Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Garganey still present

Thanks again to Kev Clements who has been able to confirm that the female Garganey is still present for the beginning of its second week on site - all we now need is a male to keep it company.

Also present today were; Wigeon (10) - Teal (20) - Shoveler (3) - Goosander (1) - Tufted Duck (30) - Cormorant (3) and Oystercatcher (2).

Still not much migration in evidence but the weekend is looking promising folks, warmer, dryer and overcast - could be just what we need - my prediction, an early Redstart passing through! - Chaz

Time really flies!

Had a really poignant text from the Staffs Birds crew today. Ten years since the Staffordshire Belted Kingfisher. For me this probably felt like even more of a special bird than it did for most of the others who saw it.

Some people used to rave about Siberian Rubythroat and Red-flanked Bluetail as their dream birds. My original dream bird was (I kid you not) Bufflehead but by ten years ago not only had I seen several of these lovely American Ducks but in June 2004 we had seen one visit Ryders Mere for a couple of days.

So what was my next dream bird that replaced Bufflehead on my 'Bucket List'? Yep Belted Kingfisher! I used to bend peoples ears about how far I would travel to see one of these beauties. And when I did see one where was it? Staffordshire! The dream scenario.

For those who weren't birding ten years ago the name of John 'Gupta' Gulley will mean nothing. But for those who knew Gupta, the Staffordshire event will forever be tinged with sadness as while twitching the bird Gupta was taken ill and subsequently passed-away in hospital a few hours later.

Gupta was one of those rarest of friends. A real character who was always glad to see you and a man with many hidden depths to his life experience that he sometimes shared with trusted friends. Sadly my last moments with him were representative of his genuine kind and generous nature. We were both on Scilly for an autumn migration and the night before he left the islands, he came looking for me in the Scillonian Club to give me his last ticket for the local inter-island boats. I was genuinely grateful but never guessed that I would never see this much valued birding mate alive again.

Top-Man Gupta! - Ten years and it seems like two! The fact that he still comes up in conversation regularly and is fondly remembered by all who knew him is a tribute to what a wonderful larger-than-life person he really was, and for those who were privileged to know him, will always be! - Chaz

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Tuesday Update

Thanks again for Kev Clements report today. No confirmed sightings of the Garganey but still good numbers of Teal (37+) present so it may well still be on site. Other birds seen today were; Shoveler (6) - Tufted Duck (33) - and a single Goosander. Also present were two Oystercatcher. - Chaz

Monday, 30 March 2015

Monday Update

Thanks to Kev Clements for a report on today's activity. The main news is that the Garganey was still present on the Marsh this afternoon. Also seen were; Shoveler (7) - Goosander (4) - Wigeon (1) - Oystercatcher (2).

Not expecting much migrant activity given the weather prognosis but the odd brave Swallow is making its way through to the Midlands so stay alert - Chaz

Sunday, 29 March 2015

No news for today

Blustery winds, torrential rain , hail stones inevitably lead to an absence of Chaz from the marsh today - but it seems I was not the only one to bottle out as I have not had any texts or communication and there has been no news of our Garganey (although if it flew out in today's weather it must be suicidal)!

The Mandarin remained yesterday long enough to be twitched by a few but had gone again later in the afternoon. Kev Clements visited yesterday and did his usual accurate counts as follows:

Goosander (9) - Shoveler (5) - Wigeon (1) - Teal (27+) - Tufted Duck (30) - Mallard (22) - Great Crested Grebe (2) - Coot (19) - Moorhen (11) - Oystercatcher (2) - Lapwing (1) - Chiffchaff (3) and of course, the Garganey.

Hoping to have a little Agency work some time this week so don't be offended if there is a delay in response to any texts etc.

Have a lovely week, Easter eggs next Sunday! - Chaz

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Mandarin has returned!

12.45 - just received a call from John Holian to say that the drake Mandarin has returned to Clayhanger and is showing with the Garganey - two ticks at once, Why are you still reading this rubbish? - Chaz

If you think I am going out in this!

Illustration (C) Charles R. Knight
And going by the tiny amount of news being released today I suspect that I am not alone. At least we can give plaudits to the weather forecasters who got it right. Only one place to be on a day like this and the one I use doesn't open until 12.00.

The good news for Garganey-dippers is that it seems doubtful that it will have gone out in the last fifteen or so hours so you may still have a chance to connect with this nice semi-rarity.

As for me - unless I get an e-mail that there is a flock of Passenger Pigeon or Carolina Parakeet on the marsh I suspect that I will wait and see what tomorrow presents.

Enjoy your Saturday (but don't forget your wetsuit!) - Chaz