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Friday 31 December 2010

Med Gull at Prisorlee Flash

Adult Meditterranean Gull at Prisorlee Flash

I dropped the old man off at Asda and then made a quick dash for Prisorlee Flash to look for yesterdays 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull. When I arrived, there were over 500 Black-headed Gulls on the ice. I quickly went though them with my bins and to my surprise found an adult Meditterranean Gull preening. The bird was a long way off in the fog to get any photos and I had to get back to Asda in a few minutes. I quickly dropped the old man back home and just as I came out of the house, I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the Poplar Tree. Another garden tick. Half an hour after I left, I was at Prisorlee Flash and found the bird immeditely back on with 200+Black-headed Gulls. This time it was at very close range but the foggy conditions didn't help the light when taking photos from the camcorder. 

Adult Meditterranean Gull at Prisorlee Flash

Adult Meditteranean Gull with over 200 Back-headed Gulls at Prisorlee Flash

Late in the afternoon, Tean and I went for a walk down to Hortonwood, where I saw some birds that I have not seen for a very long time including, Green Woodpecker, Bullfinch and Jay. A single Siskin and 9 Redpoll sp also flew over. Just before dark, I was at the edge of the a field and started to observe a Fox pouncing in the long grass for rodents. It had no idea that I was only a few meters away from it and continued to hunt for a good ten minutes before disappearing through a thick row of Hawthorns and into the next field. In the past, I've had some very close encounters of Foxes and this was one to remember. And to think that people hunt these beautiful animals for fun. I worked on a stud farm for ten years, so I know everything about hunting and it is one of the most cruellest (sports) on earth!  

Female Great Spotted Woodpecker


2 pairs of Bullfinches were at Hortonwood. These were taken pretty late in the afternoon

I could of watched this Fox hunting for hours at Hortonwood. It had no idea that I was standing only a few meters away from it!

This is the first Fox I've seen since over two years ago.

When I was a kid, I used to cycle down here after school everyday and Lapwings were breeding in most of the fields and Yellowhammers were singing in most of the hedges. Now it's all been built over and everything I saw then, has gone!

Thursday 30 December 2010

Pink-footed Goose on the River Severn

Adult Pink-footed Goose on the River Severn at Leighton

 Late this morning, I heard a Redpoll in the garden. I looked out of the window and to my surprise saw a Grey Heron fly over the houses and circle the garden before resting on top of next doors tall conifer. It was obvious that it wanted to come down to the garden pool, but after a few minutes, it was spooked and flew off NW. I could see birds moving in the birch tree and found 3 Lesser Redpolls feeding with 10 Goldfinches. The heron was a new garden tick, but I had 5 Lesser Redpolls with 2 Mealy Redpolls back in the early 90's when we had that mega Arctic and Mealy Redpoll invasion year.

This immature Grey Heron was a first for the garden

One of the 3 Lesser Redpolls in the garden

 A look at Trench Pool found the drake Gooseander still present and then it was off to check the River Severn at Leighton. With the rise in temptures and the ice melting, the river had risen slightly. However, it was more or less the same wildfowl I saw a few days ago. 1 Little Grebe, Pair of Pintails, 21 Goosanders, 25 Wigeon, 29 Coots and 50+Mallards. The highlight came near the end when I found an adult pink-footed Goose on the bank. Soon as it spotted me, it swam across to the otherside of the river. It's over 15 years ago since I saw a Pink-foot in Shropshire.
 As I was near, I thought I would go and see if there was any change in the swan numbers at Cressage. Except for lower numbers in Mute Swans, there were still the 3 Whooper and 8 Bewick's Swans in the kale fields.

Up to 21 Gooseanders were on the River Severn

The Pink-footed Goose kept to the far side where it felt a lot safer

River Severn at Leighton

Wednesday 29 December 2010


England celebrate winning the Ashes at the MCG, 2010

England wrapped up a crushing innings and 157-run victory over Australia in the fourth Test to retain the Ashes at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
Australia's humiliation was complete when Ben Hilfenhaus was the last man out before lunch on the fourth morning, caught behind off Tim Bresnan for a duck after Ryan Harris was unable to bat because of an ankle injury.
There was only going to be one outcome after Australia were routed for a ground record low of 98 on Sunday's opening day after Andrew Strauss won the toss and put the Australians into bat on a greenish wicket.
The English responded with a towering 513 to hold an impregnable 415-run innings lead which Australia found totally beyond them.

All the wildfowl were constrated altogether in a very small opening on a frozen Trench Pool  

  Tean and I was just about to go to Telford Town Center when Latham called to say that he had 2 Waxwings briefly in his garden, but had flown off SW towards Wellington. On the way to the center, we had a quick look at Trench Pool and I found two new species that I not seen on the pool before. A drake Goosander and Shoveler. Also, both the Pochards and the Tufted Ducks had increased to 13 and 11 respectively and there were also 2 Little Grebes present. In the garden there were only 10+Goldfinches and a single Redwing.

Both the drake Shoveler and Goosander could only just be seen through the dense fog at Trench Pool

                         Did someone say that England won the Ashes?!                     

Tuesday 28 December 2010


Fog rolling in over a frozen Whitemere

 I picked up Latham at 7.45 and then we made our way to the south of the county. Just out of Shrewsbury, fog had decended and it was a turn around to give the south a miss and do the meres in the north instead. Latham thought it might be a good idea to go cross country and have a look for Dipper. At the first bridge, Lathem went ahead. What a shock I got when he shouted, F### Me, OTTER!! I raced up to where he was looking and was amazed to see, not one, but three!! They performed well just below in front of us, hunting and playing in the wier. One of them caught a fish and started to eat it on some rocks to our left! They stuck around for about five minutes and then they were over the wier, swam up stream and were gone. Living on Scilly, I never thought I would see a Shropshire Otter. Otters were recorded on very rare occasions, on the River Severn mainly, when I lived here, but Lathem told me that there making a come back. The only other one I've seen before this, was swimming in the middle of Drift Reservior, Cornwall, at the same time as I was watching a White-rumped Sandpiper! That was good at the time, but these 3 OTTERS were pure magic! I felt so good about the Otters, that I didn't care how the rest of the day went.
 We looked for Dippers elsewhere, but the only bird of note, was a Willow Tit near Venus Pool. At the latter site, like everywhere else, it was frozen over. However a look at the large finch flock produced, 40+Reed Buntings, 35+Yellowhammers, 2 of each Tree Sparrows and Brambings, lots of chaffinches and a male Merlin. 
 Lathem suggested to have a look at the Whooper Swans at nearby Cressage. Good job we did and as we approached the field, Jim Almond a local birder, was already there. We counted altogether, 3 Whooper Swans and 8 Bewick's Swans with 40+Mute Swans feeding in the Kale fields! I'll keep a watch on this site as much as I can.
 Jim tried his luck with Jack Snipe at Chelmarsh and we made our way to the meres. As we scanned Crosemere, the fog rolled in again and it made it difficult to see all the way across to the otherside of the mere. It didn't really matter anyway, because it was totally frozen over. On the bank, there were over 100 Wigeon feeding. The other meres were also fogged in and frozen over. Woodlane Tip held over 200 Herring Gulls, but that was it. It turned out to be a waste of time.
 Later near to home, we looked at other areas and all we got of note were 15 Lesser Redpolls near Muxton with a single also at Hortonwood.

Two of the OTTERS showing very well, with one of them eating a fish on top of the rocks.

One of the OTTERS jumping over the rocks by the wier

Three shots of one of the 3 SHROPSHIRE OTTERS eating a fish before disappearing over the wier. PURE MAGIC!!

3 adult Whooper Swans at Cressage

Altogether there were 8 Bewicks Swans

A family of 4 Bewick's Swans at Cressage
An iced over Shropshire Union Canal, Elleesmere

Monday 27 December 2010

Gulls at Prisorlee

Gulls on a frozen Prisorlee Lake

 The tempture rose just above freezing this morning. Just after 13.00, I was at Prisorlee Flash and found a lot gulls on the ice, but the only gull of interest was a 1st winter Common Gull. However, when I made a visit to nearby Prisorlee Lake, there were a lot more gulls on the ice here. The highlights was an adult Yellow-legged Gull and up to 6 Great black-backed Gulls. There were also over 300 Lesser black backed and 100+Herring Gulls.
 I returned home to find now visiting the garden, 4 Redwings, 7 Fieldfares and in the Silver Birch, over 30 Goldfinches!

 An EAGLE OWL was seen at dusk near Aston on Clun, South Shropshire, Friday just gone. I was going to that aea at some stage during my stay and as the weather looks good tomorrow, I think I might give it try.

This Lesser black-backed Gull had, what looked like a piece of cotton, wrapped around it's bill

Three of the Lesser black-backed Gulls at Prisorlee Flash

1st winter Common Gull at Prisorlee Flash

Redwing at Prisorlee

The dark blob in the far right tree, is a Buzzard at Trench Pool. This is a very built up area and my house is behind the tree that the Buzzard is in.

Sunday 26 December 2010



Up to 11 Wood Pigeons were in the garden

 As the road conditions were too icy and too dangerous to drive, I thought it be wise to stay in. A quick look
at the garden, now and then, produced some good birds. The highlights included, a Pied Wagtail, 2 Redwings and 1 Fieldfare, all these birds were in the garden throughout the day and now there is up to 12 Goldfinches!  Also the white winged Jackdaw made a brief vsit with a white winged Starling.

To get an odd plumaged bird in your garden is quite uncommon, but to get two at the same time is a very rare event! That's what happened this afternoon when the white winged Jackdaw made a brief visit followed by a white winged Starling!

                  Two Redwings and this Feldfare were in the garden all day
All my shots were taken from this window. Here is the Fieldfare feeding on an apple

Only 3 Blackbirds were present at one time. This bird kept on pushing the other thrushes awaay.
                  This Pied Wagtail was also in the garden throughout the day


December last year, Joe Pender found a 1st winter SABINE'S GULL in Old Town Bay. This was a Scilly tick for me and the bird stuck around for quite a while, commuting with Porthloo. This footage was taken at the latter site.