Saturday, 15 November 2014

Aqualate Mere and Belvide Res, Staffordshire, Great Britain.

A cracking day with three very good friends / birders back in the UK.

John, Sharon and Brian picked me up from Albrighton and we headed off up the A41 to Newport and then out to Aqualate Mere. We arrived and parked before walking out to the hide which over looks the main Mere and has a feeding station right out side the window.
On the way out on a very muddy track we saw Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Pheasant (Faisán Vulgar / Phaisanus colchicus) and Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo). Once we reached the hide we had great views of Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Marsh Tits (Carbonero Palustre /Parus palustris), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) all of which came in to the feeder. Out on the water and in the reeds we saw good numbers of wildfowl including 10+ Goldeneye (Porrón Osculado /Bucephala clangula), 30+ Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor), Greylag (Ansar Común / Anser anser) and Canada Geese (Barnacla Canadiense /Branta canadensis), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea). Other species seen and heard included Redwing (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus illacus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Rook (Graja /  Corvus frugilegus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica). 
From Aqualate we headed back to the A5 and then across to Belvide Res, we parked and walked through the woods having a quick look at the feeder hide but saw much the same species as at Aqualate. We next went into the hide in the first bay where I bumped in to Steve Nutall, a birder who I have in the past seen some interesting rare birds with on lots of twitches but had not see for some time. On the water from here we saw more Goldeneye, Mute Swan, Pochards, Tufted Duck, Teal, Mallard and Great Crested Grebe. We then decided to walk around the res to the far corner, on the way we saw several Goldcrests (Reyezuelo Sencillo / Regulus regulus), Bullfinch (Camachuelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula), Reed Bunting, Fieldfare, Black Bird, Common Starling and Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii). Around in the far bay we had good but distant views of a female / immature Smew (Serreta Chica /Mergus albellus) which had been at the site for a while along with two female type Goosanders (Serreta Grande / Mergus merganser), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and a very nice fly by Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus). On the way back around to the first hide we called in at the lake side feeder hide and had good views of Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Pheasant, Reed Bunting, Marsh Tit and in a nearby bay a cracking Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) which fished from the marginal Willows.
Once back at the first hide we picked up Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Buzzard and out in the Gull roost which had started to form 10+ Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) as well as Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Great Black-backed (Gavión Atlántico / Larus marinus) and Herring (Gaviota Argéntea Europea / Larus argentatus). The light was now dropping quickly so we headed back towards Albrighton where Sharon, John and Brian dropped me off in time to get ready for the nights fancy dress party to celebrate Martins 50th Birthday.

Thanks to Sharon, John and Brian for a memorable days birding and particularly to John for driving us around again, see you soon.

Photographs from the top: Brian, Sharon and John, Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Marsh Tits (Carbonero Palustre /Parus palustris), Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Pheasant (Faisán Vulgar / Phaisanus colchicus) and Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea).

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