Sunday, 30 December 2012

The end of 2012

Well, christmas festivities are done and dusted once again.  The following few days mainly involved a piece of the dreaded DIY.  No getting away from this one, as the bannister fell off the staircase wall, suppose I'll have to stop sliding down it from now on.

The fix involved drilling new holes into the wall and new screws to attach the bannister back on, whilst being ingeniously propped up by lots of books on the stairs!  Wow it worked, usually my DIY adventures end up like this.

But as there was a bit of daylight left on Friday afternoon, there was time for a quick look round Brookleys Lake.  Sadly, a small oil spill has appeared.  It would be easy for any flood water to pick up a patch of oil and for it to make it's way into the lake, but it looked like more than a small patch.  Lets hope it doesn't do too much damage, particularly to any fish in there.  As can be seen a boom has been put up at the lake's mouth where water flows in.

Perhaps it's just as well there wasn't very many duck around at all, with 12 Mandarin, 4 Goosander and a drake Gadwall of note.

Saturday involved an afternoon at Blithfield.  A few Goldeneye dotted all around the reservoir, an absolute stack of Teal in Tad Bay, could easily have been 600, no green-winger though.  The gull roost in Tad held up to seven different Yellow-legged Gulls.

And as for today, it's just been Uttoxeter Quarry.  Which contained 179 Wigeon, 10 each of Goosander and Pochard, 1 Goldeneye.  Unfortunately for 2013 listing purposes, no sign of the Pink-footed Geese in the Greylag flock and no sign of the Common Sandpiper for a few weeks now, presumed drowned!  No I definitely hope not.

And that's it for 2012, a memorable year for many different reasons.  But can 2013 have less rain please?

Monday, 24 December 2012

On this special night..................

He's on the way you know, as long as you've been good all year!  No, I don't mean Bob Dylan.  Happy Christmas reader!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Caspian Gull, this time in technicolour!

He's not got another Caspian Gull has he?  Oh, I think he has.  Stick with it though reader, it's not a dot in the dark this time.

Even though birding time is at a premium at this time of year, restricted to weekends and approaching the shortest day.  It really is a case of not knowing what to do with yourself, things are pretty quiet, and not until January will the same birds become a year tick again.

But the weekend began with a usual check of Uttoxeter Quarry.  With Andy already around, 3 Pink-footed Geese were with the Greylag flock.  Two of those birds are definitely new in, and plenty of duck around.  But the undoubted highlight was the sight of a small, dark falcon going full pelt, a female Merlin!  Shortly after losing the bird, a flock of Starlings and Lapwings in the next field scattered themselves and took to the air.  After that little triumph it wasn't going to get any better, so time to move on. 

The next port of call was Silverdale Country Park, where recent goodies have included a juvenile Iceland Gull and two different Caspian Gulls.  On first sight of The Void, plenty of gulls were still on the ice, but by the time of getting to the water's edge and setting the scope up, the vast majority of them took off, typical.  Thankfully however, the first-winter Caspian Gull remained, and that was the bird I wanted to see, never seen a first-winter before.

A really distinctive gull, especially at this distance.  And what a massive hooter!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Gulls in Monochrome

Only out on the Sunday this weekend just gone.  Saturday was a complete write-off, due to waiting for a chimney man.  After Jackdaws nested up there this year, I'm after one of those mesh things to put on the chimney pot.  Sorry Jackdaws, but I don't want to end up with loads of smoke in the house.

Despite being told someone would appear and waiting around home all day, no-one turned up.  That's someone else added to the list when the revolution comes, it's getting a rather long list.  Anyway, hopefully there'll be better luck trying someone else, onto Sunday's birding. 

Duck numbers are building up a bit at Uttoxeter Quarry, with 26 Goosander, 63 Teal, 30 Wigeon, 81 Tufteds and 3 Pochard.  Also two Willow Tits around, and a third GBB Gull over the last few weeks.

With the wind picking up in the afternoon, it was over to Tad Bay at Blithfield and wait for the gulls to come piling in to roost.  Which they did, Tad Bay being more sheltered than the deep end.  The adult Caspian Gull was eventually found, and eventually came nearer to the hide.  However, it was getting darker:

...and darker...

...and darker!

Must admit though, I didn't realise it was getting quite so dark.  Is there a problem with the camera?  Everything's in black and white!