Sunday, 31 August 2014

Wryneck - Jynx torquilla

Very camouflage Wryneck !

Date: 31st August - All Day
Location:  New Passage - Chew Valley Lake
Observation:  We popped to Severn Beach (New Passage) to try and get these 'confiding' Wood Sandpiper and the Wryneck was was spotted that day. We got there a few hours after high tide, but there were still lots of waders and birds feeding the mudflats. Mostly Dunlin with a few Redshank, Ringed Plover and Turnstone. As we come around the corner, we seen 20+ birders, where we quickly realized all of which were looking and photographing the Wryneck, it was sat in the first house on the sea wall, in the garden fairly close. We stayed there for around 30 minutes, the light was in the wrong place by then so decided to walk around and find these Wood Sandpipers, last time we went we couldn't even count them as a record shot as they were too far for our 400mm. A small group of birders seen it get flushed by the farmer, and were looking for it, to no success unfortunately, but were told that morning they were very close and confiding! Always the way! We slowly had a wander back along to the sea wall to find the Wryneck again, it wasn't there when we first arrived and stayed for around 40 minutes, and decided to leave it, just as we were leaving we spotted it! Back in the original garden, most birders had given up and gone by then, so did come quite a bit closer, but mostly stayed in the shade feeding. After a good 100-150 shots we left and drove down to Chew Valley Lake, in hope to see the Spotted Crake, no luck there either just the normal ducks and birds there with 50+ Pied Wagtail along the dam wall and at least 3 Grey Wagtails. Overall a very nice day talking to some nice birders and seeing some lovely birds! Now to edit over 200 images!
Weather:  Blue Sky, Sunny + Warm
Other Species: Dunlin, Sanderling, Greylag Goose, Wryneck, House Sparrow, Wheatear, Turnstone, Redshank, Mallard, Teal, Little Egret, Black-Headed Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Buzzard, Ringed Plover

Thanks for looking, follow us on Twitter @NSLBirding !

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Lesser Whitethroat - Another Tick !

Date: 28/08/2014

Location: Slimbridge - Gloucester 

Observation: Headed to Slimbridge with the promise of clear skies and a dry day! ..umm they got that wrong then, on arriving it poured down ! 
Headed into the Martin Smith hide where two Common Cranes were feeding in fields noticed a few Shoveler and Teal but not much else.Two Green Sandpiper in next at a distance. No feeders up in Willow hide but Blackcaps buzzing in trees with Chiffchaffs. At the Holden Tower a massive Gaggle of Barnacle and Greylag Geese sunning themselves in the rain and a hovering Kestrel.
At South Hide, 1 Ruff, 5 Snipe and lots of Lapwing. Wandered round as rain has stopped snapped a few captive birds then decided to go back to Robbie Garnet hide as had not seen many little birds. Heard one bird when entering hide was a Lesser Whitethroat !! Not seen one before so snapped happily away well 5 shots before it receded back into Elderberry Tree. Another tick (Wayne's life list stands at 178 ) Sky was now blue and sun was shinning ! And I've gotta go, ain't that always the way !? Anyway here's some pictures of my day. 

Weather: Grey overcast + Sunshine on leaving ! 

Other Species: Common Crane, Shovelers, Ruff, Black Tailed, Godwits, Snipe, Buzzard, Kestrel, Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Lapwing, Green Sandpiper, Little Egret, Redshank, Barnacle & Greylags.

Hooded Merganser

 A Ruff Shot among the Lapwing 

 Pretty Greylag Pic

 Kestrel doing what they do Best !

 A Lesser Whitethroat ( my first !)

 And a Red Admiral to Finish :)

Thanks For Looking, Why Not Follow 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Newton St. Loe in the rain

Date: 26/08/2014
Location: Zones 1+3+4+5
Observation: After a quick look at weather forecast thought i'd have a walk out the lanes. After walking for around 1 mile it rained didn't stop until Home Farm 3 more wet miles, but despite that seen Goldcrest at least 2 hopping around fir trees. Headed on up to 12 o'clock lane byway, shelter at last binoculars steaming up camera wet ! On up across fields towards Home Farm and saw a small flock of mainly Linnet then it stopped raining !! Got into top field overlooking Newton College saw another group of small birds maybe 20 or so in flock picking off wheat and seed from recently cut field, on closer inspection at least 5 or so were Wheatears ! A New Tick for patch ! Nice, watched for few minutes then headed on to lake where it rained some more. Little Owl only one. Grey Herons 3x flying around lake squawking like Pteranodon ! Last spot was a Hornet sheltering on a Blackthorn bush.
Weather: Raining,then showers & cloudy
Other Species: Little Owl,Dunnock, Goldcrest, 4+Buzzards, 6x Linnet, 5+Wheatear, Kestrel, Raven, 3x Grey Heron of note.

A Dry Goldcrest but wet me !

Group of soaky Linnets

New Patch tick 

 At least 5 Wheatears,Although there's only one here :)

 Hornet staying out the rain 

Thanks for looking !

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Little Owl - Family Of 4 !

Dad Watching Over The Little Ones!

                                                           Spooked By The Local Buzzard!

First Kingfisher Picture Over 1MB!

Date: 24th August - 4PM
Location:  Newton Park Lake Circular - Zones 1,2+5

Observation:  A quick wander (although didn't turn out to be quick!) out to the lake. The farmer was doing the fields at the campsite, and on the dog walk, so a few Buzzards and gulls were flying around hunting. The next field up with all the hay-bales stacked up, were full of bird of prey! 2 Kestrel and 2 Buzzard were sat on each one. Newton St Loe churchyard, were full of Goldfinch (both adults and juveniles), feeding on the thistles, had to be at least 50+ with more in the trees surrounding on watch. Just before the Lake path, a large flock of Mistle Thrush flew over us heading for Home Farm area, again had to be around 30+ (with 2 different flocks). Nothing much worth noting. We stopped and looked for the Little Owls, we spotted one to start with on their favorite perch, we then kept spotting more and more! We led down in the grass, and watched them for about half hour, we seen 4 in total, definitely 2 chicks and possibly both parents, all of which were keeping a close eye on the Buzzards who were mewing the whole time! Onto the top lake, not much to note apart from the normal, all 3 cygnets and both parents still doing well. Then to our surprise, 3 yes 3! Kingfishers sat on the railings on the waterfall, 2 flew off, into the bushes and 1 stayed for a few shots and followed the others! We walked around and a Kingfisher flew across the path in front of us and followed the river back upstream. We had a quick look for the other Little Owls at the top, no sign of them but close-by building work has more than likely disrupted them, another 2 Buzzards were flying around the forest. Then walking back, what we thought were 2 Coal Tits, turnt out to be 2 Marsh Tits, feeding on the trees, a new species for us, and a patch tick!! The 2 Kingfishers flew down onto the bottom lake and downstream and 1 Little Owl was back on the perch on the way back.  A few more Buzzards and another Kestrel with lots of Swallows and House Martins at the farm, but nothing new on the way home. One of the best walks we have had in a long, long time!
Weather:  Cloudy, Sunny Intervals, Warm
Other Species: 6 Buzzard, 3 Kingfisher, 4 Little Owls, 3 Kestrel, 20+ Mistle Thrush, 50+ Goldfinch, 2 Marsh Tit, 2 Grey Heron, 10+ Jackdaw, 4 Wren, 2 Dunnock, 2 Green Woodpecker, House Martin, Barn Swallow

A Distant Kestrel !

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Severn Beach to Northwick Warth

Date: 19/08/2014
Location: Severn Beach to Northwick Warth
Observation: Headed to Severn beach this morning, bit of sea air! First spot was 12 Redshank resting up headed towards point where a Peregrine Falcon was hunting on shoreline making what was there rise and until it went. Pilling Wetlands on right was full of Canadian Geese around 50+. Saw a Wheatear bobbing from fence post to fence post. A few shots and gone. Headed on along the Severn Way path not much else apart from a strange man in red kangol seemed to be rolling around in mud down towards the shoreline ?! Weird! Headed back Wheatear there again crawled closer and it stayed! Nice :) And I even stayed dry !
Weather: Cloudy with some showers 
Other Species: House Sparrow, Redshank, Wheatear, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Canada Goose Lots, Greylag, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Peregrine, Goldcrest, Starlings. 

3 of 12

Gaggle of House Sparrows

Not often i complain "Too Close !"

Wheatear- 1st Winter

Thanks for Looking 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Little Owl - Athene noctua

Confiding Speckled Wood

Little Mallards

The Little Owl Stare

Date: 18th August - 2PM
Location:  Newton Park Lake - Zones 1,2+5

Observation:  Decided to go for a walk whilst we waited for that rain which was forecast (which never actually arrived!). Quite a few butterflies still about mostly Speckled Wood, Peacock and Small White but did see a Red Admiral also. A single Yellowhammer and a family of Long-Tailed Tits, started the walk at Seven Acre woods. Alot of Buzzards around the whole walk, mewing and hunting must have been a good 6 or 7 total. A few ducklings on the Lake still, with the Cygnets still hanging around with mum and dad. One Little Owl was present on a new perch, slightly closer to the footpath which was nice, no sign of other 3 whilst we were there. Nothing worth noting until back to the Dog Walk, were we seen a Sparrowhawk, land in brook, so we creeped up, but couldn't see it, we waited and sat behind bushes, were it got spooked by a big van passing it, and flew into trees opposite and couldn't see it after that, nice to see they are still about though! Started to rain 5 minutes from home, so good timing!

Weather:  Cloudy, Rain Showers, Sunny Intervals

Other Species: Buzzard, Goldfinch, Crow, Magpie, Little Owl, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Mute Swan, Yellowhammer, Long-Tailed Tit, Coal Tit - of note!

Owl Hunting - Out The Lanes

Date: 17th August - 8PM
Location:  Newton St Loe - Zones 1,2,+5

Observation:  We popped out in the hunt of some Owls or night animals and to do some night shots overlooking Saltford. We seen a Buzzard hunting just before the Dog Walk, wouldn't imagine he would have caught much in the dark! Quite a few Blackbirds calling in the woods, and 2 Green Woodpecker, feeding on the bank. Another Buzzard sat in tree mewing, before flying along to next trees. We had a few close calls with Bats, who were flying down the path as we were walking up! We stopped in the lay-by to do some shots, with a Tawny Owl calling loudly opposite, in trees above road, but was too well hidden to see. Quite a few more bats in Newton St Loe village, far too fast to identify. A possible Barn Owl took off and flew over fields in village but was gone before we could shine torch on it.

A very nice walk, will try and do more night walks, shame we didn't see any Foxes or Badgers though!
Weather:  Clear Skies, Blue Hour, Cold Wind

Other Species: Tawny Owl, Buzzard, Green Woodpecker, Blackbird, Barn Owl, Bat sp.

East Harptree Woods - Chew Valley Lake (Herons Green)

Lapwing X32

Date: 17/08/2014

Location: East Harptree Woods - Chew Valley (Herons Green) 

Observation: Had a wander rounds woods heading for Smithian Chimney and pond, on way down track heard a Sparrowhawk calling from nearby but not in a view-able tree typically. Long Tailed Tits, Coal Tits calling most of the way round but only a few glimpses. Got to Pond, 2 Dragonflies wind was blowing so maybe putting them off. Seen Common Darters and Southern Hawkers buzzing around on walk back.

Then headed to Chew, where Lauren decided to waste a few shutters and try to get Sand martins of which there were hundreds! Also Pied Wagtails estimate 30+, Lapwing were a bit mobile flying out to middle of lake and returning after 3 Buzzards flew over calling & Mewing.

Weather: Blue Skies but Coldish Wind

Other Species: Coal Tit, Long-Tailed Tits, Pied Wagtail, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Sand Martins, House Martins, Little Egret, Lapwing, Kestrel - of note :)

Common Darter Sunning @ East Harptree

 Super Fast Sand Martin

Kestrel on Home Patch

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Fox Out The Lanes!

Date: 14th August - 1PM
Location:  Newton Park Lake - Zones 1,2+5
Observation:  Walked up to Seven Acre, in the heavy rain, seen 2 Yellowhammers calling on the byway. Got to Newton St Loe church, where 2 Kestrels (1 adult with juvenile), where both were perched on the gargoyle, being harassed by crows. Stopped raining when got to the Lake, got to the bottom lake, with 2 Little Owls sat on perches, on the crossover for the top lake, 1 Kingfisher sat 20 foot away with a MASSIVE fish, almost same size as him. On the top lake, another two fly-past Kingfisher, most we've ever seen in the area! 2 Grey Heron's with the usual stuff for the top lake. A nice, very close Roe Deer was feet away from me, could only manage 100mm otherwise to close, not often we can say that! Walked back along the Uni drive, decided to walk around on the field, about a field and half away was a young Fox yawning and stretching, first time we have ever seen a live Fox around our area and in full view midday was a bonus!
Weather:  Sunny, With Heavy Showers + Thunder
Other Species:  Coal Tit, 3 Kestrel, 3 Kingfisher, 2 Little Owl, 2 Buzzard, 2 Yellowhammer, Greenfinch, 2 Grey Heron - OF NOTE
Other Mammals: Fox, Roe Deer, 2 Field Mice

2 Little Owls - Pair

Kingfisher - Look of the size of that!

Fox (Rare for us!)

Roe Deer - Too Close!

Also, a belated sighting of a WHITE STORK! spotted at Baltonsborough in the fields, whilst a friend was grass cutting (I wasn’t there otherwise this would have been mentioned on the day!)
It was spotted between 12-1pm (lunchtime) on the 29th June, near Clapps Farm.


Taken from tractor window

Photo credit - Mark Horton

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Super Moons & Hirundines

Super Moon (10/08/2014)


Location: Chew Valley Lake-Herons Green 
Observation: Went To Chew Today, sat in van at Herons Green for about 3 hrs. Watching the many House Martins, Barn Swallows & Sand Martins Skimming the surface! Tried with little success to get pictures of them. Also seen on Dam Wall Common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher & 2 Egyptians.
Weather: Cloudy with some heavy showers 
Other Species: Common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher, Egyptian Geese, Sand Martin, House Martins, Barn Swallows, Little Egret, Canada Geese, Lapwing, Buzzard, Kestrel, House Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Common Pochard and all the usual stuff.

 House Martin

 Sand Martin

 Little Egret @ Herons Green 

Thanks for looking :)

Thursday, 7 August 2014

River Avon Loop

Date: 07/08/2014

Location: Zone 3+5 (River Avon + Newbridge)

Observation: Walked up to Seven Acre wood watched around 50+ Crows & Wood Pigeon picking at farmer fields, at the bottom just before dual carriageway a singing Yellowhammer battling against the traffic noise. Headed on along River Avon where Barn Swallows were drinking and resting in surrounding trees around 20+. The Buzzard always shows up here with another joining him. Circling above me. Just before cycletrack there were a few Dragonflies about seem to be landing on some stunning perches! A flash past Kingfisher and the headed home.
Weather: Hot, Blue Skies 
Other Species: Yellowhammer, Buzzard, Long-Tailed Tits, Kingfisher, Barn Swallows of note.


Resting Barn Swallows

Damselfly not sure what make !>?

Beautiful Buteo

 Common Darter Perfect Perch 

Thanks for looking ;)


Dragon Slayer !

Date: 06/08/2014
Location: Folly Farm,Chew Valley Lake and East Harptree Woods
Observation: Headed to Folly Farm for a wander and maybe Butterflies, there was a bit of wind about so not much around, stopped at Roundhill viewpoint and watched a Buzzard soar over Chew Valley Lake .Then headed back to Meadow part, a few Common Blues then a clouded Yellow, not really stopping but got a couple of shots. Not many birds saw Goldcrest and Raven. Now on to East Harptree Woods. Walked from car park very quite got to Pond loads of Dragons About, even watched a Southern Hawker kill a Broad Bodied in Flight !! In fact the Southern Hawker killed a further 3 others in around 20 mins of me watching. On Returning to the car saw a group of Long Tails Tits (well heard!) with Goldcrests in trees, but also saw a Willow Warbler  in the group of around 20 birds flew over track and into woods, gone ! Then to Lake, Chew Valley, Herons Green, Blue skies now sat and watched House Sparrows and Pied Wagtails with a cuppa, nice ! :)
Weather: Warm, Cloudy & Blue skies
Other Species: Raven, Willow Warbler, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper, Goldcrest, Kestrel, Buzzard, House Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Med Gull.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, Small Tortoise, Clouded Yellow, Common Blue, Small Copper, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown.

Clouded Yellow @ Folly farm

Common Darter @East Harptree Woods

 Dragonfly Battle ! Fight !

 The loser Broad Bodied Chaser

 The Winner Southern Hawker ,seen him kill at least 3 others 

 Willow Warbler @ East Harptree Woods

 Thanks For Reading :)