Saturday, September 11, 2010


Apedale Country Park looking out over the fields

In birding terms Friday [10 September] is best forgotten. We were never really going to get in much real birding. FAY had an appointment to meet up with an 82-year old aunty who had once lived in New Zealand but who FAY hadn’t seen in for many years.

We arose to a bleak, overcast, sky that threatened rain; a sheet of gloom descending over Staffordshire. Clearly it had rained overnight, leaving traces of water in crevices and between cobbles. The canal towpath would be too muddy, too slippery, simply too dangerous and when you’re limited in the number of clean trousers you can change into, caution tends to rule the moment.

As it had cleared slightly by 0830 hours we decided to leave RUGELEY earlier than was absolutely necessary for the journey up to NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME. Where to Watch Birds in the West Midlands indicated a few likely spots in the immediate locality of Newcastle. We opted for the Apedale Country Park.

It was raining along the approach road but again eased as we pulled into the carpark. We decided to go for it, our luck had to change. Wrong! It continued to cast gloom over the scene; the light made photography difficult and then the drizzle came down to punctuate an already miserable morning with a fine mist of raindrops.

Apedale wildlife?

The Carrion Crow and Common Wood Pigeon mocked our feeble attempts; they remained unconcerned with the rain. After meeting up with the fifth dog, all off lead, all sniffing around, we decided to turn back to the car. It stopped raining as we approached the last incline to the carpark; the sun popped out from behind a grey cloud and beamed down on us in mockery.

We’ll leave for Australia at the end of the month with less than fond memories of birding in the Potteries. Sorry, Richard.

At last! Some real Apedale wildlife!

Saturday 11 September

63 today!

Decided to celebrate my birthday with a quick visit to DOXEY MARSHES, on the edge of STAFFORD.

What a delight compared to yesterday’s debacle at Apedale Country Park. The only frustrating aspect is the knowledge that in all those years when we lived in Rugeley it had never occurred to us to visit here. What a glorious wetlands setting! I even forgive that pair of Mute Swans [with half a dozen older cygnets] who argued the toss with us as to rights of way! Something to tell the grandkids… baled up by a pair of swans on my birthday!

Today’s tally included:

Carrion Crow

Common Wood Pigeon

Europeaan Robin

Mute Swan

Common Starling

Common Magpie


Common Chiffchaff

Common Mallard

Black-headed Gull

Common Coot

Grey Heron

Canada Goose

Northern Lapwing

Common Blackbird

Northern Shoveler

Common Moorhen

Great Cormorant

Barnacle Goose

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Common Snipe

Common Kestrel

Barn Swallow

European Goldfinch

Eurasian Teal

Great Tit

Blue Tit

Again, following a little more tweaking, the current tallies stand atL

Staffordshire List: 54

Trip List: 74

We’re off to PENBRYN, on the central Welsh coast, in the[Sunday] morning, again, visiting FAY’s cousins who run a caravan park in the area. I’m unaware of the computer/Internet situation here, as I am unaware of the situation when we visit more of FAY’s cousins in Teignmouth, Devon, immediately on leaving Wales. so this could be the last blog until we return to Rugeley on Thursday 16 September.


  1. Hi Julian

    Good to see that you're enjoying the birding in Blighty! Well, apart from Apedale CP. I must admit that I've never been there. Personally, the best birding in The Potteries would be at either Berryhill Fields or Westport Lake.


  2. Richard

    Just got back from a rather hectic few days visitng FAY's relatives [and sneaking in a little birding] in both central Wales and Devon. Will post a fuller report anon.

    FAY and I have recovered somewhat from Apedale. Very pleased to hear you recommend WESTPORT; FAY has a link with this area - an ancestor who ran the WESTPORT INN which we understand is no longer extanr but nevertheless an area we hope to visit very soon.