A trip "out of county" and into Staffordshire this morning in search of a few year ticks. Cannock Chace was my first stop, hoping to get views of a Great Grey Shrike near Upper Longdon. I was not to be disappointed, quickly finding the bird, but today it chose to stay out of camera range, resulting in a few "record images"! I sat for a couple of hours in hope of a close up, enjoying two Woodlarks singing above me, but the Shrike was determined to tease me, before eventually being mobbed by Goldfinches and disappearing out of sight completely.
Great Grey Shrike
Moving on, I somehow managed to navigate my way to the Fishing Lodge at Blithfield Reservoir - somewhere I have not been before. My aim was the Black Redstart. A birder gave me the "good" news of "showing well on the dam fifteen minutes ago"! However, despite a thorough search, I could not relocate it, so went back to the car for a coffee. This was a lucky move, as a small bird caught my eye, flitting around in the bushes just behind the carpark. Bins on it and YES Black Redstart!. Again, despite a couple of hours waiting, the Redstart did not come very close and eventually "just disappeared"!
An enjoyable morning with three year ticks in new territory.
Friday, 24 February 2012
This morning, I decided to spend a few hours at Stanford Reservoir. The water levels are still very low and even at these levels, water is being pumped into Draycote Water! It was mild and sunny for most of my walk and apart from a jogger, had the place to myself.
A report of a Great White Egret near Stanford Village begged to be searched for, but alas no sign at all. It is now believed that the GWE may be a mis-identification of a pale, almost white Grey Heron in the area. Time will no doubt tell.
A Little Egret graced the stilling pond and at least two hundred Golden Plovers were seen on the mud. A solitary Common Sandpiper fed with them. I walked from the inlet to the feeding station and took some time watching at least twenty Tree Sparrows - but they refused to pose well for a photograph! The only other bird of note was a solitary Grey Wagtail feeding around the stilling pond.
At least seven Brown Hares dashed around the fields.
While driving back towards Stanford Village, two male Pheasants decided to have a scrap. I tried to capture an image or two, but obviously got the camera speed wrong! I have included them at the end of this post, mainly because I like them!
The Pheasants Fight!
Grey Heron; Mute Swan; Mallard; Greylag Goose; Wigeon; Teal; Coot; Tufted Duck; Canada Goose; Pheasant; Black Headed gull; Lapwing; LBB Gull; Cormorant; Green Woodpecker; Wood Pigeon; Goldeneye; Skylark; Pied Wagtail; Red Legged Partridge; Wren; Moorhen; Robin; Fieldfare; Little Egret; Golden Plover; Great Tit; Long Tailed Tit; Dunnock; Buzzard; Mistle Thrush; Blackbird; Grey Wagtail; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Magpie; Blue Tit; Kestrel; Common Sandpiper; House Sparrow; Jackdaw; Starling; Carrion Crow; Yellowhammer; Tree Sparrow; Rook; Chaffinch; Reed Bunting; Goldfinch.