Sunday 20 November 2022

Edgerley - Whooper Swans inc JZH

Two families of Whooper Swans were settled in a field opposite the Royal Hill pub today, found by John Reeves. They were in two 'loose' family groups: 2ad + 3juv and 2ad + 1juv mid morning. Another one dropped in, making 9 in total. One of the adults was wearing a yellow darvic ring and despite them being 300m + distant, I did my best to get a meaningful image of the details?

Two adults plus one juvenile...

Two adults plus three juveniles...

Adult which dropped in to make nine in total...

Here's the best I could do to decipher the ring letters which are JZH

This is a returning adult which I photographed in flight during the winter of 2019/20 on 19th Jan 2020. For more info

see here.

Thursday 17 November 2022

Venus Pool - Snipe

Children's books often use wildlife to stimulate learning to count and I managed to get some obliging Common Snipe to gradually congregate around an imaginary crocodile today? 

One lonely Common Snipe walking into view.

Along came a second one so then there were... TWO

Standing in the water as happy as can be, a third one joined in the fun so then there were... 

It's starting to get crowded as another one made... FOUR

With room for just another one, can you guess what would arrive? Yes you got it, well done, it's Snipe number....  FIVE!

I'll forward this to Gemma and my Grandson for comment? A new career looms?  

PS They loved it!

Venus Pool - Teal explosion

Wigeon numbers had dropped dramatically today following the influx of yesterday. Instead it was an explosion of Teal which dominated proceedings. Once again, courtship took precedence but it was the sight of numerous (some of the 135 counted) exploding out of the vegetation of the middle island which was a sight to behold...

Snipe numbers set to increase next?

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Venus Pool - Wigeon influx

Numbers of Wigeon have been slowly increasing but today there was a huge influx, I counted 116 but likely to have been more. Whilst some were feeding / just standing around...

 others joined in the courtship frenzy

And some entertaining flight passes!

Water levels rising, temperatures dropping, expect more movements!

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Venus Pool - 20 yo Curlew (metal ring)

Getting a decent pic of the colour ringed (LU) Curlew at Venus Pool was easy-peasy. During mid November another ringed bird (this time bearing just a metal ring) was seen by Dave Chapman and myself. Reading the ring number would be a difficult task to say the least however! I'd got loads of images to trawl through, little thinking I could clinch the full ring number but I had a go...

The first part of the code?  P490...

The number 4 clearly follows... P4904

And then add on a 7... P49047

This image shows clearly '47' is the final part of the code... The only digit missing is an F at the start which denotes the ring size!

And here's the proud wearer of the ring FP49047 seen at Venus Pool on a few occasions in mid November. A Curlew now proven to be some 20 years old !! Ringed at Wood Lane Quarry before the dawn of colour ringing. 

With colours and large letters, ringing recoveries are so much easier nowadays but the reporting rate is still somewhat infrequent!

Friday 11 November 2022

The Mere - Azorean Gull

Gull Roosts are not photographic studios and I should have known better than to point my camera at the throng, in particular a 3rd Winter Azorean Gull settling down in the Shire for (at least) his second evening!

Mid you, not settling down at all this eve, quick fly in, wash and brush up and then off he went! 

Dodgy image alert...

Looking as though he's been in a fight or too?

Maybe I should stick to art?

At least the Kittiwake stayed still!

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Bridgwalton Quarry - Curlew Sandpiper

It's been over 12 years* since I last saw a Curlew Sandpiper in the County but a cracking find by Martyn Owen meant I had a chance of one at Bridgwalton Quarry. I had to join a tractor/trailer journey queue which included the ascent of Harley Bank which added at least 15 mins to the short journey...

But, it was still there! Not on the nearside spit sadly but on the left side bank... 

This was the closest view, pushing on 100m...

And then it wandered further along the bank...

All the angles were covered here...

Before taking a nap!

That was all folks... If you want to see my 2010 posting (and better pics of two)  check out Chelmarsh Curlew Sands x 2 at Chelmarsh scrape 11.9.10

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Venus Pool - Colour ringed Curlew

Two Curlews have been present and seen regularly on the reserve since the end of July. They were initially stand offish but showing much better now. Their 'close' behaviour suggested that the 'resident' pair were an item but todays events suggest that may not be the case? Today they were joined by a colour ringed bird and I spent an hour or so trying to get any clear letters on the Darvic rings.

Here he is and shall we call him Lu?

He is 'LU' actually and was ringed in July 2018 at a site on the Stiperstones after being released there as a hand reared chick...

Here's the all important left leg yellow ring 'LU'. I spent ages photographing him hoping to reveal letters on the right leg orange ring? I now realise this local scheme uses a blank orange Darvic ring on the right leg. I guess that colour is more eyecatching?

Getting on nicely with the locals...

But what about our friends at RAF Shawbury with yet another helicopter flying over the reserve. Aren't flying birds an aviation risk?

Most of the pool including the Curlews took flight!

Farewell for now...

The only other sightings since being ringed were at Shatterford near Bewdley in April 2021 and more recently (but not formally registered sightings) at Upton Warren.

And as for 'events' this ringed Curlew seems to be hanging around with one of the twosome to the exclusion of the other! We shall see what happens...

Saturday 5 November 2022

Venus Pool - Curlew coming close

 Two Curlews in once again at Venus Pool and one of them ventured quite close. Always nice to have a bird walking towards you...

Pausing to pick up a tasty morsel...

And then spooked by the Lapwings!

Ready for take off!

The sun will shine again one day?

Friday 4 November 2022

Venus Pool - Yellow legged Gulls and co

I put in a few hours Gull watching today and it paid off with five species seen. Top of the bill were a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls and they took up most of my time, patiently waiting for flight!

First off was a 3rd winter YLG, fist picked up by John Martin in the morning and here it is leaving...

It flew back in mid afternoon but I had to ignore it as there was suddenly an adult YLG too. A much cleaner bird! Here's the two together...

And a comparison with Lesser Black-backed Gull...

Here's the adult YLG departing...

Two other species were present, an adult Herring Gull, keeping tucked away at the back of the crowd for much of the time!

I did manage to get its departure...

Let's not forget the noisy Black-headed Gulls?

And the last species turning up was a 1st winter Common Gull

Not a bad session with counts of YLG 2, LesserBB 120+, BH Gull 120, Herring Gull 1 and Common Gull 1. Oh and with Great White Egret (coming next) , Redshank, Little Egret (7) Curlew (2), Cetti's very vocal too!

There was even aviation interest as the final flight shot was courtesy of the RAF and a Hawk (7K017) Shawbury bound with landing gear down at just 1250ft (taken from the memorial hide).