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Thursday, 3 January 2013


Only the 4th Shropshire GREEN-WINGED TEAL
  Yesterday afternoon, Martin Owen found a male GREEN-WINGED TEAL at Polemere! I guess that Martin was looking for the male Red-crested Pochard that was reported on the pool the day before and came across this instead.
  This morning I arrived at Polemere at 09.00 and found there was already photographer in the hide and he had not seen it in the hour that he had been there. There were 40+ Teal feeding and the only place the GWT could be hiding, is behind the large willows on the far side. 30 minutes later he left and just as I heard his car leaving, I relocated the male GWT coming out from the Willows. Jim Almond entered the hide and I immediately put him on it only to watch it disappear again. There was also a Green Sandpiper on the waters edge.

This is my second for Shropshire after seeing the first county record at Venus Pool in '96 found by Pete Nicholas. The other 2 records were at Allscott Sugar Factory and Wixall Moss.

  As I was up in the area, I thought I'll try the floods in the Meverley area. Jim had the same idea and we teamed up and went in his car, but first we had a look at Martin Pool. I used to visit here a lot and saw my first Shropshire Red-creasted Pochard. The same day there were also a pair of Scaup on the pool. However, today of note were 9 Goosander and a single Little Grebe.
  We quickly moved onto the floods, but soon discovered that we were not going to get far as the roads were flooded. We returned to the main road and I told Jim to take a left down to Upper Hayes Farm and from there we can scan the floods. It's nearly 20 years ago when I was last here and when we could, my mate Matthew Webb and I, during the floods, discovered that this was the best place where it held very large numbers of wildfowl. Highlights and highest counts then included, 10 White-fronted and 2 Pink-footed Geese, 12 Bewick's and 16 Whooper Swan, Ruddy Shelduck, 2 Scaup and over 250 Pintail!  Also on the 8th January '95, 2 Grey Plover with 12 Dunlin. After we Matthew and I both moved out of the county, there were no large numbers reported from the floods. So were the same number of wildfowl going to be here?
  As soon as I stepped out of the Jim's car, I could hear lots of Wigeon and Teal. I set up scope and on the first scan I counted 67 Pintail! In the hour we were there, altogether we counted 250+Wigeon, 400+Teal, 3 Shoveler and 200+Pintail! A long ways off I scanned the Canada and Greylag Geese and picked out a 1st winter dark-bellied Brent Goose! Only my second county record after a single spent a few weeks commuting with the meres in the early 90's. Matthew and I called this the Shropshire Slimbridge and today it lived up to it's name!

Can you see the Brent Goose?
Here's a better record shot by Jim. Check out his blog

Shropshire Slimbridge! Just a fraction of the 200+Pintail on the floods at Upper Hayes Farm

  I left my car at Polemere and with other birders from the road, we had a last look at the male GWT sleeping under the Willows just before dark.
  It looks like I'll be giving it ago at Candles tomorrow as Tom Lowe had a probable 2nd winter Glaucous Gull and just down road on the floods at Buildwas, a 3rd winter Caspian Gull, the fifth in this area since the 30th November last year!

  Yesterday afternoon, I had a quick look at Candles Landfill Tip and was surprised to see the sub-adult Caspian Gull! I thought that it might of moved on during the Christmas and new year period when the tip was closed. There was also a 1st and 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull. On Prisorlee Lake the male Scaup was still present.

The male Scaup was awake and showed at close range

This is for Graham Gorden. Sorry mate, I didn't like 'The Laughing Gnome', but I've always liked this one. 'The Buddha of Suburbia' Bowie once hailing it as his favourite album. The American and European versions were deleted for many years, or as Bowie put it: "The album itself only got one review, a good one as it happens, and is virtually non-existent as far as my catalogue goes – it was designated a soundtrack and got zilch in the way of marketing money. This '94 soundtrack album by David Bowie which accompanied the 4-part television serial The Buddha of Suburbia on BBC2 (itself adapted from the book The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi) The album is David Bowie's nineteenth full-length studio recording, sitting between Black Tie White Noise (1993) and Outside (1995). It was produced and mixed at Mountain Studios (Montreux) in Switzerland and according to Bowie it took only six days to write and record, but fifteen days to mix due to some 'technical breakdowns'

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