Monday, 28 August 2017

My Brilliant Hobby (Birdwatching)

Date: 28/08/2017
Location: Chew Valley Lake
Weather: 27+ Very Warm and Blue Skies
Species Highlights: 
Hobby, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Green Woodpecker, Common Sandpiper, Water Rail.

Another great day so headed off down to Chew, thought I'd sit in Villace Hide for a bit to see what was about. Nothing in first hour, really nothing then on almost packing up to leave heard what I thought was a Peregrine flying directly across lake towards me.

It was 2 Hobbies, Juvenile above and the adult with the full red trousers! 

Excellent, just another 1/2 hour I thought, then 2 dog walkers appeared on other side of lake, I shouted from hide across to them, as all the birds disappeared from the Lake that were in front of me annoyed!!  At that point the Hobby flew past the hide at speed, it carried on doing similar for the next couple of hours frequently catching dragonflies with the Juvenile calling Ki, Ki, Ki from the trees behind Hide.

Giving me superb views, sat on my own in the Hide what more could you ask for!

Tried many different setting on camera but Hobby was either too distant or to fast.

Was catching and taking back to juvenile every 10 mins, first I heard the call, then seconds later the adult would fly past hide.

A couple of time the juvenile would chase after the adult begging and I even got a few passes mid air.

Adult and Juvenile share the meal.

Many Dragonflies in front the Hide giving the Hobbies plenty of food.

I thought it couldn't get much better.....

Ended on 400mm F8/4000 shutter/ iso 1000.

I pretty happy with these, my best ever Hobbies.

Tighter crop on this one, stunning birds a privilege to watch!

I wandered off around other hides but couldn't better my experience, did see a Water Rail briefly from Herriot's + 4 Great White Egret but nothing this close. A great day was had not even the dog walker could spoil my day :)

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Sunday, 27 August 2017

Newton St Loe, Sunny Patch Walk

Date: 27/08/2017
Location: Newton St Loe
Weather: Blue Skies and 25C+
Other Species: 
Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Little Egret.

A stunning day with Blue Skies plus very warm sun greeted when drawing the curtains, it was around 10.30am. I worked until 4am so that's why the late rising!

Coffee, Breakfast and out the door, Bath Mill has been very quiet the last few walks and today was no different. Nothing much until byway crossroads and 2 that I could see Yellowhammers, I'd say juveniles.

On across Pennyquick with a large group of House Martins overhead all flying in same direction South, a few Barn Swallow in Village but little else, until just before church and a group of Long Tailed Tits caught my attention and in the group, Treecreeper climbing up a cherry tree.

Also Coal Tit, Chiffchaff and Chaffinch, always worth checking these little groups as you never know what tagging along.

Send A Cow, woodland silent today and the fisherman's car park almost full! 

Not looking good for Bottom Lake and apart from Billy the Mute Swan + 2 Mallard that was all.
Top Lake and all Mutes plus the sick Cygnet were at the bottom part, although the Cygnet was on bank sleeping still looking ill.
Walked up past pagoda and sat to eat a apple, 2 Grey Heron were present and after a few minutes the Little Egret appeared in front of me!

A superb hunter catching on almost every duck and dive, much to the displeasure of the Juvenile Grey Herons.

Herons just seem to watch him, maybe picking up tips?

I think this was a little Perch.

The water top end had a brilliant green reflection on it, I was shooting into the sun but still looks amazing.

The Little Egret runs across the water then spears its prey!

LG been on lake now 4 weeks.

After sitting watching for a hour, I know it's just a Little Egret but it's great to watch! 
Walked on up towards ponds and a few Goldcrest were feeding in Yew trees at least 3 bubbling around tree tops.

On up through the woodland another group of Long Tailed squeaking through the trees, checking through flock and 2 Marsh Tit had good binocular views but his the best picture I could get.

A few Chiffchaff also, this spot is around 3/4 mile from first group of birds, but normal spot for Marsh Tits.

No Dragonflies on top ponds so turned around and headed back to lakes, and this Roe Deer saw me and darted up into trees, this just before pagodia. Hardly any walkers or dogs today thankfully, seems amazing on such a stunning day. 
A few more weeks and Bath Spa will be full of Students! 

Looked for Egret and no sign until I spotted him perched up in Cormorant tree looking splendid.

On back to Bottom Lake and this is Billy the Mute been on his own since April 2017, a good looking chap but don't think he'll find a mate as fishing lake is deeper and nowhere for nest but you never know, fingers crossed.

House Sparrow, Kestrel, Pied Wagtail to add on way back but not a lot else.
 A lovely walk on my own ended walk on 44 species, 1 Roe Deer and 9 Rabbit.

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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Quiet Day on Patch

Date: 22/08/2017
Location: Newton St Loe
Weather: Overcast But Warm
Species Highlights:
Buzzard, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Bullfinch, Chaffinch.

Overcast grey skies not the promised blue & summer day! 
Along through Bath Mill and still very quiet here, up on to Dog Track and could hear a Buzzard mewing, crept around to try to get a view of the bird but it suddenly appeared from nowhere and immediately disappeared into trees! 
Appeared again but much more distant Carrswood side of brook. Flew around a few times, seem to looking for something?

Then perched in Carrswood and sat looking from floor to the skies for at least 15 mins, I left him to it and carried on to fields.

Saw & heard 2 Yellowhammer not singing but alarm calling, the single whistle. Then from above a group of 25 Barn Swallows hunting with 5 Swift in the group. Our last Swift sighting last year was around 18th August.

A very quiet walk out through village and even Send A Cow woodland and by the time I got to lake was only on 25 species!
Billy still on Bottom Lake and only 5 not normal 6 Cygnets plus the 2 adults on top, strange I thought as the cygnets seemed to be doing well? 
I sat and watched the Grey Herons and today it seemed they were the highlight.

While sat watching Mrs Kingfisher landed and started to fish for 5 mins.

The Herons continued to battle for what seemed always the best perch.

This the winner! 
4 Herons on lake and no Little Egret today.

Kingfisher returned giving a slightly better if distant view.

Walking to top end of lake found the other Cygnet on bank away from others, it seemed alright couldn't see any marks and was cleaning, I'll keep a eye on it but I think not good away from mum & dad and such a early stage in its development?

On up to Ponds and a few Common Darters, but again the quietness continued.

Decided Id carry on up to Park Farm to see if there was any action up there this Greater Spotted Woodpecker was calling and getting a return call but couldn't locate other bird.

Their seemed to be larger groups of birds on way up with Crows C50, Jackdaws C30 and at least 150 Wood Pigeons feeding in fields.

With 2 male Chaffinch a bird I'm seeing less and less of on patch this year, worrying. 
4 Pied Wagtail at farm and a large group of Goldfinch about 50 birds, that was my lot apart from another Buzzard circling over 12 o'clock lane.

Spotted these Mushrooms I think they are..... Mushrooms, gone through my mushroom book (Roger Phillips) and not sure!
So returned back into village and normal route home with nothing more to add apart from Rabbits highest count so far 20! They really are breeding like Rabbits, good food for the Kestrel family or Buzzards I hope.
Ended walk after 6.5 miles on 38 species.

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Thursday, 17 August 2017

Newton St Loe, Middle August

Date: 17/08/2017
Location: Patch - Newton St Loe
Weather: Starting Grey with Warm, Sunshine to End
Other Species: 
Spotted Flycatcher, Buzzard, Kestrel, House Sparrow, Chiffchaff, Little Egret.

Started walk today with the company of Tony Cook, another local birder. 

Out through Bath Mill fairly quiet along and up onto dog track single Brown Argus with Bullfinch being best, again not much going on across fields with no Skylarks heard or seen.

Into village 20+ House Martin buzzing overhead and busily nesting. Only around 4 Barn Swallow seen on our first pass.
Send A Cow woodland it all seemed to come alive with many Tits plus Treecreeper, Chiffchaff and 2 Spotted Flycatchers, the Spotted Fly's seem to have moved from lakes maybe looking at leaving soon?

A Comma on where else but Butterfly alley.

Onto Lakes Billy the Swan still "no mates" on Bottom Lake. 
This Dragonfly a 

Migrant Hawker carrying something and on looking at pictures its Speckled Wood!

Don't think Dragonflies cache food but this male seemed to be attaching its prey to underside of leaf then flew off empty handed?!

On up to top lakes all Mute Swans present and the adult male still chasing everything! 
The Poor Mallards getting no peace. 
2 Grey Herons seen, plus a couple of Black Headed Gull with 5 Lesser Black Backed Gulls.

After a brief stop by Palladium a Nuthatch could be heard, on around to top of Lake and really pleased to see Little Egret still.

Been present for 3 weeks now, still fishing extremely well to the displeasure of the other Lake residents.

Buzzard still calling top woodland but otherwise fairly quiet. 
Out onto Campus playing fields and a crow taking advantage of the now very warm sunshine. 

Not seen to many Small Tortoiseshells this year despite my many travels, a great looking butterfly.

On up to top Ponds and a few Dragonflies and Damselflies present. 
Mainly Common Darters and another Migrant Hawker.

On return route the Heron had relocated and seemed to think it was a duck! 
Thought it unusual to see them floating along.

Butterfly alley again and the Comma still perched on same flower but this Brimstone looking fabulous in the sunshine.

Can you tell it was a slow day for bird pictures!

Along back into Village and many more Barn Swallows with numbers around 30+ plus  perched and over Farm Shop. 
Pig Pen a single Pied Wagtail taking our species count to 35.

Also Pig Pen lots of House Sparrow 50+ feeding of scraps.

Taking grit or dust baths, really good to see so many, a female Kestrel took of from telegraph pole taking us to a final count of 37 species.

A lovely walk with some nice company, thanks Tony :)

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