Monday, 31 January 2011

January 31st 2011

Recently when ever I have mentioned the Space Station the weather conspires against me so I kept quiet this time. With a clear sky's when I woke and the tracker showing it off Colombia at 6:20am heading for Porto Rica I was in the garden 20 minutes later watching its approach high up in the south west sky. I finally lost it when it was over Poland and interestingly it had changed colour as it headed east becoming dull reddish orange compared to the bright light yellow when first seen due to the reflection of the sun – magic alls well with my world.
Tough luck if I have bored you. In fact more useless information but when I went to log off the tracker site it was over Mumbai, India 13 minutes after I had last seen it.
OK – moth news, cold this morning but yesterday I had Grey Shoulder-knot and Dave had 5 Dark Chestnuts.
Might as well complete my hobbies - no train news so better give you want you have logged in for – bird news.
A visit to the pond this morning with Bob and the reservoir was half frozen due to overnight temperatures of -6c and no wind. The male Smew was off farborough bank and a slight increase in duck number due to a small cold weather movement with 50 Wigeon, 20 Gadwall, 34 Goldeneye and 74 Goosander (28 males)(JJ had 56 yesterday). While I was double checking the Goosander count I found a female Smew 300 yards off the inlet so phoned Bob who was on the other side of the res and he legged it round hoping for a decent photo but could only manage a heavily cropped record shot due to the distance. She was flighty but Francoise waited an hour to get her shot after we had left.

Smew by Bob Hazell

Smew by Francoise Farrington
Unfortunately the finch flock behind the inlet was elusive and I found only 30 birds including 7 Brambling after a 30 minute search but they were very flighty.
Other birds of note included adult male Yellow-legged Gull, male Siskin wind surfing car park, Raven behind hensborough bank with Bob having another over toft bay, 10 Stock Dove, 40 Lapwing, 4 Barnacle Geese, 5 Greylag, 50 Fieldfare and 30 Redwing.
Back home mid-day in time to see the Tree Sparrow in my garden, a species I don’t record very often these days and possibly 5 Waxwing overhead but got on to them to late.


Sunday, 30 January 2011

January 30th 2011

Woodcock in the car headlights along the Flecknoe Road was a good start to the day but little else again in the valley so moved on to the pond.
We did not have time to walk far so checked the reservoir from farborough spit. The male Smew flew in, 11 Gadwall along farborough bank, 10 Goosander and 25 Goldeneye counted while the post roost held adult Yellow-legged Gull and 210 Greater Black-backed Gulls. In the fields below farborough bank the goose zoo held 200 Canada’s including a couple of intermediate size birds, 4 Greylag and 4 Barnacle plus 200 Fieldfare and 50 Redwing. In the distance we picked up 17 Red-legged Partridge and an albino Pheasant. A party of Long-tailed Tits in the country park numbered at least 10.
Met up with Colin at the Long Itchington Diner and hoped his luck would find us something on Napton on the Hill but all we managed was Coal Tit, Bullfinch, 200 Redwing, 30 Fieldfare and 5 Mistle Thrush but the views were cracking so added Gloucestershire, Shropshire and Worcestershire to the year list.
Napton Reservoir was also quiet and partially frozen with 11 Pochard, 200 Common Gull, Buzzard, Bullfinch and a mixed flock of sparrows that contained 12 Tree.


Saturday, 29 January 2011

January 29th 2011

Disappointed with weather forecasters – Met Check said 1% cloud cover for this morning – twits forgot to put the two zero’s behind it so no chance of Space Station after I had gone down the Grandborough valley early to track it. Even more frustrating was the Tawny Owl calling loudly above my head in Grandborough village refusing to show itself.
Very little around apart from 10 Yellowhammer, 150 Fieldfare, 40 Stock Dove and 2 Buzzards so took a look at the pond on the way home with good views of the finch flock behind the inlet thanks to the male Sparrowhawk perched in the hedge waiting for breakfast while the Brambling were thinking you’ve got no chance mister. At least 9 males(2 in partial summer plumage) and 19 females counted among 60 Chaffinch and 7 Linnets.
The female Scaup was in toft bay and the male Smew off farborough bank while a Meadow Pipit was on toft bank.


Friday, 28 January 2011

January 28th 2011

A lazy morning at home then lunch with Dave at Brandon Marsh before a walk out to the east marsh hide where we were met by Kath and Max with news that the Bittern was in the reed bed right of the channel but had not been seen for half an hour.
We waited patiently while the easterly wind whipped through the hide flaps freezing our bits off before it flew up virtually in front of us and landed on the reeds at the end of the channel before disappearing. Only other birds seen were 2 Shelduck, 6 Snipe, 100+ Teal, Coal Tit, 2 Bullfinch and the presumed mobile Bretford/Draycote Pink-footed Goose was with the Graylag flock on the golf course.
On the way home we had 4 Buzzard, 50 Fieldfare, 2 Yellowhammer and single Corn Bunting while the fields near Potsdam recently sprayed with manure were full of gulls but we were unable to stop because of traffic.

Weather looking good here for tomorrows pass by the Space Station


January 27th 2011

If Draycote’s been dire recently today’s jaunt out to the Nene Wash was the opposite with plenty to enjoy and the bitterly cold north easterly wind just added to the atmosphere if not my comfort.
Checking my favourite areas of Eldernell, March Farmers and Wishbech St Mary’s Wash produced 3 Lesser Redpolls and 2 Siskin in Lords Holt Wood, a close female Marsh Harrier over the south bank heading for the wash, Barn Owl perched on post in front of the old duck decoy and a Kingfisher flying along the Moreton’s Leam.
Plenty of Whooper and Bewick’s Swan over, or on adjacent fields in various size groups with at least 500 & 150 noted and its always good to see the 2 Cranes on March Farmers while a bonus bird for me here was the distant ring-tail Hen Harrier near Poplar House Farm. As I continued past the Farm hoping for a Short-eared Owl I found a Water Pipit and Stonechat on the edge of the Leam. Other sightings included a Peregrine which flushed the duck and waders present and identify plenty of Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Teal, plus 8 Ruff and 500 Black-tailed Godwits.
Home in time for a lift with Cym and Dave over to Cubbington for a drink with some of Warwickshire’s finest and catch up with county and local news. On the way home a Barn Owl was hunting just before 11am near the junction of the A4071 and A45 while Cym saw one in the valley this morning near Grandborough.


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

January 26th 2011

Overnight rain ruined any chance of seeing the Space Station this morning but there’s another chance on the 29th between 07:17 and 07:27 as it heads for Holland and mainland Europe.
Draycote was cold and breezy with more walkers than duck while the shooting fraternity had a jolly in the fields below draycote bank this morning so only brief views of the finch flock in two hours due to the disturbance, 30 Brambling eventually seen briefly.
Bob had the female Scaup in toft bay while the male Smew returned to farborough bank but the bird of the day was a young female Peregrine attempting to pluck a gull off the surface before resorting to its normal speedy Gonzales hunting mode. Only other birds I noted were 5 Goosander, 40 Fieldfare, 30 Redwing, 25 Stock Dove, 250 Lapwing and a Sparrowhawk along farborough bank.


Tuesday, 25 January 2011

January 25th 2011

The weather forecast said it would be dry and dull so not impressed that I ended up damp mid-morning at the pond as a low cloud came and dumped a few pints on me.
Bob and I could not find the male Smew though the female Scaup was still asleep off the outlet, Brambling still present but wary of the local Sparrowhawk that’s taking a daily interest in the flock so only 16 seen but the whole flock of Linnets and Chaffinches were not on show. There were 18 Greylag with the Canada Geese flock on Southam ridge.
The birding is very poor at the moment so the only other birds of interest were 50 Teal, 8 Gadwall, 8 Goosander, 8 Bullfinch, female Lesser Redpoll, 3 Goldcrest and 10 Long-tailed Tits and chatting to Bob we commented that both Wren and Green Woodpecker numbers have suffered in the cold spell with very few seen since the new year.
Dotted Border found caught in cob web in my garden this morning and single Winter Moth in trap.


Monday, 24 January 2011

January 24th 2011

Draycote Water was dull grey and cold this morning with yesterdays sailing activities pushing out more duck so very few around. The male Smew was off farborough bank and the female Scaup off inlet fast a sleep and keeping her distance

Scaup by Bob

Smew by Francoise
Highlight of the visit were the Brambling behind the inlet. Up to ten have been reported since my last visit but an hours search of the flock produced 26 among the finch flock with a lot more males present so Bob and I believe there is probably 30 plus and just needs time to locate them. A few Linnets also present in the finch flock.
Other sightings included and 20 Stock Dove, 20 Fieldfare, 2 Buzzard, 6 female and 2 male Goosander, 15 Wigeon, 15 Goldeneye, and 7 Gadwall while a futile search of the rangers yard for House Sparrows produced Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Treecreeper, Goldcrest, 30 Chaffinch, 4 Bullfinch and 15 Long-tailed Tits in the country park. As we left 300+ Fieldfare and Redwing flew across the Southam Road.
Colin and Sara had the Bewick’s Swan at Bretford today but the Golden Plovers by the fosse monument had moved on.


Sunday, 23 January 2011

January 23rd 2011

We finally caught up with Barn Owl on the patch this morning with one in the valley near Grandborough plus 20 Linnet, Green Woodpecker and 100 Fieldfare plus 7 Hares. A Buzzard showed well and a few more Fieldfare as we chatted to Cym along Flecknoe Road.
After breakfast the weather became gloomy with occasional light drizzle so apart from a bit of birding at Wormleighton Reservoir we concentrated on checking out the railway line for decent viewing spots between Cropredy and Bishop Itchington.
Wormleighton had 15 Tree Sparrow, Marsh Tit, 6 Reed Bunting, Raven, Buzzard and 2 Brambling and on the way home a quick look at Napton Reservoir produced 5 Mute Swan, Snipe, 6 Pochard, male Wigeon, male Shoveler and a tame adult Herring Gull.


Saturday, 22 January 2011

January 22nd 2011

It was my turn to go looking at other peoples birds. Being in better health than my last trip to Norfolk today’s visit was purely about seeing as much as possible while secretly hoping my third attempt at the Northern Harrier would be successful.
It’s well known I’m not a lover of geese but started the day at Cantley Marshes where there is a regular over wintering flock of Taiga Bean Geese which I enjoyed seeing at least 80 birds plus the bonus of adult Lesser White-fronted Goose along with 300+ European White-fronted Geese then it was on to the north Norfolk coast.
After good views of 10 Lapland Buntings feeding in stubble field east of the coastguard cottages at Weybourne we moved on to the Cley next the Sea where a male American Wigeon was on Popes Marsh - also around here were Water Pipit, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine and Little Egret.
Heading for Titchwell a ring-tail Hen Harrier flew across the A149 near Stiffkey while the Rough-legged Buzzard was still on the marshes east of Burnham Overy along with Common Buzzard, Barn Owl, Ruff and thousands of Pink-footed Geese.
At Titchwell the Northern Harrier flew towards Thornham as we walked towards the beach so third time lucky while on the sea 3 Velvet Scoter, 4 Eider, female Red-breasted Merganser plus the usual Common Scoter flock. On the way back to the car park 36 Twite, Water Pipit, 30 Skylark, 3 Little Egret, 3 Snow Bunting, Bearded Tit, 2 Marsh Harrier, ring-tail Hen Harrier, Siskin and Stonechat noted.


January 21st 2011

A frustrating birding day
The large female Sparrowhawk that’s often seen soaring over my estate was perched on my neighbours roof but I did realise it till seconds before if flew off.
Out mid-day with Dave for lunch at Brandon Marsh via Lawford Heath where we found over a 1000 large gulls resting near Manor Farm but just as we were getting our teeth in to them they were spooked. There might have been a first year Glaucous amongst them but ended up with poor flight views looking directly in to the sun so one that got away.
Brandon Marsh had good numbers of Shoveler and Gadwall plus 2 Shelduck, 4 Snipe and female Goldeneye but little else apart from 3 Great-spotted Woodpeckers.
On the way home managed 30 Yellowhammer and 18 Corn Bunting.


Thursday, 20 January 2011

January 20th 2011

I woke early and tried the Grandborough valley with the temperature dropping to -6c by dawn. Unfortunately I struggled to find any Barn Owls at the three regular sites I would have expected them but Little Owls fared better with single birds seen at Grandborough and Napton on the Hill and Tawny Owls heard at Grandborough and Napton Reservoir. There are still hundreds of Fieldfare and Redwing around and Bullfinches have certainly survived the cold spell with 5 at Broadwell, 11 Napton Reservoir and 6 on Napton on the Hill plus single birds seen elsewhere. Other interesting birds found were Water Rail and Cetties Warbler at Napton Reservoir and 8 Raven from Napton on the Hill churchyard looking towards Priors Hardwick. Also in the valley were 14 Skylark, 3 Goldcrest, 3 Jay, 2 Tree Sparrow, 19 Yellowhammer, Grey Wagtail, 16 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker and 2 Sparrowhawk. Animals included female Muntjac, 2 Fox and 5 Hare.
Golden Plovers have been thin on the ground this winter on the patch so good to get a call from Dennis and Paul regarding 14 near the Fosse monument.


Wednesday, 19 January 2011

January 19th 2011

I plodded around the pond again trying to improve my year list.
Not much difference to previous visits but after a struggle to relocate the adult female Scaup for the Brandon Babes it was found off hensborough bank and after showing them frustrating views of Brambling my luck changed when Bob joined me and we were treated to at least 30 birds among the finch flock with 19 showing in one bush late morning. A male Sparrowhawk took an interest in the flock and was observed perched on the ground looking stunning as it enjoyed the winter sunshine. Earlier a female Sparrowhawk was hunting along farborough bank.
Over 300 Wigeon arrived but only stayed briefly while Goosander numbers are hovering between 15 and 20 birds, Linnets increased to 25 and over 600 Fieldfare and 100+ Redwing were feeding in the fields between the reservoir and Southam rd. Only other birds of note were 5 Gadwall, 2 Golden Plover, Jay, 10 Long-tailed Tits and Reed Bunting. Unfortunately both the Scaup and Smew went walk about early afternoon due to disturbance from the sailing club.
After a rest I went out again late afternoon to Brandon Marsh hoping for the Short-eared Owl but had no luck though the Bittern in flight over newlands was magical as was the Woodcock over Brandon Golf Course. A Little Owl was heard on Lawford Heath.


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

January 18th 2011

Decided to give an early start with Bob a miss and ambled down to the pond with Mark mid morning where after looking at the male Smew off farborough bank we walked out to the valve tower, meeting up with Bob and Francoise. Despite the sunshine there was little activity so we concentrated on counting the Brambling behind the inlet managing 12 birds including a stunning male in summer plumage plus a few Linnets and Greenfinch among the finch flock.
Mark located the adult female Scaup 100 yards off the inlet while I found 7 Golden Plover among 550 Lapwing that came off the leam valley and circled the reservoir.
More duck and grebe have left over night so it wont be long before we have bugger all too look at and the only other reportable birds seen today were 100 Common Gull, 2 Buzzard and 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls.
Mark then treated me to lunch at the long Itchington Diner but there was very little to see traveling there and back.

Mark had a single Waxing yesterday in Bilton, Rugby near The Bear Pub

The moon was stunning tonight and Mark did a better job than me

I have received many e-mails regarding seeing the International Space Station so though there a few passes between now and the 26th the tracking web site I use is forecasting excellent views (weather permitting) for the 26th January as it fly’s above the English Channel before entering France and continuing over Belgium, Germany, Poland and Ukraine. The pass should begin at 7:33am with maximum altitude at 7:38am ending at 7:43am.

Finally a ungodly amount of you have climbed out of the closet admitting to enjoying the steam specials I have mentioned seeing and have asked for details of any running this year so here’s the ones published involving my patch but as always they are subject to change or cancellation. Will update with any news nearer the time

London Euston-Shrewsbury
71000 Duke of Gloucester: Euston-Nuneaton-Stafford-Shrewsbury - Wellington -Bescot- Rugby –Euston [71000 replaces 60163 Tornado which is unavailable]

16th APRIL
London Euston-Chester
46201 Princess Elizabeth: Euston-Rugby-Chester and return
[46201 replaces 60163 Tornado which is unavailable]

21st MAY
Tyseley-London Euston
5043: Tyseley-Birmingham News St-Coventry-Northampton-Euston -Northamptopn- Nuneaton -Tyseley

24th MAY
Liverpool-London Euston
60163: Liverpool S Parkway-Lichfield TV-Euston and return

London Euston-Worcester
60163: Euston-Nuneaton-Worcester and return

London Euston-Chester
60163: Euston-Chester and return

These two will pass Wormleighton Reservoir

23rd APRIL
London Paddington-Stratford on Avon
70000: Paddington-Beaconsfield-Warwick-Stratford and return

18th JUNE
4965+5043: Solihull-Oxford-Newbury-Bristol -Swindon- Oxford - Solihull


Monday, 17 January 2011

January 17th 2011

Yippee – the weekday warriors are back in business – out with Bob this morning.
A Dunlin greeted our arrival at Draycote Water as it landed by the fishing pontoons and the male Smew remained off farborough bank with a few Goosanders.
With no wind, gloomy conditions and the threat of rain we walked out to toft shallows before Bob continued on. The big thaw has certainly reduced duck and grebe numbers with 80 Great-crested Grebe, 40 Pochard, 2 Gadwall, 15 Goosander, 15 Goldeneye and 12 Wigeon amongst a couple of hundred Tufted Duck and Mallard plus 100 Teal loafing in toft bay. Three Shelduck were out in the centre and Bob relocated Saturdays female Scaup off lin croft point. The only other birds of note were Siskin and Goldcrest in toft shallows, a lone Redwing but no Fieldfare, 80 Lapwing, 2 juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls and I thought I heard a Ringed Plover.


Sunday, 16 January 2011

January 16th 2011

It was another mild night though very windy so not surprisingly we failed to find any owls down the Southam Road but did have the bonus of Roe Deer and Fox.
Arrived at nearby Draycote Water at first light with 80% of the roost still present and sheltering from the wind so picked out a second winter Med Gull off the wind surfing area and further out there was a superb juvenile Caspian Gull. At least 315 Greater Black-backed Gulls counted.
Our walk to the valve tower did not produce many duck with 15 Goosander, 40 Pochard and a Gadwall the best of a poor total and behind the inlet the finch flock contained at least 3 Brambling amongst 100+ Goldfinch and Chaffinch. On our return to the car park the wind had become almost gale force making walking difficult but we managed Raven and 350 Lapwing over hensborough bank and the male Smew was off farborough bank near the visitor centre.
Met up with Colin at the Long Itchington Diner before moving on to Brandon Marsh but did not see much and as Dave drove through Lawford Heath I was snoring like a baby.
My moth trap continues to shine with 5 Winter Moth, Spring Usher and Chestnut and an hours search of Cock Robin Wood tonight with a lamp produced 15 Winter and 2 Early Moths.


January 15th 2011

Bilton Lane, Rugby still has a few Waxwings present though the flock is mobile as their food supply because more limited but at least 34 were in trees near the Bear Pub. The Church Lawford Bewick’s Swan was with the Mute Swans but the Canada Geese flock was mobile. A Little Egret flew up stream towards Long Lawford over the footbridge at Kings Newnham where 300 Fieldfare and 50 Redwing were present.
Cathiron had 3 Nuthatch, 2 Marsh Tit, 2 Coal Tit, Treecreeper and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker while a female Merlin flew across the A428 at Mount Pleasant heading towards the heath. Limestone Hall continues to hold a few Tree Sparrow and Corn Buntings
My moth trap had 3 Winter Moth, Spring Usher and Early Moth.


Friday, 14 January 2011

January 14th 2011

4 Waxwing were seen in trees along Lower Hillmorton Road, Rugby near the junction with Portland Road as my mums funeral cortege passed. Not supposed to be a birding trip to the crematorium but could not help notice the very large flocks of Fieldfare (over 500) at Eathorpe and Ashborne.
After the wake in Dunchurch Dave and I had time to trawl around the Grandborough valley which was very quiet until we reached Grandborough Fields Farm where over 1000 Fieldfare and 500 Starling were feeding in the water logged fields plus a single Buzzard and Raven. I had not appreciated just how heavy the rain had been in the last 48hrs with many streams overflowing with large lakes forming on many fields.
The last two nights have been very mild resulting in 6 Winter Moths on Wednesday night and 3 Winter Moths and 2 Dark Chestnut in my trap last night while Dave had Mottled Umber, 2 Dark Chestnut and single Winter Moth last night.
Yesterday I caught up with Bob who has also been ill so we hope to be out and about next week bashing the pond while this weekend will see me play catch up on my patch year list which is looking somewhat feeble at the moment weather permitting.


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

January 12th 2011

Can’t stand self pity so gave my self a bollocking and forced myself despite the heavy rain to accept a lift down to Hampshire to see the juvenile White-tailed Eagle. Not the most pleasant of journeys due to spray but on our arrival at Downton, Hordle the bird had been located in a tree so treated to good distant views before watching it flying overhead. Don’t often get the chance to see eagles round my way so well worth the trip to observe this flying barn door dwarf the local Buzzards. Moved on to Beaulieu Rd Station for lunch where we located Woodlark and 2 Dartford Warbler before ending the trip at Blackwater Arboretum with 8 Hawfinches. Also seen today were Stonechat, Sparrowhawk, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Crossbill, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin.


January 11th 2011

I walked from Draycote village to Rainbow Corner, Draycote Water just after first light which was just far enough.
A Little Egret and Kingfisher were in the settling tank below draycote bank while another Kingfisher was on the inlet where 2 Dunlin rested. The large finch flock behind the inlet included at least 15 Brambling and a single Tree Sparrow plus a party of 22 Long-tailed Tits. The blustery cool North West wind meant I did not hang around and paid little attention to what was on the reservoir but noted 15 Goosander, 9 Gadwall, 12 Goldeneye and 2 Shoveler.
The hedgerows around the village held Jay, 20 Fieldfare, 3 Siskin, 2 Nuthatch and 5 Bullfinch with 4 Buzzards in fields opposite Blooms Garden Centre.
Lawford Heath had 2 Raven and 2 Little Owl while the Bewick’s Swan was still present between Church Lawford and Bretford among 93 Mute Swans near Avon House while 2 Little Egrets were reported in Long Lawford.


Sunday, 9 January 2011

January 9th 2011

I managed a few hours with Dave this morning before a coughing fit floored me and I called it a day. No sign of any owls down the Southam Rd or Waxwings in Bilton, Rugby so we looked for the Geese and Swans reported last week between Bretford and Church Lawford.
Avon House had the single Bewick’s Swan among 90 Mutes while on the other side of the River Avon the Newnham Grounds Canada Geese flock included 13 Graylag, Pink-footed Goose and Barnacle Goose (damaged leg) while Barnaby’s Spinney had 500 Wood Pigeon and 40 Lapwing.

Limestone Hall Lane, Church Lawford had 30 Tree Sparrow and a small Peregrine flew over Blue Boar Farm, Lawford Heath. Also seen were Great-spotted Woodpecker, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, a few Redwing and Fieldfare now feeding in fields plus Corn Bunting.
After the cloud cover spoilt yesterday’s view of the Space Station this evening it showed well from my garden at 17:39 with the crescent moon and nearby Jupiter in the background as it headed over France towards Italy. I managed to track it in the scope – stunning – you could see the solar array.


Saturday, 8 January 2011

January 8th 2011

Finally there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Still not 100% but a lot more lively than of late so hope to be out and about tomorrow though I decided not to attend tonight’s curry party celebrating Dave B 50th birthday. I have hardly eaten a thing since Monday so would have been a bit over the top of me to pig out on some delicious eastern delicacy.
So what have I missed – the only birds of note were the Pink-footed Goose that turned up with 12 Graylag Geese between Church Lawford and Bretford before moving to Draycote Water for a day. I’m always skeptical about wild geese on my patch considering there are so many plastic ones around but it would be nice to think it was genuine one for change. In the same area a Bewick’s Swan was also present.

Pink-footed Goose by Bob Hazell

Smew by Bob Hazell is still present at the pond

There are plenty of Waxwing around still, with 5 in my next doors garden today and up to 300 dotted around the town in the past week.
On the equipment front my own scope and tripod are back from surgery while Dave’s has gone in to be reincarnated – probably as a washing machine.


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

January 5th 2011

Suffering badly with this flu virus – so bad that 53 Waxwings circling my house this afternoon failed to raise any motivation preferring to rot in front of the fire.


January 3rd 2011

I’ve caught Dave’s man flu but continued to Norfolk for the Northern Harrier with Chris but spent more time coughing and spluttering than birding as I shivered my way round the coast.
Still managed to see Rough-legged Buzzard on Holkham Freshmarsh, Bittern, Spotted Redshank, Whooper Swan at Titchwell, male Long-tailed Duck, 14 Velvet Scoter males amongst a 1000 Common Scoter, 3 Little Egret, 3 Eider off Titchwell beach plus thousands of geese, 4 Marsh Harrier, 3 Barn Owl and plenty of other species.


Saturday, 1 January 2011

January 1st 2011

I’m well known for not sleeping so how the hell I overslept this morning I don’t know (in bed by 10) but the panic of trying to get ready in 5 minutes led to me tripping over a chair resulting in almost knocking myself out and breaking Dave’s scope.
Now totally embarrassed and angry with myself plus a splitting headache and double vision we arrived at Napton Reservoir where we failed to find any owls (Tawny Owl heard) and little else on offer.
Draycote Water had a lot more open water due to the cool north westerly breeze so we managed 40 Goosander, 4 Barnacle Goose and 4 Shoveler walking to farborough spit but with the way I felt and Dave still coughing and spluttering we called it a day.
We were just leaving the pond when a call inviting us to meet up with a few others for breakfast meant a few laughs with friends but home by 10:30am on News Years Day must be a first for me.
Slept till mid afternoon then a need for fresh air took me to dunsmore ridge where a Woodcock next to the footpath must have been in the same mood as me and looking for confrontation – just would not move. Also Barn Owl perched on fence post just before dark.