31 December 2006

It's a lifer... I think!

One of the frustrations of not being able to bird of late has been watching Internet discussions postings about great birds that have come and gone across Warwickshire and nearby counties - a Wryneck near Solihull, a Bittern at Napton, Whooper Swans at Draycote blah blah blah.

So when the Great Skua at Draycote was kind enough to stay for more than a week I finally dug my bins out and headed off for a quick twitch.

Well, I found it, just. It couldn't have been more distant and I could never have found it without help, but there you go. A great big grey-brown blob in the middle of a reservoir. Can't understand what those twitchers get so worked up about sometimes!

17 December 2006

Leam Valley - but where's winter?

After weeks and weeks without any birding at all, I got up early, wrapped up warm and... boiled.

OK, so it wasn't exactly hot at just over 1 degree C, but there just hasn't been a real bite in the air yet this year (or at least if there has I've been stuck in a heated office and missed it). Still, it was just nice to get out, even if no one told the birds I was coming, and it was cool enough to get a nice mist rising off the River Leam.

A trip round Leam Valley produced most of the regulars, including a nice number of Bullfinches (five in all), and up to five singing Song Thrushes. It was also nice to meet a fellow birder in the hide - that makes three of us who I know keep a regular (in my case currently less than regular) eye on the place.

I pressed on to Napton and found a large number of Coots (around 160), plenty of Common Gulls on the water (80 in all - they seem to be more numerous here than elsewhere in the winter months), and a Grey Wagtail - always a welcome flash of colour on a winter morning.

A pretty poor haul by normal standards, but like an ice cold beer to a thirsty man after more than a month without any birding.