Saturday, 6 February 2010

Shropshire - a Feb Bird stroll.....

My monthly image free zone and thinking back.......

The New Year’s Day dash was really good fun and I did say I’d do it again, didn't I!! Yvonne thought likewise and with a sort of ‘plan’ for the day mapped out, a 7.30 am start at VP beckoned. This was to be more of a ‘stroll’ than a race though, as little were we to know that the weather was to completely ruin hopes of a good tally! North Shropshire was bathed in fog……

Oh well, VP gave the usual kick start to proceedings with 44 species on and around the reserve. No real highlights or surprises but just about everything we could have hoped for (apart from Brambling and Jay this time!)

We headed North and this was where things went downhill….. barely 30m of water was visible at Colemere and not a chance of scanning for the RRB Merg! Deciding to stick it out in the area and hope that the fog lifted, we nipped to Wood Lane picking up a few bits and pieces here! Common, Herring and LBB Gull, Common Snipe, Goldcrest and Oystercatcher (the only new Shropshire yearbird).

Back at Colemere, it was ‘no change’ in visibility but a check of the wood was about to add to the tally. Nuthatch, Treecreeper, mixed flock of Redpoll and Siskin (50+) and a pair of Willow Tit showing well (and calling!) A female Goldeneye eventually revealed itself and the next hour was spent waiting and hoping for the Merg - a County lifer for Yvonne! The ‘stroll’ was by now, almost aborted! Eventually, after seeing plenty of Goosander (two groups of 24 and 6) fly off, we decided to move on too and see what we could add?

Redshank at Mire and then in the Isombridge area Linnet, Yellowhammer and Curlew (a large flock still by the fishing pool) but still no Corn Bunts seen! Priorslee added a GBB Gull and pair of Gadwall followed by a sedate drive South (honest)!

About ¾ mile past Bayston Hill, one of the cultivated fields on the right had 1,000s of Lapwing (at least 3,000) plus thankfully a few Golden Plover to bring up the 70 mark!

Late afternoon at Longnor is not a good time for Dipper and this was confirmed. No SEO or Harrier seen up the Longmynd but at least a banker pair of Raven cronked us up to a final tally of 71!

The moral of the day? Those best laid plans can easily come unstuck and of course you really do have to keep the momentum going! But what the heck, this wasn’t a serious listing attempt at the best time of year - despite the lost two hours or so, we still ended up with a decent day's total for Shropshire! Who knows, I might even be up for a Mad March mooch?