Wednesday, 21 December 2011


 A 60th surprise birthday in neighbouring Staffordshire took me to Dove dale little did I know we
were staying at the Izaak Walton hotel or I would have took my fishing rod.
I decided to take a walk along the Dove river just below the hotel as the rain turned to snow.
I followed the river noting mallard and merganser and winter thrushes at the stepping stones.
From the stepping stones on walked on to Lovers Leap here I noted Common Buzzard and Redpoll.
On my way back I noted Dipper although a poor photo ,moving back to the hotel.
Finally chatting to Bernie Maher fishing on the river then a pot of tea at the hotel,
the girls returned from Ashbourne and told me we were going for a drive.
It was more like a sleigh ride as we tried to get to Buxton the weather got worse,so we returned
to the hotel.

That evening a taxi to Waterhouse on icy roads for our friends Carol Crilly's 60th,
Anice meal with friends before leaving early due to the taxi and adverse weather.
The following morning we left Dovedale a frosty morning before returning to Herts.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Weekend in Boston 10th 12th Dec 2011

Not much birding but I managed one day in the backwoods park in Central Boston.I was looking for
Black Duck but only managed Mallard ,saw a pair of Downy Woodpeckers and two Blue jays.
However I was rewarded with a couple of Hoode Mergansers.
Here in the river I first located them before better views further on.
Moving on through the park I saw a few more species as well as a good conservation message from
our friends across the pond,take note local park lovers.
You now have been advised,impressed I walked on noting American Robin and Black capped
Boston is noted for its historical links with Britain it was discovered in 1630 and a plaque in Boston
Common celebrates the fact.
Here above you can see the Pilgrim fathers,the main reason for visiting Boston was my sons birthday,
hence visiting a number of bars including Mr Dooleys and the Guinness.
It was here and at Smith and Wolenskys,we celebrated in style ,with fine dining and traditional
Irish music.It was all over too soon and we flew home courtesy of good old BA.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Stockers lake and Woodoaks farm

Walked Ted to Mill End passing Woodoaks along the main road of interest a party of
20c Rooks were feeding on the field ,it was nice to see the return of this under recorded corvid.
Also 2 Egyptian geese have set up territory probably fed up with being shot at over neighbouring
Lynsters.However I was after a reported smew on Stockers which failed to materialize.
So I contented my self with views of up to15 Goldeneye,the light was poor for photography and
there were a few west london birders trying to photograph them ,also some Potters bar rspb people
but generally quiet.
I managed a few shots of Shoveler ironically from the Shoveler hide before returning via the River
Colne,on neighbouring Inns and Springwell, Wigeon numbers are increasing along with a single
Red crested Pochard.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Birding in Kenya

This post was requested by my mate Paul Lewis ,so to cheer him up after sleeplesss days due to contractors digging the road up outside his house,this morning I went to the lodge and left the card for
my camera at home,so here are some African birds to delight.First Black bellied bustard in breeding
plumage seen here on the plains of the Mara also in Tsavo. Next a Brown crowned Tchagra singing
near our tent,was known as a bush shrike.Also around tents commonly in the Mara is White browed
Robin chat.Of course what would Kenya be without it's raptors ,one of the most impressive must
be the Martial Eagle.The habitat changes from savannah bisected by rivers and scrub adding to the
diversity of mammals and birds.A common sandpiper sits on a hippo's ear 50 yards below our tent.
Stay tuned for more birds with Colne valley birder on tour.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Last days of Autumn

It's the return of Lewis and Carter joined by Geoff Laptop and Tony Hulls but alas no Emu.
Over the last few days we have had between 8-11 common snipe.Also 2 regular Little Egrets although
flighty have been giving good views at rest and hunting for the small number of fish due to low water levels.The autumnal colours are glorious in the sunshine,but best at the moment is the trio of
confiding Green sandpipers.Passerines of note are a few Redwing,goldcrests have been obliging
and Common Teal numbers increasing see next blog for more details. the above view from the sluice
shows the water levels,well thats all for now.
Autumn crest takes gold in the bird olympics.