Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Staffordshire

Clive messaged me asking if I wanted to go for the long-staying Staffordshire Hoopoe, and I was more than keen, Hoopoe being one of my most wanted birds. When we arrived it took some finding, but after about 20mins we had picked it up in a pretty shrubby area of the obviously long converted quarry. Once we had picked it up it was clear why we had such a difficult time trying to find it, as it was more than happy to sit tight even when we were quite close.
After a while watching it Clive suggested that we move back a bit to allow it to move more freely, and it subsequently did, earnestly feeding and being pretty amazing. After a while watching, it eventually ended in some thicker cover. Clive suggested we leave but I requested that we flush it just so I could see it in flight. It had moved quite some distance and so flushing it took a bit of work. I don't like doing it, but it was worth it as it was so cool to see in flight. It moved into a tree, then it flew back down near us but in an area of mown grass where we got some incredible views as it continued to feed happily despite our fairly close proximity.
It was an awesome bird to see, I'll let my multiple photos and short video do the talking. Sadly, when I managed to get some none shaky video is when the bird was not doing much.
-Hoopoe
video
-Hoopoe
Our next stop was an estate, the Trentham Estate between Stoke and Wolverhampton where there had apparently been a lesser spotted woodpecker. Sadly speaking to local birders it sounded like the report might be rubbish, and we certainly did neither see nor hear any. Commoner woodland species were in abundance though, including Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Common Buzzard and a yeartick of Treecreeper. There's always a silver lining.
Following that in the late afternoon we headed to Tittesworth Reseroir for the female ring-necked duck. Despite out best efforts we could not find it but the reservoir was very large and it would have been easy for the bird to hide somewhere. I gained another yeartick here, in the form of Mandarin, with a nice pair. Other nice birds on site included Bullfinch, Lesser Redpoll, Goosander, but there was a lacking number of birds given how large the reservoir was, with very few wildfowl at all.
As the light faded we decided to call in at Bakewell to have a look at an apparent Scaup x Tufted hybrid duck. We picked out the bird fairly easily but one look clearly showed it had no scaup in it. The head had a significant purple sheen so I considered lesser scaup for a moment but the un-mottled back, half wing bar and the excessive purple sheen all pointed to the other parent being a Pochard. Another novelty hybrid for me to look at this year. There was also a superb male Goosander coming to bread with the common wildfowl which was pretty awesome to see. If only the light had not been so poor.
-Pochard x Tufted Duck
-Goosander
And that was that. On the drive back we got a Short-eared Owl on the moor, and a Dipper in one of the rivers, the latter being a yeartick for me. Despite 2 dips it was an excellent days birding, and the Hoopoe along means 2016 has probably peaked already.

Species List:
Hinksford: Hoopoe, Yellowhammer, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Collard Dove, Meadow Pipit,
Trentham Estate: Treecreeper. Nuthatch, Song Thrush, Redwing, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Rook, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Robin, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Grey Heron, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Wren, Dunnock, Kestrel, Common Buzzard, Mistle Thrush, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Magpie,
Tittesworth Reservoir: Bullfinch, Lesser Redpoll, Pochard, Mandarin, Goosander, Tufted Duck, Oystercatcher, Canada Goose, Cormorant, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Curlew, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great-crested Grebe, Fieldfare, Woodpigeon, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Teal, Wigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie,
Bakewell: Grey Wagtail, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Goosander, Mallard, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Carrion Crow, Feral Pigeon, Jackdaw,

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