15 September 2011


As the title of this post nods towards, the much wanted seabird at KMR happened and excuse my language (no don't) but it was a fucking mega shitting crippling bastard!
Ok, maybe it wasn't THAT big, but for me, someone who gets more thrills from an inland seabird than a necrophiliac gets from discovering a 17 day matured corpse in the boot of a ditched Ford Mondeo down some lonely lovers lane, this was immense!
I'd been dispatched on a work related mission to Evesham in that cider swilling region of the midlands mid-morning. I'd chosen to take my own motor for the mission, knowing that with my optics in the boot, if the pager would 'squeak' with some news from down that way, I'd be prepared...
I arrived at my intended destination around 12:40pm and after the obligatory paperwork shit, I was sat in the motor awaiting the parcel to be processed and passed onto me. I sparked up a fag and had a quick gleg of the pager. The first message that flashed up was this -

As any hardened patch watcher can sympathise with, my reaction to that sort of message is equivalent to the 'big boys' reading about a Black-bellied Petrel loafing on the sea off St Mary's for 6hrs before being chewed by a Joe Pender tagged Blue Shark!
For the next 95 minutes, my motor kinda resembled a piece of space debris re-entering the earths atmosphere as I spanked it at pace along the M42, destination Notts!
After very rapidly off-loading the collected package, my obligatory unpaid lunch break began I guess, so I tanked it to the rezza. Upon arrival, I was directed by some cunt that it was showing well from the visitor centre jetty...And so it was! Get fucking in! Fuck the numerous Scoters, Kittiwakes and that L-t Duck that I'd previously bagged down there, this was the real deal!

Well, after ten minutes, it suddenly dawned on me that it was actually Thursday, not Saturday/Sunday, so I begrudgingly headed back to work. Needless to say, at 5pm, like a rat up a drain pipe, I caned it back to king's Mill and spent a good few hours soaking up some proper vintage patch quality with the majority of the KMR regulars -

Even one of the major D*rbyshite flushing photographers was on scene (ya know, the one mentioned in a previous post) and did his best to get stuck in some squishy water side vegetation in order to get that 'ONE' shot!

I reckon this takes me to 180 species for King's Mill Reservoir.............not bad for a grotty inland urban reservoir hey?!!

Roll on the Sab's.........................


1870 - no date (shot)
1885 - October 17th (shot)

12 September 2011

Nottinghamshire-next-the-Sea - If only!

With a bit of windy weather knocking about this morning, I headed down to the old patch in order to stare adoringly at flocks of Sabs, flotilla's of Grey Phals, squadrons of Manxies and stuff..............Then I snapped out of it and realised the traffic lights had gone to green!

Sadly, my patch ain't Pendeen or The Bridges of Ross (well it has got a few bridges but ya can't see the sea from 'um) - my patch is a grotty urban reservoir that is about as far from the sea as you can get but each autumn if it gets a bit blowy, I'll head down there in very vain hope that there might just be some sea faring lost waif bobbing around on the water. Unfortunately, those strong gusts I hope for very often occur too late in the autumn when the chances of seabird are greatly reduced. However, this is September, the perfect time, ya know, when there's still loads of shit just offshore and these winds are proper meaty thus even my tiny patch of water could be in with a sniff!
Arriving this morning, I was genuinely excited about the prospect of finding something good and guess what....I did! The very first bird I clapped eyes on (well technically that's incorrect cos I did actually have a perv at a bird in the car park who had a pair of them nice shiny black jogging leggings on, ya know them that are so tight you can actually see if she's into waxing or not!) was a patch rare! Black-necked Grebe! Ok, not the hoped for seabird but a pleasure non the less! I've seen a fair few BNGs over the years at King's Mill but I believe this is the first for a couple of years. Well, that's about as good as it got. I hung about for a few hours, checking every incoming gull for that distinctive wing pattern but having promised to take the missus out for lunch I had to leave late morning.
Lunch was strategically taken at The King & Miller restaurant, which incidentally is located right beside the reservoir, where from my seat inside, I could scan the skies above the patch while pretending to listen to what she was saying! That's dedication innit!

Later this evening, I returned to the reservoir, with a handful of other KMR watchers (old & new) and gave it a good three hours coverage. There was gonna be a seabird in the roost tonight, I felt its presence, the wind was gusty, the water choppy and then, there, in amongst the gathering Black-headed Gulls was A SEABIRD! YES! Get in! A near adult KITTIWAKE! Once again, I've seen plenty of them at KMR but this is what we had been hoping for all day. Unfortunately, this probably wasn't a fresh 'in' bird, whisked off the Atlantic and unceremoniously dumped on our puddle of water. There's been a Kit' knocking around the local area for the last couple of years, it arrived as a 1st winter, and we've seen it grow and mature into the snazzy creature it is today. It also bears some nice leg jewellery that indicates it was rung in France somewhere.
As the evening drew to a close, one last surprise came in the form of a Spotted Flycatcher zooming around some willows, snapping up flies obviously.

So, not exactly the seabird spectacular I had hoped for but, as I write this, I can hear the wind outside, its getting angry & more powerful! Maybe tomorrow morning, I'll drop into the patch before work and discover a Puffin looking all forlorn bobbing up & down near the dam wall................... Well, I can dream.

11 September 2011

Aren't inland seabirds great!

With the winds giving it some westerly blowage, my plans to head to Spurn today (Saturday 10th Sept) had been postponed. The west coast could have been alright but I really lacked the enthusiasm to drive over there so an alternative mission was created.
The evening before, Archer had informed me that whilst he was grubbing about at Aloe-Vera-Cote, sniffing glue, he had witnessed a very probable Chimney Swift buzzing around with two Common Swifts. Rather than scold him for inhaling toxicants, I agreed to meet him early morning in the very vain hope that we'd relocate the bird before we'd then head to Gailey Res' to stare at a Sabs Gull that had roosted there the night before.
Myself, Mikipedia & Rich 'The Giant' Challands arrived at Archers new love nest in the quaint hamlet of Seckington just before 8am and after a brew and a nosey around the grounds of his cottage we decided to head to his patch. A minor diversion to have a gleg at a local tenth century historical thing was interrupted by a phone call from Steve 'The Snapper' Richards. The snazzy seagull had just flown in to Gailey!
With 'The Giant' needing the bird for tickage, we headed there at pace.

Arriving at Gailey, we were informed that the target had done one seconds before we turned up. We gave it a good few hours and although the Sabs didn't return, we did manage to snare a near sum' plum' Red-necked Grebe, an adult & juv Arctic Tern and a zippy Hobby. A pair of Ringed Plovers were also noted,quietly feeding along the north shore. Apparently, these were the first RP's at Gailey for 17 years! However, their peace was being constantly shattered by a pair of yoghurts who had scrambled down to the shoreline and were attempting to ram their 'big lenses' up the cloaca's of the two waders. Ok, the Sabs wasn't there and yeh, to pass the time, getting a nice shot of a pair of Ringo's is fair enough, if you're into that, but constantly chasing them back & forth along the shore, causing them to unnecessarily flush over & over & over & over & over again just ain't on, is it?!
Thankfully, their ill behaviour was put to an end with the intervention of Wonder warden Nadia (Archers missus) who gave the one who wasn't Glynn Sellers a bit of mild hairdryer treatment! Job done! Below are a few images of the naughty boys!

Above - This D*rbyshite 'lens wielder' was getting particularly excited with the prospect of getting the 'money shot'!

Anyway, I digress, just as we were about to call it a day and head for some lunch, 'The Snapper' took a phonecall and relayed the message to us - The Sabs had been relocated back at it's original site, Belvide Res'! A pretty nifty bit of driving had us at Belvide in no time. The bird was showing nicely just below the dam wall and despite the fairly blustery wind, I managed to 'pap' an handful of images with my phone. The bird appeared blissfully unaware of the gaggle of eyes perving on it just a few feet above as it cooly picked off insects from the surface of the water. Result!

5 September 2011

And so it begins...

After my last post here re. my lack of interest this summer, Sunday morning (4th Sept) I drove the 3 miles over the border into Notts and hada good old fashioned stomp around Silverhill Wood Country Park. Some Goldcrests & Coal Tits were buzzing around, a few Siskins bounced around over head and sadly fuck all else despite the conditions looking ideal for some Great Shearwater passage! The place was dead, perhaps something to do with a fair bit of that wet stuff falling from the grim clouds above - Surprisingly I hardly saw any dogs taking their owners for a morning stroll either, which was refreshing for this location! I did however leave the sight frustrated; aroound the north side of the park, i'd heard a bird calling which I just couldn't ID. It sounded somewhat like a cross between a LRP & a cockatiel followed by a carbon copy version of the 1st (or 2nd) part of a Corncrake song! Despite searching for nearly an hour, I just couldn't locate the source of the mystery noise. It then shut up and never called again. Any suggestions would be appreciated... sensible ones that is!

The afternoon was spent Viz-miggin' from the window of the East wing at Castle DUNNington which resulted in c2600 Swallow SW, 2 Jays SE & a trickle (16) of Mipits SE. Highlight however was a new addition to the Castle DUNNington grounds list - SPOT' FLY' 'hedge-hoppin' mid-a'noon within a sudden surge of low level migs (including c20 Chiffys & unprecedented numbers of Great (15 on the feeders at one point, the previous max' being 6) Blue & L-t.Tits - unprecedented thru my garden anyhow!).