Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Patch Birding in the Rain

Date: 31/01/2017
Location: Newton St Loe - Patch
Weather: Grey Skies + Drizzle - Most of Walk
Other Species: 
Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Skylark, Bullfinch, Blackcap, 100 Lesser Black Backed Gulls, 200 Common Gulls, 300 Black Headed Gulls.

Quick patch walk today in the rain to see what I've missed. Not much with a few regulars missing. But first off 2 NEW garden ticks, our first and hope not our last House Sparrow.

Lauren thought it was a pair but only manged the male, keeping eyes open and ears.
Gonna make a couple of nest boxes. Will have to think on where to put them?

Plus a fly over Grey Heron, taking our garden tick list too.... 37 Species! 
Not bad for basically a car park with a few trees and bushes
On to walk, Bath Mill and Brook up, and flowing fast but not much about. On to Fields and a large group of Redwing at least 150 feeding on fields, this as close as I could get..

Fencing finished now just waiting for the trees to be planted now by 7 Acre.
 4/5 Skylark up and singing in the rain, always nice to hear. But a group of 4 Gunmen with Dogs doing the rounds, 7 Acre + 12 O'Clock woods was not nice to see! 
Plus 2 Buzzard keeping out the way on Lower Fields.

On through Village and Bath Spa fields and drive lots, I mean lots of Gulls. 200 Common, 300 + Black Headed,100 Lesser and Herring Gulls all feeding and dam grass.

Few bunches of these about, Snowdrops. Its coming.

Send a Cow fields full, Rooks, Common, Black Headed, the most gulls I've seen on patch EVER! (Obviously not all in picture)

On Lakes, water levels a bit higher, and no Goosander or Little Egret present unfortunately.
More large groups on past Bath Spa with at least 250 Wood Pigeon giving the gunmen the runaround I hope!

Another 2 Buzzard making today count 4.

On down to Horse Fields and Newton St Loe and counted 10 Pied Wagtail's around horses feet!
The male and female Stonechat were present and didn't notice till last minute a female Kestrel watching over the fields. Also while looking to see what else I've missed, a male Sparrowhawk flew through making the House Sparrow panic and hide.
So ended walk on 44 species with the fly over Heron and a Male Blackcap who just doesn't want his picture to be taken, i'll get him soon!

Also we've got so many photos from Iceland as soon as finished sorting them will do Blog!

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Sunday, 29 January 2017

14 Waxwings at Bradley Stoke..

Date: 29th January 2017
Location: Bradley Stoke, Bristol
Weather: Overcast with Light Rain
Other Species: 14 Waxwing

Observation: We arrived back from Iceland in the early hours of this morning, but couldn't resist rushing out and heading over to Tesco's at Bradley Stoke after we seen some tweets.

On arrival, the car park was busy with Sunday shoppers but we headed for the 4-5 birders present, we were told they had just flown high into the tree over the road.

This was the first view we had of the Waxwings, where they stayed for approx 5-10 minutes before flying over the top of us and landing.

As the Waxwings were a bit wary of the passing people we stayed distant and waited for them to come to us, they didn't come closer than 50-60 foot.

We had tried numerous times since December 2012 (when we had a single Waxwing on our tree) we finally got some decent images of the 14 Waxwing present.

A nice wide shot of some of the 14 Waxwings.

One Waxwing had been ringed so we contacted Grampian Ringing to inform them of this and it shows the Waxwing was ringed on 10/12/2016 in Aberdeen! Amazing to think they have travelled so far south in such a short time.
Please do report any ringed Waxwing's to Grampian Ringing so they can keep track of their Waxwings.

After about a hour of them flying back and forth, they flew off South East.

Despite the poor light and rain, it really was 3rd time lucky for us!

We currently have over 2500 images between us of out trip to Iceland with lots of new birds, we will post a blog of this over the next couple of days!

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Monday, 23 January 2017

Patch Tick 90

Date: 23/01/2017
Location: Patch - Newton St Loe
Weather: Blue Skies
Other Species: 
Goosander, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Teal, Nuthatch, Stock Dove, Buzzard. 
Spreadsheet for rest

Headed out on the last patch walk before our Iceland trip out through Bath Mill as the normal. Not much about apart from at Seven Acre wood the workmen putting posts in for the new woodland which they are planting! Excellent news as it will extend woodland and they're also planting into fields, i'll update with pictures when they start to plant trees.
On out into village with a few Redwing about. On to lakes the extra Male Mute Swan still bottom lake on its own, but nothing else on bottom lake

This Dunnock having a bath in the middle of lakes.

There is a small incline to upper lake, I always walk up it thinking I wonder whats new. 
Today it was a Little Egret!!

Great news and its also patch tick 90! Always thought we should have a Egret, it was like Christmas!

The Egret seemed in great condition and in hunting mode. While Tweeting the news to all of our followers.... I lost it and couldn't locate!

Only to look right in front of me and see it perched up some 30ft in front of me!

A Coot caught a fish, The Little Egret flew across towards me and stole the fish from Coot.

We also now have 4 Coots, amazing as well as Nov 2016 we had 1. 
This is Egret fending off the Goosanders, Coots, Moorhen and Black Headed Gull. Not in picture as too close!

Female Goosander closest I've seen them as well, it seems competition bring them closer.

After it polished of it's lunch it flew back to the Grey Heron tree opposite side of Lake a started to preen. Excellent hope it's still about next week. Ended walk on 36 species. Only walked to Lake and back but i'd say worth the effort! 
Patch total now 90.... I wonder what next? 
Also Patch Work Challenge ranking now 22. (Inland South)

Just need a couple of 2 pointers!

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Bleadon Levels and WSM.

Date: 22/01/2017
Location: Weston Super Mare Area
Weather: Sunshine but turning Cloudy
Other Species: 
Eider, Reed Bunting, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Sparrowhawk, Redwing.

On the hunt for Short Eared Owl headed down to North Somerset coast, Weston Super Mare area, stopped at Chew Valley Lake for the Ringed Billed Gull which had been showing.
Not sure... yellow eye not showing that well? 

After spending a hour freezing checking all Gulls out carried on down to coast. Checked Uphill first and walked to estuary plenty of birds around the Black Rock area.
Dunlin, Redshank, Ringed Plover and Shelduck.

While watching this group of Oystercatchers came in closer, making the Dunlin and Ringed Plover look tiny!

Looked around for a hour or so and decided to head to Marina Lake, Weston Super Mare to see Eider again, just got there and she decided it was time to head to sea.
She's really not bothered!

But after 10 mins she came back into the Small Lake and immediately started to fish, diving down and coming back up with limpets eating them and diving again.

The sun even came out making it nicer but freezing cold, going to Iceland Tuesday better get used to this cold weather, Eh!

 Last one of the Eider. 
No show on the Owl unfortunately but i'll try again next week when back from Iceland.

Thought I'd show this Redwing which came to feed on the remaining berries on our tree, showed really nice.
Pushed Lauren out the way to get these shots. Worth it though!

You can see why they're called Redwing.

This one shows how few berries are left on tree, think he's spotted me hanging out the bathroom window!

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Friday, 20 January 2017

Patch Total of 51 (A Record)

Date: 19/01/2017
Location: Newton St Loe - Patch
Weather: Clear Blue Skies, Frosty start.
Species Highlights
Little Owl, Goosander, Little Grebe - Read on for rest.

Blue skies & Thursday, patch walk it was with Robert, BOC and other patch birder.
Been doing this patch for 7 years and me and Lauren who run NSLBIRDING always thought it was possible to reach 50 species on our patch walks but never quite managed it, 44, 45, 47 but never 50. 
I do a walk at least twice a week sometimes 3 times. 

Today was started as usual out through Bath Mill. 1.Blue Tits 2. Great Tits 3. Goldfinch 4.Blackbird 5. Bullfinch 6. Chaffinch 7. Robin 8. Wood Pigeon 9. Magpie 10. Lesser Black Blacked Gull fly over doing ok but all the normal.
Up on to Fields and 11. Dunnock 12. Sparrowhawk, nice, first one for the year then 
13. Two Buzzard. 14. Skylark 8 of them in fields by telephone mast.

By Pennyquick crossroads on 20 Species. Then into Village Pied Wagtail and Grey Wagtail, House Sparrow doing ok, on to church Nuthatch high in trees.

Mistle Thrush in the sunshine if only he was 40 foot lower would have been a good shot.

While watching Great Spotted Woodpecker heard calling then spotted it.

Down to Send a Cow, Rook, Jackdaw, Crow and a calling Raven, Corvid City!
Plus 20 Redwing coming from cover in tree's.

So now on 30 Species all normal still, Goosander number still rising with 30 covering the lake, another record. Also new in Little Grebe and a 3rd Coot. This a second Grey Heron, if only that branch wasn't in way!

Goosander's feeding, constantly diving, but don't see them catch much, maybe they eat it before they surface as Black Headed Gulls and Lesser Black Backed Gulls harass them?

Anyways on 42 Species at this point. 
Little Owl found, just, not seen him since 11/07/2016 so very pleased to see him. Didn't try to get close as he was watching me and disappeared shortly after this distant shot.

44 Species looking good, next Meadow Pipit up by Park Farm at least 5 in Farm feeding from floor. With Pied Wagtails and Chaffinches buzzing around farm buildings.

So with 8 needed we carried on thinking what we'd missed and what we needed. 

46. Treecreeper 
Quickly followed by the yaffle of a Green Woodpecker. 47.
Then 48 was a Pheasant. 
49. Fieldfare with lots of Redwing feeding in Fields .

Carried on binoculars permanently fixed to eyes now scanning every tree, field and bush for 1 more species at Haycombe Farm  at least 20 Yellowhammer. 
50 Species but wait there's more! 
(Sorry about picture shaking with excitement!)

Linnet distant, but Linnet taking my new Patch total to 51 Species, at least 10, more like 20 birds on Cemetery border. (Thanks Glen)

Amazing to think no Coal Tit, Herring Gull, Kestrel, Stock Dove, Stonechat which all are normal ticks! Potential of 60!  

Thanks for company Robert 2 eyes it seems better than 1.
Plus on walk had 2 Roe Deer and a Fox.
(Sorry to Lauren, for missing the great day! 60 next time )

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Thursday, 19 January 2017

2 out of 3 aint bad, but 3/3 is Excellent!

Date: 18/01/2017
Location: Somerset Coast
Weather: Grey, Cloudy
Species Highlights: 
Dartford Warbler, Stonechat, Reed Bunting, Eider, Curlew, 
Redshank, Oystercatcher, Short Eared Owl.

Decided to go coastal today and found this great Stonechat first.

Then at this spot I knew a Dartford Warbler was about and sure enough while sat watching the Stonechat and pushing away the dogs of which there were many!
He popped up.

Not once but many times probably wondering while I was sat on the wet grass in front of his bush!

Got love them such little beauties!

Even posed for a close up!

I left him munching the Sea Buckthorn Berries.

After spending a while with him headed round to Weston Super Mare where a female Eider had been, at Marina Lake which I knew well, spent many a summer as a kid swimming and getting sunburn there. On arriving spotted her almost instantly, it was the only thing apart from 4 Gulls on the Lake.

The over shoulder pose.

Took far too many photos, light was pretty bad at this point so trying all the setting to improve shots.

She was catching Limpets, seemed to be quite happy and looked in good health.

Walked around the Lake trying different angles.

When the Eider swam towards me, got out had a stretch, too close then skidded down muddy wall and swam out to sea!

So with that I headed to my next destination. My plan today was Dartford Warbler, Eider then Short Eared Owls. So with the Meat Loaf song playing in my head, headed to final place along coast.
Redshank, Oystercatcher,Shelduck, Curlew, Meadow Pipit but no SEO, oh well I thought, time to go home. 

On walking back spotted a Short Eared Owl! 

Light pretty poor but SEO!
 I was very happy!

Then 2..

Best shot of the day 7D MK2, 100-400mm MK2 and 1.4 converter working very well.

Whoo hoo! They seem to be hunting in a larger area than I've seen before but stood still and waited for one of them to come closer.

It did and sat on Branch, landed while i was looking at other one!

Then a Fox appeared don't see many foxes in Newton St Loe so a welcome sight.
My camo working well me thinks!

Didn't see them catch, but both owls were fighting plus Herring Gulls were following them round at times.
It landed while I was looking the other way! But so nice to see them. I shall return!

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