Monday, 27 February 2012

Colour-ringed Glauc - Part 2

With a day off work, I drove the loop round Cotham Landfill and Cotham Flash/Pykett's Pond, but there were no readily accessible gulls, so I decided to try again later, and instead went up to Collingham Pits. A pair of Ringed Plovers were on the Main Pit along with 3 Shelduck, and a redhead Goosander flew north. Elsewhere, the 4 Whooper Swans were in their usual spot on the on the south side of the Trent. Continuing on to Mons Pool, highlights were a Little Egret, 3 Pintail (a pair plus a lone male), and a total of 23 Shelduck (of which just 6 were females).

A pair of Pintail on Mons Pool

Trying my luck again with the gulls after lunch, I had more success; viewing from the Hawton to Cotham road, a couple of hundred large gulls were loafing on the bare soil mound just north of the landfill, and amongst them was the colour-ringed 2nd W Glaucous Gull. I got a bit closer by walking along the northern edge of the former Cotham household waste site, and could confirm that the yellow ring on the Glauc's leg read T:193.

2nd W Glaucous Gull at Cotham Landfill (yellow ring on left leg)
2nd W Glaucous Gull at Cotham Landfill

At this point, all the gulls took flight (and it was apparent that a much larger number had been stood out of sight on the back of the soil mound), so I scoped the landfill site for a bit from the Sustrans Route, picking out the Glauc a couple of times, but I couldn't find anything else of note.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

A little gem!

Myself, Carl, and Paul French successfully twitched the Common Yellowthroat at Rhiwderin in Gwent today. When we arrived at the site, a crescent of around 120 people were gathered around a small isolated patch of brambles, but it remained well hidden and we could only managed a brief and unsatisfactory view before it flew a short distance across to a larger patch of bramble next to a hedge.

We spent several hours at the site in order to secure better views - the bird was extremely skulking, spending most of its time buried deep in the bramble. However, we'd picked a good spot to set up our scopes, and it appeared in front of us three times during during our stay, two of which allowed decent views as it fed on the ground under the edge of the bramble just in front of us.

Its short flights were often preceded by calling (a stabby 'pick'), and once, it flew up into the top of the bramble, giving great unobscured views (but only for a few seconds). After one particularly prolonged disappearance, someone played a recording of Yellowthroat calls and song (after checking that no-one had any objections) - it's reaction was instant, flying straight out of the bramble, but diving into the small bramble patch it had been in when we arrived.

Despite the rather obscured views (and generally Dunnock-like behaviour - I'm still amazed that it was ever found!), it was a fantastic bird, bright yellow on its throat with a blackish mask (with a grey upper border), lemony undertail coverts and mossy-green upperparts, hopping around with it's tail cocked and constantly on the move. Unfortunately, I couldn't manage a picture of it, but Paul took some video, and has furnished me with a video-grab (see for more).

Yellowthroat! A fairly typical view... Taken by Paul French.

Where's the bird?


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Colour-ringed Glauc

Carl has tracked down the colour-ringed Glauc (2nd W) that he found at Cotham Flash on saturday, with some help from Rob Johnson. This bird (T:193 in black text on yellow) was ringed by Grampian Ringing Group on the Ugie Estuary at Peterhead in August 2011, having been hanging around there for a few weeks. It was subsequently seen at Boldon Flats in Durham on 23 December, and then at Newton Sewer on Teesmouth on 15 January, before Carl located it here in Notts. See the following link for more details:

Apparently very few (if any) Glaucs have been colour-ringed in this country before, so great to learn a bit about this bird's movements!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

A wander in Clumber

With my 'rents up to stay, there was no time for any 'proper' birding this weekend. However, we did have a walk around Clumber Park this afternoon. A smart little drake Mandarin was enjoying free bread handouts near the Ornamental Bridge, with a Marsh Tit nearby. Surprisingly, there were no Redpoll or Siskin in the lakeside alders and birch around the lake; less surprisingly, no Hawfinches were seen either (it was the Clumber Annual Pancake Funday, so the park was absolutely crawling with people - not ideal for tracking down shy woodland birds). The only other highlight was 5 Goosander (a drake and 4 redheads) on the Poulter below Hardwick Dam.

Mandarin in Clumber Park
Elsewhere this weekend, Carl C had a 2nd W Glauc at Cotham Flash yesterday (sporting a colour-ring); apparently an adult Glauc was also in the field to the west of Pykett's Pond on friday, so definately still worth keeping an eye on the area!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

N-iceland Gull

After meeting a contractor (on my day off!) at Flawborough, I checked Kilvington; the 2 redhead Smew were still on the East Lake, and a Green Sand was on the West Lake. I then drove back towards Newark via Cotham Flash, noting that there were loads of gulls on Pykett's Pond, so I spent a happy two hours scanning through them; there must've been getting on for almost a thousand large gulls (mainly Herring with good numbers of Great Black-backs as well), loafing on the ice and bathing in the pond.

Load of Gulls on Pykett's Pond!
I eventually managed to pick out a nice white Iceland Gull (aged as a 2nd W based on its pale iris) which I was pleased with. At least one 2nd W Yellow-legged Gull was also lurking amongst the Herrings, and I had a frustratingly brief glimpse of what looked like a 1st W Caspian Gull, which I promptly lost as the gulls took flight and wheeled round, and I couldn't relocate it when they all landed again. Also present were 2 drake Goosanders, and a Water Rail scuttled along the bank behind the gulls.

2nd W Iceland Gull at Pykett's Pond (AM)
As the gulls had been so co-operative this morning, I returned to the site after lunch for another hour and a half; the Iceland Gull was still present, but I couldn't find the possible Caspian. The 2 drake Goosander had vacated the site, but a redhead Goosander flew in from the south.

2nd W Iceland Gull at Pykett's Pond (PM)

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Too Smew

I went to see the 2 redhead Smew at Kilvington Lakes this morning (having hoped to find one yesterday at Girton, given the current influx). They were on the East Lake, on an open patch of water with some other wildfowl. They got a bit unsettled at one point as a party of four people walked past painfully slowly, with their three labradors running along the water's edge, but luckily they tolerated the disturbance and stayed put.

Smew at Kilvington Lakes

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Birding in a winter wonderland

It was stunning out today - snow and a cloudless blue sky, but at one point the first egg our chickens had laid since November was looking like the most exciting ornithological event of the day; Girton Pits were almost totally frozen, with just small open patches on each of the pits hosting generally small numbers of wildlfowl, including 26 Goldeneye on the Sailing Lake. Single Redshank and Snipe were on the Trent, and two female Bullfinches were feeding on Weld (Reseda) seed heads on Trent Lane.

Ducks concentrated on the Sailing Lake at Girton
Collingham Pits was completely frozen, and almost totally birdless except for 5 Bullfinches along Carlton Ferry Lane, and continuing on to Mons Pool, it was almost the same story - totally frozen and this time 3 Bullfinches, but I did startle a Water Rail out of the marginal vegetation, which then made a comedy landing on the ice a short distance away. Then the day was saved with a check of the Trent from the conveyor outfall - a single drake Goosander on the river itself (always a nice bird to see), and 4 adult Whooper Swans on the opposite side of the river, looking towards Cromwell.

An icy Mons Pool
I finished the day with a quick visit to Langford Lowfields. The Little Owl was in its usual spot in the big willows off Cottage Lane, and the two southern silt lagoons were ice-free, but there was no sign of the Smew that has been seen here. Then it was home for the rugby.

A grumpy Little Owl at Langford Lowfields

Saturday, 4 February 2012

More Pink-feet at Girton

Low temperatures meant hockey was cancelled, giving a rare saturday off! After a lazy morning, I went round Girton Pits after lunch. All the pits were frozen over to varying degrees (Spalford Pit least of all). There were some good concentrations of ducks around the areas of open water, with a good count of 168 Teal (113 on the Sailing Lake and 55 on Spalford Pit), but just 19 Goldeneye. On the North Pit, 3 Dunlin and a Snipe were looking a bit sorry for themselves, whilst 3 Pink-feet were lurking amongst the Greylags on the Trent, viewed from the fishermens carpark.

Pink-footed Geese on the River Trent at Girton