Friday, 6 March 2020

Titterstone Clee - Snow Bunting

A good bird bird for Shropshire, Snow Bunting that is! The pics from the first encounter were less than ideal due to the vile conditions. With an option or two on our radar for a session out and about in the shire, I teamed up with Dave Chapman to see what we could see / find?

The Snow Bunting eventually came our way and whilst with care, generally 'confiding' it was apt to be spontaneously mobile!

Here's one or two of the confiding moments! First off in the short turf...

Followed by the photogenic walk along a frozen puddle...

I'll take them, fantastic light! There was something else on offer in the form of a small mammal in winter coat having fun among the rocks...

Titterstone Clee - Stoat surprise

It shouldn't have been a complete surprise (as this character has already been reported in the area)  but a flash of 'white' romping amongst the rocks turned out to be a first for me - a Stoat still wearing a winter coat!

Dashing here, there and everywhere! 

Before changing the modus operandi to 'stealth'!

And best view out in the open!

Then as a finale, showing a clean pair of heels on departure!

There's more winter interest to come! Waxwings at Market Drayton...

Market Drayton - Shropshire Waxwings at last!

Although there have been a few in the Midlands, Waxwings have been in short supply locally and no twitchable ones in Shropshire... until now... Nice one Dave Barnes, his Sorbus tree did him proud!

An hour spent in Market Drayton produce a trio of birds that had been feeding on the remnants on another Sorbus in Croft Way! The berries were inevitably on the side of the tree 'into the light, so great 'views' but horrible to work with!

So, a patient wait on the other side eventually paid dividends...

The final florish before they flew off to the nearby playground area and 'did one' flying high towards the Muller factory!

Not a bad day at all despite the Waxwing pics not likely to win any awards! Yet another big thank you to Dave for driving too!

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Bromfield - Black Redstart

Having ignored the Bromfield Black Redstart on Sunday, I had a couple of hours free today to check it out. The weather wasn't helping with intermittent rain but there were a couple of 'dry' moments when the bird showed half decent?

The first occasion was with cloud cover. I'd have settled for this and gone home happy?

But with a moment of sunshine, the light went up as gear!

Always good to have a bird running towards you!


Constantly in search of small morsels.

And a fitting end to what could have been a 'no show'!

I still preferred the setting and challenge of Sunday's bird amongst the rocks on Titterstone Clee but I'm not exactly grumbling about this one!

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Titterstone Clee - Black Redstart on the rocks

Lady luck was ensuring that a Black Redstart would be featuring in the viewfinder today? Not at Bromfield however, Clive Biddulph had chanced upon one in the quarry on Titterstone Clee!! So rather than a pint at the Clive Arms, it was Black Redstart on the rocks!

Whilst never coming that close, we preferred this setting by far! A flash of the tail finery too...

 Then a limitless supply of rocks to launch from!

Not a bad day at all, 1 Snow Bunting, 2 Black Redstarts and at least 3 Stonechat, my first for the year!

Titterstone Clee - Snow Bunting

After a brief stop at Bromfield to welcome Black Redstart to the Shire yearlist, instead of fetching the cameras from the car, Dave Chapman and I immediately called it a day!  A more important quarry hopefully awaited us at Titterstone Clee in the form of a smart Snow Bunting found by Dave Stafford the previous day!

Just as well we did, as a five minute mid morning encounter was to be the only decent snow-show of the day! So, courtesy of Dave Western, who refound it, here's a few pics of this smart bird...

No matter what angle you view them from, always a firm favourite...

Feeding like crazy in what to us was a icy gale force wind. For a Snow Bunting, pretty balmy conditions?

The biggest struggle was dealing with the wind and trying to hold the kit steady!

But worth it in the end. Thanks to all three 'Daves'!! There was another distraction too - a second Black Redstart for the day was about to command our attention in the quarry...

Monday, 17 February 2020

Venus Pool - Redpoll and Brambling

Some quite showy Lesser Redpoll males were in evidence at Venus Pool today...

Plus this smart male Brambling...

Time to make the most of them as they wont be here much longer!