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Post Info TOPIC: Staffordshire


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Staffordshire


Chatterley Whitfield

Red Footed Falcon still present at 4.15pm entertaining the masses, giving close views at times down to 30 metres

-- Edited by Mark Burgess on Saturday 11th of July 2015 06:29:36 PM

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Little was I to know that the very next day the Stilts would come to me wink Luckily I was on site for their all too brief touchdown & departure at Ashton's Flash on Sunday!!

Today I ventured down to a new area for me, Radford Meadows Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Reserve in Stafford. Parking is on Meadow Ridge, a small road off the A34 at Radford Bridge over the Staffs & Worcs Canal. From here you walk south along the canal towpath to view the wet meadows & pools to the west over the hedge. On my first visittoday, arriving around 10.30am, I was greeted by a void, no birds and just a woman exercising her Labrador on the nature reserve no With houses backing onto the reserve I suppose this is inevitable but not very responsible!

I headed off to have my lunch and returned about 1pm. This time it was so, so much better!! Teal had returned to the pools & many were under the near bank out of view. Eventuallt after several searches a stunning drake Green-winged Teal swam out into view from under the near bank. He had one of the most well-marked vertical chest stripes that I have ever seen in this species. He was displaying to a female, presumably Eurasian, Teal but at that distance who knows wink Also present and very actively chasing and calling were 6 Little Ringed Plovers, a good number, the most I have seen in one place so far this year. A Common Sandpiper was also on the pools and a single White Wagtail was in with at least 20 Pied Wagtails. A Buzzard sat on an obvious nest on the reserve and close by I found a sitting female Grey Wagtail on a nest too!!

Again a nice little reserve with lots of potential, I am sure that lots more will be found here, and it isn't too far down the road from both Doxey Marshes & Cannock Chase, so any combination of these could be included in a day out, the grid ref is SJ939216 smile

-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Friday 24th of April 2015 06:08:20 PM

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Myself and my partner also enjoyed a lovely afternoon walk at RSPB Middleton Lakes in the sunshine.

As Doc says, good views of the Black-winged Stilts which gave us the run around a bit being quite mobile until they finally settled down, the incredibly long legs a pleasure to see in flight especially however.

Amazing views of a blasting Cetti's Warbler, a calling Lesser-spotted Woodpecker near the Car Park and 2 Avocet other highlights.

A great reserve with lots of potential, my last visit was for the White-rumped Sandpiper back in 2012 who knows what could turn up next!

A local birder said that the RSPB are in discussions with the local council to consider drainage for the pools which in turn would attract more waders although there appears to be a bit of red tape yet to break through......fingers crossed!

-- Edited by Phil Owen on Sunday 19th of April 2015 12:59:40 AM

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Had another trip down the M6 today to Staffs, the sunny weather and a pager message tempting me down to Middleton Lakes RSPB on the Staffs/Warks border near Drayton Bassett. On the Jubilee Wetlands North lagoon, a bit distant and into the sun, we immediately connected with the reason for our trip down - 2 Black-winged Stilts. The ridiculously leggy waders fed on a spit halfway across the lagoon and gave great scope views but I struggled for photos. Three Avocets were also on the lagoons as well as a Green Sandpiper and at least 3 Little Ringed Plovers. On Fishers Mill Pool a drake Garganey was elusive. Several Cetti's Warblers blasted out their song but best of all were two that showed as they chased around forgetting to be elusive! A Sedge Warbler sang from the scrub and was my first of the year. Orange-tip butterflies were out in the sunny warmth as well as Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma.

A good trip to a great little reserve which is being improved all the time, things had changed since my last trip last year and new paths are still being created now. Last year it had Pacific Golden Plover, this year Black-winged Stilts and in the past such goodies as Broad-billed Sandpiper and Least Sandpiper, definitely one to watch smile

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Rob Creek wrote:

Doc Brewster wrote:

Really sorry that you didn't connect with the Crane, Rob, as you say no reports since Wednesday, but there may still have been a chance that it was around the area somewhere. Still it sounds like you made the most of your day out and had a cracking time with lots of decent birds, well done smile






Cheers Doc,
That's birding for you, when they've gotta go...they've gotta go!
And I wasn't going to drive all that way back without having a good look round first. Rugeley Nature reserve was literally 200yds up the road from the grid ref. There's a few hides, a really good feeding station very active, one of the hides that looks out over the mud flats (you can see this hide from where you park at the gap in the trees) looks as though you can only access it with a permit on the res...it is infact on the nature reserve path and no permit needed. There's a few signs/maps telling you which species to look out for including MARSH TIT but I didn't see any myself, and the car park is big, mostly easy access walking and disabled access too!
Well worth a look if you're in the area.



Cheers for that info Rob, I didn't know of that reserve, or the access to a hide without a permit at that end of Blithfield Reservoir. That could be really useful for future birds turning up at that end. I will definitely check out the reserve when I am next around that area, thanks again smile

-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 19th of October 2014 04:17:42 PM

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Doc Brewster wrote:

Really sorry that you didn't connect with the Crane, Rob, as you say no reports since Wednesday, but there may still have been a chance that it was around the area somewhere. Still it sounds like you made the most of your day out and had a cracking time with lots of decent birds, well done smile






Cheers Doc,
That's birding for you, when they've gotta go...they've gotta go!
And I wasn't going to drive all that way back without having a good look round first. Rugeley Nature reserve was literally 200yds up the road from the grid ref. There's a few hides, a really good feeding station very active, one of the hides that looks out over the mud flats (you can see this hide from where you park at the gap in the trees) looks as though you can only access it with a permit on the res...it is infact on the nature reserve path and no permit needed. There's a few signs/maps telling you which species to look out for including MARSH TIT but I didn't see any myself, and the car park is big, mostly easy access walking and disabled access too!
Well worth a look if you're in the area.

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Really sorry that you didn't connect with the Crane, Rob, as you say no reports since Wednesday, but there may still have been a chance that it was around the area somewhere. Still it sounds like you made the most of your day out and had a cracking time with lots of decent birds, well done smile

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Blithfield Reservoir - Friday early am

Checked various areas of the reservoir including both ends of the road bridge, the area visible from the gap in the trees on Newton Hurst Lane, and a walk round Rugeley Nature Reserve further up the road that looks out over the mud flats on the north end of the res, and a brilliant bird feeding station.

Common Crane not seen since Wednesday and unfortunately it didn't return.
1 Snow Goose type feeding with Canada and Greylag Geese
(Possible influence with domestic type but either way will be an escape...cheers for the info on that Ian)
Approx 75 Golden Plover
10 Grey Heron
Cormorant in good number
A lot of Carrion Crow
At least 4 Raven
Meadow Pipit, Linnet and Pied Wagtail on the move
A few groups of Redwing around (totalling well over 100)
Starling flocks all around the flats
Lapwing in good numbers
Tufted Duck and Shoveler in good numbers
4 Buzzard
2 Kestrel
Lots of Gulls including Black-headed and a single Great Black-backed.

Rugeley Reserve feeding station ...
Coal Tit city!
3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
2 Nuthatch
and plenty of Dunnock, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch





-- Edited by Rob Creek on Saturday 18th of October 2014 06:22:27 PM

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This site is the one I generally check for Blithfield and other Staffs sites, they've not posted it today:

http://staffordshirebirding.blogspot.co.uk/



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Any reports today on the Crane?
Nothing on Twitter or anything.
Cheers

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Cheers Rob, that extra info will help folk too smile The Crane is still being reported as in the same location this afternoon, so every chance of it staying around smile

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Doc Brewster wrote:

Popped down, for the afternoon, to Blithfield Reservoir following yesterdays news of a Common Crane dropping in and staying all day. On arrival a quick scan of Tad Bay from the Admaston Causeway revealed that it was still present, just about as far away as it could get at the far end of Tad Bay. Not having a permit I had to be content with these views.............. or did I?!!

I consulted my A to Z of Staffs and saw that there was a road round the back of Tad Bay, and a break in the trees at that end that might just allow me to see the area in which the Crane was feeding, all dependant upon the contours of the land between that road and the bay. I drove round the short distance and a small muddy pull-in was exactly where I wanted to be. Scanning the geese there was no sign of the Crane, had it flown? Moving up and down the lane I got to a position which allowed me to see more of the muddy shore and there it was, feeding away very happily amonst the Canada and Greylag Geese (as Cranes are wont to do!!). I rattled off a few record digiscoped shots and realised that I was probably closer on the road than those in the 'Permit Only' Hide, not a bad result all in all smile

p.s If anyone is heading down to look for the Crane the road in question is the minor road between the B5013 E.of the reservoir and Newton Hirst which is N.of the reservoir. You are directly N.of the Tad Bay arm looking S.to the near shore which is where the geese feed, the parking spot is at approx grid ref SK059259. If anyone needs any more info please PM me smile






...brilliant directions Doc and if it helps anyone else the B5013 is called Newton Hurst Lane, and if you Google the grid ref that Doc gives, the search will bring up the grid ref with 'Find Me' after it, tap it (on iPhone) and it will take you to the precise location on Google maps, right down to the gap in the trees. If the Crane is still present then I might try for it on Friday morning.
Cheers
Rob

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Popped down, for the afternoon, to Blithfield Reservoir following yesterdays news of a Common Crane dropping in and staying all day. On arrival a quick scan of Tad Bay from the Admaston Causeway revealed that it was still present, just about as far away as it could get at the far end of Tad Bay. Not having a permit I had to be content with these views.............. or did I?!!

I consulted my A to Z of Staffs and saw that there was a road round the back of Tad Bay, and a break in the trees at that end that might just allow me to see the area in which the Crane was feeding, all dependant upon the contours of the land between that road and the bay. I drove round the short distance and a small muddy pull-in was exactly where I wanted to be. Scanning the geese there was no sign of the Crane, had it flown? Moving up and down the lane I got to a position which allowed me to see more of the muddy shore and there it was, feeding away very happily amonst the Canada and Greylag Geese (as Cranes are wont to do!!). I rattled off a few record digiscoped shots and realised that I was probably closer on the road than those in the 'Permit Only' Hide, not a bad result all in all smile

p.s If anyone is heading down to look for the Crane the road in question is the minor road between the B5013 E.of the reservoir and Newton Hirst which is N.of the reservoir. You are directly N.of the Tad Bay arm looking S.to the near shore which is where the geese feed, the parking spot is at approx grid ref SK059259. If anyone needs any more info please PM me smile

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Went down to RSPB Middleton Lakes Nature Reserve, Drayton Bassett this morning and had excellent views of the Pacific Golden Plover. The bird was in almost the same place as the White-rumped Sandpiper in November 2012. Access to the reserve has improved and of course there were no muddy paths today.

The chap with the Macaw species on his shoulder was there again biggrin

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Pacific Golden Plover @ Middleton Lakes RSPB Reserve

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Called in at Tittesworth Reservoir after Coombs Valley.

Would highly recommend the cafe. Parking fee is a bit steep at 2-50 for 2 hours, or 4-70 for >2 hours.
Not surprised to find very high water level.

Common Tern 1
Cormorant 2
Lapwing 3
Common Sandpiper 2
Grey Heron 1
Goosander 1 f.
Great Crested Grebes.
Tufted Duck 1 m 1f.
Swallows.
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1 imm.
etc.

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Had a decent weekend roaming around Cannock Chase (Brockton)

Not much to see bird wise but the deer were good to watch.

Blackbird
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Buzzard
Carrion Crow
Chaffinch
Jackdaw
Long-tailed Tit
Magpie
Nuthatch
Woodpigeon

Regards

Dave


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Thanks for that Ian, very grateful for the info.

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Sounds like a flock of juvenile Starlings then perhaps. Excitingly running around as a flock, stopping and starting while they pick at or dig around the surface. They quite like shorelines and islands too as the ground is often softer.

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Yes in fact, they were, got any suggestions? There were rather far away and appeared as a brown blur when I took a photo of them. smile

-- Edited by Louis Hill on Friday 2nd of August 2013 08:00:12 PM

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Louis Hill wrote:

Tittesworth Reservoir:

Good numbers of Lapwings
1x female Mandarin mixed in with Mallards
Canada Geese
5x Great Crested Grebes
2x Common Terns
5x Oystercatchers
1x Willow Warbler
Long-Tailed Tits
2x Jays
1x Cormorant
Lesser-Black-Backed and Black-Headed Gulls around
2x Barnacle Geese
5x Common Sandpiper

and a flock of 20 or so small brown birds running then stopping, feeding on the island in the middle of the reservoir. What were they??
confuse





Starling sized brown birds?


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Tittesworth Reservoir:

Good numbers of Lapwings
1x female Mandarin mixed in with Mallards
Canada Geese
5x Great Crested Grebes
2x Common Terns
5x Oystercatchers
1x Willow Warbler
Long-Tailed Tits
2x Jays
1x Cormorant
Lesser-Black-Backed and Black-Headed Gulls around
2x Barnacle Geese
5x Common Sandpiper

and a flock of 20 or so small brown birds running then stopping, feeding on the island in the middle of the reservoir. What were they???

confuse

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Glad I went yesterday, got back to the car just before the heavens opened! Stunning views in the short time I was there. Looks like it has moved on, no reports today.

Phil

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Originally posted by Ben Smart today: -

Great views of the Caspian Tern at Rudyard Lake, near Leek, today. Settled for a long time, sitting in the mud at the northern end of the lake. Ever so often it gets spooked and flies round with the Black-headed Gulls. At 3pm, just before the heavens opened, the tern set off NW - maybe heading bacl to Chelford Lane?

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Caspian Tern for at least third day at Rudyard Lake, favouring the mud at the north end.

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Rob


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Well There was certainly one perched on top of the flight enclosure for that species when a friend and I visited last September.

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On Birdguides, a Bald Ibis at Winkhill (near Blackbrook Zoological Park)

Could this be the bird that was present in Greater Manchester last summer

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day out with phil Kelly to Cannock chase, walking from seven springs to stepping stones and beyond and back produced some good birds, highlights...

1 wood warbler
1-2 cuckoos
2 tree pipits, more heard
3 redstarts, more heard
3 garden warblers
1 spotted flycatcher
whitethroats, blackcaps, chiffchaffs & willow warblers.
several buzzards around.
plus all usual woodland birds around.
smile

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Thursday, May 16th.

As always, a very enjoyable trip to Coombs Valley.

Garden Warbler 3 singing.
Pied Flycatcher 5 singing with good views of one near bridge.
Redstart 3 singing plus good views of another male.
Buzzard 4
Kestrel 1 male.
Willow Tit 1 singing.
Goldcrest 2 singing.
Bullfinch 1m 1f.
Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Blackcaps, etc.etc.

Tittesworth Res.

Common Sandpiper 3
Oystercatcher 2
Lesser Redpoll 1
Whitethroat 1
etc.etc.

Plus, I was informed I'd just missed 2 Spotted Flycatchers by minutes-typical! I was too busy feeding my face with a scone, cream and jam!

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RSPB Coombes Valley to see Pied Flycatchers. At least five males and two females present, a pair setting up in nest box 36 just over the bridge. I don't think there can be a better more picturesque setting than this to watch these little birds go about their business and you can leave your scope at home. GS Woodpecker investigating last years home in tree overhanging the stream, Grey Wagtail rockhopping up the stream, Chaffinch, Willow Warbler, Wren, Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Jay, Blackbird, Nuthatch, Blackcap, Treecreeper, Pheasant, all seen from the same spot by the bridge. Overhead were Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Rooks, and Buzzard. At least two Tawny Owl communicating with one another. On the path down, Garden Warbler and Sedge Warbler. Redstarts present on the reserve but not seen by me. Nice to meet people from as far as Northumberland and Worcester who came specially to see the flycatchers and were blown away by this little corner of the reserve.

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sid ashton wrote:

Glad that you found the bird Phil and that our telephone call this morning was of use





Thanks Sid. Yes your "spot on" directions over the phone certainly helped as it was a difficult place to find without a bit of guidance.

Lovely bird but don't mention them muddy paths!

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Glad that you found the bird Phil and that our telephone call this morning was of use

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Myself and Stuart Smith also headed down to Drayton Bassett Pits at RSPB Middleton this afternoon for the White-rumped Sandpiper.

On arrival, the bird was hidden away behind one of the islands in a pool just south of the north pit, but was soon re-located and treated us to cracking views through the 'scope with it's obvious White rump easy to pick out amongst the other features.

2 Little Egrets were also seen amongst the commoner species together with a female Long=tailed Duck which had been found on one of the other pools and certainly got the local borough listers out in force.

A great afternoon in the bright November sunshine and as Sid says, Wellies or old boots are a must, it was a bit muddy to say the least!

-- Edited by Phil Owen on Sunday 18th of November 2012 06:05:15 PM

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During a hastily arranged afternoon visit to RSPB Middleton Lakes Nature Reserve, Drayton Bassett, with John Barber we easily picked up the longish staying White-rumped Sandpiper just south of the north pit. Given the fact that it and a couple of Black-headed Gulls were the only birds present on that piece of water we couldn't really miss!!!! A really friendly group of birders present and there was one bloke with a Macaw species on his shoulder that John was all for ticking

If anyone is thinking of going down there, wellies are an absolute must as the 2 mile walk from the RSPB car park at Middleton Hall is really very muddy for most of the way.


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Trentham gardens
Non birding day out but birds still seen:

2 kingfisher
Buzzard
10+ goldcrest
10+ nuthatch
Treecreeper
Blackcap
G.s woodpecker
4 grey heron(including a juv that was feeding 12 feet from the path where the ducks get fed near the entrance!)
Highlight was an eclipse mandarin that came up on the bank briefly before a dog walker sent it back in.no leg rings present.

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Doc Brewster wrote:

Red-backed Shrike today SE of Alsagers Bank near Stoke, S.of B5367. Showing well but distantly on a barbed wire fence by a cattle field in rain & murk, hopefully in that weather wont go anywhere & will still be there tomorrow





Female Red-backed Shrike still showing well at 18:00ish perched on barbed-wire fence.

For those thinking of going tomorrow, site is grid ref is SJ813477. From Black Bank turn onto High Lane (by the mast), from the end of High Lane bear right along the track and after approx 100metres turn right to view the fence line.

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Red-backed Shrike today SE of Alsagers Bank near Stoke, S.of B5367. Showing well but distantly on a barbed wire fence by a cattle field in rain & murk, hopefully in that weather wont go anywhere & will still be there tomorrow

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Visit to coombes valley yesterday 3.30 to 10.30
Generally quiet really but highlights were finding a pied flycatcher nest along with another pair(fairly easy as its signposted!)and 3 males.also found a spotted flycatcher nest and another gs woodpecker nest(not the one by the bridge).one of the male pied chased off a squirrel several times which was entertaining!no redstart wood warbler or tree pipits for me today although I did get great views of a garden warbler.I was there so late because I was waiting for the woodcock to start roding.no joy there either but the appearance of a barn owl and the sight of a heron flying across the moon kind of made up for it...

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If this one hadn't chosen to pick a spot at the confluence of two paths it could have remained undetected for a long time. The song is so quietit is difficult to pick up, and feeding in the damp marshy area, even at close range made it like looking for a Corncrake in June. Many must get missed during a mini fall like this one.

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Surely it gives us hope of one

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RE: Staffordshire - Doxey


Stunning "Red-spotted" Bluethroat at Doxey today - showing down to about 20 feet at times and showing well with patience.

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RE: Staffordshire


Trentham Gardens:
Family day out enlivened by great views of an Osprey over the lake. Seem twice through the day, looked like it was going to go for a fish but , as it stretched out talons and positioned itself for a dive, it was mobbed by a passing crow.

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Annual visit to Coombs Valley, Wednesday, May 2nd.

Pied Flycatcher 3m 2f
Redstart 3 singing, 1 seen.
Garden Warbler 1 singing.
Treecreeper 2
Buzzard 2
Willow Warbler 10+ singing.
Blackcap 8+ singing.
Chiffchaff 8+ singing.

etc.etc.etc. No Tree Pipit or Wood Warbler.

Called at Tittesworth on the way home.

Little Ringed Plover 1
Curlew 1
Oystercatcher 2
Goldcrest 1
Lesser Redpoll 3
Gt.Crested Grebes
Greylag Geese 2
Nuthatch 2
Treecreeper 1

etc.etc.etc.


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Went to Upper Longdon for the long staying Great Grey Shrike. Drove through the village (Startley Lane) and then parked up on the left, at the brow of the hill, just after the last of the houses. This overlooks the clearfell and, sure enough, as soon as I stepped out of the car, there it was, sat atop the tallest of the half dozen or so tree trunks. Gorgeous bird. It was quite confiding and seemed to favour another, shorter, tree trunk further up the road, on which to eat it's prey. There is another parking area (of sorts) right next to that, so, you could get very close, though, I didn't bother as I didn't want to spook it.

Also about, lots of mixed finch flocks that included dozens of Brambling, 3 Siskin and all the usual suspects including 2 GSW. A pleasant couple of hours.

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Rick, Give up the optics ! steady on. It's only a marriage.

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UK Life List 314 at 9th Dec 2014


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PS Anyone have any tips for mending broken marriages !!

Yes - give all your optics away for free to first person to ask for them... I'll have them if it helps save a marriage!



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A leisurely 5am start had me down at Uttoxeter by 6am for the Staffordshire Lesser Yellowlegs.

Accurate directions distilled the evening before ( thank you Sid Ashton ) from various forums soon had me in the right area, along with other equally eager birding insomniacs. Initially the bird was no where to be found until an eagle eyed member of the group spotted the rare American vagrant relatively close, and just ahead of us. A case of looking too far into the distance on this relatively large site.

Despite the steady rain the mood brightened amongst the assembled band as good views were had by all. My first LY and a very nice bird it was to.

As the rain grew heavier the time came to depart and an absence of traffic on this bank holiday weekend had me back home in my bed not long after 8.

The end of a satisfactory birding day I thought....fat chance.... a lunchtime text from a Cumbrian located Nick Isherwood soon had me heading North to Brockholes for a rendezvous with a second rare yank of the day.

PS Anyone have any tips for mending broken marriages !!




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Ah well, typically the Wryneck wasn't seen at all today, and the Dotterel was missing too.

Paul

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A Wryneck was present all day today near Knypersley reservoir just N.of Stoke, a bit closer for Greater Manchester birders than the East Coast!!

Directions (if it still there tomorrow) are:

Just N.of Brown Edge by Sands Lane on gorse covered hill. Drive over the dam at Knypersley Resr and continue to the T-junction, turn right and then bear left up to the car park. Walk along the ridge footpath to look down into the gorse. (If you travel and get lost give me a buzz btw 9.30am-5pm on 01925 730775 and I'll try to guide you in!).

Due to the nature of the habitat the bird is in it is elusive and mobile, being seen more in flight than perched, but given time views are possible. I had my first view of it perched for about 2 seconds (!!) after an hours wait, then 2 more flight views in the next hour. Early in the day was best today and could be again if it is present tomorrow.

Also in Staffs (but I didn't travel for this) is a Dotterel at Whitemoor Haye in the potato field behind the microlight field viewed from rough track.

Cheers
Paul

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