Sunday, 26 January 2014

A Wet Weekend

It rained, and it rained! With an already waterlogged ground, the mud and surface water in the fields made it difficult and slippery going. Choosing to walk around Dosthill NR in Wellies wasn't the best idea I've ever had. Wellies are great for keeping out the water, their grip in mud though leaves something to be desired. Many times I lost my footing in the mud, sliding backwards on inclines. I did well keeping my balance in all but one incident, it was inevitable I was going to end up on the ground at some point. No damage done, just a covering of mud.

The walk was interesting, Pete had chosen to wear walking boots, so he wasn't slipping about like me. Quite a few Goldeneye about, and my first Sparrowhawk of 2014 put in an appearance.

Sunrise Dosthill NR
Taz enjoying the morning out.
Gave the reed beds a good look over. No Bittern though!
View over Middleton from Dosthill.

The view over RSPB Middleton from the top of Dosthill Bund. In my Wellies, it was like some slapstick comedy routine getting up here. One step forward, slide two steps back!

Off Road Segway?

As we got to the end of the bunds, we encountered some sort of Segway event. It looked good fun. The group were navigating really muddy areas and tackling steep slippy slopes on Segways. It was interesting to note, they were more stable than I was.

Segway event day.

The day then took an unexpected turn. I had dropped off Pete, been home, set up a rod for an hour or so fishing, when I rare bird alert caught my eye. Hume's Warbler!!! How had I not noticed this national rarity earlier?

Fishing trip put on ice, quick call to Pete, and we were off again. River Tame at Coleshill and we encountered the other eager birders hoping for this tick. My mate Jon, even left the wedding he was attending and turned up,in his wedding suit, tie and Wellies.

Looking for the Hume's.

It didn't take long, and the Hume's Warbler was added to our life lists, with several brief but much appreciated glimpses of a very mobile and elusive bird. A national rarity, and a first for Warwickshire.

Pete and I on hearing the approaching thunder getting louder and the light values dropping headed back for the car. Timed perfectly. As we got in the car, the storm hit. Heavy rain, thunder, lightning and good size hail stones. I can't remember the last electrical storm in January? Usually summer events in my recollections.

More heavy rain due today (Sunday) with flood alerts all over the country. I have already been out for a wander in the rain. Think I may stay warm and dry for the rest of the day. After a pub lunch obviously.


Sunday, 19 January 2014

A Perfect Sunday.

The day started meeting Jon while it was still dark and going in search of Tawny's. We were successful. Not one, but two Tawny's together. I only got decent views of one of them, Jon saw them both. Will be checking that area out again.

We then wandered around the waterlogged fields having a chat and enjoying the morning.

Still a lot of surface water in the fields
Around the lanes and fields
Who got mud in the car?

Once home, a quick change of clothes and a spruce up and it was off to the pub with the family for Sunday lunch,and an enjoyable pint to wash it down with.

Back home for a relaxing hour, then popped out for a couple of hours to put my new lure rod through its paces. This resulted in a perfect little predator posing for a picture before being carefully returned.

Now, that's how to spend a Sunday!


Saturday, 18 January 2014

Staying Local

With the Moors flooded and the Tame and Anker spilling over into the fields, I had to think about where to go this morning. Pete has some photographs he has taken of the Moors in flood, I will add them when he emails them to me.

I picked Pete up and we headed for Whitemoor Haye, hoping the roads were passable. They were, but the Trent was level with its Banks.

The bad news we discovered was the tree the Little Owls have favoured for years, had succumb to storm damage. The large right hand bough has completely sheared off.

Storm Damage

The good news was, that after a bit of searching, we located one Little Owl, so they are still using what remains of the tree. This also gave me a local year tick. I soon had my second year tick of the session in the form of Tree sparrows. Great looking little birds.

It was raining, dull and overcast and light values poor. The distance to the Little Owl was about 90 yards, so I just did the best I could in the conditions using my Spotting Scope and iPhone. Not great results, but decent record shots.


Yellowhammer. Difficult to get out in the open today.
Male Chaffinch

Yellowhammers were out in abundance with some large flocks flying from hedgerow to hedgerow, but apart from the odd Reed Bunting and Chaffinch, it was a quiet morning. Not complaining though, a good walk, good company, and two year ticks. Nothing to complain about there.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

First entry of 2014

This year is going to be a little different. Rather that chasing round the country for year ticks, to see birds I have seen before but tick them for 2014, I will be concentrating on my local area.

I have a couple of local "Patches" that will see most of my efforts, but I will still be travelling for life ticks. The new year saw me wandering the fields and pools locally, working on my local year list. At this point in time, my local list stands at 51 species. I'm enjoying trying to add to it, and enjoyment is what it's all about.

I hope to add some of the local wildlife other than birds to the blog this year. I intend doing a spot of fishing this year, mainly for predatory species, so a few fish will hopefully appear on the blog pages.

My main efforts though will be with the birding and getting as many local species as I can.

Wandering the lanes.


Flooded Fields


The geese enjoy the flooded meadows.
Dosthill Reserve. Sunrise.
Pit Sunrise.


Goosander - River Anker

Well, that's about it so far. Looking forward to a few local surprises and interesting finds.