Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Hanbury Hall & Upton Warren

Another NT visit on Saturday to Hanbury Hall, incidentally only a 10 minute drive from Upton Warren. We had a good circular walk at Hanbury around the large estate, dodging sheep and cows, but very little Bird life about, just a Buzzard and plenty of Butterflies, the gardens are fantastic and well worth a visit, the pond provided Moorhen and Mallard.

2 Points for every Moorhen you can find!

So after Hanbury, we decided to just pop over to Upton, just in case, well it has to be done!

We plumped for the Lapwing over at the Moor Pools, as you can imagine it was pretty quiet:
Mallard, the odd Tufted Duck, a roving Common Tern, Cormorants, 2 Grey Heron, Black Headed & Herring gull, Coots a plenty, Mute Swans (with 3 Cygnets), a solitary Lapwing, Sand Martin, Woodpigeons etc.

It was still very pleasant the sun was shining and the coffee was still hot!
We were scanning the pool and we noticed all the lenses sticking out from the first hide over the other side of the pool pointing in one place. There was a Kingfisher sitting on one of the sticks outside the hide, seemingly not going anywhere! So we had a few minutes before we had to be off (other things to do!) so we legged it over. Of course by the time we got there it had gone! We hung around longer than we should but it didn't come back, so we resolved that we would come back Sunday.

Well back we went, straight to the Kingfisher Hide, we though we would give it a couple of hours. Many thanks to Rob & Chris for being so friendly and helpful whilst we were there. The 2 hours went and I was thinking oh well at least we have added a Redshank to the list for the weekend, plus  Mink after the Moorhen chicks by the hide, but the parents saw him off, we should report that, then Chris Cook, shouted (quietly!) Kingfisher. He (the Kingfisher not Chris) gave us a 10 minute display fishing from the different branches. It doesn't get any better!  (Well the Sea Eagles up on Skye last year were pretty amazing, probably just behind that.)

A few snaps:

After mission completed, we popped around to the Flashes and went down to the Avocet hide, where we saw of course the Avocets, the Redshank that had departed from the Pool, a Little Ringed Plover and the Green Sandpipers:

Friday, 27 July 2012

Round and About

Well haven't had chance to post for a while as I've been under the weather in more ways than one!

So we haven't been far afield and as we enter the 'quiet time' as far as birds are concerned, we fall back on our National Trust membership. Mind you most NT properties come with great grounds and park land so you never know what you are going to see.

Last Sunday we had a ride down to Charlcote Park, near Warwick, it's one of favourite spots, with a Heronry, plenty of Fallow Deer to wander among, and who knows what else!

We also managed a trip to the Lavendar Farm at Snowshill, not much wildlife apart from Swallows, Swifts and a low flying Great Spotted Woodpecker, but the fields are worth seeing:

I finally managed to get to Haden Hill on Thursday lunch time, the firs walk around there for a couple of months! Again very quiet on the bird front, a Heron on the lower pool:
was the only photo of note, but whilst standing taken his photo, I spotted my first Kingfisher at Haden Hill, followed quickly by a second! Too quick to get the camera aimed, but never mind, a chap passing by stopped for a chat and asked me if I'd seen the Kingfishers, he then told me they have been there for years! First I'd heard of them, but you learn something new every day!

I did try photographing a spectacular red Dragonfly, without much success, having to use manual focus and track it was too much for my little brain! This is the best that I managed:
I then wandered around the NR, but nothing of note, a distant Buzzard was the highlight.

Our garden is still proving the best bet, with regular visits of Bull, Green and Gold finches, plus all the other usual suspects.

Don't know if we will get out this weekend, we'll have to see!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Middleton Lakes RSPB 8th July

Taken me a while to do this post as I haven't been on top form shall we say!

Also no pics as I had let the battery run flat in my camera so not a good start...
We decided to take a trip to Middleton as we hadn't been since January. When we arrived the first thing to see were the host of volunteers trying to repair the path up from the car park through the wood after the heavy rain, they did warn us we might not be able to get far, but we had our boots on so persevered!

The main path wasn't to bad, but the one through the woods looked terrible so we carried straight on and chose to use the little track along the canal, when we looked down on the path after the woods that leads to the c anal bridge it must have been under a couple of feet of water so a good choice to go around, we clambered up onto the bridge and over into the reserve.

The water level of the Lake was really high, nothing there for waders, the usual scrapes and island edges were completely gone, but the paths looked OK, so we wandered around to the screen and had a coffee, watched 2 GC Grebes with 4 chicks, at one time these were all on one of the parents backs, which was quite an achievement as they weren't that little anymore!

Plenty of Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings about, a Gadwall turned up, and there were a few Common Terns fishing. Otherwise just BH Gulls, Coots, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan and surprisingly few Mallards.

We decided to try the path along the river dodging the really soggy bits, but eventually got to a point where the standing water was too deep for our boots and we turned back, just adding a Kestrel to the sightings for the day.

So we stopped by the screen for another coffee and then the heavens opened, so brolly up water proofs on and we stuck it out until it passed and the sun came out for a final glorious 45 minutes or so, it actually got hot, now we were over dressed! We carried on to see how far we could go walking around the Wetland walk in the other direction, the answer was not far! Again the standing water was just to deep!

So back to a bench and a last coffee before heading back. The only thing to add were flocks of Lapwings crossing at intervals heading towards Kingsbury.

Let's just hope this rain eases up and the water levels can get back to normal.

We dis see lots of butterflies, dragon flies, and damselflies, that gave great displays and in some cases in large numbers, but sorry couldn't tell what they were.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Upton Warren 1st July

As we hadn't been since April we decided to have a couple of hours at Upton on Sunday. We knew there wouldn't be that much about, but the prospect of some Juvenile Avocets was enough to take us down there.

We decided to go to the new Avocet hide and were duly rewarded with the young Avocets:
We then spotted 2 Mediterranean Gulls, this was a first for us in summer colours, we had seen one back in November in 1st Winter, so this was nice and a first for 2012. The photo's aren't great, the advertised sunshine didn't appear until we were on our way home:

Apart from that there were of course plenty of Black Headed Gulls with youngsters all making a racket as usual and a solitary Little Ringed Plover who had according to the Warden lost its chicks when the flashes flooded. The water levels are still very high making it tough for the waders.

We then went over to the pools and visited the hides on both sides, all very quiet. Probably best was the Great Crested Grebe chick with its Zebra style markings.
As we walked between hides we were treated to a few very obliging Reed Buntings staying put and singing their heads off:

So a modest list for a few hours:

Avocet (with youngsters)
Black-headed Gull (with youngsters)
Buzzard (1)
Canada Goose (with youngsters)
Carrion Crow
Chiffchaff (Heard)
Collared Dove (1)
Common Tern (2)
Cormorant (4)
Great Crested Grebe (with youngsters)
Great Tit
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Little Ringed Plover (1)
Mediterranean Gull (2)
Mute Swan (with cygnets)
Oystercatcher (5) (1 with chick)
Reed Bunting (6)
Sand Martin
Sedge Warbler
Tufted Duck