Sunday, 7 March 2010

Shropshire - March Mooch

Mad or what, dashing around the County like a March hare? After the delights/delays of the 'dash' (Jan) and the foggy 'stroll' (Feb), would this be a chance to put together a respectable County 'day list'? No 100+ counts at this time of year of course but there are still plenty of birds out there, who knows what might turn up on the day and of course, it's fun!?? Jim and Yvonne were 'going for it' again, we were hoping to team up with Andy who couldn't make it sadly.

A good start to the day was guaranteed at Venus Pool plus environs and 38 bread and butter ticks were managed here - you've still got to get them though! I grabbed a record shot of the odd Robin with the pigment problem, at the feeder station....

Longnor came next where the Dippers were busy collecting nest material downstream of the bridge, 4 Ravens displaying overhead.

No Golden Plover seen in the Condover area so we would have to look elsewhere but for now it was off to Shirlett. No shortage of Crossbill, Siskin (100's singing) plus Lesser Redpoll, Mistle Thrush and Goldcrest ticked here.

The drive East produced a nice female Peregrine circling overhead (a quick stop and the camera came out for her!)

followed by Little Owl in the Bridgnorth area!

A remote field just outside Shifnal held c200 Golden Plover proving the value of Yvonne doing a bit of 'fieldwork' the previous week, allowing us to nail species like this.

Priorslee lake offered up a pair of Gadwall and Herring/LBB Gulls before heading to the Allscot area.

Dunlin was a nice surprise here but the bird of the day so far was picked out by Yvonne - a Grey Partridge, out in the open, up by the model aircraft field. We were now in the 70's and the best tally of the year so far was to be a formality!

North Shropshire was kept up our sleeves until last - with hopes of the Crane sticking at Whixall? A check of Colemere added easy Treecreeper, Goldeneye, Goosander and Common Gull then Wood Lane turned up 9 Curlew. A further surprise was in store at the Mere where I picked out, tucked under the far bank with a group of Goosander - the Red breasted Merganser - it is still around!!

Whixall to finish then, with Pintail picked up on the floods by the access road. The walk into the Moss had a real bonus given the clear blue skies and good light - Short eared Owl! At least one Shortie (two were reported) flew almost continuously during the hour we stayed there. Sadly no show from the Crane....

We ended up with a pretty good 81 species for the day, totally eclipsing the previous two months tally. I wouldn't want to do this every weekend but tell you what - I wouldn't want to NOT do it once in a while! Great fun and pretty good way to turn up a lot of good birds......

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