Sunday, 29 April 2018

Yellow Wagtail & Little Gull

Date: 24th-29th April
Newton St. Loe, Slimbridge, Cheddar, Chew Valley & Barrow Tanks
Mostly grey overcast , cold wind
Species Highlights: 
Little Gull, Yellow Wagtail, Greenfinch, Reed Warbler, Black Swan.
Another round up I'm afraid not having much time to update in evenings of late, there is gonna be one more patch walk before we head off to sunny Rhodes Greece on the 3rd so this blog up to Sunday 29th.
Starting of back on Patch last Tuesday 24th, Up to dog track and my first Speckled Wood on this year, the butterflies our going slow so far this year with weather being cold and windy.

So imagine my surprise at seeing not 1 but 2 Painted Lady on the corner of Seven Acre in ploughed field, this one in middle of field only spotted while i was scanning across hedgerow. This is the first of year for the whole of Somerset! Also taking my total species count to 12, only 46 to go.

Skylark, Yellowhammers in normal spots but a highlight was 2 Red Legged Partridge scurrying across fields, year patch tick number 74, then a Common Whitethroat singing by trigpoint thats number 75. 
House Martins & Barn Swallow numbers starting to build Swift should be any day now. Plenty of Flowers around Primrose and Bluebells looking fab.

Down through village into Send a Cow wood with 8 Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaff but no Willow Warbler yet. Bottom lake Billy & Jenny still together but little else, top lake still very low with 2 Grey Herons on nests and the Mute pair also on nest. 
All Teal have gone maybe down to water level although in 2016 at the end of April until September the Teal also disappeared.

Greenfinch in yews couldn't here or see Hawfinch but a bonus I did spot for the first time ever these fantastic Snake's head Fritillary, well of the path and out of view so maybe wild?

The first time I've ever seen them, beautiful.

Next day a quick visit to Chew Valley and the Black Swan has returned to Herriots feeding happily with the Mutes.

Water level very high and lots of Swift, House Martin and Barn Swallow hawking over lake. 
Great Crested Grebe look stunning in breeding plumage.

Headed over to Villace hide not much from there but theses Early Purple Orchids with Primrose looked great in a sudden spell of sunshine.

Did spot this little Reed Warbler peeping out.

Also while sun was out this Orange Tip and its food source the Cuckoo flower.

Tried out the other hides and very little in front of hides, inside this Horseshoe Bat unfortunately dead was a highlight to see so close. On Lane in between hides I heard Garden Warbler and 2 Lesser Whitethroat.

 On the 26th a Glossy Ibis had be showing from Slimbridge so headed up, It had gone a hour before I'd got there, not much on show after i'd left a Tern showed up on South Lake too!

Coot & chicks feeding.

Cute...... not sure but amazing looking little chap.

A few Blackcaps we singing in the sunshine.

Her bum looks....

As sun was out headed down to Cheddar on way home for a look for Butterflies on Fry's hill a Green Hairstreak was best of that despite me looking for 2 hours up and down hill, too windy. A quick scan of cheddar couldn't find Little Gull so went home with 3 blanks! 

Lauren spotted 2 Greenfinch on feeders on saturday evening, we used to get 5/6.

Worked weekend and had a couple of hour so we went to Cheddar first for a revisit for the Little Gull, success.

Feeding distantly with 2 Black Headed Gull of the yacht club, along with hundreds of Sand Martins followed by Barn Swallow and a few House Martins. 

 Swallows and Sand Martins resting up around lake.
Lauren also got a shot of a Yellow Wagtail, She's lucky, i didn't see it!

Plan was to pop in to Barrow Tanks for a look for more Yellow Wagtails nothing on 3 so walked around 2, just about to give up and spotted this beauty along with 5 White Wagtails and 3 Pied.

Managed to creep up using the wall as cover, also on lake 5 Common Sandpipers

 So now up to date, hope to put another blog out before the 3rd May then a few from Rhodes if we see anything, finger crossed.

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Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Slimbridge, Rodborough Common, Cotley Hill, Stonehenge, Weymouth

Date: 19-23 April
Slimbridge, Rodborough Common, Cotley Hill, Stonehenge, Weymouth
Species Highlights: 
Lesser Whitethroat, Cettis, Butterflies, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Fulmar, Gannet, Swift.
I do work honest! But I seem to be darting all over the place at the moment, it's great!
                                     On the 19th headed up to Slimbridge mainly to get a few butterflies but started early so dropped in to Slimbridge first and first picture of the day was a Holly Blue not expected, this took my 2018 butterfly quest to 7 species it's been a slow start.

Plenty of little ones around these Coot chicks, only a mother springs to mind!

Spent a couple of hours watching the wildlife fly by.

With the day warming up and blue skies I headed off to Rodborough Common in search of Green hairstreak a species which in 2017 i had 8 days earlier.

After walking almost the entire hill in all the spot i'd seen them previous years i finally found one. I saw around 4 in the end, the next day 20+ were seen. This my 8th species.

Lovely Meadow Pipit on the common.

Then the weekend interrupted and work, see i do work after 5 hours sleep we got up sunday a went down to Cotley hill, Wiltshire for some more butterflies but spotted this lovely Common Lizard on way up hill.

After a short walk we found around 8 Green Hairstreaks looking stunning in the sunshine.

 Was really pleased to also get a Green Veined White and Large White taking me to 10 species.

Lauren mentioned the Bustard at Stonehenge so 20 mins later we were searching Stonehenge, free access via the byway ;)

No Bustard but a great Starling.

A beautiful Pied Wagtail was the best, but good to see the Stones.

Monday arrived and we'd planned a trip to Weymouth as the previous days plenty of birds were arriving at the Bill, so a early start and by 8am we were walking along Barleycrates lane and down Reap Lane. It all seemed very quiet! first bird to photography was this M'pipit.

Fulmar were nesting along the cliff edge plus a few Gannet, Razorbill and Guillemot.

The other birders we saw also said how quiet it was so we drove down and parked on Sweethill road and walked down towards the Bill, still quiet hardly anything about, it was very windy so maybe this was putting everything off? 
After some chips a few Wheatear kept us entertained this male just stunning.

After around 4 hours we drove to Ferrybridge caught up with 2 Little Terns plus 4 Sandwich Terns a few Dunlin on receding tide but that was it.

Lodmoor next and not even out the van Lauren spotted Swift, 13 birds swooping over the reserve.

Sanderling, Common sandpiper and this Grey Heron struggling with this Eel.

After 10 minutes he managed to swallow it.

Plan was to drop in to Radipole for a Mcdonalds at teatime so headed around reserve first, and what a plan as we bumped into this Lesser Whitethroat a lifer for Lauren. 

While congratulating each other this noisey Cettis popped up and posed, you don't see that every day!

House Martin, Barn Swallow and Sand Martins were seen buzzing over the lakes, Mcdonalds for tea. We had walked 12 miles so deserved.

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Newton St Loe, Sand Point, Northwick, Somerset levels

Date: 15- 18th
Newton St Loe, Sand Point, Aust, Somerset levels
Species Highlights: 
Cuckoo, Garganey, Whitethroat

A Sunday walk around my Newton St Loe Patch was a fairly quiet affair it was a WEBS count but very little to report highlight being a Common Sandpiper on top lake sluice, Swan on nest, and 2 Grey Heron also on nest, Herons seemed to have moved the herony this year to top lake. By the end of walk the drizzle started the female Kestrel ended the damp walk.

Monday was a much better weather and blue skies so headed to Sand Point to see if we could spot any migrants, we didn't but, did hear a Grasshopper Warbler reeling from the car park, A flock of Curlew.

While walking along the coast line this stunning Peregrine landed on the cliff top.

We carried on walking past and left the falcon to surveying his bit of coast line, as we did 4 more Peregrines screamed past us and along the coast, amazing!

A Sparrowhawk in the car park ended our time at Sand Point. Still early we decided to head along motorway to Northwick Wharf, Pilling wetlands as a few migrants had been showing like Ringed Ouzel, Yellow Wagtail all we managed to find we a few distant White Wagtails.

After walking past sentry box 2 adding Curlew, Redshank, Lapwing and a Ringed Plover we left dropping ito Marshfield on way home, all very quiet here best was a Red Legged Partridge.

Wednesday again lovely weather and Lauren got day off so we headed down the Somerset Levels first off Westhay, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff's on the walk down to hides.
He looks very annoyed to having his picture taken.

With almost perfect light this Pochard looked stunning.

As we left hide we both heard a Cuckoo calling and headed towards the sound, then as we were looking for it I spotted it flying, distantly towards us.

It landed briefly then disappeared again, we actually heard 2 birds calling, brilliant and worth the walk.

Also on reserve Reed Warblers, Reed buntings feeling elated we headed to Ham Wall/ Shapwick. Leaving car park this soaring sparrowhawk showed with Marsh Harrier and Buzzard.

On the Scrape at Shapwick we had 3 Garganey managed a picture just as Natural England arrived and everything took to the skies and disappeared. 
A wander around Ham Wall produced a Whitethroat, Great White Egret and always present Marsh Harriers.

Next one of my favorite reserves Greylake but it was very busy, i guess the sun shone and everyone had the same ideal, the normally brilliant feeders in the car park which are full of birds, but a couple of Reed Bunting and 2 Chaffinch was our lot.
A great day all the same.

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