As the forecast was due to be fine toady I fancied a day at the coast and after looking at was around I decided a trip up the M6 was the best option to Fairhaven Lake for the Juvenile Black Necked Grebe.
It didn't take to long to find the bird and Gemma and me both enjoyed fairly close views of the bird,
a Kingfisher darted past and a Grey Wagtail on the nearby island.
After wards we walked along the sea wall spotting Knot, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Grey Heron and Little Egret.
One interesting observation was a group of Crows feeding on Sea Buckthorn.
Paid a rather flying visit to Blithfield this morning after dropping Gem off at her first day at school, we then head along the A50 to hopefully see the Crane to add to Lesley's year list.
Our luck was in and the bird was found at the far end as usual.
Also noted were Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and quite a large group of Meadow Pipit along with a reasonable sized flock of Linnet.
After finding out that a Wryneck had been found up at Berryhill on Bank Holiday Monday I had high hopes that it would be still around the following day due to the awful weather on the Monday.
News wasn't good as soon as we reached Berryhill we bumped into a chap that told us he had been looking for 2 hours and seen no sign of the bird but we still plodded on hoping we might have better luck.
Plenty of Goldfinch around almost every bush and stand of Thistle contained them we also saw singles of Reed and Sedge Warbler along with a single male Blackcap and the odd Wheatear in the Horse paddocks on our way to the top of the hill. Poor Gem was though getting a little tired 4 year old legs can only walk so far.
In a Paddock by the viewing area at the top of the hill we saw 4 Redstart plus more Wheatear and had been told by another birder of a Whincat but I didn't fancy walking all the way down but a little stroll down the bank only revealed a Kestrel.
I did walk around the edge of the paddocks and came to the likely area only knowing it was near the Lapland Bunting paddock means nought to me so I was flying blind a bit.
A pleasant walk although finding out in the evening it was there does leave a slight bitter taste, but that's birding and means I will have to try again another time to see one of these fellows.
Popped along for a quick visit to Blithfield I hadn't visited here for some years now but as a Crane had taken up semi permanent residence there it would be rude not to pop along and see it plus what ever else was around.
Near the causeway amongst the sheep were a number of Yellow Wagtails with the odd Pied thrown in for good measure I tried to teach Gem how to sneak up on them but as she is both 3 and wearing a bright red t-shirt my hopes were not high, but we still got pretty close.
Further along were a group of mixed waders a single Little Ringed Plover then a handful of Dunlin and Ringed Plover.
The Common Crane could be seen in the distant at the far end of the bay but with the heat and distance it would have been too far for Gem's little legs so it was back to the car and an ice cream.
I don't usually go after Gulls as they are not my thing and trying to age and the art of telling juveniles apart is a complete mystery to me.
But the Sabine's Gull is A) One I missed out on a few years back as the spot was not child's buggy friendly and B) For a Gull its quite good looking.
So off me and Gemma headed, the drive up was a doddle for once the M6 was not to bad, and my sat nav took me straight to the place (well close enough).
On getting there Steve Seal and another birder told me the bird was showing very nicely so off we plodded. Boy it was showing well just a few meters off shore taking insects from the surface.
I did mange a few bonus shots while we were there,
Then it was off to Markeaton Park in Derby for Gemma, I know it's not close but three year old girls don't have a very good geographical knowledge.
Well it took three visits but I think I am finally happy with my shots of the Red Footed Falcon at Chatterley Whitfield in the wonderful city of Stoke on Trent (well I would say that I am a born and bred Stokie), I also finally saw the Black Redstart! and it was even putting on a show to rival the RFF it was on show soon as I stepped out of the car and a kind chap was waving me over so I hurried over and got to watch this great little chap and the RFF even came to me briefly strangely enough the Black Redstart stayed well out of sight till it disappeared.
Paid another visit to see the Red Footed Falcon, missed out on seeing the Black Redstart but that just means I have another excuse to visit again.
The Red Footed Falcon really did put on a show for everyone there my scope was left back at home as it comes so close there was no need to bring it along for the ride.
The Falcon did really come close in when some chap threw some locusts out for the bird, not sure who he was but to have the Falcon hover over our head was quite a sight and one I wont forget for along time.
Found out late as usual for me that a Red Footed Falcon had appeared on my door step to some extent within the majestic city of Stoke-on-Trent.
Looking on the map on the rare bird area of the Bird Forum it appeared to be at Chatterley Sidings near Genesis Park which I knew quite well after photographing class 350's on test there.
But it turned out it was actually at Chatterley Whitfield which to some extent no where near where the map had it, bugger!
With the light starting to fade off Gem and me headed and we eventually found the spot after a couple of wrong turns.
The bird was showing really well and at least I didn't have to push a pushchair over fields and across styles to see this one unlike the Willington bird and it was much closer. We watched the bird for about 30 minutes before heading home.