Saturday 20 November 2010

Various sites around the Midlands UK.

UK birding with some good friends.

Waxwings (Ampelis Europeo / Bombycilla garrulus).
John Holian picked me up and we headed over to Wombourne to collect friend Brian Marsh before going on to Dudmaston Hall to have a look at the two pools. The pool near the road held just a few Tufted Ducks (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula) and Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos). Opposite the pool entrance there was a well hidden public footpath which lead through some woodland down to another larger more open lake. 
As we approached 5x Goosanders (Mergus merganser) flew over us and disappeared towards the lake we had just left, a larger flock of Tufted Ducks was seen out on the middle of the water, numbering 30+ birds. A flash of bright blue gave away the first of the days Kingfishers (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis). We were at the site for a bird which John and Brian had already seen a hybrid between a Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and a Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus). 
We eventually found the Coot flock and very quickly picked this bird up, it was intermediate in size between the two species, had a pink/orange bill and lacked the white undertail covets of the Moorhen. Whilst I was there the bird swam and behaved very much as a Coot but John and Brian said that they had seen it swimming in a manor more typical of a Moorhen. Two more Kingfishers flew past and disappeared behind some Willows, Rooks (Graja / Corvus frugilegus) called from the Rookery in the Beech trees on the far bank and a couple Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) drifted overhead. In the woods on the way back we added Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula), Pheasant (Faisán Vulgar / Phaisanus colchicus) and eventually we got views of a calling Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major). 
From the gate where we parked we picked up Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), a male Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) and a single Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) dived on the upper lake. The next stop was at Essington pool where John had seen a pair of Red-crested Pochards (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) but the fog was so thick that we could not see a great deal but we picked up a nice female Common Goldeneye (Porrón Osculado / Bucephala clangula) again a bird I had not seen for at least six years or so. 
Waxwings (Ampelis Europeo / Bombycilla garrulus).
Also here Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope), Tufted Duck, Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Mallard, Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and more Dunnocks (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis) were seen. 
I had mentioned to John and Brian that I would like to see Waxwings (Ampelis Europeo / Bombycilla garrulus) if there were any about, so when the phone went and a message came in that 20 birds had been seen in Stafford we diverted from our drive towards Cannock Chase. Luckily the site was on the outskirts of the town in the direction that we were travelling (not very often that happens), so we were soon on site and after about 20 minutes searching John spotted them in a tall tree some distance away. We drove as near as we could and walked towards the gates of a local school and the birds were all perched in the top of a semi dead tree and were dropping down lower to feed on Rowan berries. We soon realised that the reported flock of 20 birds in fact numbered somewhere between 80 and 100. 
 About 5 minutes after we arrived the birds were flushed by a Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) and flew off strongly across the housing estate; we had a look around several of the roads locally but could not find the birds again but thought that we would give the original tree another look. Just as we arrived back so did the now very jumpy flock of birds. We continued to watch them for the next hour or so before they flew off again. 
We also saw Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater). Our final stop was near the rifle ranges on Cannock Chase where we were looking for a reported Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes) and the regular Great Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Norteno / Lanius excubitor). We did not see either of the two above but I was very happy with the cracking male Bullfinch (Camachelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula) which was feeding in some birch trees with a flock of Lesser Redpolls (Pardillo Sizerín / Carduelis flammea). 
Waxwings (Ampelis Europeo / Bombycilla garrulus).
We continued our stroll through the woods seeing large numbers of Thrushes including Mistle (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Redwing (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus iliacus), Song (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Fieldfare (Zorzal Real / Turdus pilaris) and Blackbirds (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula). A large flock of birds then past through the pines which included the three tit species already mentioned plus Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major) and Goldcrest (Reyezuelo Sencillo / Regulus regulus). 
On the way back to the car we past a bird feeder which was covered in Coal Tits but more interesting were the five male Yellowhammers (Escribano Cerillo / Emberiza citronella) feeding on the ground below it. After a cracking day John dropped me back at Barbs house, took Brian home before returning to Barbs and picking Jayne and me up again to go out for a curry. A brilliant day thanks John, Sharon and Brian.

Friday 19 November 2010

Wednesfield, West Midlands, Great Britain.

Staying at Barb's.

Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor).
The first day in the UK started with a mornings gardening for Jayne’s sister Barbara. As I tatted around in the back garden I was regularly dragged away from my tasks by birds flitting around in the Hawthorns along the towpath of the canal running along the rear of the garden. These included a few highlights, a pair of Dunnocks (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis) which I have only seen on a couple of occasions back in Spain, a small flock of Fieldfare (Zorzal Real / Turdus pilaris) and a low flying Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor) heading along the canal.
View along the canal.
Later I had a stroll along the canal but the fog made taking any worth while photos hard to get. I did see Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Great (Carbonero Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Rook (Graja / Corvus frugilegus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus).
Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos).

Thursday 18 November 2010

Torremolinos and Malaga Airport, Malaga Province.

Travelling back to the UK.

Travelled down to the sea front at Torremolinos before going to the Airport for our tip back to the UK. Near the Plaza Mayor shopping centre a nice pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) circled over the Eucalyptus trees along the motorway. Along the sea front I added Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). On the airport as we taxied out to take off Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) were all added to the list as we rumbled down the tarmac.

Monday 15 November 2010

Balsa de Regidor, Moraleda de Zafayona, Granada Province.

Cattle Egret Census.

Unfortunately I did not make it back in time to get up to the Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) roost for the evenings count with Juan and Beatriz but did get to the small pool on the side of the A92 and did a count there. During the time I was there I tallied up 181 Egrets and over 50 Northern Shovelers (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata). There were also at least 3 Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), several Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) out on the water. A small flock Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) wheeled around the fields at the far end of the pool, while hundreds if not thousands of Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) flew towards Granada to their roost.

Sunday 14 November 2010

Huetor Fields, Granada Province.

Getting the car washed.

After getting the car well and truly covered in mud I thought that I had better give it a quick jet was. I decided that as the car was alread dirty that I may as well have a quick look on the track through the fields to see what was about, the first bird seen was a female Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) which was sat on a track side post and stayed there till I was about 3 meters away (yet again they can tell when the camera is in the house). She eventually flew up after giving me some cracking views and flew away low over the river and circled around the fields for a few more minutes before moving off. Another raptor was then seen on the deck, this time feeding in a newly sown crop field, I drove closer and was surpprised to find it was a very late Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans).
Other birds seen included Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) x 30+, Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus).