Sunday, 25 September 2011


I've not been well, reader, and it's not been pleasant. A week ago I was like death warmed-up. Not with that man-flu nonsense, this was proper gaster, gastro, er, gastric flu! Or even gastroenteritis, now I've spelt it correctly. And it's not the time of year when you want to be ill, two days off work were wasted.

So all in all, it's been most frustrating. I would've like to have twitched a Pallid Harrier in Essex when I was at my worst last weekend. And despite a very kind offer of a lift to the Sandhill Crane round Loch of Strathbeg this weekend, I still didn't quite trust myself to be ok with all that travelling.

So I've just took it easy for birding this weekend. Starting off on the Weaver Hills yesterday, when the fog lifted I had a flock of about 35 finches over. Most were Redpolls but a few Siskins with them, also a Grey Wagtail.

Uttoxeter Quarry had 13 Curlew, 7 Goosander and a tit flock contained a Willow Tit, a Treecreeper and a couple of Chiffchaffs. A mooch round Blithfield had some decent waders, but not much had changed from a couple of weeks ago, it could do with shaking up a bit. Blithe Bay had 2 Grey Plovers, 1 Curlew Sand, 1 Little Stint in amongst the Dunlin and Ringies. Tad Bay still had 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, the Osprey still around. Also an adult Yellow-legged Gull and a monster of a Great Black-backed Gull.

As for today, I thought a search along the Trent Valley was called for. Starting off at Whitemoor Haye, where the pager already mentioned two Black Terns. When parked up to join Stuart the Alrewas Birder, there were in fact three Black Terns! Birders also increased to three with the arrival of Tom "Tame Valley Tom" Perrins, the voice of the valley. Luckily Whitemoor Haye is in the Tame valley, as of course, the River Tame flows into the Trent at Croxall.

There was also a Greenshank at the quarry pool with the Black Terns, the farmland contained a Golden Plover with the Lapwing flock and a few Tree Sparrows. Next was Branston Gravel Pits, which had a Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Green Sandpipers, 14 Curlew, 1 Water Rail, 3 Shelduck and 6 Pochard.

Another check of Uttoxeter Quarry didn't have much change from yesterday, apart from 2 Wigeon. Finishing off at Croxden Quarry, and one of my best finds there. Working through the geese and duck revealed 3 Pintail! Wow, an eclipse drake and two females.

So that's it, I'm back. Just wish I had an appetite, haven't felt hungry for over a week now. So not worth warranting the expense on food that wouldn't really be savoured or enjoyed, most meals have consisted of baked potatoes. And with that, it's this thought of baked potato that's kept me going!

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