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Post Info TOPIC: Staffordshire


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RE: Staffordshire


An early morning visit to rspb coombes. Nine pied flycatchers seen - 8 singing males and a female at a nestbox, also 4 singing male redstarts and a spotted flycatcher. The Rspb do get there share of criticism, but they've done a great job here.

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A brief hour at Doxey Marshes by junction 14 of the M6 this afternoon.

Great White Egret, Little Egret, Chiffchaff, Cettis Warbler, 5 Goosander, 2 Reed Bunting, 300+Golden Plover, 70 Lapwing, 2 Goldcrest, 20 Redwing, plus Teal, Shoveler, Wigeon uncounted.

You'll need wellies at the minute.



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Hawfinch present this morning at Tittesworth Reservoir in the hedge bordering the field to the left of entrance road to the Visitor Centre, often commuting to the adjacent tree-tops. There are now reported to be two birds present but I only observed one. Also Willow Tit seen from West Hide.



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Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd January 2023

A weekend in Stafford and a bit of birding in very cold and icy conditions. Saturday I went to Aqualate Mere and it was almost entirely frozen when the thick mist lifted...no chance of any decent ducks in that. There were about 100 Wigeon huddled together in the distance but luckily at the well-stocked feeders lots of activity including a plucky Marsh Tit amidst lots of more common birds. Interestingly some of the tits were also going to a tree trunk which had been chipped at by a Great Spotted Woodpecker, I thought maybe after the sap? A Water Rail briefly emerged from the reeds and then flew off. Best moment was the birds on the feeder scattering and I processed this quickly enough to see a male Sparrowhawk wooosh past no more than 2 feet in front of the hide, seeming almost close enough to touch through the hatches

Later on the Saturday a quick stop at the Wolseley Centre, which is the HQ for the Staffs Wildlife Trust and has some small pools alongside the adjacent River Trent. We had a brief view of a Kingfisher and a nice Water Rail here too, showing pretty well

Sunday morning I went to Doxey Marshes and this was also utterly frozen, which scuppered any chance of Water Pipit or a bit of a look for a Jack Snipe, but I did find a Chiffchaff which seemed to be doing OK and another male Sparrowhawk was causing mayhem at one point. Overall it was more about enjoying the wintry scenes this weekend but I did tick over 100 for my yearlist with a few bits and pieces.



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Friday 4th November 7.30-10.00

A pleasant early morning in the hide at Aqualate Mere NNR. The hide looks directly over some well-stocked feeders as well as giving a view up the Mere. Superb point blank views of Marsh Tits with the expected Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Wrens, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, and also Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker. The Mere was misted over initially but then when the sun came out showed dozens of Coot and a fair flock of Tufted Duck. A glance at the logbook in the hide showed a sighting of Otters from earlier in the week and then suddenly I saw one swimming across in front of me...what a great thing to see, only my 3rd ever Otter sighting. As I kept scanning with my binoculars a grebe suddenly showed in the mid-distance. Great Crested is common at Aqualate but this bird was smaller and very clearly black and white toned, with a sloping head, black cap, bright white cheek and a neat black line down its nape and neck when viewed from behind. It had to be a Slavonian Grebe, what a nice bird to find! From the sighting reports I've seen the slight cold snap seems to have brought a few across into some inland sites around England, but I was certainly pleased to find one, especially as it was a yeartick!

A cracking session in the end


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RSPB Coombes Valley 03/05/22

 

5+ Pied Flycatcher

1 Redstart

1 Garden Warbler

2 Goldcrest

1 Sparrowhawk

2 Nuthatch

1 Treecreeper



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Weds 30th March

On way back from Leek to Macclesfield early afternoon there mustve been between 200-250 Redwings (with possibility of Fieldfare?) flew up from the sloping field looking down over Rudyard Lake and up into the trees overhead.
What a sight, and sound!

Then within minutes, travelling thru Rushton on the same road, another c150 birds did the same again. Nice to see.

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An impressively large flock of c4-500 Golden Plover in the air low over the M6 motorway just south of Stafford and north of junction 13 by Grange Farm at 1pm today, appeared to be flying down onto fields just east of the motorway there?



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After having worked every day, inc Saturdays since a week last Thursday I felt I needed a trip out so I decided on Staffordshire for a change as it's not far down the M6 from the bit of Cheshire that I live in!

I headed to Blithfield Reservoir, setting off straight after breakfast. My destination was the Admaston car park on the causeway where a few birders were already on site. I joined the hardy few and started to scan, I say hardy as there was a bitter wind blowing straight down the reservoir and cutting through us. It was very very uncomfortable birding indeed with watery eyes and frozen hands! We searched for ages and then a couple of members who were on the members only track down the side of the reservoir started to wave and point. We got scopes onto the area and had pretty distant views of the star bird here at present - a Shorelark. Even at distance as the bird lifted its head the lemon and black face pattern was distinctive, but definitely a scope only job! The two guys who alerted us were photographers and they followed the bird round the shore as it got further and further away. I got another scope view as it appeared on the next spit away but then it took flight with a Meadow Pipit and was lost to view.

The rest of us present stayed on the causeway crossing as none of us had permits and they do enforce this rule of permit holders only. So whilst the photographers got frame filling shots all we got was a distant scope view. But that's why they pay for a permit so I have no complaints at all smile Not a lot else was seen, several Pied Wagtails and a very showy Kestrel that hovered low over us at times. I'm sure the long lens guys would get fab shots of that too. In the end the cold won and I had to leave to thaw out!!



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Sunday August 1st

Aqualate Mere NNR 07.00-10.00

Finally got down here relatively early in the morning to have a look around, conscious that the singing has largely stopped but still curious what could be found.

Enjoyable session, the first thing was hearing a Grasshopper Warbler which was clearly never going to show, then as I approached the hide at the east end of the Mere there was plenty of activity, with several Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings, good views of a Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap and lots of Blue and Great Tits using the feeders. Best was hearing and then just seeing a Marsh Tit.

Not much on the Mere itself, I believe the winter is better for wildfowl.

The area south of the hide is kept as wet meadows, it held lots of birds too, several Whitethroat and Stonechat pairs with young, more Reed Buntings and Sedge Warblers and then a juvenile Yellow Wagtail popped up and perched nicely for me. Not sure if they breed there but it's perfectly possible.

Definitely need to head back as I didn't look in the woods at all and the site supposedly has some good birds in there too.



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Tuesday 30th June

Belvide Reservoir.
Since I was going to Stoke anyway this morning having won an eBay auction yesterday for a Pirate Ship sand+water table, I thought it wouldve been rude not to go home via Brewood, Staffordshire.

- 1st summer Laughing Gull
Car park virtually full (£3) most birders mustve been in hides, just myself and 2 others stood on side of Res not far from car park.
Told on arrival it hadnt been seen in a while. Dilemma... walk round to the far side where its been seen recently or stay put? Suddenly I picked it up distantly on the base of the dam wall and feeding near the little outflows.
A few other birders arrived and surprisingly couldnt get on it, they kept picking out juv Black-headed Gulls but I was more than happy to get them onto it. Eventually it flew off to the west side out of view, some birders left whilst others walked round, I suggested to the remaining few to stay put for a short while as I thought it would be back.
It returned within minutes, much closer, putting on a show, and it did the same thing 3 or 4 times. It was a Lifer for some and they were made up.
My bridge camera was struggling to keep up with the bird over the water as it kept turning on a sixpence, swooping down to pick insects off the surface of the Res, then back again. When other birders came back round all you could hear was the constant reel of the big cameras so there will be some good shots out there, but I didnt do too badly. Ive had to crop some of the distant shots and Ive included a video grab.

A quality Gull this one!

Other birds of note...
- 4 Black-tailed Godwits (2 more out of sight)
- 2 Common Sandpiper
- Common Terns
- 1 drake Goldeneye (early returning bird I was told, not an escape)
- Reed Warblers in abundance in front of us
- 1 Chiffchaff in the reeds also
- 1 Red Kite with Common Buzzards








-- Edited by Rob Creek on Wednesday 1st of July 2020 09:06:41 AM

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Red kite seen over Heaton (near Rudyard) this a.m.



-- Edited by Judy Denison on Sunday 28th of June 2020 02:27:31 PM

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Spending the break with my folks, I managed a couple of visits to some less known reserves near Stafford.

Tuesday 24th December 9.00-11.00 Radford Meadows Staffs Wildlife Trust

Wet meadows south of Stafford town centre, along the banks of the River Penk. The viewpoints are all from the towpath of the adjacent Staffs. and Worcs. Canal; lots of Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler, Lapwings, Black-headed gulls, some Redwings and Fieldfares. Very pleasant, the male ducks looked superb.

Friday 27th December 8.30-10.00 Aqualate Mere NNR

A very interesting natural mere between Stafford and Newport. A hide overlooks the Mere and some fairly extensive reedbeds - apparently they hold Bittern at this time of year...

Another quiet, mellow spell, there were at least 200 Coots on the water with Mallards and some Tufted Duck; on the feeders by the hide mainly Blue and Great Tits, a couple of Reed Buntings, but pecking around the base of the reeds was a Water Rail, which showed in the open beautifully, what a cracking bird. It was misty and atmospheric, very enjoyable - I will return in the spring I hope, as it looks like there could be some good breeding birds present




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With a morning free Carys & I headed down the M6 and across the A50 to a site 58 miles from home which I had been curious about for some time. I had heard lots about Branston Gravel Pits and always thought that they were totally innaccessible. But having heard that a Long-tailed Duck was on one of the pits a bit of digging around found that some pits were viewable from adjacent public footpaths. Intruiged we headed down and parked a short distance from one of the paths and then walked along the road to access it. This path ran close to one pit but a search of this reavealed lots of Coot and a couple of Tufted Ducks as well as a few Shoveler and a Little Greebe or two. A more distant pit was really ony viewable by scoping it, and only then by cranking up the zoom to between 40  and 60 times magnification. A scan of this pit however did locate the female Long-tailed Duck,  loafing amongst a group of Tufted Ducks and a female Goldeneye. Several Curlew, a Redshank and a Dunlin were also seen on this pit, as well as a large flock of Lapwings.

An interesting site and good to know that in the future I have an idea of where to go to view a few of the pits.



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Saturday 20th October 08.00-13.00 Doxey Marshes Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

After dozens of train journeys in recent years that have taken me through Doxey Marshes at Stafford, and several opportunities to have a look at the place, on Saturday I finally made it there. A nice reserve with some great wet meadow habitat as well as pools and reedbed and some scrubby stuff. I saw some nice birds amongst 53 species. Come May and June there will doubtless be lots of birds and insects buzzing around so I'll be back for sure.

Highlights on Saturday were:
Water Pipit
Great White Egret - 3, frequent smart flight views, one bird notably smaller than the others, probably the first time I'd appreciated a size variation in this species
Cetti's Warbler - 2 males chasing each other for a territory, oblivious to me 20 ft away. Some of the best views of this species I have ever had
Raven over
Skylarks and Redwings over, migrants presumably
Snipe flushing frequently
Stonechats and Reed Buntings in various family groups
Shoveler - plenty of very smart males, handsome devils

All in all some very pleasant birding

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Keele University 15th Feb 12.30 - 14.15

I paid a visit to Keele University on Thursday 15th Feb to try and snatch a view of some Hawfinches that have been showing there over the winter. The campus was interesting, modern and bland when approaching from the south-east as I was, but around the original Keele Hall and west down to the village of Keele there were extensive stands of various mature trees including plenty of Yews, and open country beyond, so it was easy to see why Hawfinches might be around.

By the Hall and the reported location of the Clockhouse there was nothing doing except lots of Nuthatch and Robins, although I heard a couple of interesting calls and I briefly saw one bird in flight that looked interesting. A local birder suggested I try the village so I walked down. I managed 1 probable bird in a big Yew on the way and then arrived down at the Church Bank in the village of Keele. Here the churchyard and an open green in front of it featured more big mature Yews and some huge old Oaks that provided the classic habitat of the tall trees for perching and checking out the area with plenty of feeding once the birds are feeling comfortable.

I had a deadline of 14.30 to be meeting my parents in nearby Newcastle. After a pleasant 40 minutes or so with no birds around I had to go so I got on the bus to head back and as it pulled out of the stop I saw ten or so birds with massive white flashes on the wings zoom overhead and then a Sparrowhawk in apparent hot pursuit. So there are surely some Hawfinches at Keele, but I couldn't muck the old folks about so that had to be that, just a probable sighting in the end with a laugh and a shrug of the shoulders being all I could do. Well the dips pay for the good days I guess...

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Still around 12 Hawfinches in the Biddulph Grange N.T. car park at 10.00. Phonescoped in warm morning light.

Cheers, John

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Spent an enjoyable few hours dodging the rain at Doxey Marshes yesterday from 11-14:00.

Bar Headed Goose was the best bird. Plastic I know but still great to see amongst the Canadas and  Greylag.

Best of the rest incuded Hobby, Common Sandpiper, 2 Snipe, 5 Reed Bunting, Kingfisher, 3 Lapwing, Kestrel, 2 Common Buzzard, 7 Shoveler, 10 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 3 Sand Martin with 100's of House Martin and Swallow. 



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Wednesday 17th May.

With Ian Lyth.

Belvide Reservoir.

Spotted Sandpiper .... has been very mobile today ... commuting between front of the Hawkshutts (last) Hide and Chappell (first) Hide but still giving good close views in front of each.
However, speaking to a couple of the locals, it seems the bird is becoming increasingly restless ... possibly depart tonight ???

Lovely little bird in breeding plumage.

Roger.





-- Edited by Roger Baker 3 on Thursday 18th of May 2017 11:30:32 AM

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Tuesday 16th May.
Evening visit after work to Belvide Reservoir, only a couple of miles from the M6 Toll.

- Spotted Sandpiper 1 (Lifer)
After a long walk from the car park to the other end of the reservoir, I finally made it to the right hide, but the bird wasn't showing after apparently showing earlier right infront of the hide. It did eventually show however but a bit distant and spent a lot of time out of view. Some good bins and scope views though when it did show.

Other birds present...
- Arctic Tern 2
- Common Tern c20
- Pochard Drake at least 10
- Blackcap 1
- Tawny Owl calling nearby





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The 3 Tundra Bean Geese were showing very well at 9.30 on Bents Lane in Whitmore in flooded field to the west of the road. Handy just off junction 15 of M6.

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After being laid low with the lurgy for a week and seeing as how it was my birthday & the last thing I wanted to do was to stay in I decided a short run out would be the best thing. Seeing as how they were only 30miles away I decided on a visit to try to see the geese near Whitmore seeing as they had been around a few weeks now.

Pulling up on Bents Lane a birder was already looking over the floods which were frozen hard. A few Greylag Geese, several Canada Geese and lots of gulls greeted me, but on asking he said several Greylags had flown off but he hadn't seen any Bean Geese. Immediately though I could hear Greylags calling just up the road, obviously in a field on the other side, so telling the other birder this I went to check it out, but he was adamant they had flown a long way off and were always seen on the flood so saw no point in checking

Walking 30m up Bents Lane I found the Greylag Geese on the top of a ridge grazing in the field but no Bean Geese were in view, however other geese were over the brow of the hill out of sight. Again I told the other birder but again he ignored this! I carried on down the lane and came across another birder who too insisted it was always the floods that the geese were on when I mentioned the flock in the field, and at this point I gave up trying to help them!! Carrying on I found a gap in the hedge through which I could see more of the flock in the field and there in the middle were at least 2 Tundra Bean Geese biggrin The flock was close but wary so I got a few record shots and eventually returned to tell the others that they were indeed on the fields. But they had both given up & left without seeing the birds, ah well, I tried!

I think this illustrates the way some folk bird these days. They get directions off information services and follow it to the letter, they have lost the skills of reading situations & looking for birds, expecting them on a plate! To be honest one of the birders was surprised when I said that geese graze & eat grass, he just couldn't see a reason for them to be in a field without any flood waters! Everyone has to start somewhere & I always love to help, but this guy was twitching stuff and ignoring my help, but as a result he missed the birds.

 



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Three Tundra Bean Geese still present at Whitmore, Staffordshire this morning. In flooded fields to the west of Bent Lane which runs south out of the village. Initially they weren't 'on site.' They have been associating with a flock of Greylags and after ten minutes or so they all flew over but didn't land, instead carrying on over the hill beyond. Thankfully, twenty minutes or so later the three Bean Geese returned and dropped in, albeit in the field behind the floods and a bit too distant for decent photos. Two record shots attached.

Talking to the local birder that initially found them, it turns out the farmer who owns the land decided to flood the fields in November and also put out potatoes as feed. It has turned into a nice little site with a muddy spit jutting into the floods. A drake Pintail, Shoveler, Teal and several Lapwing were also noted, along with say a hundred and fifty gulls which included a nicely turned out adult Yellow legged Gull. Apparently, the aforementioned feed has now been eaten so it remains to be seen just how long the Bean Geese remain.



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On a train from Birmingham back to Manchester on Saturday which stopped right on a bridge over a small river just outside Stone station; managed to see a couple of kingfisher flitting around, and a buzzard sat in an adjacent field. A serendipitous unscheduled halt!

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After a PM came in asking about Cannock Chase it reminded me that I hadn't been there for a while, so with the weather forecast giving a morning of dry weather I decided on a half day there. We set off pretty early and with little traffic around breezed down pretty easily.

Parking at the Cadet Huts area (note the car park is closed at the moment, I don't know why' but you can squeeze in at the side of the tracks) we headed off over the heath. We covered a large area and were pleased to find lots of Tree Pipits around as well as two singing Woodlarks which showed well in the scope. Several Ravens and Buzzards were seen and numerous Green Woodpeckers were heard. Whilst searching, more in hope than expectation (due to the temperature despite some sunshine), for Green Hairstreaks we had a really close view of a Cuckoo. He came close to us Cuckoo-ing away and then landed not far away, allowing a few digiscoped shots before he was disturbed by mountain bikers. Fantastic views which more than made up for no butterflies biggrin



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Ford Green Nature Reserve (follow signs for Ford Green Hall)

Still present here, seemingly 'stalled' on migration (not surprising, given the weather!) is a Wood Warbler. I saw it in the bushes immediately behind the car park here near the footbridge over the stream. It was effectively snowing when I saw it, which was as much of a surprise to me as it was to the Wood Warbler no doubt! Rubbish BOC record shot attached.

 



-- Edited by Patrick Earith on Wednesday 27th of April 2016 04:22:26 PM



-- Edited by Patrick Earith on Wednesday 27th of April 2016 04:22:55 PM

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Visit today for the ring-necked duck - dipped. Superb weather and light. The ducks were in and out of the willows on the far side of the reservoir and the ring-necked just did not show. It was seen by a local later who was trying to put us on it from distance but still no luck, the light had changed and it was just impossible to id on the far side. Having said all that this is a great site. 42 species seen including willow tit from the East hide. The various feeding stations were all productive. Well worth the visit and the scones were superb.

 

Phil with Dave Bancroft



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When I realised that only 25 miles from home was a bird which I had never got photos of, of the particular sex, I decided to have a day out just over the Cheshire border, my first trip other than Cheshire or N.Wales this year.

I headed down to Tittesworth reservoir, and as soon as I arrived on the point near the visitor centre birders there confirmed that the female Ring-necked Duck was indeed present. Just as I got my scope on it, over the far side of the lake it was flushed by canoeists, fair enough as it was swimming just off the watersports centre & they weren't to know we were looking at it smile A bit of a search later it was relocated at the causeway end right by the road and showing well. Just as I had it in the scope & camera attached for my first shot 2 local birders walked right up to the fence above it and again flushed it off with the Tufted Ducks it was with. This time they should have known better, they had been watching it with us all from the car park but just walked over & got too close & flushed it, very poor fieldcraft 

As my parking ticket had run out I decided to go to another part of the reservoir where I could see a viewing screen, so drove round & walked down. A short distance away were displaying Gooosanders, drakes chasing each other really actively, great to see. Then I noticed a few Tufted Ducks amongst submerged Willows and a scan revealed the female Ring-necked Duck with them, really close to me. I stayed concealed behind trees and got fabulous views and managed several digiscoped shots, many with twigs in the way but at least she wasn't spooked by me being there smile Happy with my shots I showed another birders where she was in my scope as he only had bins and left him to it. My first ever pictures of a FEMALE Ring-necked Duck, and having watched her for a long period at close quarters I have to say I think the females are every bit as smart looking as the males of this species, well worth a look if you haven't seen one smile



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Good views of the cracking male Black Redstart that has been in Burslem for the last few days. For those wishing to see it, put Woodbank Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme in your sat nav. The bird has been hanging around and in a derelict building which was formerly occupied by Purple Antz (the sign is still there outside it). You can view it from the gate. It is near to the Home and Bargain but note the H&B car park entrance is on a different road than the building is. Walk out of the H&B car park and the building is to your left across the main road.



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Late report from yesterday to confirm that the juvenile Red-necked Grebe is still present at Trentham Gardens lake, amongst it's many Great Crested cousins. Wasn't particularly easy to pick up at first, but its yellow bill soon gave it away. Note there is no access to the lake without paying the entrance fee which is currently seasonally discounted to £4.50 as opposed to the usual £7.75!



-- Edited by Patrick Earith on Friday 8th of January 2016 04:05:16 PM

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Friday 8th of January 2016 04:40:02 PM

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Good if distant views of the Hoopoe today for our regular quartet, as all the birders present were content to view from about halfway down the hill.

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Down in the midlands over the holidays, not far from Wall Heath (this is my neck of the woods, really!), so visited this afternoon; hoopoe still around and being hugely obliging, giving prolonged views as it feed; still present when I left in the late afternoon. Cracking. :)

Also seen around the same general area:

3 goldcrest
c15 meadow pipit
1 pied wagtail
1 brambling
3 (at least) bullfinch
c15 redwing
1 stock dove
1 green woodpecker


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Cheers Guys, it will be New Year if/when I do go, but happy to play it by ear & risk the cold moving it on. Agree about 'some' photographers Simon, our Forum members on here excepted of course smile



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Hilarious! smile Very glad Steve managed to see the Hoopoe though.

We were actually more worried yesterday about the photographers present, at least 6 guys with the usual inverse relationship of lens size to distance, i.e. the bigger the lens, the closer you have to be. to be fair the bird has been dealing with the paparazzi for weeks so didn't seem bothered. It was in a nicely sheltered spot and looked in great condition. A bad frost might be a challenge though.

One thing that surprised me was how unobtrusive it was on the ground considering the striking plumage, especially on the folded wings. The peachy orange I remembered from observations in bright sunshine in Portugal was actually a sandy buff colour on this bird, and also it seemed smaller. All illusory effects but it was actually hard to pick up initially, despite being in plain view. Also of note was a very brief flare of the crest on its head, which looked brilliant, I hadn't seen that before.


-- Edited by Simon Gough on Monday 21st of December 2015 01:31:52 PM

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Doc Brewster wrote:

Well done Steven, you really deserved that one smile And a big well done to Simon for not scaring this one wink For future reference for myself, what sort of distance is it showing at, with the thoughts of digiscoping it? Thanks smile


 

 

Cheers, I got closer to the bird before simon did smile

The birders/photographers were as close as around 40 yards so great clear views as it was feeding.



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Well done Steven, you really deserved that one smile And a big well done to Simon for not scaring this one wink For future reference for myself, what sort of distance is it showing at, with the thoughts of digiscoping it? Thanks smile



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had a trip to wall heath for the long staying hoopoe this morning with simon gough hoping he wouldn't scare this one off wink
the hoopoe showed very well indeed for me & simon & all the other birders present in the fields that it has been favouring from 10-11.10am a great bird to add to my year list which now makes it 250 & also a lifer biggrin
other birds present.. 2 nuthatch, sparrowhawk seen by simon, 13 meadow pipits, buzzard & bullfinch heard only.

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Couldn't resist a visit to see the Hinksford Hoopoe near Wall Heath on the way back from visiting family. 

It was showing very well at 12.20. Feeding almost constantly as well as shaking off the rain. Lovely bird. 

Also 10 Linnet



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Saturday 28th November Staffordshire/West Midlands border at Wall Heath.

The Hoopoe which has now been present over a week was showing well probing in the muddy bank and grass.

Smart bird!



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11.45-2pm blithfield reservoir

1 common crane
4 black tern
1 barnacle goose
above birds distant & observed through the scope without trespassing on private land.
1 osprey, good views as it was hunting over tad bay, it did drop onto the water (awesome) but failed to catch anything, got back into the air & continued to hunt & hover, I had to leave due to rain getting heavier.

close views off....
1 little stint
5 dunlin
20+ ringed & little ringed plover
2 common sandpiper
1 wheatear

other birds around...
3 little egret
1 kestrel
lapwing
hundreds of Canada geese, with several greylag geese
lots of pied wagtails around
swift, swallow, house & sand martin.
a pleasant visit smile but got soaked walking back to the train station cry

-- Edited by steven burke on Sunday 23rd of August 2015 09:20:39 PM

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saburke


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Blithfield Reservoir today 11-2.
Common Crane (1) - showing well in Blithe Bay but distant
Osprey (2) - over Tad Bay and occasionally settling on dead trees in the wood on far bank from the park
(If you are visiting for the first time like I did - I viewed the Crane from the Yellow Path Route and the Ospreys from the Blue Path Route)
Chris

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Blithfield Reservoir this morning.

Nice to meet Barry and wife, cheers for the heads up directions to the correct location. Met some other nice people too.

-Common Crane - a Lifer for me, well worth the trip as I missed one here in October 2014.
The bird was showing really well out in the open at Blithe Bay end of the res, albeit a bit distant but did manage excellent scope views and decent record shots. Feeding well, shoving its bill right down into the soft ground and throwing earth to the side whilst probing for food. Excellent sighting!

-Barnacle Goose - 1 amongst the Canada Geese and a good chance to see the massive size difference between the 2 species, the only 1 I've ever seen was a few years ago at Ormskirk with the masses of Pink-footed Geese so more of a comparable sized Goose that day and easy to miss but not today.

Other birds of note...
-5 Common Tern - flying around and sat on the water, never seen that before.
-4 Grey Heron
-1 Spotted Flycatcher in tree near hide
-6 Common Buzzard (5 together circling, 1 in bare tree)
-large group of Pied Wagtails flying around and feeding, some looked to be young birds. Approx 20+
-1 Grey Wagtail too

Lots of usuals around, no Waders despite the large muddy flats.

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Visited Chatterley Whitfield Colliery again today as my friend hadn't 't yet been to see the Red footed Falcon. The bird was not seen yesterday, nor today, so it would appear to have departed.

Carried on down to Blithfield Reservoir in South Staffordshire in an attempt to see the Common Crane that has been around for a few days. This is a large reservoir that South Staffs Water have leased to West Midlands Bird Club and unfortunately a permit is required to access the better birding areas. However you can birdwatch from the causeway which splits the reservoir in two. There were what seemed like hundreds of Greylag and Canada Geese on the far (northern) bank which was a considerable distance away. The Crane was located after a few minutes and was therefore present at around 15.30 hrs. Also noted, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Dunlin and Little Ringed Plover. The reservoir and some of the surrounding woodland is a SSSI and a notable birding spot. It's just a pity we couldn't get a bit nearer to the better birding spots in view of the permit situation.

-- Edited by Mark Jarrett on Wednesday 12th of August 2015 09:08:12 PM

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Visited for an hour and a half today from around 13.30 hrs. Bird perched in a tree the whole time we were there (right by the road) and hadn't moved for three hours apparently. Half decent views but it was towards the back of the tree and in a poor position for any photographs.

Unfortunately, the Black Redstart wasn't joining in the fun so, despite several walks up to the colliery gates area, the bird didn't show.

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Couldn't have put it better myself! smile
Great bird and a very pleasant, uncrowded "twitch"! Sorry I didn't get chance to ID you, Mike!

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Paul


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The Red Footed falcon was still showing incredibly well around midday today. On one occasion, it landed on a fencepost only about 10 feet from where I and the other birdwatchers were watching it.

Also, the Black redstart was seen in the small area of grass inside the gates of the Colliery, and 3 Whitethroats put in a brief appearance on the same line of fence the falcon was perched on

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This alert has just been put out by Staffordshire Birding.

"ANYONE attempting to feed/entice Chatterley RFF will be treated as suspicious - DO NOT feed it whatsoever"

It is alleged that two men in a white transit van were attempting to catch the bird.

RSPB and Police are asking for any witnesses.


Roger.


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The Red Footed Falcon was showing well on Sunday from 11am until Midday when I left,in the usual place,the Horse Paddock Field. It spent most of its time in a Hawthorn bush but was always in view, a stunning bird! It did fly around a few times,once landing on the grass hunting insects and once landing on a pole on the field,it also landed very close in a tree at one point giving great viewsbiggrinThe Black Redstart in the adjoining field also showed well,it was a lot more active,flicking around on to the ground and fence.Both great birds and lifers for me so well worth the trip.
All the best and Good Birding Mark.

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The Red Footed Falcon was still there and giving great views at 11.00, as was the Black Redstart by the colliery gate.

The falcon was particularly entertaining, making frequent aerial sorties from the overhead wire, around the paddock, and often landing on the grass to catch bumble bee sized insects.

Judging by the look they gave the gathered birders, the people who tend the horses did'nt seem too keen on the paddock being the centre of attention.

The atmosphere was very friendly though, one of those twitches where you can take the family, as this bird as real charisma.

I was told whilst there that some birders had bought crickets, the sort you feed to pet lizards, and were throwing them into the paddock to tempt the falcon even closer.

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Red-footed Falcon still showing well at Chatterley, Whitfield until I left at 8.30 tonight, with a Little Owl also present, albeit slightly further away

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Thursday 16th of July 2015 11:06:56 PM

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