Tuesday 1 September 2015

The last few weeks birding

Since my visit to Stoke upon Trent to see the Red-footed Falcon, all my birding has been in and around Leicestershire - and mainly at my patch at Brascote GP. I think I have said before that sometimes it's really hard work at this site, although it has turned up a few good birds over the years and there have been a few good birds turn up over the last few weeks, so, going back to July26th, Pete and I decided to brave the elements as there had been some really strong NW winds for a couple of days. And so, on a windy, cold Sunday morning, with a rain filled sky,we set off walking around the pits.  All the usual stuff was about, with nothing special to write home about, when it started to rain - and quite heavily - so we started to walk back towards our cars.  Pete was about 15 meters in front of me when I noticed a small bird preening on the settling pool; there was something different about this bird, and on closer inspection, I realised it was a small Merganser!  I called Pete back and after watching it for a few minutes, Pete said "this looks like Hooded Merganser" to which I agreed. To make sure, he went back for the field guide whilst I sent a few texts to lads that bird Brascote; this breed of bird is kept in lots of collections, and you have to err on the side of caution about where it has originated, as this is a bird which breeds in North America; nobody will ever know for sure where it was from but we couldn't see any rings on the bird, and it was fully winged. Nick Sharpe and Carl Baggot also viewed the bird and they concluded it was a Hooded Merganser as well. Carl took some images - sadly, it was one of the times I didn't have my camera with me! I'll be sending a report to the BBRC and see what happens but I imagine it will be recorded as an escaped bird -  but still a great bird to see on your patch! Pete returned later that afternoon but the bird could not be found. On the 6th August there was a family party of 4 Ravens - not a common bird around Brascote - and finally,our first Hobby which was getting the Hirundines all excited!  It was good to see a few more Sand Martins about this year again, as they are usually not that numerous.There as been quite few Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers about this Summer as well. On the 16th August, I got a text from Nick Sharpe saying he had heard and viewed a Cetti's Warbler so I hot footed over to Brascote, where I spent nearly 5 hours trying to find it, but dipped on it; Carl Baggot saw it again at around 4pm so I went back early evening. A few more of the regular 'patch' birders were there, and finally the bird called, and we were able to get a brief view and a patch tick! - I think it could well be a first for this site. On the 30th of August, a Whinchat was found feeding from some gorse bushes - yet another patch tick!  the habitat is great for this species, so it was not going to be long before one tuned up - we get Stonchat most years now, and then, on the 31st Nick and I went back again to see if the Whinchat was still in residence but we couldn't find it, although the weather was awful,so it was probably in the middle of a gorse bush - and who could blame it! As we were walking back to the cars we were rewarded with 6 Whimbrel flying west, so all in all, some great birds over the last few weeks!  Hopefully, I'll have some images to post next time.
As always, thanks for stopping by