Monday, 27 January 2014

Hume's revisited

A light sprinkling of snow this morning when I woke soon melted away then it was back to Hams Hall in brighter weather which gave the opportunity for better and longer views of this Asian gem among just a handful of admirers. Chiffchaff and Peregrine noted. Two Ravens over the M6 near Corley.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Hume's but no Otters

Saturday 25th January

The pond was damp and grotty with all the usual suspects in exactly the place you would expect to see them so lost interest quickly and decided I’d be better off shopping – well at least I would be warmer.
As I contemplated why anyone would want an 80” TV screen and how silly one would look in my house a phone call from Dennis had me cacking my pants as I dumped my shopping on a startled assistant and raced home. A frantic journey of bus, taxi and a couple of train rides finally saw me join the gathering crowd at Hams Hall for Warwickshire’s first county record of Hume’s Warbler. Well done to Dave Hutton for finding such a goodie.

Unfortunately my arrival back in Rugby coincided with darkening sky’s that soon produced high winds, torrential rain, hail, thunder and lightning so by the time I reached my bus stop I was drenched. Couldn’t have looked a pleasant sight as my driver seemed reluctant to allow me on board but my demeanour said don’t even think about it.

Sunday 26th January
We were expecting another drenching but managed a couple of hours before the heavens opened for the rest of the morning walking the banks of the River Welland at Market Harborough hoping for Otter but the river was rising quickly and muddy looking so we never got a sniff.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

No Change

Arrived at the pond just as the heavens opened up so sheltered under the canopy of the visitors center watching the antics of 25 Meadow Pipit, 15 Goosander and the male Smew.
Once the showers had shifted we walked out to toft bay but I failed to see either the Great-northern Diver or the Long-tailed Duck and had to wait to see them on my return. Toft shallows had 3 Siskin and 2 Water Rail (only one seen). A Peregrine hunted over toft bank and 3 Raven seen over bunkers hill wood.
Goosander by Bob Hazell

Monday, 20 January 2014

ISS and the normal goodies at the pond

Watched the Space Station go over at 5:52am as the fog started to develop but luckily it did not linger as long as forecasted and treated to a bright cold but sunny morning for our visit to the pond.
Great Northern Diver, Long-tailed Duck and Smew were off Farborough Bank/Spit and the Red-breasted Merganser was seen distantly towards the outlet. At least 7 female and 2 male Goosander present along with 10 Gadwall 40 Teal, Shoveler, 3 Pochard, 80 Wigeon, Chiffchaff, Raven and 12 Golden Plover over

Forgot to mention that there were 2 Mottled Umbers and a Winter Moth in the garden Trap over the weekend.
Water Rail by Bob Hazell

Sunday, 19 January 2014

O what a glorious morning

Overnight rain soon dispersed bringing bright sunshine and a pleasant walk from draycote village to the visitor center.
Kingfisher below draycote bank, 9 Tree Sparrow on the feeders and a further 8 in the hedgerow bordering draycote village along with 5 Yellowhammers  and 2 female Red-breasted Merganser between inlet and rainbow corner.
The Great-northern Diver, male Smew and Long-tailed Duck all seen distantly from the comfort of the visitor center and on the return walk Buzzard, Raven, 8f & 2m Goosander and Red-legged Partridge added to the day list.
A Green Woodpecker made a brief visit to my garden this afternoon.

Tour de France 2014

La Tour is starting in Yorkshire this year with

July 5th Stage 1 Leeds to Harrogate

July 6th Stage 2 York to Sheffield


July 7th Stage 3 Cambridge to London

I am hoping to see it go past Little or Greater Chestertford on stage 3 but with 6 months to go it’s still at the planning stage. I'm trying to find a nice quiet spot where I can chill the wine, set up me deck chair and hammer a good picnic without being disturbed or distracted by the human race.

Steam Excursions

So far it’s all quiet on the steam train front with no excursions due till the spring when the following are due to run with the first two just outside my county.

March 15th
70013 Buxton Spa Express
Euston to Buxton rtn via Bedford and Melton Mowbray meaning its dues to go over the Harringworth viaduct.

March 23rd
70000 Peak Forrester
Kings Cross to Rowsley via Peterborough and Stamford.

then 3 in the county due to go past Wormleighton Reservoir

April 12th
5043 Berks and Hants Aquae Sulis
Solihull to Bristol via Newbury

April 13th
34046 Cathedral Express
London Paddington to Stratford on Avon via Warwick

April 23rd
70000 Sailsbury to Stratford on Avon via Oxford

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Otter things to do on a Saturday

Went over to Welland Park, Market Harborough, Leicestershire hoping for a glimpse of an otter not expecting to see two animals showing reasonable well and mainly ignoring the dog walkers and admires, definitely be back with my camera. Kingfisher flew past.

Great White Egret, Little Egret, Smew and Great-northern Diver on Pitsford Reservoir.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Fieldfares and Green Sand

Had lunch at Brandon Marsh after trawling Lawford Heath where there were 500+ Fieldfare and 3 Buzzards.
Nuthatch and Great-spotted Woodpecker on the feeders then decided against looking at the reserve choosing instead to check out the flooded fields near Bagington finding at least one of the 3 Green Sandpipers that had been sighted there.
Two Ravens over the A45 near the Princethorpe flyover on the way home.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Grey Squirrel (albino)

by Bob Hazell

Back on Line

Finally back on line and here’s a brief update of my year so far.

Birding so far on my patch is dominated by the presence of an immature Long-tailed Duck, male Smew, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Great-northern Diver at Draycote Water plus a good supporting cast with up to 6 Chiffchaff dotted around the reservoir, 3 Water Rail in toft shallows becoming more noticeable as the water level continues to rise, plenty of Siskin and the odd Lesser Redpoll, good numbers of Goosanders while in recent days Shoverler and Pintail have been on the move. After low numbers of Wigeon throughout the winter period then a flock of 100+ recently is not to be sneezed at, other sightings of note include 14 Tree Sparrow, 2 Grey Wagtail, Treecreeper and small counts of Meadow Pipits and winter thrushes while both Merlin and Peregrine have made the odd appearance. New Year’s day saw the arrival of 3 male Red-crested Pochard but they failed to stay.

Away from the pond then the grandborough valley has had Red Kite, Little Egret and Green Sandpiper plus up to 50 Tree Sparrow, still a few Ravens in the Napton on the Hill area with the occasional Chiffchaff seen there while 2 Little Egret continue to give everyone the run around as they wander around the Draycote village area.

Only one trip out of the county which added Black-throated Diver, Ring-necked Duck, Black-necked Grebe and Black Redstart to the year list with visits to Rutland Water and Eye-brook Reservoir in Leicestershire.

Away from birding then the albino Grey Squirrel frequenting the hide area at the pond has to take centre stage especially since its appearance last June being taken up by the National press and local TV channels.

Many thanks to Bob Hazell for kindly supply some of his images.