Monday, 19 February 2018

Bumper Blog Patch-FOD-Dorset-Aust

Date: From 8th till 18/02/2018
Newton St Loe- Forest Of Dean- Dorset - Aust
Species Highlights: 
Spoonbill, Short Eared Owl, Merlin, Peregrine, Great Grey Shrike, Hawfinch, Raven.
Been busy of late so this blog a bit of a catch up with plenty of pictures.

First off a patch walk with plenty going on the Linnet flock still a great sight to see with at least 40 Yellowhammer around Trigpoint, a few Siskin on Lakes and Teal numbers at a all time record with 84 birds counted by me.

Next after my successful trip to the Forest of Dean with Allan Chard in the last Blog post Lauren felt she was missing out so across the bridge we set off, our main target was the Great Grey Shrike and within Minutes of arriving at Crabtree Tree hill Lauren spotted it, her 5th attempt at it so we were both very pleased.

A Buzzard was also on the Hill looking stunning in the blue skies and early morning sunshine.

We Checked Nags Head but not much else was seen so Cannop Ponds was next with Marsh Tit plus plenty of the regulars.

The ever present Nuthatch showing nicely.

Didn't see any Hawfinch so we left around 2pm to drop in to Aust for a Short Eared Owl or two, on the drive there Lauren was giving me stick about not getting a Merlin picture despite us seeing then over the past few years, it was getting a bit of a bogey bird for me, so while i was making a hot chocolate for us she said "There's a Merlin" 
I thought yeah right!
" No Really a Merlin!!!" I quickly picked up camera and snapped away, awful picture but it's definitely a Merlin, it only landed for a minute or so then disappeared along the shore line.

We also so this fly by Peregrine but sadly no Short Eared Owl for Lauren but Great Grey Shrike and a Merlin Life ticks we ended on a high.

15/02/2018 Blue skies were forecast so headed down to Dorset with Allan Chard a early start and Lodmoor first. One Spoonbill was present but stayed asleep most of the time, a few Greater Black Backed gulls, Snipe and Lapwing also.

Was also pleased to see a few Med Gulls, something we don't see enough off around here.

We left Lodmoor and headed to Radipole.

Water levels very high after much rain so path to viewing screen was around 2 foot deep, and Allan refused to carry me to screen! A shame as 3 Marsh Harriers were putting on a great show with lots of food passes.

No much else here so headed to Portland main target being Short Eared Owls, But the stars was a pair of Ravens giving us extremely close views of these truly great birds.


On walking to top fields we did find some Owls hunting but not the views we wanted staying always distant, Allan wanted chips, Allan wanted chips !!
 So we walked to the Lobster Pot ate chips walked back up only to discover the Owls up to 4 had showed really well while we were away ! Typical.

Walking back down after waiting for a while we came across this Female Kestrel eating a vole or Mouse.

 A real treat to watch her, we kept a respectful distance but she didn't seem to mind.

The Sun was setting and on changing our viewpoint she looked stunning.

Back at the van the Ravens from earlier remembered that i'd chucked them a few chips, so i fed them some seed giving me a chance to lye down in the car park and take some really nice shots.

Work interrupted my week so Today being Sunday me and Lauren headed around patch, a Webs count on the lakes but a group of Siskin were a highlight counted around 15 birds top of fishing lake.

Great to see the Hawfinch still about 9+ birds seen including this great male.

The 9+ birds were seen in flight, 9 for sure but a another group flew over with 15 Greenfinch.

Leaving the Lakes and Uni grounds came across this Fieldfare, pretty sure its the same one from the Church yard Orchard, he seems to have eaten all the fallen apples there so these should keep him happy for some time.

Almost at a end, but saving best till last! 

We headed to Aust as the Short Eared Owls seemed to be showing well. On arriving allan Chard was there pointing out to were a Owl was sat, Nice!

Up to 4 Owls were seen over the next couple of hours.

Gotta love the eye contact from them, of course we were on road stood by van.

With the Severn Bridge in the Background the owls hunted across the marsh area.

With the odd interaction between them, screeching and squawking could be heard.

Best shot of the day goes to Lauren with the 2 Owls in close formation!!

Love Short Eared Owl always great to Watch.

A brilliant few days of birding plus a life tick for me with Merlin and 2 lifers for Lauren.
Hope you enjoy the blog as much as i do taking pictures and seeing our wonderful wildlife.

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Thursday, 8 February 2018

Newton St Loe & FOD

Date: 08/07/2018
Location: Newton St Loe + (Forest of Dean)
Weather: Grey most of the walk, cold wind
Species Highlights: 
Goldcrest, Linnet, Skylark, Yellowhammer, Siskin, Goosander, Kingfisher,Buzzard, Gulls.
Full list

Patch walk today as it's been a while, headed out through Bath Mill with a single Goldcrest in trees along brook but many Great, Blue and Robin in treeline.

It's not often they pose but this little chap or lass certainly did. 

Up through dog track on to fields and a male pheasant took off a few feet in front of me, heart attack !! 
Also had a young roe buck dart off from trees and across fields, seeing fewer around patch at the moment used to see at least 6 regularly?
Saw distantly a flock of Linnet and heard 2/3 skylark singing from the heavens. As i approached Globe viewpoint i could see lots of Yellowhammer. I seeded byway and sat down by bushes to see if Yellowhammer would come closer.... not really but 400mm brought them a bit closer.

They flew over my head checking me out but looking great against the grey skies.

While sat that flock of at least 150 Linnet landed in trees above Yellowhammer.

Really nice to see them, some of them having very pale bills but almost Twite like but pretty sure they are all Linnet. #Hoping

Plenty of activity while i lounged on the grass watching them.

Female Yellowhammers just as colorful.

Across Pennyquick and into village not much going on apart from House Sparrow. Church  the single Fieldfare still Orchard, also male Kestrel hunting in sheep field by church, don't see the male much its generally the female around village so nice to see him.

Down into Send a Cow woodland lots of Great & Blue Tits in trees and the drum of a male Greater Spotted Woodpecker.

Really giving that tree what for, wood chipping flying everywhere!

Onto bottom lake and a flock, flock being 10 Siskin feeding with Goldfinches in Alder trees towards top of lake.

Great to see, unfortunately no Redpoll mixed in with them. It does take Patch total so-far this year to 60 species( beating 2010 total year count by 10 already !!)

Billy and the 3 other mute still present, 2 Coots feeding on bank with Mallards and 2 Cormorant in normal tree.

Almost sad to see a single Goosander, sleeping most of the time,I hope he's waiting for another 20 of his mate to show up.

50 Teal present, Robert and Anne had 74 Teal yesterday a record for our tiny lake. Apart from a flypast Kingfisher that was it on lakes. I then walked up to Keep , stood for 30 mins waiting for a Hawfinch or 2 had a 50/50 fleeting glance but couldn't say for definite, 
did have 5 Greenfinch but little else. 
Left College and walked along the drive back to Village a couple of Song Thrush to add and the normal House sparrows in the Hedge by Newton Farm.
The Female Kestrel was hunting the Horse fields also plus a Stock dove in tree on hill.

Had a flyover 25+ Meadow Pipit in second horse fields but as Haycombe Cemetery came into view, i spotted alot of gulls following Tractors at Haycombe Farm.

Going on what was flying over to the fields 250 Black Headed Gulls, 200 Lesser Black Backed, 50 Common Gull and at least 25 Herring Gull, but alot of gulls for sure, i wonder if there was any white winger in that lot?

Almost home and 2 Buzzard fly over my house going to join the party with the gulls i think, you can see by this picture how bad the light was!

Here's around up of the rest of my week Fox from St. Annes, Oldland Common

Well spotted by Lauren !!

Then on the 07/02/2018 i went to Forest of Dean with Allan Chard and company, here's a few pictures of the day.

Great Grey Shrike

Lovely sunlight and birds bonus!

Almost a end of day but did manage a couple of these beauties under Yew trees but can't go wrong with a Hawfinch.

Photo bombed by a Greenfinch!

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