Saturday, 14 November 2020

Visitors to Warwick

If you are visiting Warwick and want to know very recent sightings for the local area in Warwick then please use the contact form opposite.

Monday, 17 August 2020


We are pleased to announce that one of the Warwick local birders has released a book.


It can be purchased from https://www.bookdepository.com/Park-Life-Rick-Thompson/9781839751738?ref=grid-view&qid=1597677031290&sr=1-1 (free delivery) or Amazon, Waterstones etc

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Birding as a team in isolation - by Lizzy Bradbury

There is no doubt that I live in one of the worst places in the whole of the UK to see birds.  As far from the coast as it is possible to be, with no expanses of woodland, heathland or wetland present to entice migrants, Warwick is located miles away from any vagrant hotspots.   If, like me, you have the birding bug, this could be a pretty depressing situation.  Indeed, I find myself dreaming of Bardsey Island and have even researched buying a caravan at Spurn.


But there are positives of living in a place where whinchats and whimbrels are big news.  I’m pretty sure that finding a pied flycatcher on my patch would be just as adrenalin-filled as finding a collared flycatcher on Shetland, albeit not as social media-worthy, and certainly not twitch-worthy!  There is so little chance of seeing something unusual, competitive listing just isn’t on the radar for the local birders of Warwick.

The Warwick 100 was introduced three years ago by my good friend (and one of my son’s birding mentors).  The three of us decided to work as a team to try to find 100 species of birds within a two mile radius of Warwick town centre in a calendar year, with a WhatsApp group set up and this blog updated regularly.   Like birds, birders are few and far between around here, but over the last couple of years, our little team has grown to ten members, all contributing here and there with sightings, asking advice and general banter.   The team is genuinely happy for those who spot something new – as we are working toward one goal together.  And we’ve managed to smash that goal each year.

We reached 100 on June 30th 2018, with 107 in total. 
We reached 100 on June 5th 2019, with 113 in total.

This year we reached 100 on April 19th!!  So, we could be in line for a bumper year…

In these strange times of lockdown, there is no chance of my getting to the wonderful places I usually visit to hopefully find something special, but I’m really relishing my daily exercise walk with my binoculars each day.   We may moan about Warwick and its lack of birds, but I am so lucky to have my health, some lovely countryside to stroll around and a great team with whom I feel a sense of belonging, alongside a mutual goal. 

We may have no choice but to isolate, but birding as a team can certainly prevent us from feeling isolated.

Sunrise on The Warwickshire by Lizzy "Bradders" Bradbury




Sunday, 19 April 2020

100+ Species achieved for the Warwick 100 area in 2020

As we entered April, the promise of migrants hitting the Warwick 100 was in the air and straight away it happened with David scoring a male Redstart at Kingfisher Pools on 06/04/2020.  Over the next 10 days we then had a trickle of stuff including Swallows, House Martins, 2 Common Sandpipers, Willow Warblers, Common Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers and then it dried up.

Fortunately, Lizzy came to the rescue and found a Yellow Wagtail on the Warwickshire Golf Course on 18/04/2020 and there were Tawny Owl, Barn Owl and Little Owl on nocmig recordings for that night.  However, it then dried up again and despite a demoralising walk yesterday which was only saved by seeing a feeding flock of 70+ House Martins, 50 Swallows and 2 Sand Martins, I tried to remain optimistic as I set off for my daily walk this morning.

Sometimes you can just feel that it is going to be a good day and today it did feel 'birdy' and lo and behold 10 minutes into my walk I chanced upon a gorgeous male Whinchat (97) in a location where I normally see them in the autumn.  As I continued, I then heard the rattle of a Lesser Whitethroat (98) in a nearby hedgerow but had one target in mind and was not going to be distracted.  I trudged around a while looking at all the obvious spots and then went back to a field I had been keeping an eye on and at last, right in the middle of the field was my target, a male Wheatear (99).  I was now on a roll and at 99 species, felt today was the day to reach 100 and marched off to some nearby reed beds and straight away found a Reed Warbler (100), it was almost like he was waiting for me.  The successes of the day did not stop there: David managed to find a Grasshopper Warbler (101) reeling away and Jack reported a Spotted Flycatcher (102) this afternoon.

So, despite lockdown, we have already achieved our goal of seeing 100+ species this year within the Warwick 100 area.  This is also far earlier than the previous two years and 82% of those species have been seen since lockdown and only by walking.

Monday, 30 December 2019

Year round up for the Warwick 100 area

2019 has been a great year for the number of different species we have managed to see within the Warwick 100 area with a few surprises and some species that we thought were guaranteed but just could not track down (Red-Legged Partridge in particular).

All sightings for the Warwick 100 area or nearby are my own unless specified otherwise.

There were firsts for Lizzy and Jack at the Saxon Mill, being Goosander and Golden Plover and they had a bumper day in November with 3 Woodcocks.  Lizzy’s highlight was being almost scared to death by a calling Barn Owl at the Warwickshire Golf Course and then finding 2 Bewick's Swans this past week.

Bewick's Swans at the Warwickshire Golf Course by Lizzy Bradbury
David found a Stonechat at Warwick Racecourse in November which was the first one we have had on that site for a couple of years (it turned out that there was a pair which I managed to photograph the following day).  Our local wintering Snipe roost had an impressive 26+ birds (and continues to do so currently).  Lizzy and Jack found a pair of breeding Spotted Flycatchers and I found another pair in a location not frequented by any of us normally.

My own Warwick 100 site had a bumper year with the following:-

In winter; I almost fainted when a Bittern flew directly over my head on 14/02/2019.  I had 2 over wintering Green Sandpipers seen together on 28/03/2019, 30/03/2019 and 01/04/2019.  I also had singles from 08/03/2019 to 22/04/2019.  2 Whooper Swans also flew low over my head on 06/01/2019 and singles were seen in other locations on 13/02/2019 and 06/03/2019.  There was a flock of Golden Plover containing about 50 birds and a smattering of Lapwing for a few days mid January.  A Great Egret was seen on 08/03/2019 and then again on 26/03/2019 (as was a Little Egret).  A Goosander flew down river on 15/03/2019 (possibly the same bird that Lizzy saw on a different date) and a drake Mandarin hung around from 30/03/2019 to 02/04/2019.

In Spring,  1 Wheatear on 01/04/2019 and 30+ Sand Martins on 02/04/2019.  Another surprise was a fly over Whimbrel on 21/04/2019 and 1 or possibly 2 Common Sandpipers seen from 17/04/2019 to 26/04/2019.  The rest of spring was relatively quiet with the only notable thing being a count of 40+ Swift on 06/06/2019 over the Stratford Road near to Aylesford School and the Severn Trent Sewage Works.

In Summer, there were maybe up to 3 Hobbys at 3 different locations (with the latest being recorded in the autumn on 30/09/2019) and a returning Wheatear on 21/08/2019.

In Autumn, 1 Common Sandpiper on 03/09/2019 and 04/09/2019, 2 Whinchats from 04/09/2019 to 13/09/2019 (and also 2 at Warwick Racecourse on 03/04/2019 and 04/09/2019) and 1 Stonechat from 27/10/2019 to 29/10/2019.   The drake Mandarin again on 07/09/2019, 1 Yellow Wagtail on 10/09/2019 and then 2 on 17/09/2019, 1 Spotted Flycatcher from the end of August to the end of September and then joined by another on 29/09/2019.  2 Greenshank flew over calling on 15/10/2019, 1 Green Sandpiper from 27/10/2019 to 12/11/2019 then 3 together on 17/11/2019, 1 on 18/11/2019 and 1 on 13/12/2019 and a Woodcock accidently flushed on 20/11/2019. After the prolonged rain, there was a "duckfest" from 30/10/2019 to 23/11/2019 with 2 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 10+ Teal, 2 Shoveler, 1 Gadwall and 1 possible juvenile Red Crested Pochard. The flooding also attracted large numbers of Gulls with 500+ Black-Headed Gulls recorded on 18/11/2019 and a Yellow-Legged Gull on 30/10/2019 and 31/10/2019.

For a full list of the birds seen in the Warwick 100 area please click here.

Have a happy 2020.

NOTE:  Any sightings on this post or this blog credited to myself should only be mentioned or used in West Midlands publications (annual reports etc) with my consent.  Please email me for permission.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

No sign of the Bewick's Swans on the Warwickshire Golf Course despite an extensive search on all pools.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

After deserting the Warwick 100 area for Christmas I was just getting into the car to go to my patch when I noticed a whole load of messages informing me that Lizzy had only gone and found 2 Bewick's Swans on the local Golf Course just inside the area.  A swift drive over there and I met up with her and was soon watching the two birds from the perimeter just before it becomes private.  A great record for us and our 113th record for the year and quite possibly the birds of the year.

Bewick's Swans by Lizzy Bradbury
Only other birds of note this morning were:-

  • 1 Water Rail (RH)
  • 1 Chiffchaff (RH)

Sunday, 22 December 2019

It doesn't seem like we have had extensive rain recently but the recent wet days have added to already saturated ground and has caused extensive flooding from Warwick right down to Stratford Upon Avon.  On many days this week I was not able to even access some of the areas I go to normally.
  • 1 Cetti's Warbler in East Warwick yesterday (DK)
  • 8 Raven over Saxon Mill fields yesterday (LB)
  • 1 Raven over Central Warwick yesterday (RH)
  • 2 Raven over South Warwick yesterday (RH) 
Raven


Raven



Thursday, 19 December 2019

Still very quiet around here with just the below:-
  • 1 Gadwall (RH)
  • 1 Kingfisher (RH)
  • 1 Lapwing (RH)
  • 1 Kingfisher at Kingfisher pools (LB)
  • 1 Whooper Swan flew over my house.  It seemed to be heading along the same route that one did last winter earlier in the year.  Commuting between two private sites which are inaccessible (RH)
  • Over wintering Blackcap in Lizzy's garden (LB)
Possibly just inside the Warwick 100 area (although not sure we will ever know unless it is re-found) a Pink Footed Goose was reported via Birdtrack by Ste Hall presumably seen from a train around Leamington Spa (Old Milverton area) near the Chiltern Line.

Also, in the wider area, I have just noticed Birdtrack reports for Hatton farms (SP26) where a Woodcock and Stonechat were reported a couple of weeks ago.

Friday, 13 December 2019

No real changes this week with a generally rainy week:-

  • A pair of Blackcaps are over wintering in my garden (RH)
  • 2 Chiffchaff (RH)
  • 1 Green Sandpiper (RH)
  • 2 Raven over South Warwick and 1 Raven over Kingfisher Pools (RH & LB)

Monday, 9 December 2019

Not much to post about again unfortunately:-

  • 1 Gadwall (RH)
  • Up to 2 Chiffchaff over-wintering (RH)
  • 1 Great Crested Grebe at Kingfisher Pools (LB)
  • 1 Kingfisher still at Kingfisher Pools (LB) and a couple still in South Warwick (RH)

In the wider area, the sewage works at Kineton are attracting a good array of birds, including a Chiffchaff (not Siberian unfortunately) in with a good sized Tit flock, up to 4 Grey Wagtails and many Pied Wagtails.  The surrounding trees have a lot of berries and are attracting good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing.  If you feel nauseous staring at piles of poo while taking in the aroma, this place is not for you.  Combrook area is very quiet with just 1 Great Crested Grebe on the lake with 5 Tufted Ducks, 4 Cormorants and a few Coot and Mallard.  Kingfishers seem quite active there with 3 counted yesterday afternoon.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

A very quiet week around the Warwick area with 5 of our normal sites visited in the past 8 days but nothing to show for it except the following:-

  • 1 Water Rail (RH)
  • 2 Snipe (RH)
  • 1 Kingfisher at the Warwickshire (LB)
  • Siskins over South Warwick and Saxon Mill at various times (LB & RH)
  • 2 Mistle Thrush at St Nicholas Park (LB)
  • 1 Gadwall (RH)
  • 3-4 Marsh Tit (RH)
  • 1-2 Chiffchaff (RH)
  • 1 Blackcap in South Warwick (RH)



Monday, 25 November 2019

Far more thrushes seemed to be evident during a brief walk this morning, perhaps they know something we don’t with a potential cold snap approaching.  Also the below:-

  • A pair of Stonechat in South Warwick (RH)