Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Pastures New!

The gloom continues and as I headed off with the intention of visiting Ladywalk (WMBC) Reserve, Coleshill, I "somehow" ended up in the south Derbyshire village of Willington, where a long staying Black Throated Diver has taken up residence. Why did I end up here in the mist and gloom? Well it is three years since I have seen one (Draycote) and I thought it would be an easy tick. How wrong could I be? I parked up at the start of the Willington Gravel Pits track and walked back over the river to find the footpath that was to take me about a mile over soggy fields, over several rickety stiles, to a small copse where distant, often obscured views could be had of Pylon Pool, the Divers favourite haunt. Of course, there was no sign of a diver in the gloom. I walked along the river bank, walked and slithered along the (very) muddy tracks, up hill, peered through foliage, was sniffed at by a bemused heard of cows, and just about gave up the will to live! Still, as a true hero, I persevered. Then I noticed a large bird on the western part of the pool. Could it be? YES! an immature Black Throated Diver! The bird was distant from the only vantage point, but was observed preening and bathing for a good fifteen minutes before it slowly disappeared due to the high banks. SUCCESS! but too distant for pics. It was back to the car, risking life & serious injury on the rickety stiles, and nearly stepping on this friendly fellow. I could have kissed it but it might have been a prince!

I had not visited Willington Gravel Pits before, so I decided to walk down onto the DWT reserve. The hedgerows were alive with Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Great, Blue and Long Tailed Tits, Goldcrests, Great Spooted and Green Woodpeckers. Two Curlews flew over calling and the viewing platforms enabled good views of the expected wildfowl. A solitary Golden Plover flew over calling but my attention was then drawn to a solitary Pipit on an island. I expected it to be a Meadow Pipit but no, it was a Water Pipit! Fantastic! Despite the dull and gloom, the day was good with several year ticks. A list of sightings can be found at the end of this post.

Leaving Willington, I headed out towards Hilton where sixteen Bewicks Swans were feeding in the fields with the ever present Mute Swans. These provided the only (poor) photographic opportunities for today.

Todays Sightings:

Black Throated Diver; Curlew; Golden Plover; Water Pipit (all year ticks); Magpie; Wood Pigeon; Goosander; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Buzzard; Chaffinch; Mute Swan; Dunnock; Robin; Blackbird; Rook; Jackdaw; Coot; Moorhen; Tufted Duck; Cormorant; Pheasant; Long Tailed Tit; Goldfinch; Starling; Canada Goose; Grey Lag Goose; Bullfinch; Oystercatcher; Greenfinch; Grey Heron; Goldcrest; Green Woodpecker; Jay; Mallard; Reed Bunting; Gadwall; Lapwing; Great Crested Grebe; Shelduck; Common Gull; Skylark; Pochard; LBB Gull; Wigeon; Shoveler; Wren; Redwing;

Nearby - Bewicks Swan (16).


Max Silverman said...

Well persevered Kevin.I would have given up which is probably why I've got few life ticks

Kevin Groocock said...

I thought about you when negotiating the mantraps (stiles)!