Tuesday, 21 August 2012



As two of the Clams are away on holiday, Bearded away down Cornwall with his family & Camper Van Clam, making his way back arcoss Europe, I decided to have a morning walk around the local patch Essington Quarry Pool.

I arrived up the pool at 10am, the Swallows are still on the lines chatting, I walked down down towards the Orchard on the way to the pool.

Now last week I said that I was hoping for some Spotted Flycatchers, so when I started scanning through the Orchard, what pops up a Spotted Flycatcher, GREAT ! then another and another, three birds in total, fantastic!

I watched the birds for about 3/4 of an hour, cracking looking birds constantly active, feeding and showing off on their favorite perches.

Walking up to the pool I had some Mistle Thrushes fly over and two Willow Warblers but still not a lot of birds, there was a few Gate Keeper Butterfies, 2 Small Skippers , and a Painted Lady , which was nice to see.

Up at the pool, very quiet, 4 Little Grebe now still with two young birds present, Tufted ducks, Mallard, and a few Coot. There were quite a few Hirunindes - 50+ Swallow, afew Sandmartin, a two Swift. I stayed for about an hour hoping for a Black Tern or something special to fly in but no joy, Maybe next week?

On my way back I had 4 more Willow Warbler,  2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 6 Goldfinch and a Grey Heron fly over, and that was about it for today, but the Spot Flys were well worth the effort.

Keep on Claming

Olly Clam.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


SATURDAY 11th August 2012.

Things are quiet nationally to say the least, and with petrol prices the way they are at the moment, I decided to go over the local patch on Saturday morning hoping to find something good!

View South of the Pool.

I arrived at the Quarry pool at about 10am and parked up at my usuall place by the Pig Farm in Essington, there was 12 Swallows sitting on the wires by the farm house which was nice ,they were busy calling to each other , what were they saying ... Is it time to go yet ? Maybe ?

Started my walk down to the pool, checking the hedge rows and the old Orchard hoping for a glimse of a Spotted Flycatcher, but no such luck, it was deadly quiet a part from Jackdaws , House Sparrows , some Great Tits and a sculking Dunnock.

Hopefully there maybe something good on the pool ? Fingers crossed! This is the main incentive that all local Birders have, too go around week on week checking out every bird hoping to find that MEGA or at least something out of the ordinary, well thats what keeps me going anyway!

Opon reaching the pool I set up my scope, when I noticed a Falcon over to the right flying towards Blackcat Wood, got the bins on it, a Male Peregrine Falcon, GREAT ! Things are not that bad then!

Scanning over the pool, not a great deal - Tufted Ducks , one with a brood of Ducklings , 2 Little Grebe with two young which was great to see , and a few Coot and 3 Mallard. Nothing else much though.

Little Grebe with young.

After about an hour scanning the Pool and surrounding fields I heard a Raven calling behind me and noticed two birds which flew over me flying north, also a Yellow Wagtail Flew over and 4 buzzard circled over and that was about it really, not too bad.

Also had a Common Blue Butterfly , Gatekeepers , Cabbage White and a few Small Tortoise Butterflies.


That's it for this weekend - Roll on Shetland in 5 weeks !!!

Clam On !

Olly Clam

Thursday, 9 August 2012


Now I've decided to start posting some of our local trip reports, just so you know that the Clams are not just "Twitchers" and that we are "Birders" !

Me (Olly Clam) & Tom (Chatty Clam) do most of our local birding at the Old Railway and Essington Quarry Pool which is situated just outside Wednesfield in the West Midlands and Staffordshire boarder, it is mainly farmland scattered with a few small woods and small pools.

                                                       Essington Quarry Pool

We have both been birding locally here for over 25 years and have seen some really good birds here and have seen many changes over this time, like the Quarry Pool established.

In the past we used to have 100's of Golden Plover regually visit the fields along the Old Railway, nesting Merlins, Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Corn Buntings , but things change over the years and we don't get many now days, but with the Quarry Pool on our patch now we get alot of birds we never had before, like Black Necked Grebes passing through on occassion , Black Throated Driver, Long Tailed Skua, Green & Common Sandpipers and a variety of Wildfoul and much more (For a full list of speices visit- Essington Quarry Pool by Dave Hampton).

Anyway thats a brief round up of our local patch, the other two Clams - Tony (Bearded) and Gary (CamperVan) live in different areas to Me & Tom. Bearded does his local birding around Tamworth in Warwickshire and reguarly visits Middleton RSPB and Branston Gravel pits, so I will be adding his trip reports as I get them.

Camper Van Clam - now the majority of his local birding is done at Upton Warren where he is a volunteer Warden, but as he is a Co-Writer on this blog I will let him give you the information of his visits and information on his local birding patch.

Ok back to our local trip reports. Tom paid a visit to the Quarry Pool this week, and here is a list of the birds seen on the 7th August 2012.-

2 Blackbird , 3 Blue Tit, 30+ Wood Pigeon, 6 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 2 Magpie, 4 Yellowhammer, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Wren, 4 Jay, 1 Kestrel, 100+ Carrion Crow, 4 Mallard, 5 Tufted Duck, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Little Grebe, 12 Coot, 3 Swift, 1 Pheasant, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Buzzard, 3 Robin, 1 Black Headed Gull, 2 Rook, 2 Long Tailed Tit, 1 Chaffinch, 50+ Jackdaw. Tom also said there were lots of Butterflies and Damsel Flies seen, which are good to see all be it a bit late!

                                    Essington Quarry Pool , viewed from the north bank

Well thats it for now, lets see what turns up at the weekend or what we can find !!

Clam on !!!

Monday, 6 August 2012


Things are still a bit on the quiet side, so when the news of a Gull Billed Tern came up on the pager we arranged to go for it on Saturday. A text was sent around the Clams and a pick up time of 04.30am was arranged.

We arrived at Ynyslas at 07.30am and parked the car on the beach, there was only 4 birders there scanning aross the estuary. Just as we got our scopes out the car a large group of Sandwich Terns flew in from off the sea and landed on the mud infront of us about 200 yards out.

Then one of the other Birders said that he had got it!, so we trained our scopes onto the the area and the bird in question, but we could only see the top of the birds head briefly then it went out of view, so non tickable views!

We continued to scan through the Terns checking every new arrival to the pack but no joy, but a immature Med Gull was picked up and a few Dunlin but no Gull Billed. Where had the bird gone?

Another half hour passed and the tide was rapidly rising pushing the Terns up closer to us, then Olly Clam saw another Tern flying in from up river and land in front of the main Tern flock , just as I got my scope on it an other birder shouted "Ive got it" , and there it was - GET IN ! Gull Billed Tern, a life tick for all the Clams.

We watched the bird for about an hour giving us excellent views and the sun came out for us too, which is as rare as the Tern for Wales.

                                        Bearded Clam looking like an Albanian Maffia member !

The Clams were hungry so we headed into Borth to get fed and decide where to go next! Over a big breckfast in the Sands Cafe, we decided to go and do a bit of sea watching , so we arrived up to coast at Clarach Bay, parked up the car on the beach front and had a quick scann through the bins.

There was hundreds of Manx Shearwaters passing by, so we quickly set up our scopes scanning through them hopping for a lost Cory's or Great Shearwater, but after about half an hour we had no luck but the sight of all Manx's passing by was a great sight to see, we also had about 20 Gannets, 2 Common Scoter and a Great Skua pass through which was nice.Then the heavens opened up so we packed up and got into the car, where next?.

We decided to go to the RSPB reserve at Ynys-Hir that was featured on the Spring Watch programe earlier in the year.

                                          View over the Salt Marsh from one of the hides

We arrived at the reserve at about 12.30, a cracking place with mature woodland serounding a large saltmarsh, we was hoping for too see some late Redstarts or Wood Warblers but the woods were deadly quiet, only Great Tits, Long Tailed Tits and a solitary Tree Creeper was seen so we headed for one of the hides too scan across the salt marsh and estuary.

In the hide we set up our scopes and started scaning across the salt marsh , 11 Little Egrets , 9 Goosander, 3 Ringed Plover, large numbers of Cormorant and a Grass Snake that swam across the small pool infront of us but not alot else.

So with a 3 hour drive back home a head of us we decided to head back home.

Another Clamtastic day - Clam on !