Christmas Bird Race update 5

A trip to Old Moor today, and a cold, foggy one it was too! Still managed five bird race ticks, although dipped the linnet, little grebe, great crested grebe and little owl that I was hoping for, and there were no waders around at all, bar lapwing and golden plover, so missed what is realistically my last chance to get redshank, dunlin and snipe.

Highlights of the day (race ticks aside) included singles of goldeneye and shelduck, the usual bullfinches and tree sparrows, and good views of sparrowhawk and kestrel. I also got a small flock of lesser redpolls – I’ve seen more of these in the last week than in my entire life so far! Aside from this it was really very quiet indeed birdwise.

There were no signs of the green-winged teal, but apparently it was sighted this afternoon on Broomhill Ings if anyone wants to see it.

I think my current total of 77 may be my final total, as I can’t see me getting out too far tomorrow, and I’ve mopped up virtually anything I’m likely to see locally. Plus there is the probable hangover… I may nip out to at least try and get a little owl though (as well as getting a bit of a start on the 2009 list…).

Oh, and a happy new year to everyone who takes the time to read my blatherings on this blog.  It means a lot that people are interested.

Christmas Bird Race update 4

Today I was without the luxury of Dadcabs, and didn’t fancy a haul on public transport, so decided to stay local and see what I could get within walking distance and a few short bus hops.

I had mixed success, and ended the day with 4 bird race ticks (running total now 71), and I’ll discuss it all in detail on the final bird race post!

A few patch notes – 20 x lapwing over Old Wheel Farm, female goldeneye back at Old Wheel Dam, small flock of meadow pipits at Old Wheel Farm, large mixed flock of fieldfare and redwing at Rowell Lane.

I also visited Wadsley Common this morning, and was surprised to hear a drumming great spotted woodpecker. It certainly didn’t feel like Spring was in the air!

A few pics from my travels (all pretty ropey due to terrible light today)…

Waterfowl on Old Wheel Dam
Mallards, tufties and a goldeneye.

Rooks
Rooks and jackdaws.

Fieldfares
Fieldfares.

Starling
Starling.

Cormorant
Cormorant

EDIT – Laura’s just called downstairs to let me know an owl was calling somewhere up the garden… I got to the window in time to hear a tawny owl kee-icking in the distance, leading to race tick number 72…

Christmas Bird Race Update 3

Today I brought out the birding big guns, and had a trip out to Potteric Carr with my dad. I won’t go into too much detail, as I’ll do a full round up with the Bird Race post, but the highlights were undoubtedly the water rail (a lifer) and bittern both showing very well indeed. Other good stuff included a pair of pintail, several shelduck, a kingfisher, willow tits and flocks of lesser redpoll and siskin.

Some pics…

Bittern
Bittern

Water Rail
Water Rail

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker

Willow Tit
Willow Tit

Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting

On the way back we decided to stop by Old Moor and do a quick and dirty twitch of the green-winged teal that has been present today, making it two lifers for me in one day. I also managed another 4 ticks for the bird race (although somehow managed to dip tree sparrow!).

So the target is now inching towards respectable, with 67 species seen. I’ll have to put my thinking cap on where to find the next ones!

Patch Update 28/12/08 (and Bird Race Update 2!)

A walk on patch today, which could well be the last one of 2008.

Highlights included a flock of c.10 lesser redpoll near Old Wheel Dam; 2 x herring gulls – a patch tick – among the black-headed gulls at Rowell Lane*; a bullfinch, a grey wagtail and a dipper at Stacey Bank; a small flock of redwings at Black Lane.

Common Gull

*A moment of insanity had me originally ID these as common gulls, which of course it isn’t… too many Christmas sherries, that’s what I’m blaming it on!

As for the Bird Race… I managed to get nearly all the species I’d expect to get on my patch, bringing the running total to 47. The one species I didn’t see and expected to be a shoo-in was pheasant – probably the first time I haven’t seen one there! It would also have been nice to get kingfisher, meadow pipit, linnet, fieldfare, stock dove and siskin. (The list of what I did see will appear on the final Bird Race post at the end of the week…)

Off to Potteric Carr tomorrow, hopefully this figure will shoot up a bit!

Christmas Bird Race Update (part 1)

I’m not going to go into too much detail about my progress in the Christmas Bird Race, as I’ll save it for the big final post next weekend. I’m sorry to say my tally so far isn’t huge (33), but not too bad I suppose, considering I’ve mainly be doing Christmas!

Two highlights have been particularly good and I’ll mention now – the first being six lesser redpoll in the garden on Christmas Morning, constituting both a garden and Loxley Valley tick. Today’s highlight was even better, as I stumbled across a flock of 20 waxwing by the canal near Laura’s parents’ house in Bollington, Cheshire! It doesn’t get much better than that.

Christmas Blogger Bird Race…

Well Christmas is very nearly upon us, and I’ve stumbled on something which should entertain me if the turkey, tinsel and light entertainment TV gets too much.

The Quicksilverbirds blog is hosting a Christmas bird race for nature blogging types, seeing who can tot up the most species between midnight on Christmas Eve and midnight on New Years Day, and blogging their results on the weekend of the 3rd/4th Jan.

All a bit of fun and I can’t see me getting great numbers, seeing as much of the week will be spent eating rather large American game birds rather than spotting British ones. I do plan on a few trips out between Christmas and New Year, though, so I’ll hopefully rack up a good few (and maybe even get a couple of finishing touches for the yearlist…).

Unless something remarkable happens in my lunch hour tomorrow, this will be my last post before Christmas, so have a good one! Ho ho ho and all that.

Agden and Patch Update

A day off work today, and an afternoon free, so I went for a walk round Agden Side and a quick look on patch.

Not too much to see round Agden – a mixed tit flock towards the top of Smallfield Lane was quite entertaining, including great tits, blue tits, coal tits, goldcrests, treecreepers and nuthatches, plus a few chaffinches and blackbirds thrown in. There wasn’t much at all at Agden Side, bar the hunting kestrel below.

Kestrel

The best stuff was walking through Low Bradfield on the way back to the bus, with 17 redwing in a field on Smallfield Lane, and, quite surprisingly, a kingfisher flying overhead on Woodfall Lane, not far from the Post Office!

A quick look in the Loxley Valley turned up 7 x siskin near Old Wheel Dam, 4 x tufted duck (no signs of the goldeneye), 10 x meadow pipit and 2 x mistle thrush at Old Wheel Farm, and a large flock of 87 black-headed gulls in fields by Rowell Lane.