Sunday, 25 March 2012

Let the spring fun begin!

The other thing to get excited about (apart from Eurovision of course) is it's British Summer Time! It's lovely weather out there, so of course I'm typing on the computer!

But anyway, all I've birded this weekend is Uttoxeter Quarry. Once the fog lifted yesterday the first 3 Sand Martins of the year passed through to the north. 7 Chiffchaffs around, plenty of those back in force. Also 1 Fieldfare, 15 Goosander, 4 Goldeneye, 4 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 2 Shelduck, 1 Green Sand, 1 Redshank, 1 Curlew and 2 Ravens over.

And not a lot of difference today really. No LRP's back yet, at the moment they seem to be a bit thin on the ground. It's early days of course, hopefully it's due to the weather and not a rough time in wintering grounds.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Oh yes, roll on 26th May!

Getting excited! Why's that reader? Well, that's because this year's Eurovision will take place, from Baku in Azerbaijan!

For those who are unaware of Eurovision. It's a song contest. That's where people from countries all over Europe (and a few others!) sing some silly songs, then vote for the country next door!!!!

I have heard the UK's entry for this year, which is of course from Leicester's finest. The mighty Engelbert "The Hump" Humperdinck! It's brilliant to hear a proper crooner for a change, from the time of the likes of Tom Jones and Tony Christie. Obviously I was too young to hear Eng sing the likes of "The Last Waltz" and "Please Release Me". But his song for this year's contest, Love Can Set You Free, could do very well. I won't put it on here yet, I won't spoil it.

And if you've never got into Eurovision yet, just for a bit of fun, then maybe one of my highlights from last year can persuade you. Which was from Moldova, especially the young lady on the unicycle! Where's Moldova? I'll think you'll find it's somewhere between Romania and the Black Sea.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Two Crises in a day!

Yep that's right, two crisissississes yesterday. One of which was easily resolved, the other was the unsurprising-sacking of Paul Peschisolido! Well, the Albion haven't won a game since Boxing Day and with fourteen games without a win, it was inevitable. Wonder who the new manager will be? Time to put my application in!

The other crisis? I didn't realise until last weekend that I've got a hole in me welly! So I had to get a new pair. After a little shopping expedition in Hanley it was over to Berry Hill Fields, where a very early Ring Ouzel had been found.

Although definitely a male, it didn't quite look like a full adult, but I could be wrong. Also present were a pair of Wheatears in the fabled White Door paddock, and a Fieldfare to provide a seasonal crossover.

Christening my new wellies round Uttoxeter Quarry afterwards produced the Ringed Plover still around from last week, a pair of Pintail, 20 Goosander, 3 Goldeneye, 3 Shoveler, 8 Pochard, 2 Shelduck, 2 Green Sands, 9 Curlew.

And very similar fayre at Uttoxeter Quarry today really, with the only difference being the quarry's first Chiffchaff of the year. Still no sign of Sand Martins or Little Ringed Plovers yet, surely next weekend?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Black Redstart under suspicion?

Well, it's been a glorious day but not a sniff of a Sand Martin! Not long to wait for that though, I'm sure.

As for this weekend's birding. Yesterday started at Blithfield, helping out with the WeBS count. Blithe Bay this time, with highlights being a Redshank and 16 Goldeneye in amongst the common stuff. Over on the dam, the Black Redstart was still present and giving bursts of song. However, you could be forgiven to think that, with a lamp in it's face, the bird is getting a grilling from The Sweeney!

Come on sonny, confess! Who did the robbery?

The Black Redstart then moved towards the angling club and showed even closer.

With more daylight around now, I could fit in somewhere else before finishing at Uttoxeter Quarry on the way home. There's a decent selection of birds at Branston Gravel Pits in recent times, so that was next.

Birds here included the immature White-fronted Goose, 1 Knot, 4 Ruff, 5 Ringed Plover, 22 Golden Plover, 6 Green Sand, 19 Curlew, 1 Little Egret, 2 Pintail, 2 Pochard and 16 Shelduck.

Not surprisingly quite a few other birders were also present, as were the largest pair of binoculars you'll see this side of the Holden Tower! Which interestingly enough, belonged to birding stalwart, author and artist, Ian Wallace.

Finishing off at Uttoxeter Quarry before going home, a birder casually mentioned to me "there's a Grey Plover out there". What!!! Oh yes, so it was with a Redshank and a Dunlin. The light was fading a bit by now, and a little distant but you can tell what it is.

Back at the quarry today. No sign of the Grey Plover but there was the first Ringed Plover of the year, along with the Redshank, 1 Green Sand, 2 Shelduck, 5 Goldeneye and 15 Goosander.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Ooh it's a Scaup!

There may be more to come, after very kindly being asked into joining an epic trip into the northern bit of "Welsh Wales (tm)" yesterday. But it may yet appear in other parts of the blogosphere, so I won't spoil that yet.

So after a lazy morning today and waiting for the worst of the rain to move on, it was a check of Uttoxeter Quarry in the afternoon. Not a lot of duck around now, probably because of a Peregrine stood on a bank of bare gravel, that's not going to help.

But a look through the Tufted Ducks, one of those round-headed, grey-mantled Tufted Ducks was with them. Or should that be, a drake Scaup! Yabba-dabba-doo!

Also present were 42 Curlew, 6 Oystercatcher, 2 Snipe, 4 Shelduck, 15 Goosander and 2 Goldeneye.

And just to finish for this time, at an undisclosed site (eh?????) this afternoon. Coming soon to a gravel pit or reservoir near you..............