Sunday, 3 April 2011

Utch 3/4/11 0720-0950, sunny and cool, wind mod' s/w.

The highlight of this mornin's visit to Utch was a Tawny Owl calling near the Dipper bridge! Sad I know but apart from the juv' we found a couple of years ago it's only my second record of a T'owl at Utch.

A summer plumaged Little Grebe on the River Tean pit was new in.

Still two Yellow Wag's on the islands but no sign of any White Wag's. At least thirty Mpipits were feedin' in fields near the dove.

A Bar-headed Goose was a new addition to the growin' list of escapees from nearby Rocester when it flew in with a Mute Swan. Or perhaps it really is wild, who knows? Early on there were just two Goosander present but by the time I'd walked along the river another thirty three had sneaked in while me back was turned. With this many present into April it makes you wonder just how many will stay to breed locally?

A single Ringed Plover was my ninth Utch year tick of the weekend, putting me back on course for another crack at the Utch 120 club title. Highlight among the waders today though was at least 20 Spoon-billed Sandpipers feeding along the north shore!

Tawny Owl 1, Yellow Wag' 2, Mpipit c30, Little Grebe 1, Ringy 1, Spoon-billed Sand' c20, Snipe 4, Curlew 1, Oyst' 3, Goosander 35, Teal 2.

And finally on a non bird related note I had a text from a top local birder and blogger on Thursday tellin' me that he was in Wolvo at a Chas and Dave gig!!!!! Now I know the lad is old before his time but bloody hell Chas and Dave? Mind you I'd better not say to much I'm off to the LG Arena in September to see a small blonde songstress with enormous lungs, ooooooooh errrr!!! Only I could book tickets for Iron Maiden and Dolly Parton at the same time.

That's all folks.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Utch 2/4/11, 1750-2000, sunny and mild, wind mod' s/w.

Hey up folks, a really enjoyable visit tonight made even more so by the none appearance of "ROTTWEILLER MAN" a classic example of dangerous dogs in the wrong hands!! Don't get me wrong there's no finer sight than a well bred rottie but in the wrong hands they can be lethal.

Plenty of migrants about this evening pour moi and the "deer hunter" with three very early Yellow Wagtails and five White Wagtails on the north shore of the main pit. The Yellow Wag's were nine days earlier than last year. At least six Chiff's were around the site.

Little Ringed Plovers have increased to ten. A single Common Sandpiper feedin' along the north shore of the main pit was the first of the spring. Still one Green Sand' present and a single Dunlin flew through calling as it made it's way north.

On the duck front still at least forty three Goosander present this evenin' also a male Wigeon and two Teal.

A flyover Little Egret had me fooled for a moment when it appeared from behind a passin' Helicopter, for a moment I thought the pilot was droppin' litter from a great height!!!

Yellow Wag' 3, White Wag' 5, Common Sand' 1, LRP 10, Green Sand' 1, Dunlin 1, Oyst' 5, Curlew 4, Little Egret 1, Wigeon 1, Teal 2, Goosander 43.

That's all folks.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Utch 1/4/11, 1745-1920, cloudy and mild, wind mod' s/w.

Hey up folks finally got to Utch this evenin' after almost a month since my last visit!! I managed to cadge a lift with the "deer hunter" himself, Mad Malc', cheers pal. The water level as dropped considerably since I was last there at the beginnin' of March and several little islands are now showin' along the north shore, perfect for migrant waders to rest and feed on as they head north to their arctic breeding grounds.Hopefully this year we can add something really decent to the wader list like a Bairds, White-rumped or Buff' Sand'. Nothin' of any quality this evening but I did pick up three Utch year ticks in the form of LRP, Sand Martin and Chiffchaff. A single immature male Goldeneye was on the main pit alongside a pair of Shelduck and eleven Goosander Goosander 11, Shelduck 2, Teal 1, Tufty 33, Oyst' 3, LRP 7, Curlew 6, Green Sand' 1, Chiff' 1, Sand Martin c50. A WORD OF WARNING!!!! ON THE WAY BACK TO THE CAR ME AND THE MAD ONE MET A NEANDERTHAL WITH A FETISH FOR GREEN WELLIES , "COUNTRYMEN" AND TWO OUT OF CONTROL ROTTWEILLERS! HE WEARS AN ORANGE JACKET, IF YOU SEE HIM WALK THE OTHER WAY. That's all folks.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

That Bloody Greenhouse and Cotton Dell BBS.

Hey up folks for the third weekend runnin' I've failed to even get a sniff of Utch because of this bloody greenhouse business! It's become a huge job involvin' a lot of work pour moi and to say I'm not happy is an understatement but the light at the end of the tunnel is insight now and hopefully I should be back in the saddle by next weekend.

Rumours of me bein' so fed up with it all that I chucked meself off the top of the garden wall are completely unfounded. I actually fell off and have the cuts and bruises to prove it, ouch!! Worse still as I landed by the side of the old punto I noticed we'd got a flat tyre caused by one of the felt tacks I'd been usin' earlier, double ouch!!!

Despite all this work I did manage to get out for a dawn start on a Breeding Bird Survey at Cotton Dell for the Staffs Wildlife Trust. The dell is one of my favourite places round here, not really a "hot spot" but always good for Dipper along the brook and woodland goodies like Wood Wobbler, Pied Fly' and Redstart.

The highlight of this mornin's visit was not one but two pairs of Mandarins involved in courtship flights through the trees of the dell. Yes I know they're considered "plastic" by the serious listers but I love to see these stunnin' little tree nestin' ducks. At one point one of the females landed in a large Beech tree about thirty feet up, above my head.

Other "real" birds included a pair of Dippers who showed superbly and a rather dashing male Grey Wagtail singing his heart out as he perched above the brook. Nuthatchs were very vocal with three male birds all havin' a go at the same time at my last survey point. At least three pairs of Stock Doves were in the fields above the dell. Two Chiffchaffs were my first of the spring.

I couldn't help takin' a few shots with the old Muggimakki, despite it being the start of spring and the place not yet being at its best it's still a nice place to spend an hour or two.

That's all folks.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Midas Mad Malc's Mammalian Mega!!!!!

A text from the mad lad this mornin' while I was at work, building high quality yellow tractors made me drop me spanner! The text read, in Malc's typically understated fashion "MUNTJAC @ POXEY THIS MORNIN". F####in' hell he's done me again!!!!! Once again working shifts at the crisp factory has paid off for me aging mucker. I've known that these collie sized deer are around locally for several years now and despite spending thousands of hours at Poxey I've still not seen one of the little buggas! Several of the locals have gripped me off in the past with tails of local Munties and now Malc' has joined the select band of local "Muntcateers".

Well done pal(he says through gritted teeth).

Apart from a single White Wag' at work it's been another completely bird less week pour moi as the "Greenhouse Gate" scandal continues but hopefully by the end of play tomorrow after another full day "dans le jardin" I should be ok to hit Utch on Sunday, fingers crossed on that one.

That's all folks.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Really Wild Barnie?

Hey up folks yet another Utchless weekend pour moi!!!! A hoped for visit this afternoon with Malc' was scuppered by this bloody greenhouse business! Anyway it's not been a complete loss this weekend bird wise. The two LRP's that RP found at Poxey yesterday were still present this mornin' and Malc' "found" a Barnacular Goose among the Can's at Hales Hall. This was a new bird for the Goose Mecca that is Hales Hall so it was a perfect reason for me to down tools and go chase the goose. Two minutes after I got there the goose was UTB as it fed among the Can's in the field above the pool.

Now normally I'd have just dismissed this bird as one of the local feral birds but earlier news on the pager of a "really wild" colour ringed Barnie at nearby Carsington Water left me with no choice but to try and get a poo sample from Malc's bird. After ten minutes crawling on all fours towards the goose flock I finally got a sample of poo and better still a primary feather!!!! So one way or another after DNA and stable isotope tests we'll know if the Barnie spent the winter at Utch or somewhere slightly wilder. If it's wild the mad lad owes me another pint!

That's all folks.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Greenhouse Gas!!!

Well I thought I'd had a crap week 'til I turned on the news and saw what's happened in Japan. After seein' that I feel a bit of a knob after lettin' a couple of narrow minded neighbours spoil the grand unveiling of our Jan's little greenhouse!!!! Any way here is said greenhouse and if you are readin' this Mr and Mrs T. Watt and Mrs S. Hitehouse I hope you're happy!!!

Well that's got that off me chest so back to birds eh. I haven't managed a single visit to Utch this weekend and as you can see I started this post on Saturday evening. Saturday saw me and old Norbert racin' around to make sure the Webs count was done so that on Sunday me and Jan could get off to the doggie "Download" festival , Crufts at The NEC.

Highlights of the Webs count were the drake Gadwall still at Poxey, a Green Sand' over the North Lake at Rocester and most surprisin' of all a Woodcock flyin' up Earls Rock Lake at Dimmings Dale. All three were new birds for each Webs list. A single Sand Martin flyin' south over the South Lake at Rocester was the first migrant of the spring pour moi and nice to see.

While I was at Rocester I unleashed the old Muggimakki on some of the rubber ducks in residence on the duck pond, well it makes a change from Google Images.

Crufts was as usual a celebration of everything dog with everything imaginable for sale from doggie socks to doggie bog roll, I kid you not!!. It's a crackin' day out for us dog lovers and this year me and our Jan decided to book early for "Best in Show" the culmination of the four days competition. The problem with these televised events though is that you've got a good chance of bein' caught on camera, and we were!! I got off lightly, I was just pointin' at the screen in a mongy fashion, our Jan' though was tippin' a bottle down her neck like one of the 'anley Park wino's. It was diet coke but you can't see that on the screen, oooophs!

Here's the Flat Coated Retreiver that won, I went for the little Basset that came second which just about sums me up, the nearly man.

That's all folks.