Good old Ray Fellows, the only one who has got his finger out and is doing some birding at the moment! I need to apologise to Ray as he has sent me a couple of texts about the birds but to be honest I haven't had the chance to sit down and do a posting until this morning (trying to get lots done at work before Christmas).On the Mere a couple of days ago Ray had a Cormorant, seven Goosander, three Little Grebe and a Greylag in amongst the Canada flock. yesterday on the Mere he had a Snipe, two little Grebe, two Gadwall and an impressive fourteen Pochard.
Its the usual story for this time of year, we have established a sort of status quo which wont be broken until we get some hard weather movements.
Anyway its Friday and I am off to the Dudley winter ales fair so expect some good exotic observations late this afternoon!
Thanks again to Ray and 'Happy Friday' all - Chaz
Saturday, 23 November 2013
It was cold this morning - and from me, that's quite a concession! The good lord gifted me with the bizarre combination of hereditary high blood pressure and poor circulation so I can actually stand and do the Chasewater gull roost with impunity until my core temperature drops and my stomach goes into spasm! But yes, I will concede that this morning was cool enough to form the first skim of real ice that I have seen this Autumn. Despite that, I had a lovely bit of summer!
No doubt at all about today's star bird for me, the calling Chiffchaff at the west end of Ryders Mere that eventually showed well a few times. That is one little warbler that I suspect will regret changing its migration strategy when the sun goes down?
Nothing else of particular note although while I was there the goose flock flew in and I was able to get an accurate count and was surprised to find not one but two Greylag Geese (along with a couple of the Chasewater 'who-dunits' which gave a hint as to where this particular flock normally calls home).
Teal (14) - Snipe (1) - Buzzard (2) - Redwing (20+) - Fieldfare (15+). The winter thrushes were really difficult to nail down for an accurate count and I suspect my modest efforts reflect only a tiny proportion of what is actually active (but I just count what I see).
Little Grebe (4) - Great Crested Grebe (1) - Cormorant (1) - Teal (11) - Wigeon (52) - Gadwall (5M 3F) - Pochard (3M 2F) - Greylag (2) - Canada Goose (318 + 2Hybrid).
That will be it for this weekend locally but I hope to be out and about with my old mate Dave Glover tomorrow so there might be a general posting tomorrow night.
Have a good weekend all and, oh yes...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOCTOR! - Chaz
Friday, 22 November 2013
|Photo: Steve Tomlinson|
Some years ago there were some birders who kept a television list (Not me - Honest, I know I'm sad but not that sad!) This is a list of birds seen or heard on their television sets, well if you want a category 'C' audible, put the BBC news on for an hour - you can't miss them.
A serious question though! As the Kennedy Memorial is on an acre of ground given by the people of Britain to America and is therefore legally American soil, should the National Audobon Society put Ring-Necked Parakeet (and any other British bird that fly's through for that matter) in the American field guides and on the A.A.S. list? It makes you think! If you want to get some mega rarities for your American list go and sit by the Kennedy Memorial for an hour, you should get Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Great Tit, Blue Tit and of course R.N.P.
On a more serious note, I have a reliable report that at least one of our Barn Owls is still active. It was seen five or six weeks ago on its traditional hunting areas at the west of the site.
Anyway enjoy your Friday, I expect I will be mud-larking tomorrow despite a total absence of functioning wellingtons! - Chaz
Saturday, 16 November 2013
|A nice flock of feeding Redpoll, several of which appear to be Common (Mealy)|
Not on our site but there are some about if you can find them.
Photo: Tony Bishop (Per; Yvonne Moore)
Several large mixed flocks are challenging but worth the effort. The most prominent is a mixed group of Starling, Redwing and Fieldfare along the Mineral line and for the first time this winter I have seen more Fieldfare than Redwing. Despite recent records (and the photo above), I was unable to find any Redpoll today but there is a is mixed Finch Flock mostly made up of Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Chaffinch. Add to this a supporting cast of mixed titmice and Goldcrest and there is plenty to keep the visiting birder busy.
Teal have returned although there is an increasing number favouring the Mere but Wigeon numbers seem reluctant to increase. Either there has been a crash in numbers or (more likely) the lack of management around the Mere has now made the area unsuitable for winter grazing. I suspect Tony Stackhouse's record count of over three hundred birds one winter will remain unchallenged for the foreseeable future.
Teal (29) - Gadwall (2M) - Fieldfare (15+) - Redwing (12+) - Goldcrest (1) - Chaffinch (2) - Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Wigeon (23) - Gadwall (1M) - Teal (8) - Little Grebe (8) - Great Crested Grebe (2)
NOT AT ALL WILDLIFE RELATED (So please yourself if you read this bit!)
Finally - I just wanted to share something with some of you who may be interested.
I don't often talk about my other interests but... Next Saturday is a really big day for me, it will be exactly fifty years since I sat down and watched the very first episode of a certain Television programme (yes I know I only look eighteen but I was there honest - and yes, I do remember where I was the night before when J.F.K. was shot). Some of you will think that getting excited about this is really sad and some of you will understand what a big deal this is for a fan-boy (or girl come to that). This programme has been a constant factor throughout my life from the age of six onwards and is no more sad than those of you who watch what for me is meaningless drivel like Coronation Street or Eastenders.
If you fall into the category of someone who understands my excitement YOU REALLY MUST go onto the Internet and check out a seven minute mini-episode called ; "The Night of the Doctor". For the fans this is without a doubt the most significant seven minutes since the series came back in 2005. If the phrases 'Silver Devastation' - 'Big Finish' and 'Time War' mean anything to you, check this out. If not but you intend to watch the special next Saturday, watch it anyway. My son Chris tipped me off about this and we were talking about it for an hour afterwards , sad I know but that's who I am!
Hope that you all have a lovely weekend - Chaz
Sunday, 10 November 2013
|The moon over Chasewater today! 240 000 Miles away and still a damn sight|
easier to get a photograph of than the Great Northern Diver
I did bump into a couple of mates up there though, Steve Hill and Chris Alltree had also brought their 'other arfs' out for a walk to enjoy the pleasant afternoon sunshine.
A bit closer to home, Tony Stackhouse called to say that the first Goosanders of the winter (5 Female and one male) were on the Mere. He also caught up with the mixed finch flock and as previously reported, this contains several Lesser Redpoll and one much frostier Specimen that Tony suspects may be a Common Redpoll, something to keep an eye open for if you get over there.
Nothing else to report so have a good week all - Chaz
Saturday, 9 November 2013
|Photo: Mike Atkinson|
Thankfully today I only did the walk one way and rewarded my birding duty with a pint in the social club before I came home. I say thankfully as there is very little happening at the moment on the Marsh and Mere, we are in that unfortunate position where migration is over and we require a hard weather push to change the status quo.
Redwing (9) and a single Snipe. Amazingly a large Grey Raptor tried to take a Mallard and at first I thought it was a Harrier but a brief second view revealed it to be an accipiter. Logic says that it was a very large male Sparrowhawk but you never know!
Little Grebe (4) - Gadwall (5M 3F) and Wigeon (21)
It really wasn't worth getting the boots muddy was it?
Enjoy the rest of your weekend - Chaz
Friday, 8 November 2013
A big thank you to two of the Marsh regulars, both of whom paid a visit today. Kev McCathy was over this morning and Ray Fellows went around this afternoon.
I'll let you read Kev's records in his own words:
Bright but cool morning.30+Fieldfare heading south over Grange farm.2 Snipe flushed from the large Potato field next to the Ford brook,at7.50am. A mixed flock of Lesser Redpoll and Goldfinch, (about 25 birds),feeding near the North shore of the Mere. Drake Shoveler and 2 Gadwall on the Marsh. Fieldfares and Redwings along the Mineral line. Fox sitting in the sun,near the Pit mound.
Ray texted me his observations which included our occasional Greylag Goose with a flock of 175 Canada Geese, 4 Shoveler, three Little Grebe and two Great Crested Grebe on the Mere. While on the Marsh were another two Shoveler.
I was going across myself this morning but just as I got out the rain started so I decided to put it on hold until the weekend.
For those who may not be aware, our neighbouring site Chasewater has been playing host to an obliging Great Northern Diver for a day or two. It should be well worth a visit if you get the chance.
Finally, My son Chris has asked me to put out a warning to anyone who might be thinking of going to York. We were up there a couple of weeks ago and this week he received a standing £60.00 penalty for using a road in the town centre which was apparently closed to cars for part of the day! Chris is a really attentive driver and neither he, us or any of the hundreds of other people who have been caught by this profiteering scam on the part of the City of York were aware of the very inconspicuous notices that are on show. It is supposed to be an experiment but conveniently one that has been set up at the height of the tourist season (commencing in August) to maximise the number of dupes who could get caught and further add to the city's coffers. If you go, be very alert and don't just trust your Tom-Tom as we did.
Anyway, public service announcement over - have a good weekend all!