Sunday, 14 May 2017

Patch Birding - Newton St Loe

Date: 14/05/2017
Location: Newton St Loe Patch
Weather: Blue, but turning to Rain
Yellowhammer, House Martins, Whitethroat, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Barn Swallow, Swift, Buzzard.

Been so long since last patch walk did a small one on the 5th May, been busy getting those Butterflies of which i'm now at 23 Species. I've had to put on hold now as Mallorca trip is in 3 days so a full patch was in order today.
A few Chiffchaff and a single Willow Warbler out through Bath Mill along brook, the normal songs from Robin, Wren and Blackbirds too. On up to fields and Skylark singing with Whitethroat singing from deep in cover of the hedgerows. The seeding I've been doing is definitely making a difference at crossroads, seeing more birds around that area including Yellowhammer, although not close views.

A few more Whitethroat along byway and a burnt out car that was on the side of Seven Acre has been moved to Pennyquick now, hopefully to be removed. Along with Buzzards overhead and 20+ Lesser Black Backed and 4 Herring Gulls on lower fields by Globe the was it, now in Village.

Really nice to see more Barn Swallows, House Martins and a few Swift now over village.

In Farm shop, which is bringing so much traffic into and around village this Pied Wagtail didn't mind the steady flow of traffic, Barn Swallows nesting in normal spots by farm shop.

But the House Martins numbers have at least doubled with them swarming overhead looking for nesting spots and collecting nesting materials.

This Pair have nested here for the last few years, with last year the nest collapsing and falling to ground with youngster inside! Hope this year they have better fixing mud!

Busy Busy collecting muds and grass's from around the Village.

In the 10 minutes watching he/she must have made 10 visits back to nest.

On giving me the evils i decided to leave them to it, when i come back in 10 days it should be finished with hopefully a little one inside.

Mostly quiet until Send a Cow woodland, Blackcaps and 2 Song Thrush having a singing battle!
I think the Song Thrush Won a great song, going through his whole repertoire.

Last time i checked on the Heron's could only see 7 chicks now 9 could be seen, the main tree seemed full of Heron's. I'm doing the Heron Census this year for BTO.

On to Lakes and lower lake a few more Mallards all male sitting on banks with the single Mute Swan still present, but little else.
On top Lake very quiet with Moorhen, coot on nests and The resident Mutes tending nest. On looking at nest, from Path! Could only see one egg, saw 3 eggs 2 weeks ago so not sure whats going on this year.  
If any ones goes out would appreciate keeping me up to Date with progress while i'm away, via Twitter or Email.

More sad news the Normal Blue Tit nest in tree by lake has a casualty hanging out, gruesome i know and to make it worse took picture and didn't see until i got home ! i must be blind.

Nature at work with Blue Tits still in and out feeding survivors.

Drizzle now started turning to Rain. 
But at small ponds by sports fields Mistle Thrush feeding and a single Damselfly, in a few weeks i hope these will be full of Dragons.
Last picture i took because of rain and almost last thing i saw on walk back.

Looking forward to Mallorca and expect lots of picture on Twitter and a mammoth blog from there soon.

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Monday, 8 May 2017

Cotley Hill Butterflies

Date: 08/05/2017
Location: Cotley Hill
Weather: Blue Skies, 15c
Butterfly Species: 
Green Hairstreak, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Marsh Fritillary, Red Admiral, Peacock, Green Veined White, Small White, Orange Tip, Small Blue, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Holly Blue, Brimstone

With my Butterfly season in full swing another trip to Cotley was required hoping for Marsh Fritillary or Small Blue.
On arriving only a couple of cars in car park so boots on and headed on to hillside Orange Tips & Peacock on path up through and a couple of Common Lizard scurrying from path into undergrowth. Plenty of Green Hairstreaks I'd estimate at 20+ 

 Dingy Skippers also into the 20's 

A few less Grizzled Skippers. 

Good Numbers of Brown Argus also 20+

Followed on around to Horse Chestnut tree also a good spot and lots of Small Heath chasing each other. Met Andy (Plant Man) and got some great info for my other trips, Scotland & the Lakes, Spot on cheers! 
He also mentioned he'd saw Small Blue's further round so headed that way. After a few minutes of looking Species number 18 perched up on forget-me-not!

Only saw one so headed on back around scanning grass and bushes suddenly a Small Copper appeared. Species number 19 only let me get a few snaps and disappeared at speed as they do.


And Linnet calling from trees also, mustn't forget the birds!

Time ticking on thought 
I'd quickly check other side of hill another Butterflyer stood checking something out Marsh Fritillary he said! I chatted keeping my eyes peeled when he said "Its behind you!"

20 Species! Very happy. 
Got a few nice snaps of this stunning Butterfly before it was time to go.
Such a Great place and 16 species seen today.
My target was 20 Species before I head off to Mallorca 10 days to go and 
20 hit..............what next?

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Cotley Hill & Butterflies count 12 species

Date: 02/05/2017
Location: Cotley Hill, Wiltshire
Weather: Cloudy with sunny patches
Buzzard 3, Whitethroat, Skylark
Butterfly Species: 12
10+ Green Hairstreak : 1 Green Veined White
1 Dingy Skipper : 5 Grizzled Skipper
 2 Brown Argus : 2 Wall Brown
1 Red Admiral : 1 Holly Blue
2 Small Heath : 6 Orange Tip
2 Brimstone : 1 Peacock

All jobs done by 12:30 and blue skies with cloud over head, I could hear the butterflies calling so headed of to Cotley Hill. Took me around 30 mins to drive there and it was almost totally blue by the time I got there. 
First spots were Orange Tips, Red Admiral and a Brimstone just inside gate.

Could hear a Whitethroat calling.

Green Hairstreak were buzzing around on top Brambles but not staying for a picture, carried on round towards the large Horse Chestnut tree and more Green Hairstreak some perching up grass's.

Saw a couple of Lattice Heath Moth's, great little moths.

Not expecting to see any year ticks so was really surprised when a Small Heath appeared then disappeared over fence. Excellent and species number 14.
Might have to improve picture.

Couple of Grizzled Skippers then a Wall Brown sat on path in front of me!!
Number 15

Such a stunning butterfly side on.

Another Small Heath, again not stopping and I stopped waiting for a large cloud to disperse when a Brown Argus suddenly popped up in front of me!! It's only number 16, amazing. 

The Brown Argus was a bit more obliging and stopped for a couple. 
Saw 2 Argus in all.

A couple of Grizzled Skippers chasing each other then a single Dingy skipper was about it but what a excellent day and to think I nearly didn't go anywhere because weather forecast wasn't great! Don't listen to the weather man or woman!!

Met some nice people too. 
If anyone can ID this bug would be grateful, looked but can't find :)
I know i've seen before but drawn a blank

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Farmoor Reservoir & Slimbridge

Date: 01/05/2017
Location: Farmoor & Slimbridge
Weather: Cloudy some blue turning grey & thundery
Species Highlights:
Black Terns, Red Kite, Cuckoo, Dunlin, Common Terns, Spoonbill. 

Lauren had day off so thought we'd head up to Farmoor Reservoir nr. Oxford to see if we could catch up with the Bonaparte's gull that had been there off and on.
On arriving first spot was a large group of Black Terns way out in the middle on the res. 

But giving good views through binoculars, just worked out distance from shore to middle is roughly 1/3 of a mile ! Still managed id'able shots just.
Also lots of Great Crested Grebes feeding on Perch.

Walked around reservoir checking out gulls and watching the brilliant Common Terns of which there were around 20+.

Constantly calling and squawking!

Couldn't find the Bonapartes but a Kestrel perched up nicely for a few pictures.

A few Dunlin looked stunning wandering around the water's edge.

Counted around 10 birds in all.

Walked on down to Pinkhill Meadow hide and a Water Rail was feeding under the feeder.

While mentioning to some other birders about 2 Cuckoos yesterday one flew across then sat hidden in trees calling ! Nice first one of the year for both of us ! No picture worth posting for that one.

Carried on around the reservoir when a Red Kite flew towards us giving great views.

My highlight of the day, gotta love them, especially as we don't see them enough down in the west country although they are getting a bit more frequent.

A few more shots of the Terns and a heavy downpour of rain and we decided to head down to Slimbridge on way home.
Slimbridge seems to be our second patch. Spoonbill was are first target and report said Van de Bovenkamp hide so quickly headed that way.....nothing.....Zeis.....nothing....So dropped into South lake hide and a single Black Tern Was present.

Giving us much closer views than Farmoor.

But extremely hard as it's such a quick bird ducking and diving !

After taking a lot of pictures or trying to take pictures we headed round to Robbie Garnett hide as a helpful tweet said "Spoonbill!" Sure enough the juvenile was there feeding.

Such a great bird with its side to side feeding technique it seemed very successful catching a fish it seemed on every swipe.

After many more pictured the heavens opened and the thunder rumbled! 
But the Spoonbill just carried on feeding. 

Time was now 5pm so a quick return to the South hide a few more worse shots of the Black Tern.

A Canada Gosling and end.

A excellent day with some stunning birds.

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