Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Quiet Day on Patch

Date: 22/08/2017
Location: Newton St Loe
Weather: Overcast But Warm
Species Highlights:
Buzzard, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Bullfinch, Chaffinch.

Overcast grey skies not the promised blue & summer day! 
Along through Bath Mill and still very quiet here, up on to Dog Track and could hear a Buzzard mewing, crept around to try to get a view of the bird but it suddenly appeared from nowhere and immediately disappeared into trees! 
Appeared again but much more distant Carrswood side of brook. Flew around a few times, seem to looking for something?

Then perched in Carrswood and sat looking from floor to the skies for at least 15 mins, I left him to it and carried on to fields.

Saw & heard 2 Yellowhammer not singing but alarm calling, the single whistle. Then from above a group of 25 Barn Swallows hunting with 5 Swift in the group. Our last Swift sighting last year was around 18th August.

A very quiet walk out through village and even Send A Cow woodland and by the time I got to lake was only on 25 species!
Billy still on Bottom Lake and only 5 not normal 6 Cygnets plus the 2 adults on top, strange I thought as the cygnets seemed to be doing well? 
I sat and watched the Grey Herons and today it seemed they were the highlight.

While sat watching Mrs Kingfisher landed and started to fish for 5 mins.

The Herons continued to battle for what seemed always the best perch.

This the winner! 
4 Herons on lake and no Little Egret today.

Kingfisher returned giving a slightly better if distant view.

Walking to top end of lake found the other Cygnet on bank away from others, it seemed alright couldn't see any marks and was cleaning, I'll keep a eye on it but I think not good away from mum & dad and such a early stage in its development?

On up to Ponds and a few Common Darters, but again the quietness continued.

Decided Id carry on up to Park Farm to see if there was any action up there this Greater Spotted Woodpecker was calling and getting a return call but couldn't locate other bird.

Their seemed to be larger groups of birds on way up with Crows C50, Jackdaws C30 and at least 150 Wood Pigeons feeding in fields.

With 2 male Chaffinch a bird I'm seeing less and less of on patch this year, worrying. 
4 Pied Wagtail at farm and a large group of Goldfinch about 50 birds, that was my lot apart from another Buzzard circling over 12 o'clock lane.

Spotted these Mushrooms I think they are..... Mushrooms, gone through my mushroom book (Roger Phillips) and not sure!
So returned back into village and normal route home with nothing more to add apart from Rabbits highest count so far 20! They really are breeding like Rabbits, good food for the Kestrel family or Buzzards I hope.
Ended walk after 6.5 miles on 38 species.

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Thursday, 17 August 2017

Newton St Loe, Middle August

Date: 17/08/2017
Location: Patch - Newton St Loe
Weather: Starting Grey with Warm, Sunshine to End
Other Species: 
Spotted Flycatcher, Buzzard, Kestrel, House Sparrow, Chiffchaff, Little Egret.

Started walk today with the company of Tony Cook, another local birder. 

Out through Bath Mill fairly quiet along and up onto dog track single Brown Argus with Bullfinch being best, again not much going on across fields with no Skylarks heard or seen.

Into village 20+ House Martin buzzing overhead and busily nesting. Only around 4 Barn Swallow seen on our first pass.
Send A Cow woodland it all seemed to come alive with many Tits plus Treecreeper, Chiffchaff and 2 Spotted Flycatchers, the Spotted Fly's seem to have moved from lakes maybe looking at leaving soon?

A Comma on where else but Butterfly alley.

Onto Lakes Billy the Swan still "no mates" on Bottom Lake. 
This Dragonfly a 

Migrant Hawker carrying something and on looking at pictures its Speckled Wood!

Don't think Dragonflies cache food but this male seemed to be attaching its prey to underside of leaf then flew off empty handed?!

On up to top lakes all Mute Swans present and the adult male still chasing everything! 
The Poor Mallards getting no peace. 
2 Grey Herons seen, plus a couple of Black Headed Gull with 5 Lesser Black Backed Gulls.

After a brief stop by Palladium a Nuthatch could be heard, on around to top of Lake and really pleased to see Little Egret still.

Been present for 3 weeks now, still fishing extremely well to the displeasure of the other Lake residents.

Buzzard still calling top woodland but otherwise fairly quiet. 
Out onto Campus playing fields and a crow taking advantage of the now very warm sunshine. 

Not seen to many Small Tortoiseshells this year despite my many travels, a great looking butterfly.

On up to top Ponds and a few Dragonflies and Damselflies present. 
Mainly Common Darters and another Migrant Hawker.

On return route the Heron had relocated and seemed to think it was a duck! 
Thought it unusual to see them floating along.

Butterfly alley again and the Comma still perched on same flower but this Brimstone looking fabulous in the sunshine.

Can you tell it was a slow day for bird pictures!

Along back into Village and many more Barn Swallows with numbers around 30+ plus  perched and over Farm Shop. 
Pig Pen a single Pied Wagtail taking our species count to 35.

Also Pig Pen lots of House Sparrow 50+ feeding of scraps.

Taking grit or dust baths, really good to see so many, a female Kestrel took of from telegraph pole taking us to a final count of 37 species.

A lovely walk with some nice company, thanks Tony :)

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Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Little Egret Returns....

Date: 13th August 2017
Location: Newton Park Lake - Circular
Weather: Cloudy, Sunny Intervals and Warm
Other Species: Full List Here

Observation: Only a few Butterflies on Sunny Bank early afternoon, so onto Bath Mill and on approach to the bridge, the Kingfisher flew down stream but we couldn't trace it again.

Onto the Dog Walk, a single Jay, Roe Deer (Stag) and also 2 Buzzard were seen/heard through the woodland.

This stunning Green-Veined White perched nicely for some shots:

The walk was pretty quiet up to Seven Acre until the Village, where things picked up again.

Just before the Farm Shop, 2 Painted Lady's were spotted.

A few Barn Swallow were flying around the Village, 18 were counted on the way through.

At the Church, a Juvenile Green Woodpecker was feeding in the field with a few more Rook, Crow and Jackdaws than we've had recently, glad to see the numbers rising.

We met fellow birder and patch walker Tony and continued the walk.

Through the Workshop Covert, single numbers of Chiffchaff and a Song Thrush seen.

At the Lakes - Bottom Lake was busy with fisherman but numbers remained the same with Billy still present and 10 Mallard sat on the banks. A single Grey Heron, flew in and started foraging in the grass.

Top Lake, the family of Mute Swans present with all 6 Cygnets doing well and feeding independently.

Another Kingfisher flew up stream and landed at the Top End. There was no sign of the Little Egret until.... we walked around the corner and there it was, feeding away frantically.

We watched it for a few minutes before moving on.

We went to check on the Little Owl and Spotted Flycatcher, but no sign of either today, 2 Nuthatch and another Buzzard were heard calling.

2 further Buzzards, and 20+ House Martin flying around Top Lake.

On the return route, nothing more of note, apart from calling Stock Dove, small numbers of Goldcrest and another Chiffchaff (Juvenile).

Back in the Village, we left Tony and finished the walk.

At the Farm Shop, there were plenty of Barn Swallow and House Martins flying around and some resting on the wires, no doubt in preparation for their long journey home!

Barn Swallow (Adult)

House Martin (Juvenile)

House Sparrows numbers seem to be slowly rising in the Village after their hedgerows being aggressively cut down in recent months.

One of the Piglets at the Farm Shop

Our garden has been full of birds over the past few weeks, so here's some recent pictures:

Bullfinch (Adult)

Bullfinch (Juvenile)

Goldfinch (Adult feeding Juveniles)

Blue Tit (Adult)

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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Newton St Loe - My Patch

Date: 08/08/2017
Location: Newton St Loe
Weather: Grey, Overcast but Warm
Species Highlights: 
Spotted Flycatcher, Bullfinch, Kingfisher, Grey Heron.
Silver Washed Fritillary

With no Butterflies to chase another patch walk this morning and as the norm out though Bath Mill.
Seem to be a few Butterflies about to my surprise with 3 Common Blue and a single Brown Argus on Sunny Bank.

All seem to be a bit worn.

With a juvenile Grey Wagtail on brook, 
Plus adult who flew on down brook as soon as I saw her.

On up to dog track track and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker and Bullfinch feeding by kissing gate, through gate and onto dog track I could hear a Chiffchaff calling. Through the small woodland and a Buzzard above calling like a squirrel, strange. In clearing just out of wood a Silver Washed Fritillary! 
First one ever in 10 years of walking round these parts.

Takes my Patch butterfly tick list to 23, although this year only on 18 as I have been elsewhere on my great butterfly challenge this year!   ICYMI
1. Small Copper
2. Painted Lady
3. Clouded Yellow
4.Essex Skipper
5. Small skipper
6. Large White
Hope to get some of these before year end on patch.

Along byway not a lot going on, village More House Martins in skies only 1 Barn Swallow seen. On return trip this would change. Village Green and 2 Greenfinch 1 adult 1 juvenile. Very quiet in to Send a Cow woodland and onto bottom lake, Billy still present.

Top Lake all Swans preening on far bank, nothing unusual except 5 Grey Herons all looking for a good fishing spot with a adult keeping them mobile.

  A juvenile making their burbling call from tree top. I tried to record sound but noise from college drowned it out!

While watching noticed a Kingfisher sat watching the Herons, you'll need binoculars for this one!

2 Buzzards flew past calling to each other, was gonna go up to check on Spotted Flycatchers but noticed above me 2 were catching flies in trees alongside lake, so sat and watched a bit longer.

After trying to get better pictures with much success headed towards top of lake 2 more were feeding with a group of 3 Chiffchaff. 

Juvenile Wren checking reeds out.

Few more Grey Heron shots and then carried on back towards village. 

The numbers of hirundines seen to have reversed with many more Barn Swallows in the skies and sat on wires, plenty of Juveniles.

Lots of House Sparrow feeding in horse fields I'd estimate 30+ in one group, a good year. 

With Kestrel, Buzzard on way back, that was my lot, Collared Dove, Coal Tits and 6 Bullfinch on my tree when I got home. Filled feeders again and end.
Species count of 39. 

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