Thursday, 30 March 2017

Sandwich Terns over Newton St Loe !

Date: 30/03/2017
Location: Newton St Loe
Weather: Grey with some blue fairly warm
Species Highlights: 
Sandwich Tern, Kestrel, Buzzard, Grey Wagtail, Skylark, Yellowhammer, Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff.
A patch walk today to look for the Dipper that was reported on Tuesday, so headed out through Bath Mill with Chiffchaff along brook and male & female Mallard only. 
Up onto Dog track and Roe Deer bolted across in front of me. Wrens, Blackbirds and Robins and a single Small White Butterfly, their coming!
A Buzzard flew from nearby trees and disappeared, no ideal where it went.
On to Fields and Skylarks in good number at least 10 heard across fields and 5 seen in group all together. Also 3 Yellowhammer back on hedge line not seen up here for a while now. 

A Red Admiral flew past , first one this year and didn't stop for picture. 53 butterflies left.
A few Peacocks along byway stopping on Dandelions.

On out through Village and Pied Wagtails over Farm Shop but little else. Barn Owl and 2 Harris Hawk outside Village shop with falconeers chatting to group of people so i didn't stop.

Met Robert and carried on down through Send a Cow Woodland, Chiffchaff, Nuthatch & Great Tits calling. Checked in on Herony and only 3 or 4 on nest difficult to see but fewer Herons about.
Got to Waterfall and 2 Grey Wagtails here M/F feeding and carrying nesting material.

Nothing lower lake, Top Lake Mallard numbers have risen slightly, but students disturbing the wildlife. Our 2 Mute Swan still not on nest permanently, but now have two nesting sites one normal place.

 Second top end of lake. 
Tufted Duck Male still about females have departed. Male Little Grebe seen also.

Managed to catch a dodgy Blackcap picture, heard him singing his punchy little tune i'd say 3 around lake.

Chiffchaff lots, at least 10 birds around the walk today.

Nuthatch also in good numbers 5+ calling, singing and chasing each other round.

Back down through lakes to check Dipper and the female Grey Wagtail posed this time briefly.

No sign of Dipper but the area looks right for one so i'll check again soon, Pheasant thinking we've not seen him i think.

Another small White Butterfly seen and this Song Thrush Doing his full repertoire ! 

Left Robert and said i'd walk the rest of the way home and i was so happy i did ! 
Spotted what i thought was Black headed Gulls over Farm Shop but on looking through binocular realised they were 3 Sandwich Terns !!!

Couldn't believe it Newton St Loe is 16 miles from coast and not really any large amounts of water near here, apart from Chew Valley so to see 3 Terns is amazing !

The Sandwich Tern takes us to 93 Species for NSL and our 69th tick of the year so far.
So smiling all the way home!

When home male and female Bullfinch on my feeders taking walk total to 45 species. Still smiling !

To finish i did a walk on Wednesday and came across this waterfall at Chew Stoke, nr Chew Valley lake, not what you'd expect here !

Me in shot for scale, check my other website out for more

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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

On the Somerset Levels

Date: 26/03/2017
Location: Greylake & Ham Wall
Weather: Very Hazy Sunshine
Highlight Species: 
Glossy Ibis, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Great White Egret, Sparrowhawk, Bittern. 

Lauren off, blue skies forecast so Somerset Levels it was!
Left home 8:30am arrived at Greylake around 9:30 but blue skies were not here, a hazy misty feel to the sky. In the Treetop Hide Wigeon, Lapwing plus distant Great White Egrets could be seen. Plus a few closer Little Egrets.

But the stars were the Lapwing with stunning displays as they flitted about in front hide calling and tumbling.

Quite a task trying to keep them in focus, like being on a Rollercoaster!

After 25 mins or so the Wigeon took to the skies, on checking the skies for a predator nothing could be seen, then a Sparrowhawk a meter off the ground whizzed by! Then disappeared, i won't embarrassed myself by posting a picture as so blurred difficult to see what it is, but Sparrowhawk, trust me!

Shoveller were also here and this one landed on what looked like ice!

After around a 1 1/2 hours we decided on checking out Ham Wall In the car park a Blackcap was heard and Chiffchaff were calling away.

On Lauren's bucket list was to hand fed a Robin, Tick!

Checked out the hides and suddenly 2 Glossy Ibis flew over head! Into the light but great to see. Then as we approached the Avalon Hide a Tawny Owl was heard calling.

Left the hide to see if we could relocated the Glossy's but no luck, we sat on bench and watched 4 Marsh Harrier hunt across reed beds.
Such stunning birds but always distant unfortunately.

A departing Canada Goose gave are incentive to also leave to see what else was about.

Lauren managed this great shot a a Goldcrest with dinner.

A few Butterflies on the wing including Small Tortoiseshell, Peacocks, Comma and my first of year a Small White! Puts me on 5 butterflies this year and 54 to get.

Got down to View point 1 and saw the Glossy Ibis by Torr hide so rushed up to take a few snaps. Excuses time! The light was very, very hazy and directly across on to Glossy's which was a shame as it were fairly close.

After trying many different settings on both are cameras these the best we could do.
In the right light there are beautiful.
Apparently there are 3 birds here now, we only saw 2 .

After taking lots of shots not good ones we thought it time to leave, but just as we were the Glossy flew up towards viewpoint 1 and landed still in the hazy sun but thought we'd try again.... Not much better.

This time it was time to leave, but wait Bittern! It flew across and landed were Glossy was!

A good end to a fantastic day as always on the Somerset Levels.

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Sunday, 26 March 2017

Chiffchaff, Skylark, Meadow Pipit's.. Summer Has Arrived!

Date: 26th March 2017
Location: Newton Park Lake > Haycombe Cemetery
Weather: Blue Sky, Warm and Sunny!
Other Species: Highlights - 8 Feral Pigeon, 3 Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 8 Yellowhammer, 1 Jay, 1 Kestrel, 6 Buzzard, 12 Skylark, 14 Linnet, 5+ Goldcrest, 3 Nuthatch, 4 Green Woodpecker, 3 Coot, 2 Mute Swan, 4 Grey Heron, 16 Teal, 1 Cormorant, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Treecreeper, 12 Meadow Pipit, 6 Chiffchaff
Full List Here - Spreadsheet

Observation: Both me and Wayne doing the patch today, we headed out via Bath Mill, with the normal birds on show, Goldfinch, Great Tit's, Blue Tit's and Wood Pigeon. Onto the Dog Walk a singing Chiffchaff and some Long-Tailed Tit's were seen.

Walking on up to Seven Acre Woods, a fly-over Grey Heron was in search of the River Avon or Newton Brook, very unusual to see flying over the fields!

Plenty of singing Skylarks and fly-over Linnet and Meadow Pipit's were boosting our count!

Numbers of Skylark increasing nicely with 12 counted on Seven Acre Fields!

Whilst Wayne was photographing Comma and Brimstone Butterflies a distant Buzzard and Kestrel came into view but didn't stay around long after being mobbed by Crow's!

Through the Village was pretty quiet with no sign of Barn Swallow's or House Martin's just yet. 6th April our earliest sighting on the patch, wonder if this is going to be beaten this year! Plenty in the country already!

Send-A-Cow fields empty with no Corvid's about, maybe pairing up for nesting. At the Covert plenty to see, Nuthatch and more Chiffchaff singing away.

Only 3 Grey Heron at the Heronry today (all on nests), number has dropped significantly since last visit, hopefully they boost again!

At the Lakes, Bottom Lake was quiet with 3 Mallard and some feeding Jackdaw, this one flew towards me to pose for the camera.

Top Lake, a few students about (ignoring the footpaths and sitting on the water's edge!) but lots to see, 3 Coot, 1 Little Grebe and 2 Tufted Duck still present!

Female Teal being disturbed, but made some nice flights shots!

Pair of Tufted Duck

A single Cormorant having a good old preen in the sunshine!

Whilst talking to some fellow bird-watchers, we spotted this Iridescent cloud, caused by ice droplets or small water droplets, great looking cloud!

A brief view of this Treecreeper, a flight shot (sort of!) in the woodland.

We went up over Home Farm and down past Pennsylvania Farm today, 2 Yellowhammer, 2 Pied Wagtail, and some Collared Dove and Meadow Pipits, kept boosting the numbers.

Back up along Haycombe Lane, was pretty quiet again, some more Crow's, Jackdaw's and Lesser Black-Backed Gull's were the best until....

6 Yellowhammer were seen in the hedge-line towards Pennyquick, a nice end to the walk!

Finished on a 44 species count, not bad for a 6.5 mile walk!

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Friday, 24 March 2017

Slimbridge Ending With Sunset

Date: 23/03/2017
Location: Slimbridge + Newton St Loe Patch
Weather: Starting Cloudy then Sunshine
Other Species: 
White Fronted Goose, Brent Goose, Garganey, Golden Plover, Oystercatcher.
Barn Owl, House Sparrow (Pair)

Went to Slimbridge with Robert today, mainly to go for the Garganey but always good at Slimbridge and my 54th visit! 
Straight into the South Hide to see if we could see Garganey but nothing spotted, so the Black-Tailed Godwit's kept us entertained with Avocet and Black-Headed Gulls screaming around the Lake.

Pochard's also looking stunning in the now bright spells.

With no sign of a threat from above, everything on Lake went skyward, great to see.

Wandered over to Holden Walkway dropping into the hides along the way. Wigeon in flight little else from first hide.

Lots a tree cutting going on but spotted 2 White Fronted Geese, hanging on I would think soon to depart.

From the Holden with the 120+ Barnacle Geese a Brent Goose, at least 1 new bird for my year list.

 After wandering around reserve checking out the captives we went to Zeiss Hide where a Spotted Redshank was spotted, bit far for me to even see so not countable but a Lecustic Greylag flew by. We left a headed to South Hide to check on Garganey.

The Garganey turnned up!! Mmmm.... well the captive one anyway.
Still a great looking duck.

From the South Hide as we approached it, lots of scopes coming out all saying the Garganey has just flown off! Typical but the Little Grebe was right in front Hide, nice!

Just about ready to leave and it did show distant but a Garganey! 
Job done, mission accomplished.

A very nice day was had, and 2 new year ticks. On getting home had a new visitor on my feeders a second House Sparrow a Pair!

On the piece of astro turf which is about a meter long which I've mount in tree had 
2 House Sparrow
2 Bullfinch 
2 Goldfinch
1 Blue Tit
1 Great Tit 
Not bad at all for a meter square.

Had a spare half hour after tea so went looking for our Barn Owl, saw it but not hunting like last year. I'll keep trying. Did see this Buzzard, in fact when it got dark he was still circling over Village.

Great watching the sun descend while watching for the Owl, Sun seemed huge.

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