Friday, 29 April 2016

29th April

A cracking male Whinchat was at Wyke in the morning on the hill at the end of the cart-track (I’ve only ever seen one here before, sometime prior to 2005 – again a male in April in almost the exact same place!).   I then arrived at a sunny, windy and showery Grafham Water at midday where the highlights included my first 26+ Swifts of the year over the reservoir with good numbers of hirundines, especially House Martins and 2 Whimbrel showing well on the dam.

                Other birds included a Cuckoo over the lagoons, a Red Kite, a White Wagtail and 2 Yellow Wagtails on the dam, 2 Avocets, a Dunlin also on the dam and the usual spread of warblers round the lagoons including Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Warbler and Garden Warbler.

Great to hear the Swifts screaming again!

In these two pictures you can clearly see the contrast between the brownish flight feathers and coverts and the black body feathers indicating that these are 1st year birds (hatched last year) as they do not moult the wing feathers in their first year and will still have the same feathers that they left the nest with (no wonder they appear a bit brown and faded after a long winter under the African sun!) whereas adults do an almost complete moult in their winter quarters so would arrive back with a more uniform appearence

More Swifts


Yellow Wagtail

Funky white Pheasant

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

27th April

Walked along the River Severn from Buildwas to Cressage Bridge in the morning where birds included good totals of 22 Common Sandpipers and 6 Little Ringed Plovers, 28 Goosanders with a big presumably non-breeding flock and a female with 17 small ducklings, 7+ Redstarts, a reeling Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whitethroat, a Yellow Wagtail, 5 Mandarin and a big flock of 85 Stock Doves on the big recently tilled field at Buildwas.

Goosander family

Common Sandpiper

Reed Bunting

Mute Swan 71BA - I saw this bird over at Venus Pool on 14th March this year, today she was down on the river

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

26th April

Had a look at Whixall Moss in the morning where the majority of the birds of note were on the floods by the canal with a male Ruff feeding on the mud (only seen a couple in Shropshire before!), my first Cuckoo of the year singing away, a male White Wagtail, a Common Sandpiper and a couple of Little Ringed Plovers; the Mosses themselves were pretty quiet as despite it being fairly sunny the brisk northerly wind was still very cold with 3 Wheatears, a few Stonechats, plenty of singing Reed Buntings and some displaying Curlews the only birds to mention.

                The Meres were very quiet apart from 1000+ hirundines over both The Mere and Colemere (mainly Sand Martins) – presumably northward migrants held up by the cold northerly winds, a confiding drake Mandarin on The Mere showing an unhealthy interest in the female Mallards and a Dunlin on Wood Lane.

Sexy beast!

Willow Warbler

You ain't seen me, right!

And an honourable mention to this hard as nails Jackdaw which has been visiting our bird table and flying around despite its skull showing!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

24th April

Another little walk down the River Teme at Leintwardine in the morning was fairly quiet but a singing Redstart and 2 Snipe were new for me there; other birds included 3 Mandarin and the pair of Little Ringed Plovers.   A walk then up to the top of hill overlooking Leintwardine in the sunny conditions produced at least 10 more Redstarts including many singing males and some good views of Red Kites, Buzzards and Ravens as they cruised along the escarpment.

                The sunny conditions continued but there was a very cold, brisk northerly wind making Titterstone Clee not feel very spring like however there were at least 6 Ring Ouzels along the approach road which appeared out of nowhere with a Peregrine inches behind one of them!

The Ring Ouzels were always pretty close but it was really tricky getting a clear view!

This Kite had just been buzzed by another but I was obviously too slow to capture that!


Buzzards - the bottom one is on the pale side but not really notable in the great variation that Buzzards show!


Thursday, 21 April 2016

21st April

Spent the morning at Grafham Water, it was nice and sunny with the highlight being great views of a Nightingale in Brambles around the edge of the lagoons; that was where most of the other action was as well with a great selection of summer migrants in full song including my first Grasshopper Warbler, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat and Reed Warbler of the year along with many Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Cetti’s Warblers – it was just like summer!

                Other birds included the Red-necked Grebe again off the dam, an adult Little Gull which spent the entire morning on the lagoons, two latish Bramblings over by Dudney Creek – with the fine male even starting to give a bit of a sub-song, a Red Kite, 10 Common Terns on the reservoir, 6+ Yellow Wagtails and a single female Goldeneye still hanging on.
Red-necked Grebe

Little Gull

Common Terns

Yellow Wagtail