Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Not one but two! Great Northern Divers at Shustoke Reservoir, North Warwickshire.

Great Northern Diver

A late start to allow the cloud and drizzle to clear, saw me arrive at Shustoke Reservoir in cold but sunny conditions. I'd heard that two Great Northern Divers were present but would I locate them? I decided to walk the perimeter, scanning every so often, noticing a few birders walking but none specifically onto anything. My first interesting bird was a female Common Scoter out in the centre. While it is nice to see the sun at this time of year, I walked the far shore quickly as I couldn't see anything, looking into the sun. Several birders were spotted on the dam, so I scanned and bingo - Great Northern Diver! It was unfortunately distant, but I scoped the bird, my first in Warwickshire for two years. It was also nice to see a Grey Wagtail  on the bank. Moving on, I noticed the Diver closing in towards the bank, so I stopped and then realised there were two birds present. The opportunity was so lucky and I filled my boots!

Great Northern Diver



Thursday, 8 November 2012

A "speck" in the distance!

I needed to visit the fishing lodge at Pitsford Reservoir in order to renew my expired bird watching permit and decided to start my day by visiting nearby Harrington Airfield. Nothing too special about but the mixed finch, bunting and thrush flocks along the concrete road were quite spectacular. Around 10 Bramblings, 50+ Yellowhammers, 400+ Linnets, 100+ Fieldfare, 20 Redwings. A chat with the farmer revealed a ridiculous idea to turn the site into a feature park to commemorate the war time "Carpet Baggers" air crews and the later Thor Missile bunkers. Would you pay to visit the derelict lumps of concrete (above) that is the only reminder of its past? I say leave it to nature!


A flyover Mute Swan showing well its wing structure

On to Pitsford Reservoir and my annual bird watching permit was soon issued. However, walking Harrington Airfield in wellies had taken its toll, with my left ankle becoming painful. I restricted myself to a short walk to the Maytrees feeding station and scanning either side of the causeway. Nothing special about with the expected wildfowl.

Its a hard life! Mute Swan

Tufted Duck

While scanning the Scaldwell and Walgrave Arms, I noticed a white spec in the distance!

It looked like an Egret, but with its back to me. The distance was immense but its size was leading me to think it was a Great White Egret. Would it turn around? Well yes, and the thick yellow bill was in my scope.

After about forty minutes, the GWE had had enough and took to flight over Walgrave Arm, eventually being lost behind the trees. My first sighting this year, even if it was "A speck in the distance!".

Today's Sightings:

Great Crested Grebe; Cormorant; Great White Egret; Grey Heron; Mute Swan; Canada Goose; Greylag Goose; Wigeon; Mallard; Gadwall; Teal; Pochard; Tufted Duck; Buzzard; Kestrel; Pheasant; Red Legged Partridge; Coot; Moorhen; Lapwing; Black Headed Gull; LBB Gull; GBB Gull; Wood Pigeon; Collared Dove; Green Woodpecker; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Skylark; Pied Wagtail; Dunnock; Wren; Robin; Blackbird; Fieldfare; Redwing; Mistle Thrush; Long Tailed tit; Great Tit; Blue Tit; Starling; Jay; Magpie; Jackdaw; Carrion Crow; Rook; House Sparrow; Tree Sparrow; Brambling; Chaffinch; Greenfinch; Goldfinch; Bullfinch; Linnet; Yellowhammer; Reed Bunting.