Wednesday, 21 November 2012

One for the Garden and Elsewhere

Well it's been a very quiet time on the birding front, with wedding anniversary, Tina's birthday (I won't mention the age, but she's caught me up again!) and the Children coming home, plus the recent weather has been awful, but sitting here looking at the rain and waiting for my works laptop to re-boot, I thought I'd add a few lines to the blog!

So since Upton we haven't been birding at all, although we took advantage of the late sunshine last Sunday (after a very late Saturday night!) to pop down to our favourite National Trust property; Charlcote Park.

It's always rewarding and is a great place to relax and go for a stroll amongst the Deer. Plus there's always a chance of  a bird or two and we weren't disappointed.

A Redwing taking berries from a Holly Tree by the Cafe was a good start. (Whilst we were having a coffee of course.) The usual small birds were around as well, Robin, Tits, Chaffinch etc.

So we then took ourselves off for a stroll. The Deer were close to the house which was nice and let us get quite close, we continued on a circular walk around the estate coming back via the pond. We were then surprised by a Sparrowhawk zooming after some small bird (Couldn't make out what as they were zipping around like a WWII dogfight) the Sparrowhawk gave up though as the littll'un fled for the trees.

We then arrived at the pond, not much about, Mallard and Moorhen, but then a flash of blue and our first Kingfisher at Charlcote. It stayed for a few minutes perched on a branch on the small island before disappearing in the fading light.

So to today, I just went down to the kitchen from my 'office' to make a drink and was happily watching a Coal Tit on the feeders in the Garden when I saw a movement in one of the trees, it was tiny... a Goldcrest, brilliant, a first for the Garden! I rushed to get Tina who is home today, but sadly to late, it had gone.

That's it.. we are off to Norfolk on Saturday for a week, staying on the coast, so hopefully might get a few firsts and add to our year list, you never know. I have been monitoring the forums and there's a lot of interesting stuff about, but I'm sure never where we will be or the usual when when we get somewhere, "oh you should have been here 10 minutes ago......"

So next blog will be when we get back!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

A Couple of Hours at Upton Warren

So now its getting dark so early we just about managed a couple of hours at Upton on Saturday before it got dark.

Our main objective was to see Water Rail, this is a bird that eludes us all the time, we have only had one sighting in the past 18 months, at Slimbridge, so reading that they seem abundant at UW at the moment we went down, also hoping to see some Redpoll and Brambling if we were lucky.

We went to the new hide at Moors Pool first, to get that all important Coffee in (there's a bit more room in there) We stayed in there about 40 minutes, but no Water Rail, plenty of activity on the feeders though:

Bullfinch, Siskin, Greenfinch, Blue & Great Tits, Blackcap and Pheasant were very busy and gave me some nice shots.

So after Coffee we popped into the concrete hide. Two friendly chaps told us the Water Rail had been out all the time whilst they were waiting for the Kingfisher. But of course even though we waited and waited, nothing!! A nice female Reed Bunting did oblige though:
A Lesser Black Backed Gull being chased by a Black-headed Gull proved entertaining:

The Cormorant must be thinking he should have got the fish first!
A Robin posed nicely:
and the Cormorants were taking in the last of the Sun:
So we gave up on the Water Rail and decided for a last twenty minutes over at the Lapwing Hide to see the Snipe and see if we could get a better view of the Pintail that we had seen in the distance from the New Hide.

We did see the Snipe, however the Jack Snipe were in hiding. Good job we had good views of a Jack up at Cresswell the other week. The Pintail was a little closer, but still not great views. A good display was had by a Kestrel:
The light was really going now so not a great photo.
So that was it, 30 species for a couple of hours isn't bad, not the ones we were after though, but that's birding for you!