Friday, 15 November 2019

Tick, Dip, Dip, Tick

10th- 14th November
Newton St Loe, Forest of Dean, Kenfig, Mumbles, Chew Valley.
Drizzle, grey skies
Species Highlights: 
Great Grey Shrike, Kittiwake, Whooper Swan,Fieldfare, Green Winged Teal.

On the 10th wandered out to Newton Park Whooper Swan still present, but with little else to show for my effort, but excellent that our Whooper is still present.

Monday 11th November we'd planned a trip to Forest of Dean, a few more ticks were on the cards, but overnight a Shorelark had arrived at Newton Point, NR. Porthcawl where we had such a great time the previous week, Not to change our plan we headed to Forest of Dean first for the shrike first. We spent around 2 hours searching but found it on the footpath!

It then flew towards us and perched on a high tree, so big crop but a cracking bird. News of the Shorelark were still positive so we rushed back  and drove to Newton Point....News came to us it had gone! Note to self "Lifer, must go to this bird first!!" 
Almost there we decided to drop in to Kenfig as a Slavonian Grebe was there, Nope. We then walked a fair distance to where we saw the Snow Bunting last week as a Long Tailed duck was present , nope! Walked back to van feeling cold and fed up.

Lauren needed to get something to add to here total so Kittiwake's at the Mumbles seemed our best bet, on arriving at pier, no sign of the Kittiwake but Lauren spotted then distantly floating out at sea, pheww!

Wednesday was my next outing and at a loss headed up to Marshfield, almost nothing  seen so made a loop and dropped into Corsham Lake, Goosander had been seen that morning so high hopes. No Goosander and very little else except for Fieldfare dotted around lake.

Spent a while sneaking up on them only for them to suddenly fly off, I wondered why looked behind me a dog and walker said what you doing!! "Nothing now" I replied!

I did managed a few shots against the grey and cold skies.

Then the Goosander landed but never stayed in view. A message alerted me to a Green-Winged Teal at Chew, Lauren working from home so picked here up and headed to Chew for a lifer!

Not the views I wanted, but a lifer and can always improve a record shot I suppose, while still at Chew we also saw the Yellow Legged gull another tick for Lauren.

14th Nov was Thursday and even though it was pouring down I headed out to Newton Park, Whooper Swan still present and into it 22nd day.

I'd  driven out to village and on short trip back this Sparrowhawk sped across road and perched up looking for a target. that was the end of a mixed week of high, lows, 250 miles driven and 20 miles walked. 
But with Lauren getting closer to her 200 and me exceeding not all bad, and beats working!

Wayne Year Bird List: 203
Lauren Year Bird List: 193

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Friday, 8 November 2019

Chough'ed to get to 200, sorry :)

3rd - 7th November
Newton St Loe, Chew Valley Lake, Porthcawl, Southerndown, Cheddar, Barrow 
Getting colder, from drizzle to blue skies.
Species Highlights: 
Whooper Swan, Red Throated Diver, Merlin, Snow Bunting, Red-billed Chough, Long-Tailed Duck.


Sunday 3rd November 

Lauren hadn't had time to see the Whooper Swan so we took a wander out to lake, House Sparrow are spread around village looking fine in the now winter sunshine.

Past the fishing lake there seem to be a big group of Goldcrest around 5 birds with more scattered along Top Lake.

The Whooper Swan still present but tucked into the far bank.
 We've since learnt that Janie from Bath Spa took a picture on the 24th at 14:07, I left the lake on the 24th at 13:53 !!

As we were walking back home news of a Red Throated Diver at Chew Valley Lake came in. A new bird for us both so we headed down to Woodford Lodge, Lauren spotted it and this was 199 for me and 186 for Lauren. When we arrived it was at it's closest and just kept swimming into middle of lake.

Monday 4th 

We had planned a trip to Porthcawl, Wales for a Snow Bunting, I'd already seen the Bolrenge bird but happy to make the journey. Rain on the journey there but stopping in the car park the sun started to shine and we had a lovely walk along the Porthcawl coastline, Oystercatcher, sleeping with passing Greater Black Backed Gull, Herring Gulls.

Lauren on top spotting form saw a Merlin and photographed it just, but ID'able from picture, I missed it!
The Snow Bunting hadn't moved from the previous day, feeding on the Golf green, a lovely little bird and Lauren on a roll with another tick.

We walked further along the coast and unbelievable I almost stood on another Snow Bunting, this one slightly bigger and much paler.

We think Male Non-
breeding juvenile.

Moving much faster but giving us some good photo opportunities.

Plenty of other birds at Pink Bay/Sker area and some friendly locals, Skylark singing and chasing each other around.

Stonechat always happy to pose.

With Starling, Meadow Pipit and Wren dotted along coast we had a great time here.

Tata Steel works could be seen in the distance, not sure what was being pumped into the atmosphere?

Just before the car park we spotted a few Golden Plover too.

Our plan was from here to head to the Gower for Red-Billed Chough but another birder mentioned Southerndown for Chough so on the way home thought this a better option.

A stunning walk we spectacle scenery and to make it even better we heard a Red-Billed Chough flying above us, distant photograph confirmed this, my #200bird of the year!!!

We climbed to Dunraven Castle with even better views back along to Porthcawl and the Gower. 

 A selfie to celebrate getting to 200 Lauren now on 189.

While sat we heard more Chough and 2 Birds were circling over cliffs, we managed some better shots, weather was on the turn so darker grey skies but happy to get better views.

We spent a further 20 minutes watching these great birds, a lifer for Lauren, I'd previous seen them at Botallack, Cornwall.

Much colder and greyer on the walk back to Car Park but a few Hardened Surfer were braving the frigid waters.

A great place and will definitely return.

5th November

Popped out to the Lake, Whooper Swan still present, 16 days.

6th November

I headed down to Cheddar for another Diver Great Northern but walked half way around and it poured down continued round with no sign of the Diver, this Great Crested Grebe and plenty of Coots were the best of it.

Dropped into Barrow Tanks for a look at the Returning Long-Tailed Duck, looking for his Tufted female from last year?

The day before it was at Chew Valley but think it prefers Barrow Tanks, Barrow Gurney. Just to say you need a permit to visit this site.

From there stopped of at Chew Valley and Stratford hide, A  brief view of this Kingfisher in not ideal conditions, misty grey skies.

The now normal flypast Great White Egret.

2 minutes of sunshine this Mute Swan looked great.

7th November

Thursday Patch walk before work that evening, 2 Buzzards were circling over Seven acre, but very quite up over fields and into village.

Top Lake, Cormorant on it's favorite perch against the autumn leaves.

Whooper stretching its massive wings ( 6.75 - 9.2 feet : 2.1 - 2.8 meters) 
18 days present.

A good number of Grey Heron scattered around lake, but hidden in the trees.

Being so little about I decided to walk up to Park Farm and down past Pennsylvania Farm, with a large flock of 35 Skylark, 20+ Chaffinch and even 15+ Yellowhammer in the freshly cut field proved to be a good option. Large numbers of Pheasant were about ready for the Christmas shoot, lets hope a few escape!

Almost home a this Green Woodpecker flew towards me landed in nearby tree, keeping a eye on me. 
So another week over and the magic target reached for me, Lauren still needs a few but still hope, a few more trips planned before Christmas and you never know what might come in.

Wayne Year Bird List: 200
Lauren Year Bird List: 189

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Friday, 1 November 2019

Whooper Good Week

28th - 31st October
Westhay, Lords Wood, Stourhead, Newton St Loe.
Mostly Grey, Drizzle

Species Highlights: 
WHOOPER SWAN (on Patch), Bearded Reedling


With a few Bearded Reedlings showing on Twitter, thought it was time to try again, my failed trip a couple of weeks ago, after a hour or so waiting a single male showed nicely on the boardwalk.

Always aiming for them to be on reeds rather than boardwalk but alas he popped up and disappeared in to the reeds not to be seen again.

Walked around Reserve stopping at the North Hide, 5 Great White Egret were to the left of hide including this bird, ringed in Somerset, May 2016.

Grey skies and no light but this Marsh Harrier came fairly close to hide.

While watching I spotted a Bittern distantly out in front, always a treat.

Leaving the reserve I drove around the back along North chine Drove, a group of 5 Cattle Egrets we amongst the cow, as they do.

Nothing happening at Chew Valley lake on way home but stopped in Lords Wood for some mushroom foraging.

Amethyst Deceiver

A few macro shots but not many mushrooms or fungus about.


Shaggy Inkcap

The reason I dropped in was the Magpie Inkcap a new fungi for my list.

Wednesday popped over to Stourhead parked in King Alfred's car park and wandered down to Stourhead following footpath you can get in for free but a 6 mile walk is required.

Think I may have missed the best of it, and it was full of kids, half term. 

Still a lovely afternoon was had, blue skies would have been better but you cant have it all.

A walk back to van, no shrooms to snap.

Thursday and as normal patch walk, grey skies and drizzle and not mush to see until church where 2 Greater Spotted Woodpecker were drumming.

A very empty Bottom Lake apart from the Kingfisher.
 On approaching the Top Lake I spotted a 3rd adult swan weird, I thought then seeing the yellow bill, couldn't believe it!

It then left the far bank and swam across lake. It was a Whooper Swan all the way from Iceland and above.

The male Mute didn't seem bothered by it either.

I took quite a few photos after sending the news out to other patch birders.

No rings on bird

This bird take our patch ticks to 103 birds.

2 Cormorants, Kingfisher, 6 Mute Swans, Coot, Moorhen plus 9 Grey Herons around lake and 15 or so Mallard were also present.

25+  Fieldfare and 40+ Redwing were over looking the lake we others around the grounds.

But the star was the Whooper Swan and with 5 other birders watching the Swan was a great day that couldn't get much better, you'd think!

Walked up and around top woodland stopping at the Keep and heard 2 Great White Egret flying over! Two ticks in the same day amazing!!

They didn't land but it all counts.

Our Patch count now stands at 104 Species, who would have thought it, and I wonder what the next tick will be??

Wayne Year Bird List: 198
Lauren Year Bird List: 185

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