Sunday 6 May 2012
107 for Staffordshire in a day
Well it was soon upon myself and Rich (Local Birding Local People) the Staffs bird race that is becoming a regular theme of the birding year for ourselves. 4am saw Rich sat beside me heading for the Chase & looking rather sprightly for that time (he don't do daft times). Chase at dawn is always a cracking start and the first hours got us off to good start clocking up Redstart, Tree Pipit, Garden Warbler, Green & Great Spotted Pecker, Whitethroat, Stonechat plus plenty more. Another move to another location in search of warbler wasted valuable time but would of been a welcome amission to the list.
Punch Bowl to the Stepping Stones produced a few more, Siskin, Redpoll, Tree Creeper, Nuthatch are the ones that stood out. The Last location on the chase was to be Seven Spring where we clock not 1 but Wood Warbler and a mega for myself bird race wise Grey Wagtail the 2 years previous Id failed on this doddle of a bird. West Staffordshire next to Aqulate Mere a spot that always produces the goods but failing today to really add anything of note. Writing it off walking back was a mistake as I thought Id heard Lesser Spotted Woodpecker luckily whilst searching for him Rich was looking the right way as it flew from a dead tree.
We toyed with the idea of Belvide but nothing had been put out regarding scare birds we needed so we headed back into Stafford to Doxy Marshes. Lesser Whitethroats were in the bushes Sedge Warblers seemed to be everywhere again a steady flow of day ticks trickled Bullfinch is the one that stands out for me. It was over to east Staffordshire then we did very well in this area yesterday. Whitmoor Haye produced a Staffs first for me, Id never seen Corn Bunting in my own county. Common Terns were in good numbers at the lake, 3 Yellow Wagtails helped the growing total as did Tree Sparrow & Redshank.
Branston Gravel Pits did not let us down on the duck front plus an extra wader or two. Waders seemed to be the problem all day where passerines just dropped into place the total opposite to last year. Hobby was a useful bird for the day as we failed at Whitmoor and the Moors. Little Grebe, Gadwall, & Shovler day megas.
Blithfield again held the goods, viewing from the causeway picked out a Black Tern and whilst searching for Arctic I noticed 3 Common Scoter a real bonus bird for a Staffs list. A few locals pointed us in the direction of a Whinchat but we couldnt come in contact with it.
With time ticking on we needed head into gods country Staffordshire moorlands for birds we didn't or couldn't find anywhere else in Staffordshire. I let us down a little with a definite Dipper & Pied Flyctcher spot niether of them showing up wasting valuable time. Rectified a little later with both ticked. Tittersworth bumped it up with a male Goosander picked out by rich a good distance away. Personally we were a hour later for the moors than id hoped for making a few birds difficult as it was well past there bedtime. We did clock Wheatear, Curlew, Red Grouse, Short Eared Owl and the last bird of the day Long Eared Owl.
We pipped our last years total by 2 birds, halfway through the day I thought we were way off anything like that total with good weather keeping waders away from Staffordshire. What it did help with was passerines we didn't miss many this year. Grasshopper Warbler & Whinchat are the only ones that spring to mind. Birds of prey were thin on the ground too for ourselves even failing to grab a quick view of Sparrow Hawk
I will put up the full list of birds when my scribe emails me a copy.
A great day & great company & a great result.