Thursday, 24 February 2011

Boddington Reservoir & Ufton Fields :: 24 February 2011

Took a day off for half-term only to find everyone else had plans. One daughter pizza with primary school friends then shopping/chatting/playing all afternoon; the other had a friend round for the afternoon. So off I went to pastures new; Boddington Reservoir and WWT Ufton Fields.

Boddington Reservoir turned out to be a pleasant walk round an expansive piece of water; the fishermen were very friendly and all willing to chat - it may have been that the fishing was slow of course. Not much there of any consequence though, but it was nice to see a significant number of goosander amongst the black-backed and herring gulls on the water. Unfortunately no display from the great crested grebes; I heard that they were a couple of days ago at RSPB Sandwell Valley from their tweet.

The visit was capped by a beautiful pair of bullfinches who hung around for a considerable time in the carpark while I packed my stuff back into the car.

Then onto Ufton Fields. In fact my expectations were not high - I expected the ground to be very muddy, there to be little formal paths and little facilities; how wrong could I be! It was a great little reserve although, having forgotten my walking boots, it was still muddy enough. Two hides, good paths, a nice circular walk and an hour of beautiful birdsong ... I'll will make this a regular on my list.

So to the list. This time a total of 21, including: blue tit, great tit, bullfinch, long-tailed tit, crow, rook, Bullfinchmagpie, mallard, goosander, black-headed gull, herring gull, blackbird, great crested grebe, woodpigeon, buzzard, coot, treecreeper, great spotted woodpecker, canada goose, little grebe, chaffinch and green woodpecker.

The photo of the day has to go to my visitor in the Boddington Reservoir carpark.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

RSPB Sandwell Valley :: 22 February 2011

A late start after our youngest had a music lesson first thing. This meant that we had to endure a sizzling lunch with chargrilled steak, chicken and ribs - all with chips - ho hum!

On arriving at "The Valley" we could see that it was quiet - not many cars in the car park. It was obvious too, the damage that had been sustained by the Visitor Centre, since we last visited. Fortunately we had no need of coffee before we set off.

Disappointingly the gate to the hide was locked, preventing us from starting off looking across the scrape. A once round the site was called for and soon the scope was out to check for unusual visitors amongst the hoards of black-headed gulls. None to be seen though.

Despite all this, a total of 33 species were noted, including: blue tit, heron, woodpigeon, feral pigeon, magpie, crow, moorhen, shoveler, lapwing, teal, wigeon, black-headed gull, oystercatcher, canada goose, lesser black-backed gull, mute swan, gadwall, goosander, great tit, tufted duck, long-tailed tit, mallard, starling, chaffinch, blackbird, robin, bullfinch, reed bunting, greenfinch, sparrow, willow tit, dunnock and jay.Goosander male

Our favourite had to be the rather odd, but stunning looking, male goosander.

Shame we didn't have time to head over to the Swan Pool. Next time.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

RSPB Otmoor :: 19 February 2011

After a pretty poor start to the day, the girls and I headed off to RSPB Otmoor to have a nosy around. We haven't been there for a few years but I suppose it is our local patch being about 35mins from the house. It turned out to be quiet on the bird front but still a fun day out. Our list for the day ran to 25, including: blackbird, crow, blue tit, robin, great tit, reed bunting, long-tailed tit, dunnock, marsh tit, chaffinch, magpie, goldfinch, mallard, coot, wigeon, canada goose, teal, mute swan, treecreeper, gadwall, little egret, rook, tufted duck, pochard and shoveler.

An elderly, we presume local, narrowly missed clubbing us with her tripod/scope as she entered the new hide which has been installed since our last visit. Her advice was to try again on a nice day, particularly one in which it hadn't rained most of the night and morning.

TreecreeperWe will be back soon.

Our bird of the day was this treecreeper; it darted along the brook by the main reserve path feeding on various trunks, and mixing with the flock of long-tailed tits that were spread out along it's path.