Sunday, 15 January 2017

Garden Blackcap

I was watching the birds in the garden this morning for the BTO's Garden Birdwatch Scheme, when I spotted a small bird hopping around the bottom of the buddleia. I noticed the brown cap immediately, and thought Blackcap!

I grabbed the camera just as the bird flew up and landed in the Mahonia bush, where it stayed for about 30 seconds, before it dropped back down into the hedge and was lost from view. A nice "year tick" for January.


Year List update:
58: Blackcap

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Linacre WeBS - January 2016

We had the first snow of the winter here in Derbyshire yesterday, so I was looking forward to see a white Linacre this morning when I popped down for this month's WeBS walk. Unfortunately, most of the snow had gone, but there were a few patches left here and there.

Snow by the top reservoir

Birds were present in reasonable numbers for the time of year with the following recorded: Mallard (108), Mandarin Duck (26), Tufted Duck (26), Moorhen (15), Coot (4), Little Grebe (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Black-headed Gull (17) and Teal (3; 1 male and 2 females).

Mallard enjoying some sunflower hearts!

The woods were quite lively this morning too with Song Thrush, Wren, Robin, Woodpigeon, Blue and Great Tit all singing. Great-spotted Woodpeckers were drumming, and Mistle Thrush, Siskin and Fieldfare were also seen.

Year List update:
53 – Tawny Owl (heard calling in Chesterfield on 13th January)
54 – Song Thrush
55 – Fieldfare
56 – Mistle Thrush
57 - Treecreeper (seen at Fairholmes, Ladybower this afternoon)

Monday, 9 January 2017

Grey Partridge

Grey Partridge is always a tricky species to catch up with in Derbyshire, so I was very pleased to add this species to the "year list" today. The birds in question were found in a field in Apperknowle, one of the few regular spots that I know for this species.

I spotted the birds, a decent sized covey of 23 birds (my highest ever count), as I was driving home from school, and managed to get some photos.

Grey Partridge
Year List update:
52: Grey Partridge

Sunday, 8 January 2017

New Year Ringing, Waxwings and Year Ticks

I know its not quite the new year now, but today was the first opportunity I had to get out ringing in 2017, hence the title of today's post.

This morning I was out with 4 other members of the Sorby Breck Ringing Group visiting the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's Avenue Washlands Reserve in Chesterfield. We had a 3 and a half hour session, catching a super 104 birds of 15 species. Birds caught were (new/retrap): Wren 1/0, Dunnock 1/0, Robin 3/0, Blackbird 1/0, Goldcrest 1/1, Long-tailed Tit 1/7, Willow Tit 1/0, Blue Tit 8/6, Great Tit 4/9, Chaffinch 4/4, Greenfinch 3/0, Goldfinch 36/1, Bullfinch 9/2, Yellowhammer 1/1 and Reed Bunting 3/0.

As you can see, we had  a very good selection of bird species today. The most notable were the excellent number of Goldfinch, followed closely by the new Willow Tit ( a species which seems to be declining quite quickly), the Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer and Bullfinch (all "year ticks" as well).

After ringing Jayne and I had a drive to Chesterfield to see a group of 18 Waxwings on Whittington Moor. We then had a drive out to Bakewell, where we had a spot of lunch and a walk by the river, adding Canada Goose to the "year list". Whilst here, we also spotted the Tufted Duck x Pochard hybrid duck, that is back on the river for the winter. Details of this bird can be found here.

Hybrid Duck

Year List update:
47 – Canada Goose
48 – Willow Tit
49 – Bullfinch
50 – Yellowhammer
51 – Reed Bunting

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Linacre - 7th January 2017

Today was my first walk around all 3 reservoirs at Linacre for 2017. I arrived at 7.45am, just as it was getting light, and spent 2 hours on site. The temperature was 5 degrees, and it was dry, bright and still. During the walk, I added 4 new species to the "year list".

I started off on the bottom reservoir where the first of 90 Mallards were seen. Tufted Ducks were also present, and I managed to spot 29 in total. The first of 3 Grey Wagtails was present here, as were 2 Grey Herons, and the first of 64 Black-headed Gulls. Other water birds seen around the site today were: Coot (5), Moorhen (10), Little Grebe (3, 1 on each reservoir), Mandarin Duck (40) and Great-crested Grebe (1 on the top reservoir).

Great-crested Grebe

The woodland birds were in good voice this morning with Wren, Robin, Coal, Great and Blue Tit heard singing. Nuthatch were also heard calling, and Siskin were heard flying over. I took some sunflower hearts with me today, and a Robin (possibly the one that I'd photographed last year as it was in the same spot by the top reservoir), came down to grab a few, so I grabbed a few more photos!


Year List update:
43 – Pheasant
44 – Nuthatch
45 – Great-crested Grebe
46 - Siskin

Monday, 2 January 2017

Sheffield Waxwings

I was out early this morning down on Queen's Road in Sheffield to "tick" some Waxwings for the "Year List". 300 had been reported on Birdguides yesterday, so I thought my chances were quite good. When I arrived at 7.45am there were about 20 Redwings and 3 Blackbirds feeding on the Rowan trees,  but no Waxwings. However, at about 8am, a small group of 4 birds arrived, and then, over the next 15 minutes, numbers built up very quickly to number at least 400!! They were very flighty, and barely settled for more than a few seconds, but I managed some photos.


After looking at the Waxwings, I drove down to Worcester, and added another 10 species to the "Year List" (numbers 37 - 41)

32 – Pied Wagtail
33 – Feral Pigeon
34 – Redwing
35 – Waxwing
36 – House Sparrow
37 – Mute Swan
38 – Common Buzzard
39 - Cormorant
40 - Herring Gull
41 – Lesser Black-backed Gull
42 - Lapwing

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Wet and Windy Start to 2017

Welcome to 2017!! As the title suggests, 2017 started wet and windy here in Derbyshire. As a result, my birding year started in the garden, where all the usual suspects were busy feeding. Therefore, my first 10 species of bird seen were:

1 – Blackbird
2 – Starling
3 – Woodpigeon
4 – Chaffinch
5 – Goldfinch
6 – Dunnock
7 – Collared Dove
8 – Robin
9 – Greenfinch
10 – Great Tit

The rain continued until the afternoon, but by 3pm I was able to get out to Linacre for an hour before it went dark. Again, the usual suspects were around, but I was also lucky enough to see 2 male Teal - the first Linacre record since November 2015!! The following birds made it onto the 2017 list!

11 – Blue Tit
12 – Coal Tit
13 – Long-tailed Tit
14 – Goldcrest
15 – Moorhen
16 – Coot
17 – Little Grebe
18 – Mallard
19 – Tufted Duck
20 – Grey Wagtail (2 present)
21 – Grey Heron
22 – Black-headed Gull
23 – Kestrel (seen on the drive to Linacre)
24 – Teal
25 – Great-spotted Woodpecker
26 – Carrion Crow
27 – Jay
28 – Jackdaw
29 – Magpie
30 – Mandarin Duck
31 - Wren

My New Year's Resolution is to make sure I add all my notes to the BTO's BirdTrack, so I'll start as I mean to go on, and add these records now.