Wednesday, 30 December 2015

30th December

A little look at Venus Pool at lunchtime in the pouring rain produced a couple more site records for me with counts of 54 Shoveler and 42 Snipe the highest I’ve seen here; other birds included 10 Pintail, 3 Gadwall and 2 Shelduck in amongst the bigger numbers of Teal, Wigeon and Lapwings, an orange neck-ringed Greylag Goose from Windermere in Cumbria and a Sparrowhawk.

Little Grebe


Rooks playing in the rain then indulging in some pre-breeding mate feeding; it won't be long before they start nesting, especially if the mild weather continues

Another Windermere ringed Goose was also present; this time an orange neck-ringed Greylag (ringed in June this year)

Sunday, 27 December 2015

27th December

Had a walk over The Long Mynd in the morning which only lasted a short while until thick fog rolled in; it was pretty quiet although I had excellent views of a pair of Red Grouse with a few others heard calling.   A Stonechat, a Kestrel and a few Ravens were the only other birds seen.

Male and female Red Grouse

and a Sparrowhawk sitting on a ridiculously flailed hedge

Thursday, 24 December 2015

23rd and 24th December

A little rove down to Rutland Water on 23rd produced the highlights of 2 Great White Egrets in front of the centre, a young female Peregrine having an unsuccessful swipe at the Lapwings and Golden Plover, a Green Sandpiper, a couple of Little Egrets and good numbers of wildfowl as expected including Pintail and loads of noisy Egyptian Geese.   A look at Eyebrook reservoir in the afternoon then produced 5 Little Egrets, a big flock of Lapwings and Golden Plover (including a distinctive looking leucistic Lapwing) and a couple of Red Kites floating around.

                Wildfowl numbers continued to increase at Venus Pool on Christmas Eve with counts of 17 Pintail and 52 Shoveler both being the highest I’ve had here along with 129 Wigeon, 185 Teal, 3 Gadwall, 2 Shelduck, 242 Lapwings and 2 Goldeneye with still a couple of Bramblings in the top field.
Leucistic Lapwing standing out in the crowd

Not much else jumped out in front of the camera so here's a Collared Dove!

and a very mucky ducky playing in the mud at Venus Pool

21st and 22nd December

The Gull roost at Chelmarsh on 21st was busy but there was not much of note with 3 Yellow-legged Gulls (an adult and two 2nd winters) and a 2nd winter Common Gull in amongst the hundreds of Lesser Black-backs and Black-headed Gulls.  

                Venus Pool was also busy on 22nd with a Dunlin in amongst 260+ Lapwings (a slightly unusual mid-winter record) and 13 Pintail the highlights.

2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull in the fading light at Chelmarsh

A second Windermere ringed Canada Goose was at Venus Pool; this one was ringed the day before the previous one and more than likely came down together

Sunday, 20 December 2015


Not much happened this week with my low enthusiasm for getting out and about the main reason!  A little walk along the River Teme from Leintwardine on Thursday produced 2 Dippers (neither of which was the colour ringed bird seen there a couple of weeks ago), a Green Sandpiper and a Little Egret while a little look at Chelmarsh the following day saw an adult Yellow-legged Gull in with the Lessers in the pre-roost but people sailing on the reservoir kept disturbing things.

Venus Pool today produced notable counts of 10 Pintail and 45 Shoveler in amongst 85 Wigeon, 200+ Teal, 110+ Lapwings and lots of manky Geese.

This colour ringed Canada Goose was also at Venus Pool today - it had been ringed on Windermere in June 2014, 208Km to the north

Monday, 14 December 2015

Colour ringed Geese on Islay

Just a selection of colour ringed Geese seen this week on Islay, no details have been received on their life-histories yet.

Greenland White-fronted Geese - at least three with data loggers attached to their neck collars were also seen

Barnacle Goose

Greylag Goose

8th - 11th December, Islay

Went up to Scotland for a few days on Islay, catching the ferry across lunchtime on the 8th before which we had a smart juvenile Glaucous Gull in a field at the head of Loch Fyne on the drive down from Glasgow which there were 30+ Great-northern Divers seen from the ferry.

                As befits the time of year and all the recent storms the next three days were obviously very windy and showery and most of the birding was from the car; the Geese were the highlights really with every flock of Greenland White-fronted Geese and Barnacle Geese scanned through and while there were no real oddities there were plenty of neck rings and darvic rings to try and read.

                Unfortunately there were few surprises but other bits included a few Hen Harriers floating around, an adult male Peregrine having a swipe at a flock of Bar-tailed Godwits, small numbers of Whooper Swans dotted around but only one family party, some good flocks of Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Pintail, a few Stonechats, several flock of Reed Buntings and other Finches to look through and brief but good views of an Otter playing in one of the bays.

                The Glaucous Gull was in exactly the same field at Loch Fyne as we drove back on ironically the best day of the week!

Glaucous Gull

Purple Sandpipers, Dunlin and Ringed Plovers

Male and female Stonechats

Barnacle Geese

Greenland White-fronted Geese

The White-fronts included this slightly unusual bird with an extensive black belly - presumably an old bird

Otter record shot

Sunday, 6 December 2015

6th December

Just a few more birds caught in the Shropshire garden today.


Marsh Tit


Friday, 4 December 2015

4th December

A little walk along the River Teme, at Leintwardine just across the border in Herefordshire at lunchtime today produced a couple of Grey Wagtails, a Red Kite and this very confiding colour ringed Dipper.

Dipper - presumably a fairly locally ringed bird

There was also this huge (half) Salmon - concrete proof I feel of a hitherto undetected population of Grizzly Bears in Herefordshire