Sunday, 19 April 2015

A REAL Spring Migration Day!

Its a sign of a good day on site when the least impressive bird of note was a displaying Raven being mobbed by a Crow. This is the second time this month that I have watched the tumbling display over the Marsh - when I started you had to go to the Welsh uplands to get a view of this behaviour - you lot don't know how spoiled you are!

The first good bird of the day was a singing Garden Warbler in the hedge line at the south side of the Ford Brook. Although not a regular breeding species, Garden Warbler are an annual passage migrant through and there seems to be a propensity for one male to occasionally establish a territory along that hedge line. They are always a sod to see and this one was no exception, skulking in the middle of the hedges and occasionally allowing a glimpse as it flitted between bushes alternating its full song phrases with subdued sub-song.

The Mere was disappointing, no Tern today and nothing interesting on show, just one of our Oystercatcher and yesterdays male Wigeon at the west end. All three hirundine were present though and as I was watching them I detected a high flying bird, initially no more than a spot, showing against white fleecy cloud. I persevered for about three minutes as it seemed to move closer before dropping suddenly and confirming my suspicions, a very early Swift!

In any year this would be an early record (my third earliest, I checked) but surprisingly we have already had one through the site over a week ago! Once upon a time you would not expect to see Swift until the last couple of days of April or early May. Proof of global warming?

You tell me (something is going on though).

Nothing in the hedge line or bushes but unusually, one of the Greylag Geese was on the Marsh along with the Canada Geese and four Gadwall. Then a brief burst of harsh grating song caught my attention. There along the mineral line was a Sedge Warbler jinking about in the old typha and then - Magic, a novice birders dream come true. For about twenty seconds the Sedge Warbler sat at the top of an old stalk singing into the face of a Reed Warbler that was singing back - what a row but to see these two lovely Warblers facing off in the Clayhanger Marsh equivalent of 'The Voice' was an excellent, experience, particularly as I know that once they get their feet under the table. both of these birds are likely to become much less obliging, in a few weeks time, singing from the cover of new growth.

Lots of cake today then! I was already well pleased and certainly didn't expect to anoint my cake with any cream, but as I walked home along the edge of the set-aside, the unmistakable song of a male Redstart! time and again it sang, allowing me to close in and get brilliant views of a bird that is genuinely so beautiful that you cant believe its real.

What a day! - why can't it always be like this? - Chaz

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Lots of activity. (Updated)

A good day on the Marsh with a really good variety of summer migrants including Chiifchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Wheatear (1M 2F) Common Sandpiper (1) and Common Tern all being present.

Star birds though were two Little Egret which performed on the marsh early morning before retiring to the farm fields near the Ford Brook by early afternoon. They were still present in the area and seen in flight by Anita at around 16.30.

Other birds seen included Oystercatcher (1) - Gadwall ( 3M) - Shoveler  (2M 1F) and several Linnet.

Kev Clements spent a lot of the day over there and added Peregrine, Gadwall (5M 1F) - Shoveler (3M 2F) -and a Wigeon. - Chaz

Friday, 17 April 2015

News from the marsh

Obviously waining enthusiasm, Kev Clements had a lie-in this morning so missed the singing Wood Warbler that I am sure must have been singing on site (Psychic channel take note) but with nobody there to see or here it we will have to pretend it never happened eh?

What Kev did see was :

Garganey (F), Gadwall (3M 1F) - Teal (2) - all three hirundine - Wigeon (1) - Shoveler (2) - Greylag (1) - Oystercatcher (2)

That Garganey must be getting quite frustrated if she's waiting for a partner, nearly a month on site must be getting on for a record.

I will be over tomorrow to find the big rarity so stay tuned (HA - yeah!) - Chaz

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Spring Migration Update

Breaking News First; just had a call from Ian Ward to say that there is a Redstart on the West Shore at Chasewater this evening! 

"So what"? -  you may say, well my records show that I saw a female there on an unspecified date - IN 1985!! - Big site rarity, get off now and have a good tick for the premiere reservoir in Staffordshire! I would if I had a car don't worry (too old and knackered to walk)!
Now for the Marsh and Mere and guess who was over there today (its about time he started paying council tax for the site - I heard he went home the other night and Mrs Clements screamed - she'd forgotten who he was!).

Now here's a tale - I responded to Kev's text yesterday and said that I was expecting him to find a Tree Pipit over there. They are a very scarce passage bird on site but it is the right time of year for them to be on the move and given the time that he is putting in on site it was something I was expecting him to pull out of the hat.

Apparently he and Gareth arrived this morning and amongst the first birds seen - not one, but two Tree Pipit, seen well and heard calling. Now not taking anything away from Kev's skill I would love to know if it was a coincidence or if the idea placed at the back of his mind had made him more sensitive to the possibility of the species - I suppose we will never know?

Anyway, if he finds a Wood Warbler tomorrow I'm putting in for a job on the psychic channel!

Kev and Gareth's tally today:

Common Sandpiper (1) - Swallow (4) - House Martin (2) - Sand Martin (14) - Gadwall (2) - Wigeon (1) - Snipe (2) - Oystercatcher (2) - Cormorant (1) - Lapwing (2) and two Tree Pipit.

Friday tomorrow, high pressure at the weekend so expect crap birding, ah well! - Chaz

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Wednesday Report

A good day for migrants

I went over looking for the Wheatear and White Wagtail but they had moved on. I did manage to see a Common Sandpiper for the year but I will allow Kev Clements to take the lead as usual with his counts and sightings.

Summer Migrants
Garganey (1F) - Redstart (1M) - Common Sandpiper (2) - Swallow - Swift - Yellow Wagtail - House Martin - Sand Martin (22)

The Other Stuff
Wigeon - Gadwall - Greylag - Teal (2) - Black Headed Gull (600+) - Oystercatcher (2) - Snipe (1) -  Raven (1)

Its all happening - Sylvia Warblers next? - Chaz

News for Tuesday

OK - I know its Wednesday, but  it is early and I didn't pick up Kev Clements message until quite late last night. If you want some news for today a Raven went over calling just before 06.30.

Kev was over yesterday and had some decent stuff including White Wagtail and Wheatear on the paddock between the mere and the sewage farm, ten Sand Martin over and a few laggardly winter ducks including Gadwall (2) - Teal (6) - Shoveler (4) - and our regular two Oystercatcher.

Half way through the week folks, the weekend is coming! - Chaz

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Public Service Announcement

Or if you prefer - LOWLIFE SCUMBAG ALERT!

Just letting local residents know that we have a crew of thieving toe-rags active in the area. One of my neighbours had their shed broken into and property stolen last night and another crew were photographed this morning casing the car park of a local company (looking into cars to see if there was anything worth stealing) The latter crew were photographed and I believe that has been passed on to the police.

*Lock your sheds
*Fasten gates
*Don't leave your doors unlocked (even if you are only in the garden)
*Don't leave windows open
*Don't leave anything on view in your car

And most importantly - think of your friends and neighbours, if you see someone behaving suspicious, straight on the phone to the police.

Phone 101 - its a fixed rate 15p phone call and if it gets these low-life's behind bars I would willingly pay ten times that.

As the recently deceased Mr Taylor would have said - "Keep em peeled!"