Wednesday, 25 September 2013

RSPB Conwy

We were up in North Wales the weekend sadly not a leisure trip, but as we were tanking along the A55 heading back to our digs and had done for the day, we decided to pop into RSPB Conwy as we had never been. It was quite late, about 5:45, so the reserve facilities and car park were closed, however there is a very small public car park at the reserve entrance overlooking the estuary.

The reserve though is still accessible by foot, so on with the rucksack.  We always have provisions and a flask or two with us and we set off on a circular walk around the reserve, which in the setting sun was very pleasant. 

All the hides were locked, but most had viewing screens on either side, having said that the pools and scrapes were pretty deserted apart from, Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Lapwing (So not deserted at all really!) and a solitary Grey Heron. 

We found a nice bench for a drink, where we could watch the sun drop over the trees, but were then treated to a mini murmuration:

After coffee we carried on around the reserve and as we approached the estuary again we flushed a few Rabbit and a Raven. The we picked up a few waders as we walked along the estuary back towards the car.
Curlew, Redshank, Oystercatcher and a few Little Egret as well as Black Headed and Herring Gull. 

As we carried on we were surprised by the large numbers of Pied Wagtail about, they were all over the place (or it was the same 4 or 5 following us everywhere!)
So time for a final sit down watching the Curlew as we had a cuppa this time. Then back to the car and off for a well earned steak.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Dismal (weather wise) Sunday at Upton

We decided despite the dismal weather to spend a few hours at Upton on Sunday. As our last two visits had just been to the Flashes we opted for the Moors this time.

After parking up we walked around the back of the pool by the car park just in case anything was sheltering in the trees, but nothing spotted other than a Buzzard that we flushed from one of the trees by the pond at the back.

We carried on to the Lapwing Hide and were treated to some showy Lapwings! Who would have guessed that:

A single Little Egret was out on one of the islands among the Canada Geese:
But the stars today were the Snipe (7) and Little Grebe:

The weather made photography difficult much to dull, but some nice record shots anyway!

There were a few Shoveler about along with the Mallard, Teal and Tufted Ducks:

Quite a few Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan and Great Crested Grebe about today but to far for any decent shots. The Martins were also really going for it fattening up before heading south. Mind you with Sundays weather we fancied heading south ourselves.

Towards the end of the afternoon we dodged the showers and headed over to the concrete hide, just in case the Kingfisher might put in an appearance, but he knew we were coming so he didn't!

The feeder was very busy with Greenfinches, mainly juvenile, plus the usual Tits, a Juvenile Bullfinch, a female Reed Bunting, a Chaffinch, Blackbird and Dunnock. We did get a brief sighting of a Water Rail fluttering from one set of reeds to the other, but that was it. Total tally was 32 for the afternoon.

Having looked at the forums gutted we weren't there for the Otter on Monday, but that's life!
Still Costa Rica to look forward to, just over 4 weeks to go! It'll be warm and wet but we will put up with that, just to see how many of the 800 odd species they have we can see in 2 weeks.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Croome Park NT

Well Saturday was scheduled for a nice walk whilst the weather was decent. We elected to head for Croome Park as it has a large estate with river and small lakes, so who knows what you might see along the way!  We arrived about 1ish, we knew that there was a lot going on there this weekend as part of the grounds encompasses the old RAF Defford site, that was used for the testing of that new fangled Radio Detection and Ranging system developed prior to our altercation with our European neighbours, I believe the youth of today call it Radar! Anyway lots of vintage vehicles, people dressed up in uniforms etc. There were a couple of flypasts scheduled for the morning we knew we'd miss them as we wanted a lie in!

So we set off for a nice walk, plenty of House Martins (watched them on our first coffee stop) about fattening themselves up over the fields, Mute Swans and Mallards were about on the ponds, but not much else:

We left the formal grounds and immeadiatley had a Kestrel fly past our noses landing some way away on an electricity pole:
We continued our walk through the fields and along the river, lots of crows and woodpigeons were in evidence. The after a while we came to another pool with a pond at the end and a bench. So coffee stop number two. We were rewarded here with 2 Peregrines circling over us quite high, plus it had clouded over, so apologies for the poor shots:

The whilst drinking thye well earned coffee a Kingfisher flashed past, sadly Tina didn't really see it.

So onwards and heading back along the river towards the house adding a Pied Wagtail.

Then came the star of the show:

Thursday, 5 September 2013

A Sunny Evening at Upton Warren

With a busy social life and lots of things going on we took the opportunity to have a couple of hours at Upton whilst the Sun went down. So we stuck to the flashes as we only had a relatively short time, going straight down to the Avocet Hide and staying put.

There wasn't much going on on the Sailing Pool as we walked around it , lots of Mallard, some Canada Geese and few Black Headed Gulls and Martins hawking. First surprise was the shiny new gate now at the entry to the reserve. Nice!  Anyway the walk through to the next new gate was quiet, we did briefly see a Warbler on the new barbed wire fence there, I think a Willow Warbler, but not 100%

So onwards through gate 2 and into the hide, as we had come virtually straight from work only stopping to get changed a put some hot water in a flask, the priority was to get a cuppa! With that done we could settle down.

I was glad to find (after asking!) that the Little Stint was still about as it would be a year tick. In fact only our 3rd sighting. Sadly it stayed a fair distance away wanting to keep company with a Plover and a Ruff:

The other highlight was our first Snipe for quite a while:

Thankfully he was a bit closer than the Stint. There were a few Common and Green Sandpipers about:

Curlew (14) and Redshank (Little Stint in the background):
Other than the above there were pf course the usual suspects around, Lapwing, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, quite a few Teal, Black Headed Gulls a plenty, a couple of Lesser Black Backed Gulls, Pied Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Magpie and Crow.

As the light was fading we took a walk back and made a short stop at the Cuckoo Hide, a couple of shot's from the short walk there:

We decided of course to have another cup of tea whilst in there, adding Shoveler, Jackdaw, Robin, Blue and Great Tit to the total. We were puzzled by a little chap in the caged feeder, that on closer inspection turned out to be a juvenile Bullfinch (a poor photo, but it was nearly dark!)

So a walk back to the car, by this time a Mute Swan had turned up on the Sailing Pool and a brief sight was had of a Rabbit on the track.

30 Species for today, so til' next time................................

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Charlecote Park NT

Sunday took us down to Charelcote Park one of our favourite National Trust sites.

Again not really a birding visit but you never know what you might see. During the summer months the NT open up all of the estate so we took the opportunity to explore the far side along the river.

There was a distinct lack of birds about, but plenty of Roe Deer and Jacobs Sheep:

The Ladies

The Lads

A few Canada Geese on the river:
We did see a Buzzard later on, but not much else, even the pool was devoid of life, just a solitary Moorhen in amongst the pond weed. But a very enjoyable walk non the less.

The Buzzard, for the record!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Devil's Spittleful NR

As the weather looked good and I felt like going for a walk in pastures new, I chose one of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trusts non birding sites, but supposedly very pretty sites at this time of year and we weren't disappointed! The only draw back was the journey  through Kidderminster, what a pain! We won't attempt that on a Saturday afternoon again.

Anyway enough moaning, once you get on the reserve at this time of year with the heather in full bloom it's a delight, with the added bonus of the Severn Valley Railway steaming by from time to time.

We did however see some birds and had a respectable list in the end:

Green Woodpecker (2), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long tailed Tit (30), Blue Tit, Robin, Goldfinch, Willow Warbler, Raven, Crow, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Swallow, House Martin, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Linnet and Jay.

The only bird photo I managed was a Buzzard everything else just wouldn't stay still!

We climbed to the top of the Devil's Spittleful a sandstone peak in the middle of the reserve, sat and had a coffee and took in the great views.

We then wandered around exploring for a while picking up some Butterflies and a rather large Fungi!
Small Tortoiseshell

Speckled Wood

We then chose a nice spot to sit and have a cuppa this time and just sit and enjoy, we did see this from there:
Yes the reserve backs on to West Midlands Safari Park!