Friday, 20 February 2015

Some time off

What a treat; Thursday and Friday off from work, if only I could do that every week... So yesterday we went for a nice walk around Abney in the Peak District, via a pub for lunch. It was a bit wet but the scenery was lovely, even in mid February. Avian highlights were 2 Dippers in Abney Clough and a Raven, but no Red Grouse on the moors unfortunately (although a couple of piles of fresh droppings proved they were in the area). What really amazed me though was a garden near our pub stop, which must have had at least 40 (and probably more) Blue Tits coming to feeders and in adjacent scrub - I've never seen that many in one place before! I do like it when even commonplace birds can still surprise you.

Today I decided to do some work on my Notts yearlist, which I have been neglecting. I didn't get off to a good start though, as after two hours at Gonalston I still hadn't managed to see the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Deciding I couldn't afford to spend any more time there, I headed to Sherwood, spending some time at Welbeck Raptor Watchpoint (or rather, the parking area a bit east of the watchpoint), bagging a rather distant Goshawk, plus 6 MandarinsI then scoured Clumber Park for a Brambling. I eventually located a large flock of Chaffinches and Redwing, amongst which was a single Brambling; success (thanks to Jason Reece for the tip-off).

After lunch I decided to go to the patch rather than head north to Lound. The 2 Bewick's Swans were still in residence with 14 Whoopers next to Trent Lane at Besthorpe, with another 4 Whoopers north-east of Meering. A quick look at Besthorpe Warren produced 2 Woodcock and a Little Owl, the latter the first I've seen at this site, whilst Collingham produced 5 Redshank and a Green Sand, and a Barn Owl hunting next to Ferry Lane Lake

So, just two additions for my Notts yearlist, putting me on 114. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is starting to worry me, after 5 failed attempts to see one... and nine other listers have managed to see one!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Mid Feb

Back to last Friday, and for the benefit of my Notts yearlist, a short diversion on the way back into the office after a morning out on site allowed the Glossy Ibis at Gonalston to be ticked off. Amazing that it's chosen to return to its favoured field for a second winter!

Saturday morning, and it was back to Cotham Landfill for another crack at a white-winged gull. And again, nothing. There are still decent numbers of Herring Gulls at the landfill (maybe 1000?), but GBBG numbers were well down, with less than 100. No Caspo's either, so I had to amuse myself by looking at a couple of pale-tipped young Herring Gulls

I managed only local birding on Sunday, due to an away hockey match in Oundle, the 3-0 loss eased slightly by a couple of Red Kites cavorting low over the pitch on several occasions - slightly off-putting! A quick run round Collingham Pits late in the day failed to produce anything of great note; best were 6 Goosander (one drake) on Ferry Lane Lake

Another, brief visit was paid to Gonalston today in hope of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker coming to feeders, but it was a no-show in the half-hour I could give it. And a sign of the times when there were more birders looking for the LSW than at the Glossy Ibis... Another later afternoon look at the patch again didn't produce much - I was hoping for (in fact, expecting) the site's first Oystercatcher and/or Ringed Plover of the year, with both present at Langford, but no luck today.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Yankie Wigeon

After an anxious day at work today, I knocked off a little early and paid a visit to Holme Pierrepont (conveniently located on the way home). After a bit of a search, I tracked down the drake American Wigeon on the A52 Pit - although it was never close. A full fat Notts tick, and obviously a Notts yeartick too, as was an Oystercatcher on Blott's Pit.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Walking the patch

I led a walk for Notts Birders this morning around Collingham Pits and Besthorpe this morning. Thirteen people joined me for what turned into a 4 hour hike, and we saw a good selection of species. Highlights, of course, were the 2 Bewick's and 16 Whooper Swans in their usual spot, and the supporting cast included 2 Curlew, 3 Redshank, 2 Grey Wags, a Little Owl, and 2 Grey Partridges. In addition, 7 Canada Geese were a welcome patch yeartick!

This afternoon was WeBS count (instead of twitching the HP American Wigeon...). There had a been a notable local influx of (non-American) Wigeon (also at Collingham Pits), but the only unusual bird was a Pink-footed Goose with the Greylags on North Pit. 

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Gulls and swans... again

Today went much like last Saturday - although my visit to Cotham Landfill this morning failed to produce a Caspian Gull (unlike last week), or anything much else of note. In fact, two adult Lesser Black-backs were the best I could do! 

So it was on to the patch for the afternoon. The 2 Bewick's Swans were still in residence with 14 (rising to 16) Whooper Swans in the field next to Trent Lane on the way to Meering. Other bits and pieces included 3 Goosander on Ferry Lane Lake; a Water Rail, 2 Curlew and 2 Redshank (one trying, unsuccessfully, to get amorous with the other) on the Silt Lagoon; a Green Sand on Northcroft Pit; and at least 1 Redshank, 6 Shelduck and a Grey Wag on Mons Pool. 2 Grey Partridges in the game strip west of Mons Pool were my only Patchwork Challenge addition of the day.

In the world of Notts yearlist, I added Willow Tit at Brierley Forest CP earlier in the week, but failed, again, to locate a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at Rufford CP, making do with 2 Hawfinches