Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Bournville Park & Brook

For a change I have being working out of our office in Bournville on and off the past couple of weeks, so with no longer being used to working with loads of people all the time I have taken the opportunity to have a couple of lunch time walks from Cadburys along the Bournerbook through Bournville Park and out to the model boating lake at Bournville Lane.

Today's walk was quite interesting with a couple of surprises.

The park provided me with a first for the year, 2 Goldcrests jumping around the branches of a tree overhaning the brook, so that was a great start to a very cold walk. Otherwise the park revealed the usual suspects, Great Tit, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Magpie and Crow, although on my first walk last week I did pick up a Wren as well.

So on to the lake, as usual there was a host of Black-headed Gulls (100ish), Mallard a plenty, but amongst them was a solitary Male Tufted Duck, never seen one on there before. There were also quite a few Canada Geese feeding on the few open patches of grass, but on the lake a solitary Greylag was tootling about.

There wasd also a single Juvenile Mute Swan, still lots of grey plumage, surprised to see it on its own.
The only other birds to trouble the scoreboard were Moorhen, Coot and a Lesser Black Backed Gull.

So an intersting 30 minutes brisk walk, much to cold to hang about!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

South African Birds by Proxy!

Well as we haven't been birding since our trip to Wales and I haven't even had time to go out on my lunchtime walks, so I thought I would go off at a tangent.......

Tina's brother lives just outside Cape Town and through him we have a friend Doug, who is also interested in wildlife and birds in particular, so occasionally he sends me details and photos of what he has seen on his travels, so here are a few to wet your apatite if you are ever thinking of a trip down that neck of the woods:
Steppe Buzzard






Cardinal Woodpecker

Black Hooded Oriole

Knysna Loerie

So Doug keep the photo's coming.................

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Dippers for Breakfast

We had a trip into Wales the weekend, staying in Llangollen at the Chainbridge Hotel. It was a superb location with great views over the river.

We saw Dippers both mornings from our Balcony and from the Restaurant whilst having breakfast, brilliant!
Here's a shot from our balcony (shame that the weather was so dull and wet!):

We also saw Grey Wagtail, Kestrel, Buzzard, Crow and Pheasant from our room, so not a bad way to start each day.

Our plan on the Saturday was to go up to Worlds End as a Great Grey Shrike had been reported there, but all we saw was Great Grey Clouds, the weather was awful we could only see about a 100 feet in any direction, so not conducive to walking especially somewhere you don't know and both of us having stinking colds!

So the Satnav was brought into play and we went National Trusting to Erdigg. The house was interesting and  the gardens were great, certainly worth a visit later in the year. There were plenty of birds about, the highlight being a couple of Goosander on the huge ornamental pond.
Find the Goosanders!
So it was still earlyish and again checked the RSPB reserves on the Satnav and saw we were only 30 minutes away from Burton Mere, so it would be rude not to!

We had a great couple of hours here the staff were very friendly, although the visitor centre was too warm inside, with a roaring fire and after returning from the other hide our bins and camera steamed up and we couldn't use them! Luckily when a Ruff turned up (winter plumage) a scope was on hand otherwise we would have missed it! So highlights were the Water Rail showing well:
Taken through the window, so a bit hazy!
Ruff, Pintail, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Avocet, Black Tailed Godwit, Buzzard, plus all the usual suspects! We missed a Little Gull by a few minutes, hey ho!

Next day we had to head home, so we had a drive up Horseshoe pass just for the view as the cloud had lifted a little, but the wind was howling and at times it was blizzard like:
The only bird brave enough to be out up there!
So we then decided to go home via Lake Vyrnwy, we guessed there wouldn't be much about and by the time we got there it was cold, snowing and my nose was streaming! (Not that you needed to know that!)

We went straight in the hide by the Carpark, only 10 feet from our car and what a surprise!  For those that have never been the hide is glass fronted overlooking the woods, with feeders inches from the window, so we got close and personal with:
Chaffinch, Blue, Great & Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Brambling, Siskin, Dunnock and Pheasant:

We had a drive around the lake and stopped at the Centenary Hide, but the only bird seen was believe it or not a Dipper!

So we headed home via Powis Castle, where we just made it before closing for a cream tea. (great views of a Nuthatch here!)

The tally for the weekend was 50 species taking our year tally to 90.

A Song Thrush in the Garden on Monday made it 91.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Upton Warren Last Sunday!

Again another late post.

We went with Jo & Jimmy to Upton last Sunday, staying from about 3:30 until 6 in the hope the Bittern might show, but no luck! We started off at the Flashes, but the working party were just packing up and said that there was nothing there because of the work, so about turn and off to the Moors.
(Having said that counted at least 10 Great Crested Grebes on the Sailing Lake)

So went up to the Lapwing hide (A large flock of Fieldfare were in the field behind the Paddock on the way up) to start as the other objective of the afternoon was to see our first Avocet of the year and the mission was accomplished:

A single Snipe showed away to the left a bit different from our last visit when there were about 50 right in front of the hide. There were a few Oystercatchers about, this one came the closest:

Well what else did we see! Ducks a plenty, Shoveler, Tufted, Mallard, Gadwall,
Teal, Pochard and a single Shelduck. Also the usual Gulls, Lapwing and Cormorants. A Kestrel flew over heading over to the other hides, after which we thought we would head that way too!

From the new hide the feeders were pretty busy with Reed Bunting and Long-tailed Tits:

So the Bittern never showed, oh well, next time. All in all 34 species for the afternoon, with the Avocet the only one adding to the years tally.

Til next time

Haden Hill - Last Week!

Another very busy week with one thing and another. Even though I managed a lunch time walk around the Park and Reserve last week this is the first chance I have had to put finger to keyboard.

It was an interesting walk, the sun was out and birds were singing, even though I couldn't find them! Well not strictly true, a few pics from the pool:
Black Headed Gulls starting to get their Black Heads

Interesting Hybrid (Well I thought so!)

BHG on approach!

'Tree' Moorhen
In addition Coot and Canada Geese, then walking through the NR I picked up Great Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Long Tailed, Blue & Great Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Jackdaw, Rook, Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon and a Buzzard, sadly none presented well for any photos, so took some snow drops instead!