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Monday, 19 March 2012

If Carlsberg did Mondays...19th March

Monday, not my favourite day of the week, so been taking some off as holiday. Today I headed across  the county border to Shropshire and up to Titterstone Clee. The idea was to see some early fresh Wheatears and maybe a Stonechat..or even a Ring Ouzel ? Around 10AM at the summit it was blues skies but a bit fresh to say the least. I wrapped up and headed for the old fort area. Raven Kronked overhead and Pied Wagtails flicked around as did a few Meadow Pipits.
Within a couple of minutes I was onto a couple of stunning male Wheatears..absolutely resplendent in their Spring attire. I spent a good 30 minutes wandering the area, where the two males stayed close  to each other, but were skittish. They continually worked around the site staying within a few yards of each other and occasionally squabbling. A Peregrine showed a couple of times above the summit, and with the wind buffeting my hands were tingling with the cold.

ohhh what a beauty !

I returned to the car, hoping to connect with a Stonechat on the descent. Just as I left the car park I noticed some movement around a gorse bush to my left. Pulling over I grabbed my bins and realised I did not have to descend any further , there were Stonechats about ! Initially just a female showed, but then I got onto a Male also. I grabbed a record shot of the female, but the conditions were turning, suddenly cloudy and the wind got up again and I lost them over to the other side of the track Still two quality year ticks and my first male Stonechat.

Female Stonechat

Next I headed to the Wyre, and 30 minutes later was walking down to Dowles Brook. Through the vegetation there is a small pond, and noticing some movement I spied upon a pair of Mandarin Ducks..always nice to see. Squatting down to get a better view through the branches they were oblivious to my observations and I snapped a few pics and a bit of video from a somewhat odd angle.

Mandarin Duck pair Wyre Forest

 Moving on I crossed the bridge, stopping to look down stream for Grey Wagtail. Instead a Dipper zoomed towards me like an Exocet hugging the terrain and passed under the bridge beneath me.

Well by now today was constituting '' a success'' and made up for the previous couple days.. and some !.... but there was more to come, when a bit deeper into the woods I stopped in my tracks noticing another Dipper on the stream as close as I have ever come to one. I took a few snaps and some video, wishing I had brought my monopod as it was quite dark, but the result was pleasing despite being handheld.

The rest of my walk was most pleasant, the highlight being a few Redpoll and Siskin around Lodge Hill farm, and chatting a while with its occupier. I will be uploading some more pics on my flickr page in due course, but unfornately work beckons for now.

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