Sunday, 18 January 2015

Aqualate Mere, Bliffield Res and Ryders Mere, Clayhanger, Staffordshire, UK.

A days birding back in the UK with some good friends.

I got up and had a look at the garden and started the list off with a female Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis).
Later I was out birding with John, Sharon and Brian again much sooner than expected which was great. They picked me up in Albrighton from my Moms where we were staying for our brief visit and then we headed out to Aqualate Mere near to Newport. The site is just over the boarder of Shropshire in the county of Staffordshire set amongst mixed woodlands and very wet fields. On the way out to the hide we saw a small flock of about a dozen or so Lesser Redpoll (Pardillo Sizerín / Carduelis flammea), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Blackbird, Redwing (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus illacus), Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and a pair of Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) which flushed up from the stream near the carpark.
Once we were in the hide we started to check the wildfowl on the large lake and soon had Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Tufted Duck (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), 2x Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus). Then after just a few minutes we had breif but good views of a large dog Otter (Nutria / Lutra lutra) which surfaced about 50meters away for just 5 seconds or so and then dived and was not seen again but his journey could be tracked by the disturbance of the Eurasian Coot right around the right-hand side of the lake. Also out on the lake we saw Goldeneye (Porrón Osculado /Bucephala clangula), a 1st winter male Scaup (Porrón Bastardo / Aythya marila), Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor), Greylag Geese (Ansar Común / Anser anser) and Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus).
All the time we were in the hide the feeding staition was very busy with good numbers of passerines coming to take advantage of the seed that is put out. The best species recorded was a cracking little Willow Tit (Carbonero sibilino / Poecile montanus) which flashed in and out several times along with it's lookalike Marsh Tit (Carbonero Palustre /Parus palustris) as well as Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus) and Wren. Before we moved on we saw or heard Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
We walked back to the car park, on the way and near the car we had views of Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Treecreeper (Agateador Norteño / Certhia familiaris) and a fly over Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes).
We got in the car and headed across country towards Bliffield Res, on the way we saw several Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Pheasant (Faisán Vulgar / Phaisanus colchicus), Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulg aris) and Rook (Graja /  Corvus frugilegus).
On the way along the side of the res we saw a flock of Greylag Geese, several Goosander (Serreta Grande / Mergus merganser), Eurasian Wigeon, Eurasian Teal, Mallard and Great Crested Grebe. We parked and walked through the woods down towards Tadd Bay where we were looking for geese, on the way we had great numbers of Redwings, Bullfinch (Camachuelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula), Long-tailed Tits and a couple of Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea). Once we were down by the water we picked up Great Black-backed Gull (Gavión Atlántico / Larus marinus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and 3x White-fronted Geese (Ánsar Careto / Anser albifrons) which we managed to see through the fog.
On the way back to the car we had good numbers of Fieldfares and Redwings and a very nice Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius). 
We past the car and went down into the opposite bay but only added a single Common Gull (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus) to the list.
Our last site of the day was a very very wet Ryders Mere at Clayhanger where we were looking for a long staying Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer), we found the bird but the weather was foul which was a shame as the bird showed very well. We decided to call it a day at this point and headed to John and Sharons for a Tea and then home.

Thanks to Sharon, John and Brian for another cracking day.
Photographs from the top: Willow Tit (Carbonero sibilino / Poecile montanus), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), 2x Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer) and Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor).

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