Sunday, 26 February 2017

Exhausted Goldcrests! 19/02/17

On a walk along Caunsall Canal last Sunday morning I spoke with a gentleman birder who was passing and we exchanged our sightings which as it happened were nothing out of the ordinary, he did say that he had been watching displaying Goldcrests. As I carried on towards the area at Whittington Lock where Goldcrests are normally to be seen I spotted what looked to be a bird falling from a tree to the ground. On inspection with binoculars it turned out to be 2 Goldcrests that were motionless and looked for all the world to be dead! I took a few photo's and was amazed at what I had just witnessed. Then after a couple of minutes to my further amazement one the birds took flight followed under a minute later by the second bird! I presumed they were the displaying/ defending territories Goldcrests that the gentleman had been watching earlier.

The birds must have been locked together by claws or beaks as it looked as though just one bird had 'floated' down to the ground.

I was in the right place at the right time!

A  quote from Oscar Wilde:
To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.




Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Down in the forest something stirred........ wasn't a note of a bird, it was Wild Boars in the Forest of Dean! The  evidence of Wild Boars is clear to see with grassland, grass verges, parks etc  rooted up by the powerful snouts of the boars.

10th-12th February.
It is a pitiful sight seeing so much devastation by the Boars though it did not spoil what was an enjoyable but very cold weekend in the Forest of Dean.

Highlights over the 2 days included Nuthatches, Robins, Chaffinch, Coal, Blue and Great Tits etc feasting on seed offered at various locations and the most Mandarin Ducks I have ever seen in one go, such stunners!

Beechenhurst Lodge, Forestry commission.

Beechenhurst is a popular country park with walking trails, picnic areas, cafe etc! On this visit there appeared to be no evidence of Wild Boar activity as there had been on my last visit when large areas of grass had been uprooted, it was not a pretty sight! It shows how the grasslands recover in time.
There were 25+ Song Thrushes seeking out worms on the grassy areas close by the visitor centre. I have never seen  them in such numbers. Song Thrushes were heard singing in each area visited over the 2 days, delightful and uplifting especially on such cold and raw days as we were experiencing.!

The 'Food Bank' was busy!





Symonds Yat Rock.
Peregrine (seen twice in flight), Buzzard, Cormorant, Mallard, Coal, Great and Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Song Thrush and a brief view of a Treecreeper were the species seen on the walk up to the viewing point and whilst at the point.

Cannop Ponds
A series of manmade ponds that attract a good selection of bird life! Mandarin Ducks in good numbers were the highlight on this visit!

It was good to have paid a return visit to the Forest of Dean, hopefully on my next visit
'I will' see a Goshawk! They are there somewhere, apparently. : )

Monday, 6 February 2017

The fog cleared but very, very slowly!

The fog started to clear early afternoon so a walk was on the cards! What a change from the previous sunny day! However the sun did break through the mist and fog at times making for a pleasant walk and a muddy one at times!

A Greenfinch enjoying the view.
A lone Mistle Thrush searching out a few worms.

Lovely to come across a male Stonechat! How do they not harm themselves on such sharp looking barbed wire!!!

Flocks of Yellowhammers and Chaffinch were seen in good numbers as they flew from tree to fields, repeating this process many times over.
The favoured tree for the Yellowhammers and Chaffinches!

So, a pleasant walk after all the cold morning fog!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Sunshine on my shoulders....04/02/2017

Sunshine on My Shoulders
John Denver

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high

Sunshine, now that was yesterday and today we have a pea-souper which is unfortunately very slow to clear!

4th February.
What a welcome change to be out walking in the fresh air and in sunshine! I was still wrapped up well but did not need a hat during my walk and my gloves at times were also not needed. As I have mentioned it is foggy this morning and very cold so I am staying in the warm and posting on here instead of going on a planned canal walk, maybe later today it will be clearer.

Brake Mill Pools, West Hagley,  was the area for my walk. I was there for almost 2 hours and I  have to say the walking was minimal in the area covered but the species seen where a delight to see so no rush to move on at times.

Species seen were in no particular order: Pied Wagtail, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Grey Heron, Goosander, Coot, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Swan with her 4 cygnets ( I expect they will get their marching orders soon), Buzzard, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Magpie and a multitude of Gulls.

                                     A quiet pool, that is until a couple of hours later.

2 male and 2 'female type ' Goosanders on the pool. Later on my walk to the larger pool I managed to spot through the dense trees 8 Goosander, 2 males and 6 'female type'.

                                    A coot taking off after a wash and brush up!


Blue Tit

Enjoying the warm sunshine on his shoulders...and back and legs and head. :-)

Lovely to hear the bird song on my walk and of course Robin's more than played their part along with Song Thrushes!


                                 Common Buzzards practising synchro flying!

On my return to the smaller pool several Gulls had arrived on the water and after a few minutes many more were to join them.

 A Juvenile Iceland Gull had been reported in this area during late January, I wonder if there was a 'white winged' gull amongst them?

A lovely end to my walk sighting a Mistle Thrush in one of the fields alongside numerous gulls.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 28th January 2017

I was more than pleased with my garden bird watch count this year as a Sparrowhawk and a Goldcrest ( not weekly visitors) paid a visit to my garden, a welcome addition to my counts and how timely!

My list: 1 each of Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Wren and Sparrowhawk, 2 each of Blue Tit, Robin, Magpie and Carrion Crow, 3 each of  Dunnock and Blackbird and 10 Woodpigeons!

I reckon after the recent cold weather followed by heavy rain the birds were ready for a good feed! The Sparrowhawk did not capture any of my garden visitors....not on this visit! ;-)

Redwings were perched a couple of gardens matter how much I wished they did not venture in to my garden! :-)

Blackbird...The Beatles

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.
Lovely to hear Robin and Blackbird song again early mornings! Spring is just around the corner!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

A Fuerteventura post before February arrives!

Where does the time go? Answers on a postcard please!

31/12/2016 - 7/01/2017

This was my first holiday to the Canary Islands and Fuerteventura was the chosen island.

A few images to follow that were taken on the Island in order of appearance.

Sunrises were lovely to see. The weather was sunny, warm/hot though with a strong wind that remained for much of the week, just one calm day out of the seven. Apparently the unusually strong winds had been around for 2 weeks. At least it remained dry!

                                                Berthelot's Pipit
A Canary Island endemic seen numerous times throughout the day on a days Guided Birding. A delightful looking and quite confiding Pipit.


                                               A view with vegetation
and a stony desert landscape view.
Stone Curlew
Fantastic views of this stunning looking bird!

Black-bellied Sandgrouse
Another stunning looking bird and very flighty!

Cream Coloured Courser
Wow, a little beauty and to have had such close views was a real treat!

Interesting geological rock formations.

Ruddy Shelduck
Numerous sightings on the ground and in flight were enjoyed of this colourful Shelduck.

Fascinating rock formations.

Egyptian Vultures
We stopped off at a vulture feeding point.  The feeding point was quite a distance away from the track we had stopped along, we saw several vultures of varying ages around the area, some nearby on the ground and others flying in and over the area. A couple of Ravens were also seen here!
During the day a pair of Ravens were viewed displaying and making a 'knocking' sound, I did not know they made such an unusual sound. Good to know, I shall now listen out for them making this sound if I spot a pair displaying.

Barbary Ground Squirrel
You had to be very quick to manage a photograph of these cute squirrels, the majority of views was of them disappearing into rock crevices at the speed of light!  The Squirrel is an introduced species, in 1965  two squirrels were  brought in as pets, they were released, bred and colonised the island.
Trumpeter Finch
Distant views were had of this bird which was the only one seen during the day. 
      A Hoopoe took flight close by to the Finch.

Los Molinos reservoir is the largest and often the only large fresh water accumulation on the island. 
                                  There are Goats in abundance on the island.
There are freely running goats which are not milked but will be rounded up at times and most will be processed for meat. Goats that stay on a farm and generate a lot of  milk and goats that strive around in herds and are collected each evening for milking.



                                         Greenish black-tip or lemon white. (I think )

Hibiscus flower.

Red-vented Bulbul
An introduced species and a delightful looking and sounding bird. There were a pair in the hotel grounds enjoying the berries and the sunshine! I would love to have a pair in my garden.

Wishing I was still
A few images of some enormous cacti and Euphorbias.


The black and white sand patterns were ever changing with the ebb and flow of the tide.
A solitary ring-necked Parakeet  was spotted as it sheltered from the midday sun! 
What a landscape!
It was an enjoyable holiday...different!
Highlight bird species seen were and in no particular order:
Black-winged Stilt, Common Snipe, Hoopoe, Yellow-legged Gulls, Spanish Sparrow, Raven, Spectacled Warbler, Berthelot's Pipit, Collared Dove (seen around every corner, well it seemed like they were), Rock Dove, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Goldfinch, Trumpeter Finch, Ruddy Shelduck, Little Egret, Southern Grey Shrike, Coot, Kestrel, Cream Coloured Courser, Common Buzzard, Egyptian Vulture, Rock Pipit, Common Sandpiper, Moorhen, Linnets, Greenshank and my 2 'Star' birds....Stone Curlew and Red-vented Bulbul!
Bye, bye Fuerteventura.