Saturday, 28 January 2012

Probably the best photo of a Great Grey Shrike, in the world!

Hmm, I've build that up a bit. Having said that though, anything is going to be better than last weekend. It really was terrible, so much so that I didn't even blog it, to save slashing my wrists! Whatever I tried, just defeated by the wind and should've stayed at home. So it was great to see a nice calm morning today, despite having to scrape a thick layer of ice off the car. Something I've not had to do much of this winter.

Today began with a cracking morning at Uttoxeter Quarry, just got better as time went on. A Kingfisher early on was a site year tick, 28 Goosander and 5 Goldeneye on the water and the first Oystercatcher of the year. Then discovered a Little Egret fishing on the River Tean, that's a bird I only saw here once last year.

When getting the camera to whack out a few snaps of the Egret, something caught my eye in the sky. Actually, it was quite a lot of things, a very large skein of Pink-footed Geese! Just a shame that the noise of the A50 traffic drowned out their calls.

I thought there was about 300 of them, heading towards the Potteries. But after seeing a pager message of 800 about half an hour later, over Newcastle-under-Lyme, maybe that was a conservative estimate? But I'll stick with it.

Well after all fun and jollity, my luck's in now, what can I do for the rest of the day? Realising that I still haven't been to see the Shrike at Upper Longdon yet, that's something I could do and some Trent Valley stuff as well.

The Great Grey Shrike at Upper Longdon was the star of Midlands Today the other week. There are many excellent photos of this bird all over the internet, but quite frankly, this isn't one of them!

Actually, good views were to be had when looking from the other side of the sun. Anyway, it's been seen and ticked, you know what one of those looks like!

Onto Whitemoor Haye, where there was no sign of any wildfowl, due to blokes wiv shooters, as they say on Eastenders. But a look around the farmland produced lots of Mute Swans (ok, there is wildfowl then), some Yellowhammers and Tree Sparrows, and this Little Owl.

Croxall had a ridiculously large number of Pochard, 306 of them I counted. Finishing off at Branston Gravel Pits, where there were a good selection of waders considering the time of year. 3 Ruff (2 male and a smaller, un-Buff-Breastable, female), 2 Green Sands, 10 Curlew, 97 Golden Plover and 2 Redshank, along with 10 Shelduck, ended a most enjoyable day's birding.

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