On the spur of the momment I decided to go over the local patch this morning, but on my way I decided to head up to Stoke on Trent for some Waxwings that came up on the pager.
On route I text Bart to see if he had bothered going out anywhere. I soon received a text back saying that he was at Doxey Marshes looking for a Water Pipit (Its a blocker for him); so I arranged to meet him up there as it is on the way to Stoke.
Parked up at Doxey I walked across the reserve and soon tracked him down.No sign of the Pipit so we teamed up and walked up and down the small river hoping to see the elusive Pipit, but no Joy! We had a couple of Meadow Pipits, a Stonechat, 6 Goosander, the usual wildfoul, Teal etc, and a Grey Wagtail, so we headed back to our cars and headed north to Stoke too look for the Waxwings.
After getting lost a few times we finally arrived at the place where the Waxings had been reported earlier, there were about ten Birders in the car park. We asked if they had been seen. One Birder said, "they were here about ten minutes ago!" We walked over to another Birder and he had got one bird in his scope, so we set up and there it was. Cracking ! a bit distant but hey ho!
We watched the bird for about 5 mins, but then we heard a trilling call above our heads. We checked out the trees behind us in the Burger King car park and there they were, 9 Waxwings! Boom !
We stayed and watched these little crackers for about 40 Minutesand whilst in the car park we asked a few of the local Birders if there was anything else about. One of the Birders was Phil Locker, we both know him off the Facebook group we are in the ASBO Black Lark Group. He gave us Gen, reports of a Jack Snipe up at Tittesworth Res, and Short Eared Owls up on the North Staffs moors. We thanked him and decided to head up for the Snipe & Owls. Thanks Phil.
At Tittesworth we had met up with two Birders from Wolverhampton, Dave & Paul, so we walked up to the hide from where the Snipe had been seen and upon entering the hide found that it was packed out. The bird was not on show, so we started scanning across the res' onto the far shoreline. 7 Common Snipe were there but no Jack.
Half an hour passed and now the hide was starting to empty so we could sit down and have a better look. Then Dave picked it out. Jack Snipe on the far shore in amonst the reeds. Another Year Tick !
Now with only 2 hours of light left we decided to head up onto the moors and look for yet another year tick, Short Eared Owls.
Time was now 15.30 and the light was starting to fade, so all four of us walked up to the area where the Owls had been reported, looking across and down the valleys over the ranges. After half an hour of scanning and views of Red Grouse , Buzzard and Meadow Pipit, Paul picked up a large bird in the skyline to the right of us. We all got our Bins onto it and BOOM -Short Eared Owl ! Nice one Paul.
We stayed for another 20 Mins and got closer views. What fantastic birds they are! I haven't seen one for years so it was really great to see this one.
It was now nearly dark so we all said our goodbyes and headed back home.
A great day ...........CLAM ON !!!