Monday 31 December 2007


If you think I am staying up til midnight to change the post think again so here it is for you all
lets hope for a well good birding new year.

Paul et. al

Sunday 30 December 2007

Seen anything interesting?

How the hell do you answer this one? when you hear it a dozen times or more a day.
especially when everything you look at is interesting, the mosquito's biting you arm in December, the flowering Primrose, emerging Snowdrops in some ones bloody footprint! The five Kingfishers flying around and calling, or the Lesser spotted woodpecker calling above their heads. Or of course the six Scaup on the water.

Well politely of course, and watch the blank look descend on their faces when you mention the list.
I suppose you could just say no and move on. But then why not give them some incentive to find what you have mentioned?

Female Pochard.

So how was your day? well after flogging around the county it sort of went a bit flat, Chelmarsh, Ringing so no chance on the scrape,, Venus pools you having a laugh! Monkmoor same as VP then Woodlane OH! a Ruddy shelduck !!!!! as many have recorded it? that would make 165 for the year. Sadly not though.

Which disappeared as soon as a few shots were loosed of in the neighbouring field moving around to Colemere produced the now well known Scaup, this is 1st winter juv female. in a momentery sunny period.

along with Goldeneye, Pochard, Tufted, Wigeon, Goosander, a second winter Common gull (is this the missing Ringbilled?) was floating around for most of the Afternoon.

A Chelmarsh Siskin.

Adult Female Scaup in not a bright moment.

Syncronised O's?

Finally, Happy thingy to all the whoevers.

and long live those Cresty moments.

more soon


PS. sod the football, give me the puppies ;¬)

For the children? (jeez the mans a freakin idjut! yes for the children!!!!!)

OK! seems a fair swap. (says I, gently warming hands on a blazing boyscout,, yipeeeee.)

Sunday 23 December 2007

Now here are two things we are missing!!

I apologies for my enforced absence from the blog recently, a very sick machine and a sick me are not helping any.

So for your delication!! one of the most attractive photographs I have seen in many years, here with courtousy of Edwin Kats in Holland. Showing two things missing from Shropshire!!

sadley my annual trip to Holland is this year postponed until April May, boohoo!
So may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry christmass and a productive birding new year.

Saturday 15 December 2007

All change!

After a few comments on the darkness of the pages, here is the brighter format hope you like it?
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Pluvialis to the right of me, Pluvialis to the etc.etc.

Pluvialis? yes Golden plovers, The owner of the 110 acre field this lovely little waders are currently favouring was amazed at them when I pointed them out to him and promptly gave me permission to set the hide up for some photo opportunities.
Having watched this flock for some time now it was apparent that they were in the least a tad flighty, so no point in stalking at all, and as putting up a hide in the day light was a bit daft I decided to move in under cover of darkness, and bugger was it dark and bloody cold. It was 03:30 when the attack went in, the objective was achieved with no loss of dignity as the dips and bumps did their level best to be right where I wanted to place my foot.

With the ground being covered in the hard frost it was a bit surreal as the Geonid meteor shower really got under way, in the first hour I counted 58 shooters as they lite up on entering the earths atmosphere, no pictures, saving batteries for the job in hand.

So hide up and secured, it was inside nice cup of hot Tea and a couple of hours sleep prior to first light, thankfully there had been no alarm calls on the approach, or did it mean they was not ere?

I was woken at first light by a Skylark on the top of the hide giving it what for, a good omen? you can decide that. it was breakfast another well good tea and get the equipment into position, heated insoles switched on and handwarmers lit.
As the light broadened it became very clear that I had got into a bit of a pickle, having only dragged the 600 f4 with me the whole flock of around 300 were all around me, in the Stubble and on the wheat and all to close. Serves me right for being lazy and not dragging the 300mm along just in case. They gradually started moving out into small groups feeding as they went.

The frost and low mist pervaded the whole area and really put a dampener on the proceedings
as the ISO needed to go to 640 for any chance of catching any movement, that of course means more noise in the shot, by around 08:45 the light was getting better and of I went. So with a few reasonable shots in the bag they all lifted in unison as the farmer started to deliver ton upon ton of cow plop, ok, so the crows and Black headed gulls moved out of the way, but the target species was up and would only drop in again in small groups at a greater distance.

Unfortunately for Jason he arrived as I emerged to pack the gear, of course the whole flock lifted again, but this time settled much closer to him than either he or I expected. So to finish of the morning it was round to the gate for a few more shots with the stubble as the backdrop rather than the green wheat. So if you have read this far here you go a few example from the days outing. A small total of 5Gbs to edit!!

The rest will get edited over the next week as there is little else going on, unless we get an influx of Waxwings !!!
Cheers thanks for the visit and if you have comment drop it in the guestbook

PS. the conversion to JPEG is really crap, not much I can do about it sorry.

Thursday 13 December 2007

oooooooooh! IT'S GONE STIFF!

At stupid o'clock this morning for some reason I got up and set of for a bit of flog around the county, in the vain hope of finding some odds and sods! I think you all know, by now, it was BRRRRRRR! at under the magic number by some figure or other.

With such a hard frost there was the possibility of some nice shots of Stonechat on frosted heather, or Brambling on the crunchy grass, I know , I Know! ever the pessi optimist.
Arriving at Church stoke you could tell it was cold there was only one ball on the pawn brokers sign, just! and the burr way was a very interesting, slide a bit here, clench a buttock or two here and a slide a bit more over there. But make I did.

So to the birds found well first stop was Pole cottage and a Blackbird and Coal tit were the only locals found with a fly over Raven, no grouse and definitely no Brambling.

Not deterred it was down the other side to Bridges a Couple of Blackbirds and after about an hour of searching nothing else!! weird.

So to save the day lets look at Venus Pool, HMM! it was stiff virtually all over as a few teal found out after an ice enema put a look of surprise on their faces, if you can say that? a couple of BOP's Kestrel and Buzzard dripped through, in the main a bit dire. but not as cold as the Mynd.
So to prove a point.

It's gone stiff!

Another one done and tomorrow it will, be better!!! As I go after the Golden plover ha! now that should be a laugh as they have just done some spreading on the 110 acre field , nose peg to the fore me thinks. I can see this being a "get your kit of,,,,, outside, smelly" bit of a day. I will let you know how it goes.
Thanks for the visit.

Wednesday 12 December 2007


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Watch this space !!!!


Saved from watery grave !!

Well it was going to be "Sexy water games !!! " It might be the wrong end of the year and bloody cold to boot, but this female Goosander got exactly what she was after, following a long period of solicitation. be it length of day or temperature her hormones were well and truly a lot higher than she was.

It did not matter which way this male turned the female stopped him moving of, he, like many males!, gave in and dragged her round for a protracted period of pseudo drowning. Photographs are withheld due to graphic sexual content ;-)

Mind you he still had energy to repel the odd voyeur!

On flogging the countryside for sightings the Golden plover flock at Condover are still present and by the look of it increasing, and the Whooper swans over at the Malverley site have grown in numbers, both groups well worth a look, as long as the better conditions hold over the next few days. Whilst the plover flock are distant good views are to be had ( you need a good scope) please take your time scanning the flock you just do not know what might be in amongst them.

A record shot more to come!!

So! short but sweet, therefore I will post here my current fav shot of the year to date, along with a couple of the populars.

OH! the colours seem a bit soft on this one , never mind eh!
Don't you just love a good scrub?

Well there you go, not a lot of newsy things I know, it is just a catch up really more to follow soon.

C U L8ER ?


Thursday 29 November 2007

Yellow haired punks! & Cotton buds?

An early morning rush to get the chores done worked wonders for the planned day out at the local woods "Apley" the target species for today was Goldcrests, Treecreepers and Longtailed tits. Arriving at the x parking area, they have closed this dealers paradise and are busy doing something really good with the woods after over thirty years of non-management. Its well worth a walk around with all the opening of the overgrown woods.

So knowing the favoured areas for crests I headed of with a wary eye for other species, it did not take long before I could hear them, the Yellow haired punks with their saucer sized eyes and fast moving dance !!

I fully expected to find them mixed in with a Tit flock but today, probably due to the disturbance, they were in ones and twos around the conifers and brambles.

It took about 40 seconds to call them out to the edge of the branches using a little pisher! I am amazed at how well this little device works, a piece of ceder and a pewter insert, I think you can get them at RSPB reserves nowadays. So having decided to take the flash today for the shadows, snap? oh! yes Loads and loads. It is not often thus opportunity presents itself.
With all of them sporting nice yellow socks and matching hair they were a real joy to work with. So with all these yellow feet I can only assume they were all juveniles, there is no reference in the Collins on this feature?

Whilst doing this a Treecreeper joined in the "Whats all the fuss about?" group. So he/it got done as well, and what was real cool it was well vocal, an added bonus.

When you have the time and can hear them take a little bit of your day and listen to a song that is very nice, if you can use nice to describe a song! these days perhaps it should cool, wicked or awesome man, or anyone one of the myriad ways the young have of describing things that are "Bad!" (Nice)
I knew I should not have put a big piccy in here needs loads of link text.

An old person I once knew cutely described the Longtailed tit as a flying cotton bud! and I think that when fluffed up in the winter that is exactly what they look like as they flit about in their groups picking of the slow and unwary insects etc.

There was two other things that caught my attention today, one was the stunning new males, freshly moulted and already ganging up on the females, also forming bachelor groups and grunt whistling, seeing who could outdo the others in their lifts. The other thing was a good example of just what not to do with discarded baling twine and or fishing line, and yes I know the vast majority of worm drowners are conscientious but hey there are the odd one or two who really do not give a darn!!! Some time ago some fishermen caught a large Carp and for what ever buried it, only for it to be found sometime later by a Dog walker who called the police! after SOCO forensics etc. had finished it was identified through dental records as the fingers were missing!!!! Check out Shropshire star archives!

OK so if you have comment, clean please drop it in the Guestbook TA!


Tuesday 27 November 2007

Goose caught fly tipping

Well it is a goose! aint it?

So what is the purpose of to days Blog? well it is sort of a high horse thing, an extract from an article of mine appearing in Britain and Europe under the guise of Environmental duty of retail groups.

Trolley Splash!

Take a walk along one of the counties thousands of waterways, Canal, Streams, Brooks or Rivers and it would not take long before you would find dumped in the water the left over, s of either a night out on the town and used for a free ride down hill! To much shopping to carry? Or just plain stolen, Supermarket trolley.

In one English town over 150 a month go missing but the figures from the major sales outlets must be much higher, for example in 2004 Tescos in Nottingham lost over 800 trolley’s and at £100 pounds plus to replace it is costing this one store thousands of pounds a year, ASDA in Wrexham during 2006 lost around 50 per week, Another store in Derby was losing 550 a year. So multiply by the stores in the country you start to get a picture of just how large this problem is through out the country.

One of the odd things is that when you do find one, it is, or seems to be in the middle of nowhere and no reason for it to be there! A walk around some of the better-known waters in the Telford area revealed a total of 6 rusting carcasses.

The recovery return and or disposal of these trolleys is currently born by the local authority and various agencies including the Environment Agency and environmental groups who have largely shouldered the costs but, local councillors do not believe this is a sustainable cost and that firms identified as owners of the recovered trolleys should be billed for the costs incurred in clearing them away. And under new legislation costs will be passed on.

This misuse and abandonment of these trolleys can do serious damage to our watercourses, during heavy rain they can act as traps for debris and speed up the possibility of flooding.
Supermarkets, business's and environmental organisations found that there was an acceptance that local authorities should not be responsible for the costs for collecting abandoned trolleys.

In 2006 ASDA in Wrexham invested £80,000 in a RF controlled braking system to thwart the lose of their trolleys, and ASDA as a whole spent an estimated £2.4 million on this type of system in 2002 this delay in the Wrexham installation would have meant a lose over the years of a staggering £26000. If the roll out of these systems in indicative of all stores in the ASDA chain then the losses must be horrendous.


So why do I place this here? well really to point out that even thought they are left all over the place the impact on wildlife is minimal, in fact one photograph (recently sold so cannot reproduce) of a Water vole sitting on top of an abandoned trolley happily tucking in to some otherwise unreachable vegetation. A Kingfisher has frequently used the trolley in the shot above as a perch as it patrolled the waters edge, sadly not seen when I have had the camera ready!!! In one Welsh waterway a group of rare Crayfish were found after a long absence breeding in the detritus caught inside the mesh. So it goes to show, eyesore they are, cash loss to stores they are, but no great impact on the wildlife. I suppose that is why the one in the picture above has been there for at least eight years!!!

Ok so a few pictures from recent outings:

Ripe or not?Go away or I will bite your bottom!!!

And go it did, minus a few tail feathers.

So if you find one of these ubiquitous items watch it, and see just what it is being used by.
Thanks for the visit see you again. OH! if you have comment an anything drop it in the Guest book, I promise to reply, but keep it clean please.