Wednesday 30 April 2014

Wot, no Wheatear?

Called in at  my local patch this evening, hoping to find one of the lingering Wheatear that my mate Pete had found a few days ago. After a search of what we call the moonscape, no Wheatear was to be found. There are a few migrants about, including Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Reed Warbler, as well as all of the usual common residents.
Little Ringed  Plover mooching about

Friday 25 April 2014

Looking for a good Tern

Nipped over to Cropston Reservoir yesterday evening in the hope of a few more Arctic terns moving through, but to no avail.  I did pick up a Common Sandpiper feeding along the dam though!  I've never been able to get a decent image of a Common Sandpiper, so, into stealth mode along the causeway, until I was in position to just get my lens over the dam wall to capture an image of the Sandpiper! Also feeding along the dam was a Little ringed Plover. Dave Gray joined me, as he was coming back to my place for his dinner. He picked up 5 Mandarin Ducks in flight - which unfortunately landed miles away - so no images!!  Hopes did rise when 5 Terns appeared from nowhere, but they turned out all to be Common Terns. After a couple of hours and not much more to note, it was back home for a curry!
Common Sandpiper  feeding along the dam

Friday 18 April 2014

'Barn'stormer of a day

Another early start this morning, as I was going out with Paul Riddle, a schedule one licence holder, to check on some more Barn Owl boxes that we have been putting up for the last few years in S.W.Leicestershire. After a bit of networking with a local land owner and Paul picking up Little Owl in a barn -another new Little Owl site- off we went to check on as many boxes as possible. We arrived at our first site, and after erecting the ladders, up I went. A slight scratch on the bottom of the box will allow the owls to vacate if in residence, so we can quickly check the box for eggs, count them and then again quickly depart to leave the birds to get on with their work. What a start! -  a clutch of 6 in the first box of the day! We carried on, visiting a dozen more sites throughout the day. Some, unfortunately, had been taken by stock doves, and one with Jackdaw in residence, but  though one box had two birds there are no eggs as yet; two other boxes produced a clutch of 5 and 6 eggs respectively. We also returned to a box we had checked a week earlier which had got 4 eggs, but she had been busy and had laid another 2! Our last site produced  a Tawny Owl in residence with 2 chicks and 1 egg still to hatch! We checked out a natural Barn Owl site close by. Though a bird had been  seen there, there has got to be a bit more work at this possible nest site. What a great day! It makes it all worthwhile when you get days like this.
The first bird leaves the box
..........Then the second one
A couple of Buzzards drifting over the last site

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Martinshaw Wood

Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society are conducting a survey of some of Leicestershires' woodlands, so Pete Asher and I have adopted Martinshaw Woods Ratby/Groby section to monitor. (This woodland is in the north west of the County, and is dissected by the M1 motorway)
So, this morning,  having had a good breakfast at the Co-op, we set off to do our monthly visit, which, after four hours, turned out to be quite productive! Birds of note were 10 Chiffchaff and 15 Blackcaps, but sadly no Willow Warblers as yet.  Blue Tits and Robins were everywhere, and it was good to see at least two pair of Nuthatch, so here's hoping for another good visit next month!
One of the Male Blackcaps  

One of the many Robins in full song

Thursday 10 April 2014

Flying Visit

Had a call last night from my mate Dave Gray, telling me about a first for the county- a Pied-billed Grebe -had turned up at Rutland Water. Not again!!! .... because the previous day, a Glossy Ibis was in the county at Moira, but I had other commitments (as I did again last night) so couldn't go for it, so, I got up at 'stupid o' clock' this morning, and hoped the Grebe had decided to stay for the night. Getting there at first light, it was just a short walk to where the bird was showing well the previous night, and it wasn't long before this little American Grebe was in my scope! Great little bird - and a mega for VC55!  Got back home at 8.30ish and straight out again, as I was picked up by Mr Gray to go and do our weekly Peregrine survey in Leicester city centre.

Pied-billed Grebe

Big yawn from a little bird.........I know how he feels!!!

Monday 7 April 2014

Raft Ahoy

Today, a gang of us went to Watermead CP Birstall section,  firstly to clear an Island of vegetation,'slash and burn' they call it, and also launch two new rafts that Andy Smith and myself  had put together a couple of weeks ago to add to the two rafts that are already in place. While Adam, one of the Country Park rangers, took Andy, Peter Williams and Russell Parry over to the island to do a spring clean, Dale our other Country Park ranger took Dave Gray to pick up the rafts, while I was left on dry land to take a few images of the event.
Arriving at the Island
Slash and burning the vegetation
The finished article
Raft already for towing
Raft being towed into position and Dave being camp
Island and rafts waiting for the returning birds

Saturday 5 April 2014

                                           A view over north pool at Brascote GP.

Spring as come to Brascote GP

Well, I was up early this morning -well early for me on a Saturday! It was a fairly clear night so I thought something might have dropped in at my patch at Brascote. Nothing of note over the North pool, so had a walk over to the other lagoons.  It wasn't long before my mate Pete Asher, who had joined me on my early morning jaunt, picked up a little burst of song from a Willow Warbler - first of the year for us. Carrying on to the bottom track we picked up another Spring first, with a singing Blackcap. So it was back to the car and home for brekki, but not before a last quick scan over the North pool where we found 3 Swallows hawking for insects, so all in all, not a bad couple of hours!

Thursday 3 April 2014

Early Bird

Nipped over to my birding patch at Brascote this afternoon hoping for a migrant, as they have been arriving all over the place - a L.R Plover would have been nice but I wasn't in luck!....but what was a surprise was a Swallow, which flew over the sallow pool and carried on heading North - quite early for Brascote!
The only other birds of note was a flock of 96 Fieldfare.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Called in at Brascote GP (my local patch) this afternoon, hoping for some migrants.After counting the wildfowl, the weather took a turn for the worse, so it was back in the car for half an hour. After the rain had eased somewhat, on scanning the North lake once again, I found that little shower had brought in 3 Sand Martins - first of the year! Not much else about, apart from 2 Chifchaffs and a good count of  4 Green Woodpeckers