Wednesday 29 January 2020

Venus Pool - Red-crested Pochard pair

A nice surprise today was a pair of Red-crested Pochard found on the adjacent fishing pool but easily observed from the oak tree at the top of the causeway!... Just a narrow stretch of shallow water between the poolside bushes and they steamed into it nicely!

The drake in all it's finery, plus a bit of weed...

Wonder if they are the pair which were briefly seen on New Years Day at Trench Middle Pool?

Friday 24 January 2020

Venus Pool - Bewick's Swan up close!

A chance visit to Venus Pool demonstrated that lady luck had not deserted me yet? It was well before roost time but there was the Bewick's Swan, sitting near the willow island? And a few minutes later, as I sat smiling with Dave,  the swan was steaming over the water to the island in front of  the memorial hide! The light was terrible but a patch of dark water nearby was our only hope?

Nearly there!

Then inching onto the submerged margin...

For a stretch and a preen!

 Eventually ending up with a wing flap finale!

Here's a different camera angle!

Finally, a stern look...

And as it was so close, how about a close up?

Not a new bird for the January list of course but a Barn Owl in the headlights on 22nd eve near Church Stretton kept it inching onwards to 102...

Sunday 19 January 2020

Melverley Floods - Whoopers etc!

Seem to be striking lucky lately and an afternoon in the Melverley Floods turned out well with Whooper Swans showing well albeit at distance! There were 23 visible (and maybe more nearby) including two family groups which flew in during the afternoon...

First things first, another new bird for the year - Tree Sparrow (here's 2) amongst the hedgerows, feeding with House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Yellowhammer...

Another Great White Egret too, this is one of TWO present. The second bird was only seen at great distance!

The best views of the Whooper Swans were during arrivals...

A bit of 'out of beat' synchro flight from parent with juv....

 And as this group finished their taxi to the far side of the water, a flash of yellow was in view!

More to come...

Melverley Floods - Whooper Swan JZH

It was late afternoon and urged on by the territorial Mute Swans, a small group of four Whooper Swans opted to move on and keep the peace! We all seemed to spot the flash of a yellow once airborne and I think we all locked onto this individual in the hope of having a legible image?

Whatever, departing swans  always make for interesting action!

An having locked onto the ringed bird, now much closer, the ring was clearly visible on zooming in...

See what I mean! Nice one JZH!

Rings always have the potential to tell a story and for JZH it's a fairly short one for now. Initially ringed as an adult on 13th Jan 2018 in mid Wales at Llyn Mawr, it's hopefully going to be seen again? Even better back at it's breeding grounds?

Saturday 18 January 2020

Bury Ditches - Crossbills

Teamed up with Dave Chapman for a trip to Bury Ditches today with Crossbill and / or Goshawk in mind? We were up for the long haul if necessary! The latter failed to show but no problems with Common Crossbills, at least 15, often distant but a few opportunities to see them a bit closer came our way...

Females first which seemed totally preoccupied with Larch cones!

 And eventually a male perched up nicely!

The closest views were had unexpectedly whilst walking back to the car! A pair were interacting in a large tree, oblivious to our gaze. Although getting a clear view of them was nigh on impossible through the branches!!

Here's the male and a cracking finale!

That's the century up then and I can relax for the rest of the month? We shall see...

Cross Houses - Bewick's Swan

An unexpected bird took my tally to 99 first thing today. A lone Bewick's Swan found in the overnight roost at VP by Dave Western and Brian Lyon it had relocated with the Mute Swans and was showing pretty well through the A458 hedge!

The century is looming and with Bury Ditches on the agenda today, hopefully the Crossbills will be obliging?

Sunday 12 January 2020

Shropshire - Yellow-browed Warbler etc.

A bit of a catch up... Finally caught up with the Yellow-browed Warbler at Shifnal Sewage works on the 5th. Once again it lead everyone a merry dance, appearing, disappearing and always behind 'cover' or branches. From countless attempts to focus through branches, here's one usable pic!

Also added then were: Corn Bunting (c30) and Stock Dove at Walcot followed by Merlin and another ringtail Hen Harrier at Whixall Moss late afternoon! 95 Shropshire species in the first week of January!

Red-legged Partridge (6) near Chelmarsh Scrape on the 6th, Green Woodpecker in the quarry at VP on the 7th and a flyaway Great White Egret at Crosemere today 12th took the tally to 98... With my car now off the road, chances to get out will be less often? Would be good to have some obliging birds too!!

Saturday 4 January 2020

Shropshire - Hen Harrier etc

A good start with Green Sandpiper at Walcot was followed by flyover Skylark and then, bird of the day, a ringtail Hen Harrier at Noneley Floods

It flew through over the far side of the field on the Sleap side, pursued by a crow. Shooting into the light at near 200m distance is never going to yield feather detail but there's enough info in these pics to suggest its the most likely candidate, a Hen Harrier?

Five fingered primary tips eliminate all others apart from Northern and finely streaked body, difficult to assess at distance whether it's an adult or juvenile...

Marsh Tit at Haughmond Hill...

No sign of the Marsh Harrier at Whixall Moss, a couple of Meadow Pipits seen there and we are into the nineties on 91

Friday 3 January 2020

Shropshire - Golden Plover etc...

Another day with the morning spent south of Shrewsbury. The Long Mynd produced a good tally of Golden Plover where Rob Dowley had located a great flock of Golden Plover (I counted 196 twice!) in bracken stubble just west of Pole Cott, where there were 20+ flighty 'difficult' Bramblings!

You know your luck is in when a Red Grouse flies over the Golden Plover, crosses the road and sits up for you , albeit at distance!

Cetti's Warbler, Heron, Bullfinch and Dipper were added at Venus Pool / Cound Stank...

Then a pictureless (bloody awkward camera error!) Priorslee roost, teamed up with John Martin, produced Kingfisher, Med Gull, Great Black-backed Gull plus a smart 4th Winter Caspian Gull! Moving on nicely to 86!

Thursday 2 January 2020

Shropshire - Pink-footed Goose etc

Another 12 species added today from a tour of Telford pools, Whixall Floods then finishing up at The Mere roost. The only half decent images came from Middle Pool, Telford where a Pink-foot was tagging along with the Greylags...

Plus three Goosander including this male...

The floods at Whixall produced: Little Egret, Pintail and Shelduck.  The Great Whites had deserted Crosemere and it was a poor roost at the Mere. Never mind, Goldeneye, Mandarin and Common Gull kept things ticking over and the list grows to 72...