18th March 2023
After seeing 100s of White Wagtail only a few days ago in Jordan, it was still good to see this individual at Baggy Moor
Back in the UK after a great six weeks of traveling/birding through Oman, Thailand and Jordan. Met some awesome folks along the way, stayed at some top notch digs, especially Mango House in Jordan and it’s even better when your finding scarce and mega rare birds in each country. As usual, before goin home to Scilly, I’m spending a few days with the family in Salop. So it’s back down to earth now but today, a trip to my old birding patch, Baggy Moor, proved to be pretty good. These lagoons have been very productive in the past and as I lived only two minutes up the lane from the site, I watched it almost daily. Highlights back then included Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Common Scoter, Crane, 6 Little Stint with 3 Curlew Sandpiper, Whimbrel, most springs, Garganey and over a two day period, May 1st-2nd, 1990, 63 Black Tern! Also, Quail I could hear from home, every summer into the night with a peak of ten one year. The odd winters, Whooper and Bewick’s Swans would turn up with Short-eared Owl, Hen Harrier, and most days, Merlin would hunt the fields. And the late Bill Edwards gripped me off with a Sandwich Tern! I don’t think that anyone birds Baggy Moor at the moment and hopefully some birder nearby might make an effort to go and watch Baggy Moor after reading all those county rarities being observed.
Today at Baggy Moor, I was hoping to see the first Wheatear of the spring. Jumping out of the car and a scan across to the lagoons, 6 Shelduck, 33 Wigeon, 52 Teal, 3 Cormorant and a single Little Grebe. Following the east side of the lagoon and from the ditch, I kicked out a Jack Snipe that appeared to come down south near to the River Perry. A small number of bunting were in the Hawthorns bordering the lagoons on the west side including, 35 Corn and 20 Reed Bunting and 20 Yellowhammer. Way down on the numbers I used to get here including 250 Corn Bunting. There were so many species in song and one that was so good to hear were Skylark and Lapwing. Chiffchaff were very vocal and in a single small Hawthorn, there were 5 individuals with another two flycatching nearby in the warm sun. I could also hear alba wagtails and when I caught up with them, I immediately scanned through them for a White Wagtail and there was one in with the 25 Pied Wagtail.
A blurry record shot of the Jack Snipe flying away from me after I had flushed it
The first spring White Wagtail this year for Salop
In with the White Wagtail were up to 7 Chiffchaff
There were some 20 Reed Bunting
Equal number of Yellowhammer
All 35 Corn Bunting were in this small isolated Hawthorn but proved very elusive
6 Shelduck today but in the past, I’ve had a peak count of 26 once
I spent many hours in this tower looking out for owls and winter raptors and listening to Quail
I left the old stomping ground and headed towards another area that I almost watched daily as it was only a few miles away from where I was living, the North Shropshire meres. I covered each one of them, pulling into Woodlane mid-way. Highlights were, 3 Stonechat, Crosmere, 8 Oystercatcher and 2 Siskin, Woodlane, 28 Goldeneye, Ellesmere and the last mere to look at, Whitemere which held some 60 Sand Martin before they flew out north. Returning back to Telford, I dipped out on a Wheatear at Nonely. That would of ended the day off ideal but otherwise, Baggy Moor did the job.
I thought that there were only 40 Sand Martin at Whitemere but it was when they got into a tight flock that I could clearly see that it was in fact over 60 birds.
Yesterday, a slow twenty minute drive through Isombridge and I was rewarded with 8 Corn Bunting, 80 Fieldfare and only my second Telford Merlin.
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