Tuesday, 25 October 2016


Popped over to Marsh Lane last Saturday lunchtime and this morning. Didn't find much around on either visit but the weather for the time of year was decent.

Saw a Grey Wagtail from the Oak hide this morning which was the first I'd seen here for quite a while.Not a keeper but nice to see.

The long staying eclipse drake Pintail was joined this morning on the CP pool by a much better looking drake.

By far my best find was on Saturday when I was alone in the Oak hide at 1.15 PM and I saw a raptor a long way off near the 2 storey metal hide.

Wasn't sure what it was but it didn't look much like a Common Buzzard so I rattled off some distant shots before it disappeared from site. I didn't realise what it was till I put the shot on the computer and saw it was a Marsh Harrier.Certainly not a keeper but it was a reserve tick for me.

Friday, 21 October 2016


This morning having heard that the day before a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers had been spotted at Shustoke Reservoir I popped over there arriving at 11.00 AM.

I had a good scan round from the car park but I could not spot them.A couple of birders then walked past and said that they had seen them right down the east end of the reservoir.I didn't fancy walking all the way down there and was thinking of leaving when a John friend from Marsh Lane turned up and persuaded me to tag along.

From the bank on the east end of the reservoir we couldn't find them (John has a decent scope) so we gave up.However just as we hadn't gone too far down the north bank I scanned back and saw them about 30 metres away.

The light was awful and all I managed was this shot.

However luck was with me and they slowly swam towards the bank at the east end and I was able to flank them and get the sun behind me allowing me to take some decent shots.Cracking birds that I very rarely see.

Also seen in a 2 hour stay were a male Goldeneye, a Common Sandpiper, a Rock Pipit and several Grey Wagtails.

Friday, 14 October 2016


Popped over to Marsh Lane this morning getting there at 9.15 AM and was pleased to find the weather very good for this time of year.

On the CP pool there was a couple of female Goldeneyes but they didn't stay long and never came close.

The Pintail was still there on the CP pool but as usual stayed a fair way off. I've been told it's not a female but a male in eclipse. 

A female Stonechat then flew in and landed on the reed mace to the right of the CP hide.Wouldn't come close but great to see.My first Stonechat for a long time.

Just before I got to the oak hide everything on the RW pool took off but despite a long look I couldn't find what had scared everything off.However when I got into the hide look what was on one of the islands about 70 metres away.

A Sparrowhawk (male) soon flew off and out of site but only after a couple of minutes it landed on the island again for a few seconds and then flying off into the distance.

Did see a Kestrel on the way back to the CP hide but it was always flying away.

Back in the CP hide again I was surprised to see the Stonechat still there on the reed mace.I was very pleased when it did come closer enabling me to get some decent shots.

Unknown to me as I was filling in the sitebook at 11.45 AM just before I left my good friend Glen Giles had found 4 Bearded Tits on the reed bed pool.I had checked that out 15 minutes before that and of course saw nothing.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


Left home this morning at 9.00 AM in sunny weather but by the time I got to Marsh Lane it had become very misty.It was also very cold which prompted me to write myself a memo to visit the family bank vault and get out my thermals.

Some how in the mist Glen Giles found a female Mandarin and a female Pintail.

I caught up with the Mandarin on the reed bed pool where it was cruising around with some Mallards.Managed some OK shots in the misty conditions.  

I caught up with the Pintail when in the river hide and it was on the CP pool.It was a bit distant but the mist had cleared a bit so I managed a few shots.

Saturday, 8 October 2016


Having stayed in all day yesterday I was keen to get out there with the camera this morning.But where to go was the question.After a while I decided to go over to Earlswood Lakes again to try and get a decent shot of the Rock Pipit I saw earlier in the week.

Got there at 9.45 AM and went up the steps to the causeway where I was pleased to meet up with another birder.He told me the Rock Pipit was still around but you needed his scope to see it as it was a long way down at the base of the engine pool dam wall.

For the next hour and a half it remained in the distance or disappeared from view completely.By this time any early brightness had gone and it was pretty chilly.

As I was thinking of giving up I found it again this time about half way down again at the base of the engine pool dam wall  but even walking down the road to the first passing point in the fencing it was  hard to see and still too far off to get a decent shot.

In desperation I walked to the next passing point in the fence and looked back to see if I could see it.
I leaned out to get a better view but I was blowed if I could see it.Then I spotted it right below me posing for pics on a rock.What a bit of luck and I was able to get my best shots ever of a Rock Pipit.     

Thursday, 6 October 2016


Desperate to get some decent shots after a poor recent run with the camera I went over to Earlswood Lakes this morning climbing up the steps to the causeway at not long after 9.00 AM. There had been a Rock Pipit reported there the day before so that was top of my hope for list.

I was a bit deflated when I saw that there were no other birders about so the chance of the Rock Pipit being still about were reduced.On the plus side was that surprisingly the weather was very pleasant so I set about getting some shots of what was about.

I was cheered up a lot when I spotted at least two Grey Wagtails flying around the dam wall.Had to be patient but managed a few shots of these cracking looking birds.

I was thinking about heading home for lunch when in the gloomiest spot on the causeway I spotted another bird.Was it the Rock Pipit ? I wasn't sure but I rattled off some shots just in case just before it flew off.

They are very poor shots but I am pretty certain that they are of the Rock Pipit so although not keepers (I have a few decent shots taken years ago at Draycote Water) I was very pleased to have found it after a long wait.