Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Spring is here!

Back to the 15th, and a morning spent doing some habitat works on the cyclepath at Cotham Landfill (to benefit Grizzled Skippers) gave great views of a Red Kite, which lingered most of the morning. Later that day, I called into Collingham Pits to find John Ellis watching two Black-necked Grebes - the first I've seen here since starting Patchwork Challenge in 2013. They were gone the following day. 

Black-necked Grebes

News of the Cattle Egret at Holme Pierrepont passed me by until the morning after its discovery, but being a Notts tick (not that I keep a Notts list...), I went to see it on Saturday. It was distant, and rather uninspiring. Still, I wouldn't mind finding one at Collingham. 

Cattle Egret (left)

Cattle Egret (left)

Over the weekend, the patch produced the first LRP (and my first proper spring migrant) of the year on the 18th on Mons Pool, along with 7 grounded Pink-feet in the field by the conveyor outfall. The following day I bagged 4 Sand Martins on Ferry Lane Lake (having dipped one there the day before), whilst the there were now 4 LRPs on Mons. It proved to be a good day for Patchwork Challenge, with my first patch Peregrine and Woodcock of the year, the latter flushed out of the woodland at Meering. 


 Today, and two Avocets were on the Silt Lagoon at Collingham, with 15 Sand Martins on Ferry Lane Lake. Earlier, driving through Southwell I encountered 11 Waxwings feeding in a cotoneaster adjacent to Palmers Court; always nice to find. 

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Spring is almost here...

This weekend's birding began on Friday afternoon with a quick patch visit; things there were much the same as they have been recently, with the 3 redhead Smew still present and correct on Ferry Lane Lake. 11 Whoopers in the field west of the Trent were the only other thing of note.

Saturday and I was up at half 5 to make the journey down to Stow-on-the-Wolds for the Blue Rock Thrush. I've been putting this off (for various reasons, including the doubts over the birds' origins), but with Spring rapidly approaching, now was the time to get it (for insurance purposes...). I soon found it perched up on a roof on Fisher Close, but after returning to my car for my camera, it had gone, and didn't reappear over the following 40 minutes. By then I had had enough of loitering in a housing estate with bins and camera and headed home, via the patch, where I had my first singing Chiffchaff of the year - always a joyous event.

Today, and my WeBS count at Girton produced at female Scaup on the A1133 Pit (which is looking increasingly like some sort of prison camp with the hideous fencing that now encircles the pit), and no fewer than 6 singing Chiffchaffs. A third check of Collingham for the weekend once again failed to produce any Sand Martins


Sunday, 5 March 2017

The end of February and the beginning of March

Over the last couple of weeks I've not managed much birding, for various reasons. My last patch visit of February was on the 21st, when I bagged 6 Eurasian White-fronted Geese on Smithy Marsh, viewed from Meering. The following weekend I was in London (Ring-necked Parakeets), and this weekend I did manage a bit of birding, despite having my parents to stay. A work visit to King's Mill Reservoir allowed me to jam in on 13 Waxwings which briefly showed up near the Mill Adventure Base, dropping down to feed on rosehips before being disturbed (by some people filling up bird feeders, oblivious to their presence) and flying East.

I popped into Collingham on the way home on Friday, getting my first Pintail of the year, with a pair on Mons Pool. I couldn't get out yesterday, which was a shame as Mark Dawson had a littoralis Rock Pipit, of which there was no sign today, but 2 Green Sands were new for the year; in addition, 2 redhead Smew remained on Ferry Lane Lake, and the long-staying Black-wit remained on Mons Pool.