Green Sandpipers yesterday, and on Thursday evening was this leucistic Black Headed Gull.

Tell you what, if that was mixed in with a flock of gulls and you only saw the white primaries sticking out, you could easily think there's an adult Med Gull in there.

And to today, which was going to be more of the same at the quarry, and probably Blithers as well. But that all changed when the pager went off, "Derbyshire, presumed Western Bonelli's Warbler at Arnfield Reservoir, Tintwistle". Hallelujah, that's good enough for me, I'm off!

Once past a metaphorical line that crosses the Birdnet shop in Buxton, Carsington and Ogston, knowing where places are further north in Derbyshire start to get a bit hazy, although I knew it was kind've near Glossop. But Arnfield Reservoir really is close to the Greater Manchester border, about as far away as you can get from Drakelow and Swad. In fact, it's that way!

The bird showed well a few times during the hour and twenty minutes that I stayed for. Frequenting an area of trees next to this stream, seen from the footbridge. And an excellent record to boot!

And with that I went home to type up some words on the computer. But one last thing to do, which was to pay homage to the nearby town of Hadfield.

Hadfield is the world-reknowned location of the comedy televisual show, "The League of Gentlemen", the town of Royston Vasey. I can't think where I got my blog name from. Recognise the statue?