Monday, 27 April 2015

Crooks Peak In Search Of Dingy Skippers

Date: 27/04/2015

Location: Crooks Peak + Cheddar Reservoir 
Observation: Still looking for Dingy Skipper so headed to Crook Peak, Mendips for a wander temp was chilly, not many Butterflies around. A lone Wheatear sat on scree slope and a Buzzard drifted past wondering why I was walking up hill, back down, up hill and back down again ! 

But I did find 2 Grizzled Skipper's .

Grizzled Skipper with Dung Ball for scale !

Did also see a Wall Butterfly terrible shot.. but early? !

After 2 hrs or so headed to Cheddar Res. Colder here with wind blowing 4 Common Sandpipers and c.20 Barn Swallows over reservoir.

Pied Wagtails around reservoir edge numbered about 30 with 1 Grey Wagtail.

 Weather: Cloudy, Some Blue Skies - Temp - 11c 

Other Species: Buzzard, Wheatear, Chiffchaff, Common Sandpiper, Barn Swallow- Plus the usual suspects.
Butterflies: Grizzled Skipper, Wall, Brimstone, Large White.

Cheers For Now :) 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Spring Life At The Lake!

Date: 26th April - 3PM
Location:  Newton Park Lake - Return Route

Observation:  We were hoping to visit Meare Heath to get the Hudsonian Godwit this morning, but it was a no-show so a quick patch walk in the hope we would find a rarity! The campsite and dog track is pretty quiet, apart from a few Pheasant, a Whitethroat (calling) and a single Jay feeding. So swiftly moved onto Seven Acre, and we spotted a group of birds circling, there were 4 Buzzards! After watching them 2 more joined them and a further single Buzzard, most we've seen in a group! They headed East over towards Bath. Further down the track (past the crossroads) there were a further 2 Buzzard which were heading North (one of which was hovering!). Nothing much more of note until we got out to the Lake, a nice Orange-Tip butterfly in the sun through the woods. 

At the Lake, there were a pair of Mallards on the over-flow with 7 cute little Ducklings practicing to filter feed by the looks of things! Very cute to watch! 

On Top Lake, there were 4 Teal (2 pairs), and were glad to report the Mute Swan (female) is back on the nest, with 4 (maybe even 5 eggs!). The nest was empty on the 21st, so they are newly laid. No sign of the Little Owl pair (hopefully they will be successful this year also!). 

There were lots of noisy lambs around Top Lake having a good run-around. Walking back through the Village, there were 9 Barn Swallows (only 5 on the 21st), in the lamb field there were 2 Goldfinch and 1 Greenfinch (unusual for the village area). 

Also a single Yellowhammer in the Oak tree well camouflaged against the bright leaves. To finish off the walk we had alot more lambs and a fly-over Kestrel along the Lane.

Weather:  Cloud Clearing, Sunny + Warm
Other Species: 1 Kestrel, 9 Buzzard, 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Jay, 2 Skylark, Mallard (With 7 Ducklings), Mute Swan (On Nest - 4 Eggs) - Of Note
Butterflies: Orange-Tip, Small White

Thanks For Reading !

P.S - Lauren (1/2 of NSL-Birding) is on holiday in Majorca from now until 7th May , so Wayne (2/2 of NSL-Birding) will be doing all blogs from now until then, so expect alot more spelling and grammar mistakes!  :-) ;-)

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Green Hairstreak @ Browns Folly

Date: 23/04/2015

Location: Browns Folly > Bathampton 
Observation: Butterfly hunt number four. Went to Bannerdown first, walked  completely around meadow/field not much, Orange Tip and Holly Blue flew past me and disappeared, gone. After an hour of searching headed over to Browns Folly with great views towards Bath a great place to sit and watch ! There were very few Butterflies here too Peacocks a fly past Holly Blue, Green Veined White.

 Mmmm not good was about to go and saw not one, not two, but three Green Hairstreaks !! Nice first time for me and takes my total to 32 butterflies. This stunning looking chap or lass not sure? Kept returning to same flower and to a small sapling with shiny leaves I think honeydew sap.

Weather: Blue, Sunny + Lovely ! 

Other Species: Nuthatch, Buzzard, Chiffchaff,

Butterflies: Orange Tip, Green-Veined White, Holly Blue, Peacock, Green Hairstreak, Comma.

Only started last year :) On 11 
This year so far .But 32 total and its only April !!!

Cheers for now :)

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Barrel Jellyfish + More !

Date: 20th April - All Day
Location:  Portland Bill > Radipole Lake > Lodmoor

Observation:  Another trip down to Weymouth and Portland Bill, we parked around Southwell, to try and start off with getting the Hoopoe or Ring Ouzels, we arrive around 9.30am, and had a good look around and walked through, we didn't see either unfortunately but lots of Linnet were present around the Quarry. We moved onto the SW Coastal Path and it was pretty barren apart from a fly-past Fulmar. Just before the first fields, there were 2 Wheatear, 1 Stonechat and a few Rock Pipits all making a racket but none stopped for a picture! We got to the Hut Fields, and there were at least 6 Wheatears in the first field, with some Skylarks (heard) and a few Meadow Pipits, although some looked lighter presuming different plumage on them. 

There were also 4 Whimbrel on the receding tide feeding. At the lighthouse, there were plenty of Herring and Greater Black-Backed Gulls and Swallows along with a Raven and a few more Pipits. We headed on back to Southwell, along the Coastal Path, with alot more Swallows coming in off the sea. 

We stopped for 10 minutes at the Guillemot and Shag nesting spot. There were a few on the cliffs but the majority of the birds were in the sea feeding before flying back and swapping with the partners. We counted 7 Barrel Jellyfish, who were HUGE! 

We also seen what we thought was a Sunfish with the jellyfish, but looking back it may just be some floating meat of some sort, please come forward if your good at I.D's! There were a few more Fulmar this side. 

At Strip Fields, we heard what sounded like a Curlew, but we couldn't locate to give a positive ID and it didn't call again! Typical! We seen a hunting Kestrel who caught a Mouse/Vole sp. Apart from that there were plenty more Swallows, Meadow Pipits, Skylark and Linnet, there was a single Whitethroat. 

Along Reap Lane, there were Sparrows, Starlings and another single Whitethroat, but no Male Redstart which was spotted there about an hour before. 

We headed onto Radipole Lake next, again pretty barren, there were a few singing Cetti's and a stunning Willow Warbler close range. We walked around to North Hide where there were 2 Green Sandpipers and some Teal.

Lastly onto Lodmoor, a pair of Little Grebe, a few more Teal and 3 pairs of Shoveller started us off on the reserve, we had some close range Tufted Duck on a stunning reflection. To finish off to had a fly-over Marsh Harrier.

Weather:  Blue Sky, Warm + Sunny
Other Species: Linnet, Gadwall, Shoveller, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Stonechat, Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Gulliemot, Razorbill, Shag, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Teal, Ostercatcher, Fulmar, Whimbrel, Rock Pipit, Whitethroat, Cetti's Warbler, Black-Tailed Godwit - Of Note - 65 Species Total

Butterflies:  European Peacock, Small White, Orange-Tip

Thanks For Reading !

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Priddy Day @ Crooks Peak !

Date: 19th April - All Day
Location:  Crooks Peak + Priddy Lake

  1. Scathophagidae

 Early Purple Orchid

Observation:  Another trip to Crooks Peak was in order to try and find these Grizzled Skippers, we arrived and spent about 30 minutes on the grass scrub on the lower slopes, there was a few moths about but no butterflies. It wasn't looking good so we walked on up, a European Peacock flew onto the path in front. Up and above onto the top of Crook's Peak, there was a Meadow Pipit, a hovering Kestrel and a fly-over Barn Swallow. Up on top there was a cold wind with another Kestrel hovering. We had a short rest and were determined to find the Skipper so returned back down the South slope, we got all the way to the bottom just before returning to the van and one appeared, open wings, but flew off and landed on some brambles. So we slowly walked up towards it, it stopped on the same brambles for about 10 minutes, after lots of shots later we decided to leave him to it!

On our way home we popped into Priddy Lake and Stockwood Plantation, as earlier reports mentioned about Crossbills there! We had a quick walk around, but didn't see any. There was a lovely Chiffchaff and a few Coal Tits around though.

Weather:  Blue Sky, Some Light Cloud, Sunny, Cold Wind
Other Species: Chiffchaff, Buzzard, Kestrel, Chaffinch, Stonechat, Crow, Jackdaw, Meadow Pipit, Barn Swallow, Coal Tit - Of Note

Butterflies + Moths: European Peacock, Large White, Common Grass-Veneer, Grizzled Skipper

Thanks For Reading !

Off to Weymouth + Portland Bill tomorrow, 
Keep posted on our Twitter: @NSL-Birding !

Friday, 17 April 2015

Patch - Newton St Loe.. Then Browns Folly - Bathampton

Date: 16/04/2015

Location: Patch - Newton St Loe.. >Then Browns Folly > Bathampton 

Observation: Headed out on the Thursday patch walk to Newton St Loe village and Lakes a lovely day with blue skies. Campsite still really busy but Chiffchaff seems oblivious to it. Many Skylarks in fields and the odd Yellowhammer hiding in hedges.

Weather: Blue Skies > Temp 19c 

Other Species: Newton First - Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Jay, Raven, 3 Barn Swallow, Buzzard, Treecreeper, Little Owl, Yellowhammer, Blackcap - Plus Usual .

Butterflies: On Patch - Peacock, Holly Blue, Small Tortoiseshell.

Willow Warbler From Campsite

As Close As I Could Get ! 

At Church, A Single Orange Tip Was Dancing Around Graveyard

Got To Lakes + The  Little Owl Looking Splendid ! 

 Not Forgetting The Residents Mr Dunnock's

And Roger The House Sparrow :)

Barn Swallows Now Number 3 But Caught These Two Looked Like Mating.

Just before hitting Pennyquick saw a Holly Blue first one I've seen on patch!

 Mmmmm.. Butterflies I'll head to Browns folly!

Bathampton > Brown Folly > Butterflies

Walked into woods seemed very quiet not many nectar sources around but first butterfly was my first of the year Speckled Wood.

Then Another Holly Blue Landed And Gone ! 

Speckled Wood

European Peacock On One Of The Few Flowers

With the Butterflies not showing, headed on down woods
 to Van saw this tiny little chap on path.

Then jumped up to to almost a nice perch .

Thanks For Reading - Leave Us A Comment :)

Monday, 13 April 2015

Wingspans @ the Levels

Date: 13/04/2015

Location: Westhay, Canada Lake, Greylake, Ham Wall & Shapwick 

Observation: What better way than to spend some time on the Somerset Levels binoculars and camera in hand, even if birds were a bit scarce! At Westhay we heard a few Cetti's plus a couple of flitting glimpses, a Marsh Harrier in middle of reserve hunting then 2 Bitterns booming.

At Canada Lake, big lake when not much on it! A Great Crested Grebe fished in front hide also not getting much, saw a Willow warbler on the walk back to car park.

 At Greylake the feeding trays had nothing on them! unusual :( .Walked round to hide Reed Buntings calling and Bitterns booming. A Green Veined White perched on a Dandelion, Nice, first of the year for me.


From hide Wigeon, Gadwall, Garganey, Curlew, Lapwing, Teal but small numbers.

On getting back to car park a few Reed Buntings and Chaffinch were taking seed, after watching for 30 mins we headed on to Ham Wall.

 Nice massive new car park was almost empty, towards Tor Hide a Little Egret was being harassed by Crows apart from a booming Bittern that's it so about turn towards Shapwick, but before we crossed road we had a close encounter with a Long Tailed Tit ! Close !

 Also a Chiffchaff. At Shapwick more booming Bitterns a Marsh Harrier over.

Black Tailed Godwits in their lovely rusty red plumage around 10 birds

At Meare Heath Hide more from a Marsh Harrier, A soaring Sparrow Hawk and then

Highlight of the Day !! A Common Crane Fly Past !! 
First one we've both ever seen 
Apart from Slimbridge Woohoo ! Very high and heading South. 

On that note or another booming Bittern note a great day with 50 species seen or heard .

Weather: Bright Sunshine, Blue Skies - 17.5c !

Other Species: Bittern, Common Crane, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Reed Bunting, Gadwall, Garganey, Cetti's, Greylag, Wigeon, Curlew, Lapwing, Teal, Willow Warbler plus many more !

Thanks For Looking !