Today I went off to Claymills, near Burton upon Trent, for another of Dave Scattergood's excellent birdwalks which he does on behalf of East Staffordshire Council. I miss-judged the time and arrived three quarters of an hour early, so took a short walk along the canal bank. I soon found several Willow Tit (probably up to six, but I had four in view at one time) Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were also around. This was to turn out to be a bumper day for warblers!
At 10.00 Dave arrived to lead the group, and after a small diversion to try and see the Willow Tits (which had gone!), Dave took us off on a circular walk for about two and a half hours. Dave found us (amongst other things) Blackcap, Sand Martin, Gadwall, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat (these last two were a 'first of the year' for many - and the Lesser was a 'lifer' for me - hence me publishing poor 'record' shots) plus Comma buttefly. It was, not, however, a day for good photography, with many of the birds being distant or elusive! I seem to have several shots of birds departing!
After Claymills, I set off for Willington Gravel Pits - somewhere I've only been a couple of times before. I arrived to find three birders straining to see a Lesser Whitethroat in the hedge. Further on there were a couple of male Blackcaps, but it had clouded over by now, and my photos were pretty grim. There was also a distant Treecreeper ('record' shot below). On arrival at the third platform, the very distant Whimbrel was pointed out to me by one of the local birders (they really are a very friendly, and amusing, bunch of guys here - thank you). Goosander were also seen (also very distantly). A few Orange Tip butterflies and another Comma were around, but not photographed. On the way back to my car, I did manage a few shots of Blackcap and Chiffchaff (the specks in the first Chiffchaff image are mozzies, which were also out in force!).