Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Blue skies to thunder and heavy rain!

Date: 29/03/2016
Location: Patch - Newton St Loe
Weather: Blue skies but heavy rain & thunder to end
Other Species: 
3 different Tawny Owl's heard calling on evening walk.
4 Chiffchaff, 4 Buzzard, Grey Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Yellowhammer, 8 Fieldfare, Jay, Stock Dove, Bullfinch, Skylark - 40 Species

This photo taken by Lauren on previous evening as the heavens opened !

But todays walk as usual started out through Bath Mill, normal stuff with the first Chiffchaff on start of dog track, notice stunning blue sky !

Up over onto Seven Acre Goldcrest, Buzzards also Yellowhammer numbers still good here with at least 5/6 in hedgerows also Skylarks up !

No Swallows yet but keeping eyes peeled! 
Grey Heron flypast in village bit weird, Grey Wagtails on waterfall briefly, 5 Mute Swans
not much on lakes so here a Coot.

Out through college grounds flyover 8 Fieldfare, 2 more Chiffchaff and Stock Doves still about.
Walked on towards Stanton Prior today but extra was only 2 Jays and final Chiffchaff, some good views over Stanton Prior though.

Up towards Park Farm and a Male Bullfinch normal Yellowhammers then it rained and some thunder so I quicken my step to walk the remaining 2 miles back with not much else.

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Sunday, 27 March 2016

Easter Sunday Patch Walk

Date: 27/03/2016
Location: Newton St Loe - Patch
Weather: Cloudy with some blue skies, small rain shower.
Other Species:
 Bullfinch, 2 Chiffchaff, 4 Buzzard, 25+ Yellowhammer, Red Legged Partridge, GS Woodpecker, Teal, 2 Goosander (1 Male + 1 Female), Mistle Thrush, Meadow Pipit, 

First off Comma Butterfly on Friday at Bath Mill near Brook my first Butterfly of the year on patch! 25/03/2016
Previous records show 16/03/2014 and 06/04/2015.

Today headed at through Bath Mill and a Grey Heron hunting in brook, surprising as not much in Brook apart from the rare very small Trout.

Up through 'Dog Track' Goldcrests, 1 Chiffchaff plus Skylarks up and singing and 5/6 Yellowhammers in hedgerows.

By the time I normally reach Pennyquick road the normal species count is 22, today no different. Red Legged Partridge taking me to the 22.

No Swallows or Martins over Village earliest date for us is early April.
So any day now !
Quiet through Village also on lakes, sat watching for 10 mins or so but Mallards and Teal about it. Was about to leave lakeside and spotted 2 Goosanders 1 Male + 1 Female, top end by hut must have been diving to feed ?
At football pitches 2 Mistle Thrushes feeding, very windy now !

Headed up over towards Park Farm and Yellowhammers numbers good with at least 20+ in hedgerows and feeding on large dung heap. 
2 more Buzzards overhead and a few more Skylarks also saw 1 Meadow Pipit that was about the lot.

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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Patch Ticks Now At 85

Date: 22/03/2016
Location: Patch - Newton St Loe
Weather: Cloudy, Dry
Other Species: Jay, Goldcrest, Redwing, Green & Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Buzzard X5, Kestrel x2, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Kingfisher, Treecreeper, Teal 15, Stock Dove 2, Yellowhammer 26, Fieldfare - Total Species 44

Over the past few days we've heard reports of our Roe Deer being targeted by dickhead hunters!! Apparently 3 Deer were shot and carcasses left, police were called. The land is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall and hunting is strictly monitored. The Stag Roe pictured here was apparently shot and killed but I found him today healthy and as usual after I took one picture he darted off! So confused, I'll update when I get more news,
Hope I come across these so called hunters !!

Normal stuff on fields Skylark number at around 5/6 up and singing, at Village this Mistle Thrush high up in the Duchy conifers.

Spotted a few nests Long Tailed Tit nest, amazing ! 
Crows gathering wool and the Grey Herons still in the Herony although only 2 today. In between the Lakes saw 1 Kingfisher and 2 Treecreepers.

At The ponds, Newton Campus this Greater Spotted Woodpecker calling 

Towards Stanton Prior then on up towards Park Farm spotted a new patch tick 2 Stock Doves !!
Although  spotted them couple of weeks back me and Lauren not seen them yet so picture proof always good !

Takes our Patch List now to 85 since 2011, not bad. 
Average walk seems to add up to around 40 species 

On up at Park Farm Yellowhammer numbers good with 26 counted highest to date !

They never let you get that close but are stunning to look at. I'm sure there's a few more as always leap frogging over each other.

While watching this Kestrel made a catch small mouse by the look of it, great to see as normally we just see them hunt without catching, saw the male and female today. Also 5 Buzzards.
Walk took 3.5 hours well worth the effort.

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Monday, 21 March 2016

Sea King The Cirl Bunting !

Date: 21st March 2016
Location: Broadsands > Dawlish Warren > Black Hole Marsh 
Weather: Blue Sky, Little Cloud + Sunny
Other Species: Buzzard, Kestrel, Brent Geese, Great-Crested Grebe, Oystercatcher, Sparrowhawk, Cirl Bunting, Goldcrest, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Reed Bunting, Curlew, Black-Tailed Godwit, Rock Dove, Shelduck, Linnet, Stonechat, Redshank - Of Note - Total Species 57

Observation: We both finally had a day off, so a visit to Devon was in order. We started at Broadsands to visit the stunning Cirl Buntings. On the beach a lovely group of 11 Great-Crested Grebe along with a group of Brent Geese who were happily feeding on the receding tide.

We were on look-out as the Sea King Helicopter 'Farewell Tour' should have passed overhead the same time, but we didn't see or hear it unfortunately!

Now to find the Cirl Bunting, we spotted a Female in the brambles, after a few minutes the Male started feeding on the floor.

After us snapping away for about 5 minutes we were joined by the Female.

We even managed some with both the Male and Female in one shot!

After about 30 minutes we headed for Dawlish Warren, where the reserve was pretty quiet apart from 26 Dark-Bellied Brent Geese on the estuary, also a few Stonechat and Linnet buzzing about. The highlight of the reserve was seeing our first Speckled Wood of the year!

A very smart Herring Gull back on the sea-front.

On our way home, we popped into Black Hole Marshes, where again it was low-tide so levels were low, but the estuary was full of waders including Oystercatcher, Curlew and Black-Tailed Godwit and also some Shelduck and Teal.

After some fish and chips on the sea-front, we headed home, all in all a lovely day out and nice to be back out birding again together!

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Sunday, 20 March 2016

Spring Equinox 2016 !

Date: 20th March 2016 
Location: Newton Park Lake Circular
Weather: Cloudy, Overcast, Some Wind
Other Species: 2 Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Long-Tailed Tit, Goldcrest, 3 Green Woodpecker, 5+ Buzzard, 2+ Skylark, 20+ Yellowhammer, 120+ Starling, 4 Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 4 Grey Heron, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 2 Raven, 1 Goosander (Female), 30+ Teal, 9 Fieldfare, 2 Little Owl, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Kestrel, 3 Siskin - Of Note -
46 Species Total

Observation: Out through Bath Mill as normal, not much until the Dog Walk where a single Goldcrest was buzzing around in the hedgerow and 3 Buzzard were circling overhead. At the crossroads a huge flock of approx 150+ Wood Pigeon took off and circled around the fields diving as if they were being chased (we couldn't see anything). Along the lane a few Skylarks singing, and another overhead Buzzard.

Through the Village was quiet with just the common garden birds. 2 Buzzards sat in Workshop Covert along with a Song Thrush mimicking the Buzzards!

The Heronry still looking good with 4 Grey Heron present, 2 of which at still on nests.

Both 'Top Lake' and 'Bottom Lake' pretty quiet until... we spot a single Female Goosander on the far bank, they all disappeared around a month ago, so maybe the numbers will be on the rise again!

Also good news... We have our pair of Little Owls back again and there looking healthy.

In the woods, a Roe Deer who was happily feeding.

We returned via Park Farm, on the walk up a few more Buzzard overhead aswell as 15+ Yellowhammer.

Back in the Village, the resident Kestrel was the normal telegraph pole.

As we got back to Bath Mill, we spotted 3 Siskin feeding in the Alder tree's on Newton Brook.

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Thursday, 17 March 2016

Bit of Common stuff today

Date: 17/03/2016
Location: Victoria Park - Bath + Patch - Newton St Loe
Weather: Lovely warmish day with stunning blue skies
Other Species: 
VP - Goldcrest, Magpie, Grey Heron, Lesser Black Backed, Herring Gulls.
NSL - Buzzard, Raven, Bullfinch, Fieldfare, Yellowhammer, Jay, Green & Greater Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Teal - Plus a few others 
Van in for MOT today so a short walk up to Victoria Park in Bath, glorious sunshine and lovely blue skies, so first Botanical Gardens where very little was stirring. Wood Pigeon coming in for some peanuts, as usual !!

 Magpie, Crow and Robin best of the rest. So headed on down to duck ponds.

Had a Goldcrest almost fly in my ear, so close no hope of focusing but a lovely close encounter, as also this Grey Heron looked beautiful and so still !

Plenty of great looking Gulls, Lesser Black Backed darting over the Ponds doing the 
classic call of Mine !! Mine !!

Nuisance ! Yeah right stunning I'd say !

The only other gull was Herring Gull manage this great posing pair male and female I'd say.
The Herring Gull is on Bird Life International IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Urban Wildlife at its best and Bath City Council gonna remove nests at a cost of £85000 ! Money well spent mmmmm ......
Also a sign saying Stop feeding Ducks Bread might be good ! ,look at link
After trying to point this out to a few people not sure how this went I decided to leave

This Lesser looked stunned at the silence when a lady said 
"I don't see the point of birds !"
While she was feeding them with her kids ??!

Also a group a Feral Pigeons looking amazing in the sunshine .

Next on to my patch, very quiet up through Bath Mill, Skylark up singing, 3 Buzzards over and on Seven Acre fields while farmer ploughing.

Although a very quiet day out to lakes with a total count of only 38 species,the blue skies and warm sunshine made me think of Springtime and Summer on its way, Butterflies and Swallows soon to arrive !
In the Heronry total of 4 Grey Heron (3 on nests). At 'Top Lake' the swans fighting for territory with this juvenile landing briefly.

Only to be pecked and chased up and down lake a few times.

Then left flying down onto Lower Lake.
O yeah, the van passed its MOT !

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or just looking :)