Sunday, 22 November 2015

Draycote Water :: 21 November 2015

A cold walk around Draycote Reservoir. Temperatures dipped to just above freezing but were accompanied by a bitter wind. Met a couple of birders heading for the Visitor Centre cafe and they let me know that heading clockwise would probably allow me to catch greater northern diver, scaup and goosander. Great Northern DiverThe common scoter was meant to be around the pontoon outside the Visitor Centre but it wasn't visible from my viewpoint.

Good numbers on birds and quite a few cormorant to eliminate as possible great northern divers. Soon spotted a female pintail foraging on her own. No sign of the GND but while watching a group of goldeneye and goosander caught a glimpse of the scaup. Unfortunately it dived as I pointed it out to a nearby birder and I lost it again.

Common Scoter - femaleNo GND on the trip round to the valve tower and getting to the point where the sun was dropping quickly so headed back to the Visitor Centre and passed along the footpath in the other direction. In only 100m I found the common scoter, then round the bend, in fading light, I spotted the GND. A successful day!

Sightings (32) included: black-headed gull, carrion crow, chaffinch, common gull, common scoter, coot, cormorant, goldeneye, goldfinch, goosander, great-crested grebe, great northern diver, lapwing, lesser black-backed gull, little egret, little egret, magpie, mallard, meadow pipit, moorhen, pied wagtail, pintail, reed warbler, robin, rook, scaup, starling, teal, tree sparrow, tufted duck, woodpigeon and yellowhammer.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Grimsbury & Pitsford Reservoirs :: 31 October 2015

An alert on the phone told me that @grimsbury_birds had found a black redstart on my local patch - at Grimsby Reservoir. Black redstartPopped by, meeting Jason Coppock who was already in attendance. Unfortunately, though showing well, stayed at some distance throughout. Photo hampered by distance and light but recognisable - Jason's video was quite special though (view here).

Left to go and see if I would add Great White Egret to my year list; five had been reported at Pitsford Water. Never been there before, but will certainly go back. Great white egretA good 7 mile circular walk might make it an enjoyable long afternoon one weekend. Caught up with distant views of the GWE on the far shore and later slightly closer from a hide. So many birds on the water. Eventually glimpsed the Slavonian Grebe that someone on-site had mentioned, although missed it on the first pass as it seemed to be diving more than it was on the surface. Two for the UK life list on the same day and in different places!

Also managed to add grey wagtail and redwing to the year list.

Sightings at Pitsford Water (32) included: mute swan, cormorant, canada goose, greylag goose, lapwing, wigeon, coot, carrion crow, mallard, black-headed gull, little egret, starling, tufted duck, great-crested grebe, great white egret, grey heron, coal tit, redwing, blackbird, woodpigeon, shoveler, teal, chaffinch, wren, slavonian grebe, common gull, sparrowhawk, great tit, yellowhammer, robin, dunnock and pochard.