Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's Impossible

What's impossible? Gull ID, that's what! Well, maybe not impossible, but always a challenge.

Here's a few pics from Stubber's Green today, which may or may not illustrate this point.

Yellow-legged gull

Yellow-legged gull - note the yellow legs

Yellow-legged gull

Yellow-legged gull - note the absence of any legs!

Common gull

Common gull - not actually all that common!

Great black-backed gull

Great black-backed gull - okay, that one's fairly easy

Not a Caspian gull

Caspian gull? No. Had us excited for a bit though!

Here's another picture, taken at the same site last year, of a probable Caspian gull.

The suspicious gull

Was it? Who knows?

I love gulls, me!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn

I love Autumn , me.

Already I've seen the first returning fieldfare and redwing of the season, plus a few other species that have been absent for the past few months.

The colours on the trees, that certain, specific Autumny smell that permeates the air, the dark evenings - they all add up to a magical time of year.

I'm particularly looking forward to a few more walks around the patch, in the hope of squeezing out another few birds for the list. On that front, Earlswood Lakes has the potential to fill a few duck-shaped gaps and I fully expect to be back there in November and December.

Seizing the advantage of the decent spell we've had in October, Mrs Reg and I had an enjoyable few hours at Brandon Marsh on Monday. We didn't see anything that would necessarily set the birding world alight, but kingfisher, goosander, common gull, sparrowhawk and redwing were all encountered.

Throw in the unmissable call of Cetti's warbler, and the sight of many teal, lapwing, shoveler and gadwall, plus half a dozen snipe or so, and it would be a very grumpy birder who could have not found something to enjoy.

Oh, and there was also what will probably be the last dragonfly sighting of the year. I'm not absolutely sure what it was, as it was darting around rather a lot, but my best guess would be a migrant hawker.

So, onto today's title. This refers to a feathered thorn moth that Mrs Reg discovered peering through our kitchen window on Monday night.

Feathered thorn

Another life tick on my paltry moth list. I'm hoping that moths might play a bigger part in my adventures next year. I'm even thinking of purchasing a moth trap.

No trap required for my next potential lifer, however, assuming that somebody out there can identify it. It turned up in the house last night, looking a bit worse for wear. I will hand out a ridiculously generous 500 telescope points for anyone who can have a reasonable stab at what it might be. Nothing rude please.

Mystery moth

If no replies are forthcoming, I'll throw it over to the forum and see what happens.

Until next time, keep sweeping up those leaves!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gone Gone Gone [Done Moved On]

Goodbye birding, hello twitching. My Dad and I had a go for the glossy ibis at Fisher's Mill Pool this morning, and missed the bird by a whisker apparently. It had been seen shortly before we arrived, but was not relocated.

Still, we had an enjoyable time walking along the canal, picking up some nice birds along the way - fieldfare, siskin, willow tit, kingfisher and linnet to name a few.

On Fisher's Mill Pool and in the surrounding area, the best of the birds were wigeon, gadwall, goldeneye, teal, more siskin and linnet, a pair of stonechats, and a juvenile garganey.

Other spots included meadow pipit, red admiral, painted lady and a small copper.

It certainly looks like a good site for birds and butterflies, and quite possibly dragons and damsels too. I would be keen to make another visit next year.

Obviously a bit of a shame about the ibis, but enough other stuff to make it an enjoyable few hours. Good to meet a few other birders too.

Everything Changed

Worcestershire Source has undergone a bit of a makeover today. Please pay a visit and make sure to e-mail any bird sightings from the county to Thank you to everyone who has helped to make the site what it is over the last year or so.

In addition, Worcestershire Source can now also be followed on Twitter at Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Into The Woods

A beautiful autumn morning saw me pay a visit to one of my favourite haunts, the Wyre Forest. Accompanying me for his second official birding experience was my mate Boyley.

The main aim was to fill in a few gaps on his fledgling life list. On the whole, we did quite well. As is often the way, however, a few species eluded us. These included goldcrest, long-tailed tit and song thrush.

On the positive side, we had good numbers of redwing over Lodge Hill Farm - the first I've seen since the leaves started falling of the trees, excellent views of dippers on Dowles Brook, and half a dozen Mandarins on the River Severn by Trimpley Reservoir later on.

In total, Boyley added a further 21 species to his list. Our next venture will probably be to Bittell Reservoirs, with the intention of seeing a few different duck species.

It's been really enjoyable to get back in touch with the birds that I have perhaps begun to take a bit for granted.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My List

The Great Big Birding Spreadsheet Version 5.0 is now up and running. Here's a snippet ...

The Great Big Birding Spreadsheet Version 5.0

Spotting Stobarts rules!

As I said before, I love spreadsheets, me!

And in case you think I've failed in my quest to use a song title for every blog entry this year, My List is track nine on Sam's Town by The Killers. Get in!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Happy Birthday

Mrs Reg celebrated her birthday on Thursday. It would be very impolite of me to disclose her age, but if you add up the number of different butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies that I've seen this year, then take away the number of pectoral sandpipers I've seen, you'd have your answer.

We spent Friday with the family, walking around Draycote Water. I must point out that this was Mrs Reg's idea, and a decision that had been taken at the beginning of the week. However, when I spotted that a lesser scaup had turned up there on Thursday, I did afford myself a wry smile!

Lesser scaup

Lesser scaup

Lesser scaup at Draycote Water

Nice one, Mrs Reg. Many happy returns!