Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Slimbridge - Jack Snipe 20/03/2018

Date: 20/03/2018
Location: Slimbridge WWT
Weather: Grey Skies, but warmer
Species Highlights: 
Jack Snipe, Chiffchaff, Black Tailed Godwit, Ruff, Redshank.
On Monday a Jack Snipe had been found at Slimbridge and seemed to be showing quite well so i thought i'd head up on the off chance, my previous shot of a Jack Snipe was poor and i'd last seen one 15/01/2012 at Chew Valley Lake.

See, pretty bad!

So almost any picture would beat my previous, on heading towards the Knot hide spotted this rather smart Chiffchaff and my first of the year.

Had a scan through reeds but apart from a Snipe nothing of note so checked Holden hide and a group of Black Tailed Godwits feeding, great looking birds.

With Redshank, Oystercatcher and this lovely Ruff also showing.

Headed back to Knott hide and Les Ditchburn @Lesditch had just got a scope view of the Jack Snipe! Brilliant, after some distant obscured shots went to Willow hide, could just see it but then it darted across wet patch.

 It didn't feed just sat, but still Jack Snipe.

Such amazing camouflage.

This zoomed out view, just to show how difficult it was to see.

A cracker for sure.

Had a wander around, Crested Screamer feathers.

Velociraptor or Muscovy Duck.

Went back for a last look at Jack Snipe and did a video, even a bit of bobbing.

Press here
You Tube -Video

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Monday, 19 March 2018

A Snowy WeBs Count

Date: 19th March 2018
Location: Newton St Loe
Weather: Snow on Ground, Cold Wind but Sunny
Species Highlights: 3 Hawfinch, 1 Blackcap (M), 15+ Siskin, 4 Fieldfare, 35+ Redwing, 1 Treecreeper, 9 Song Thrush, 1 Greater Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Nuthatch, 2 Goldcrest, 40+ Meadow Pipit, 3 Buzzard, 1 Jay, 4 Yellowhammer, 27 Stock Dove, 35+ Goldfinch
WeBs Count: 4 Mute Swan, 13 Mallard, 5 Moorhen, 3 Coot, 23 Teal, 1 Grey Heron, 9 Black-Headed Gull

Full 42 Species Count Here - https://goo.gl/q9xrq3

Observation: Out through Bath Mill as normal, plenty of snow still on the ground, so quite a few little birds about. Robin, Dunnock and Blackbirds mostly, along with some Goldfinch, using the Brook to have some fresh drinking water.

Entering the Dog Walk, we heard a drumming Greater Spotted Woodpecker, a little unusual for here.

Up over Seven Acre Fields, it was pretty quiet, as the snow cover was alot deeper with drifts along the Lanes. No Yellowhammer seen along the track today.
From the Lookout over onto Globe Fields, the Stock Dove were still present in the corner a count of 26 seen. 2 Buzzards also seen.

Into the Village, again fairly quiet, with only a single Jay and some House Sparrow seen.

By Send A Cow, there were quite a few Meadow Pipit feeding around the Sheep and on the snow free grass.

 We checked out the Heronry, as the Heron's had been nest building over the last few weeks, no sign of any Heron's today but a few nests although full of snow!

A single Stock Dove landed in the tree behind us, which was nice.

As we couldn't get out due to the snow yesterday, we done the WeBs count today.

Bottom Lake, was very quiet for the WeBS count, with only 1 Moorhen, 1 Mute Swan (Billy) and 2 Mallard.

Although a good count of Siskin in the Alders along the Lake, we counted at least 15.

Top Lake, the 3 Mute Swans still present, although the Cygnet is being chased off alot now, a low count of Mallard only 13 seen, 3 Coot, 5 Moorhen, 23 Teal, 1 Grey Heron and 9 Black-Headed Gulls. Also 1 Little Grebe (as per Anne, which we must have missed).

Onto the Keep, to search for the Hawfinch, after a short wait, one flew across the tree's and landed where we found a further two, taking the total to 3! 

A poor shot of them here!

Back along the College Drive, the wind was bitter so nothing spotted.

Back through the Village, and along the Lane, 4 Fieldfare spotted in the tree's, also heard up to 4 Yellowhammer calling along the Lanes.

Lastly back in Bath Mill on Sunnybank, a further 5+ Meadow Pipit feeding on the grass, nice to see them so close to home!

Local birder, Anne, also had the above count along with Little Grebe on Top Lake and a count of 50 Fieldfare!

There were high counts of Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Robin on the walk today.

Back at Home, our pair of Collared Dove were present and the Male Blackcap who has been visiting for a few weeks was feeding.

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Friday, 16 March 2018

Weekly round up

Date: 11th-15th March
Location: From coastal to Patch
Weather: Dry, some sunshine
Species Highlights: 
Long Tailed Duck, Peregrine Falcon, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Hawfinch
The 11th started with the normal patch walk, out through Bath Mill and on up to fields it seemed quieter but Yellowhammer still in normal place around 25 birds but no Linnet about.

30+ Stock Dove on lower Globe fields still and this rather colourful Wood Pigeon.

Spring well on its way with some Lambs by send a cow, trying out a bit of head banging.

Female Kestrel on normal post, as usual flew of as soon as i took this shot.

Apart from 12 Fieldfare + 5 Redwing that was it, Blackcap male still visiting our feeder tree.
got home and it rained the Collared Dove not liking it!

On the 13th a Common Scoter had been showing all weekend at Weston Super Mare so decided to head down .....it had gone. 
So Sandbay next maybe a few early migrants but nothing a couple of Ravens was the best. Mmmmmmm Portishead for some Purple Sandpipers ......nothing at all. 
Oh well Barrow Tanks for Long Tailed Duck as it was now blue skies on arriving and a quick scan all i could see was fisherman! Typical, walked around anyway, got to Tank number 2 and i could hear first the Long Tailed Duck calling and courting the Tufted Ducks.

For such a smart duck he's pretty confused!

Popped into Chew Valley, Perfect light but not much to photograph, always the way.

Took a few pictures then headed off home.

14th another patch walk, seemed even quieter than Sunday but Hawfinches in good numbers spotted 2 groups of 12 + 5 birds plus could hear more calling from Yews.

Could only manage shots of single birds despite waiting for 45 mins.

Carried on walking to Stanton Prior, a few more Yellowhammers and this cracking Buzzard was all i could add to my list.

After Stanton Prior carried on back along River Avon, past the Boathouse and up through Carrs Wood, Kingfisher and Cormorant and this Coal Tit ended walk on 46 species amazingly poor for over 10 miles.

Today my Van had its Mot so dropped it off and walked into town to catch up on the Peregrines at St. John's.

They stayed on the highest perches they could and not moving apart from a few stretches, but always good to watch them. 

Left hand pinacle, you can just make Falcon out, I was stood under, by houses on left.

If only i was 250 ft taller!

With a pass from the van i headed up to Marshfield, Corn Buntings, Yellowhammer, and lots of Linnets but not being very photographic.

Last stop for the week was Corsham Lake as Goosander were in good numbers so parked up and head to lake, Goosander were right over the other side so sat watching the Great Crested Grebes floating past.

Looking splendid! 

Just got home and Tony Cook messaged me to say 2 Tufted Duck on Lake, so made everyone's tea and headed to lake species number 66 for the year.

Almost dark but Swans top lake busy making nest, last year Cygnet still around but now banished to top end.

A few Bats darting about, not sure how but a picture ! Common / Soprano Pipistrelle ? Not sure but looking at ID pictures i'd go with that. 
Walked back along drive hoping for a Barn Owl but had to settle for a Little Owl !!!! Brilliant to see, heard him calling then located him standing tall on tree box. My last sighting of a Little Owl was 19/01/2017, this takes Patch total to 67.

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Thursday, 8 March 2018

No Ross's but a Brambling bonus

Date: 08/03/2018
Location: Dorset & Blashford + Patch (Newton St Loe)
Weather: Blue Skies, Very Cold, Wind
Species Highlights: 
Red Breasted Merganser, Turnstone, Avocet, Brambling, Siskin.

Blue skies were forecast so headed down to Dorset, Ferrybridge for that pesky Ross's Gull, started early, too early. Got up at 5:15am to travel down with Allan Chard and arrived at 7:25am a few other birders where already on there scopes scanning the almost desolate Ferrybridge. A few Black Headed, Greater Black Backed, Herring and Lesser Gulls was about it apart from a small group of Dunlin. 

We took are place and waited in the freezing cold wind...... Waited nothing happened, a group of Turnstone came within a few feet of us but no Ross's Gull in fact no sighting for the entire day, maybe it's gone?

After seeing some stunning Red Breasted Merganser at Portland Harbour we headed towards Radipole to wait a bit more for that gull, but very little going on there so off to Lodmoor. Avocet being the highlights although asleep.

A Stunning Black Tailed Godwit posed nicely for a few shots.

When the light is right photography is easy!

Time now was 12:30, can't go home so early so we decided to head home via Blashford Lakes it was only 33 miles away, with the hope of a Thayer's gull, Ring Billed Gull or even a Brambling we headed off. 

On arriving noticing a coach in the car park but thinking nothing of it, the hide was solid! Could just squeeze a view out the window at the very distant gulls, gulls were actually 540 meters or 3rd of a mile away not chance to id anything but white dots! 
We headed around to the Woodland hide, good move first bird, Male Brambling, took lots of pictures with Siskin, Greater Spotted Woodpeckers and Nuthatch coming to feeders.

Female Brambling showed better than the male but great looking birds.

Just don't see them much around here.

Siskin always little crackers.

Not the target bird but hey can't have it all, plus these made up for it.

Went around patch - Newton St Loe on Wednesday with some success.
this lovely Roe buck posed then vanished into the undergrowth.

My mission was to try to get a few closer shots of the Yellowhammer but this Buzzard was sat on their favourite bush when I arrived, he took off showing me his stunning tail pattern, I don't think this is John hurt the Buzzard on patch with the face growth but still beautiful.

There have been fewer Yellowhammer about since the cold spell but still around 25 seen, and nope couldn't get closer despite using my camo netting, sat patiently for 45 mins. 

Mine you Buzzard and Kestrel actively hunting around the area no wonder.

A beautiful little Wren did let me get closer, briefly.
No changes on lakes and no Hawfinch heard or seen today.

After putting lots of seed down for Yellowhammers thought i'd head back same way home, spotted this large group of Stock dove around 40 birds seen. Distant but trust me, Stock Dove.

A few Treecreeper about saw 3 different birds always moving so fast managed a half decent shot.

On getting home pleased to see this male Blackcap taking my count to 41 species.

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