Monday, 2 March 2009

Bramblings & Black Redstart

Saturday was set aside for another day over at Worcester Warriors, where they hosted London Wasps. We expected Wasps to wipe the floor with Worcester, with their squad of top players, including some current and ex England stars, but the Warrior's defence was superb. Scoring the only try of the game, Worcester then stole the show and the points with a brilliant drop goal seconds before the end.

Sunday would be the birding day, and the sun shining through the curtains managed to encourage me out of bed, despite having a hangover from the day before, and out on to the road. Targets for the day were bramblings and perhaps if I had time, the firecrest and black redstart.

Several bramblings have been seen at the feeders at Belvide, so that's where I headed, dodging the potholes down the country lanes, and eventually finding the car park. Mooching through the woods, I bumped into a couple of 'togs, stationed by the woodland feeders, hoping for a shot of the nuthatch, though the gloom and spots of rain weren't helping! It took me about 5 seconds to guess that one of them was Martyn, one of the chaps I "chat" to on the forums, and after some introductions, I left them to it, and headed down to the waterside.

Along the path were a few lesser redpolls, though they wouldn't allow me near, and soon flew even further away when another birder came along. Nice to see though. In the hide, there was just enough room for me to squeeze in, but no-one had seen the bramblings.

Plenty of other stuff around though, such as tree sparrows, dunnocks, robins, pheasants, blue, great and long tailed tits, nuthatches, chaffinches and several noisy greenfinches. Out on the lake were numerous tufted ducks and a few goldeneyes. The clouds had also parted, and the sun was providing a bit of early spring warmth.

Just as the hide emptied, the first bramblings appeared. Straight into the caged feeder though, and when they left, it was via a dense bush. Someone needs to prune that a bit, I reckon! Over the next couple of hours, the bramblings came and went, frustrating us each time by their reluctance to pose for a shot. The only saviour was a male, who chose to feed off the grass beneath the feeder for a few moments, though the light had just deteriorated to vex us further.

After one more visit, the slight breeze had started to chill my cockles, and I decided it was time to head back to Warks, to aim for the other birds.

Stopping first at Hams Hall, I was disappointed not to see the firecrest, though a calling chiffchaff cheered me up, and I had a pretty close encounter with a goldcrest. Long tailed, blue and great tits were seemingly everywhere, and down on the river side, a pair of grey wagtails bounced off the bank to catch flies.

So over to Coleshill, for the black redstart. And a bit of luck. The gates were open, and there were two 'togs already inside, so locating the bird was easy. what followed was me creeping ever closer to the bird, which bobbed on various perches, occasionally flying off, though it did allow me very close at times. A delightful bird, lit up beautifully in the sunshine and a very good end to a day's shooting.

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