Sunday…Overcast, 13ºC.

Some beautiful Autumnal colours today at HC. This photo taken from the Dog Pool..


At the Wardens Office, it was pretty much the same moths. Loads of November Moths, and also a Feathered Thorn (Top Photo), plus a good condition Streak (Bottom Photo)…



There was a small flock of Siskin near the Forestry Commission. Other than that, it was a quite morning.



Saturday….Grey, with a humid feeling 13ºC.

The wood at Highgate Common…


Spent the morning looking for Fungi. My Fungi ID skills are very limited, so I’ll just post photos in some places..

I know this is one of the smaller Ink-caps…


I will be trying to identify this Waxcap, not sure I have seen this one on HC before…



Common Puffball…


The Amethyst Deceiver was a bit bigger today…






Heath Puffball..



I didn’t even notice the Brown Slug (top right) till I looked at photo at home.





At the Wardens Office there was a Red-green Carpet. I’m not sure, but I think this one is having a bowel movement. Which is a 1st for me….


The mist was quite bad again this morning…


A cunning Green Woodpecker always kept himself the other side of this Silver Birch…


Might have a look how many species of Fungi I can find, over the coming week. Of these 3 I particularly like the yellow Apricot Club…




Saw a small flock of Redwing this morning, the 1st for me this Autumn/Winter.




Tuesday… On the Common Misty….9ºC.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the lights at the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Office lately. Mainly in hope of seeing a Merveille du Jour moth. Quite a few people locally have been seeing these beautiful moths over the recent weeks. I did not see one again this morning. I did see what I think is also a beauty. Most people would just walk past this moth, thinking it was dull and brown. But with the correct sunlight/camera light, you get to see the fantastic metallic green of the Green-brindled Crescent…


With the mist quite thick on the Common itself, I decided to cut my visit short. I guess this  is part of the climate of a Lowland Heath.

Moth Trapping at home, looking for the Merveille du Jour…I did trap a nice Red-green Carpet the other night….




Sunday…Light rain and dull most of the morning. With about 10 minutes of sun at midday. A very cold feeling 8-10ºC.

Me and Ken started the day off thinking we were going to have a morning at HC. Only problem, while we were checking out The Wardens Office it started to rain. I would like to thank all the weathermen from last night for getting it totally wrong! At least while we were there I photographed this Feathered Thorn…


With the rain looking like it was on for quite a while, we decided to head off to the Venus Pool Nature Reserve, which is run by the Shropshire Ornithological Society. On arrival in the 1st hide, we were treated to a number of Common Snipe sitting right under the hide. Opening the hide windows really quietly, must sound loud to a Snipe. I had hardly got it open about an inch, and they shot off. Luckily still close enough for these photos….



Great-spotted Woodpecker from the feeding station hide…


Kingfisher gave a full hide a nice treat. It’s always nice when you hear someone say it’s the 1st Kingfisher they have ever seen….


Grey Heron was busy scanning the water for a meal…


Unlike the Grey Heron above, this Carrion Crow had a decent sized meal. In the form of this half portion of Ratatouille. Just before these photos, it seemed to eat the other half, and then buried this half in a hole, and covered it with soil and grass. For the rest of the day, I could not get UB40’s A Rat In My Kitchen out of my head…



This Shelduck did not want a Black-headed Gull anywhere near where it was feeding. I saw it do this at least 10 times…


Common Rabbit…


Black-tailed Godwit…


Thanks to Ken for doing, and photographing the Trip Tick List….


42 species seen, and we didn’t get wet, so all in all…a Great Morning!!



Saturday…A very cold feeling 9ºC early morning. Misty with Sunny spells.

This was upsetting on my way to Highgate Common this morning. This Muntjac had obviously been hit by a car. I know loads of people who have seen Deer on HC, but since I’ve been going, it’s something I have not. But this is the closest (albeit dead) to HC I’ve seen a Deer. I did lift the head to look for the black V marking on it’s forehead.

I blanked it’s mouth out for obvious reasons….



On a better note, the Staffordshire Wildlife Trusts office, had good numbers of November Moths…


There was also a Streak, which was almost impossible to photograph up a tight corner…


As I always seem to do…find a moth round the toilet area. This one being a Mottled Umber….



On the Common the mist had not lifted, although the sun was trying to break through…


Autumnal colour, near the old lightening tree…


There is plenty of Sulphur Tuft round the edge of the woodland…


I don’t seem to find as much Amethyst Deceiver as I used too. So it was nice to find a very small patch…


This was a shock…Brants Hill is now a lot more open. I think this will be great for the Wildlife in that area. Well Done to the SWT and the many volunteers who help out with these projects…




Saturday…Mixed weather. Rain early morning, turning into a nice sunny day by midday. 14ºC

Spurn  Trip…

With a Siberian Accentor landing in Easington, East Yorkshire and this being a Mega rare bird. Plus the fact it would be a lifer for both me and Ken, we decided to have a trip back up to the Spurn area. This was only a couple of weeks after our last trip. As we approached the Humber Bridge, the weather turned awful. But at least this would keep the bird in the area. Not far from Easington, Dave Collins  rang us from back in the West Midlands to confirm the bird was still by the Old School (Thanks Dave). That at least cheered us up, with the weather getting worse with every mile we travelled. The YWT had set up a free car parking area in a crop field. Even on this rainy early Saturday morning, there were numerous birders cars already there, and a steady flow of birders walking down the road. It was about  half a mile walk to the site. At the site you had to queue up, and 30 birders a time, were being let into the area, to view the bird. This meant we would be in the 2nd group of birders. Each group had about 5 minutes to view and photograph the Siberian Accentor. For us, it was just a shame the conditions were so bad. The place was surrounded by trees, and this made the light conditions even worse. The bird was hardly ever still, and at first it moved round an old rusty yellow skip, which I was not expecting. But it was great adding this Mega to my list. I wish more bird twitches would be organised so well, as this one was…







Being really happy we had managed to see the Siberian Accentor, the rest of the day Ken had agreed to help me find another possible 3 Lifers which had all been reported in the Spurn area over the last few days. Before we actually got number 2 of the 3 Lifers, we saw the following birds…



A Shorelark was close to the Blue Bell cafe…


This Goldcrest was looking up, maybe to see if the rain had finally stopped…


There were good numbers of Siskin in the Crown and Anchor car park. By this time it had turned sunny…



While looking for a Pallas’s Warbler in the Crown and Anchor car park, a Firecrest put in an appearance….


Number 2 Lifer (for me), came in the form of this Pallas’s Warbler. These photo’s took me ages to get. Typical warbler.. only giving painfully short views as it busily searched for food, amongst the heavy canopy of the churchyard trees. Not great photo’s but it does show the dark crown sides to the eye stripe. Also on the 2nd photo, you can see the distinct central crown stripe. Also the very short tail…



With number 2 Lifer in the bag, it was off to try for number 3. We would have to walk quite a way for number 3. So we decided to stop off in a couple of places to have a scan for birds. On the Humber Estuary side, we had good views of this Purple Sandpiper…


The next stop was in the hide of the YWT Canal Scrape. The only bird of interest there was this Water Rail. This one appeared darker than other Water Rail i’ve seen over the years. But it may have been the bright sunlight shining from the left and low down…


Then for me, the icing on the cake was photographing number 3 Lifer for the day. This was a Dusky Warbler….




The last photo shows how many birders there were in this area. On the way home, we passed the 1st car park we used to see the Siberian Accentor, there was this amount of cars on that car park too. Thanks Ken for this great Lifers fest, and also the Birders Queuing and Car Park photo’s….1-078

This was by far my best days birding for a long while. When you do reach 300 Lifers for Britain, it does tend to slow down. So to get 3 of the 4 I went to see, is a highly satisfactory day. It now takes my British Life List up to 315. HAPPY DAYS!!!