Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Newton St Loe , New Tick

Date: 28/08/2018
Newton St Loe - Slimbridge & Chipping Sodbury
Weather: Very Grey, no wind
Species Highlights: 
Sparrowhawk, Mistle Thrush, House Martin , Barn Swallow, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Spotted Redshank.
First off Patch walk today with Tony Cook, local patch birder, I walked up from home through Bath Mill adding Bullfinch plus all the regular species. 
I had a group of 10 Barn Swallow following me up Lanes feeding. 

Met Tony by Globe Lookout and first tick for us both was a group of around 10 Linnet feeding on Thistle. A single Blackcap buried itself in Yellowhammer bush but no Yellowhammers to be seen.

Out through village and all very quiet until churchyard where I spotted a group of 7 Mistle thrush who flew towards us and started to feed in Yew trees.

Send a Cow today was silent, Butterfly alley also empty, bottom lake apart from Jenny Mute and 11 Mallard also empty, don't worry it gets better.
Top Lake, the work on repair has finally begun!! So water levels should soon be back to normal.
This male Kingfisher flew across lake and perched briefly, adding to our list Goldcrest and another group of this time 20 Mistle thrush Flew to normal trees above pagoda.

 A very large group of House Martins feeding over lake 50+ and nice to see as numbers seem this year to be very low.
Walked on to small ponds near sports fields and Greater Spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker heard and seen plus this single Brown Argus, butterflies dwindling now with only 1 Red Admiral 5/6 Small Whites, 8 Speckled Wood plus a single Common blue.

Next back towards College and a massive group of Mistle Thrush flew overhead Tony counted at least 25 but we doubled it to 50+ birds, Best count ever on patch!

Then while looking at the resident pale Buzzard on telegraph pole, I spotted a small bird , thinking hang on that's not right continued to watch area, it then flew and landed on post i took a couple of pictures, still not convinced with Id and not able to get any closer left it on post.

On editing pictures and getting second Id, convinced its a female Common Redstart.
Our 97th Species all time and 80th species this year!

Heavy crop, but bird had Orangish belly,greyish face, although picture doesn't help much.

Walked back along rear drive looking for a Yellow Wagtail amongst the cows but nothing, In village more House Martins and Barn Swallow feeding again a massive group 100+ but hard to count probably double that figure.
Shaking hands with Tony I departed with 38 species ticked and walked back along byway soon seeing Pheasant then this stunning Sparrowhawk.

He was looking over the Linnets that we saw earlier.

I watched him for a few minutes until he took flight after the Linnet.

Never seem to be able to get pictures of these stunners so a bit chuffed with these.

Just a great bird, I ended walk getting a Nuthatch so end total was 42 species.

On the morning before 27/08 went to Chipping Sodbury Common to see Whinchat and Redstart was not disappointed!

Saw 3 Whinchat 1 Common Redstart, plenty of Whitethroat, Blackcap, Kestrel, a good start to morning next Slimbridge for the Spotted Redshank.

The weather was very grey but eventually got a few shots of the great little wader.

This the only time in the whole day the blue sky showed for 10 seconds, then it was grey again!

A superb couple of days and some cracking birds seen.

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Friday, 24 August 2018

Giant wingspans.

Date: 23/08/2018
Location: Newton St Loe + Chew Valley
Weather: Mostly overcast and grey
Species Highlights: 
Buzzard, Roe Deer, Hobby, Spotted Redshank,Peregrine, Greenshank.
First off anyone Id Feather ? Little Owl ?

Normal Thursday route our through Bath mill and as usual they are cutting the grass! 
So all very quiet through the site although a single Common blue butterfly seen on sunnybank. 
Up on to fields and 4 Buzzards seen together calling and tumbling over fields.

Lots of Speckled wood butterflies along byways to seven acre but little else bird wise
as i rejoined byway the Buzzards we’re still above and me letting me get a few pictures.

Into village and very few Barn Swallow and Martin’s, date last year they left was
: Barn Swallow=24/09/2017
House Martins =27/08/2017 ( so maybe departed ?

All of interest was a Holly bush with 100s of wasps and hoverflies on.

Down through church yard and more grass cutting going on! 
Send a Cow woodland a highlight as a family of Long tailed tits.

Plus Coal tits & Treecreeper

Willow and Chiffchaff we making there way through.

No fishermen on bottom lake but just the single female Mute and few Mallard,
top lake and it looks like at last they are starting to repair dam. So hope it refills to its normal level. 
While sat 2 Ravens croaked past.
Stockdove calling with Goldcrest in surrounding trees, started chatting to a lady explaining there not
JUST Ravens and a Roe deer wandered down to feed on grass lake side.

Amazing to see so close and the reason I try to explain to dog walkers about leads, deaf ears!
The nice lady walked on and the dear carried on feeding.

Very quiet on up through top woodland but a few dragons around mainly Common Darter 
Brown hawker and a few Migrant hawkers by the small ponds,sports fields.

This little Wren popped up and posed unusually.

Was going return via college but could see lots of gulls on fields below home farm so walked up that
way mainly lesser black backed with a few Herring gulls, but you never know.

Walked back along lanes toward Newton st loe with a male and female Kestrel sat on tree boxes, 
unfortunately I saw them just as car sped past making them both take to the air. 
Little else was seen but just before home another kestrel hunting over lower field.

The Comma Butterfly, you can see why its called a Comma.

At home our resident Collard Dove was waiting.

A nice walk ending on 39 species.

22/08/2018 I went to Chew Valley Lake and Blagdon a great day was had, 
from Morton hide had a Greenshank.

Hobby always great to see.

Then a Marsh harrier, shame light was so bad but so close. Also a peregrine flew over hide.

After a couple of hours headed off to Blagdon Lake to see if i could catch up with the 
Spotted Redshank, 
plenty of birds around and with some help found the Spotted Redshanks just.
You'll need to squint!

Returned to Chew and popped into Villace hide 
always been a good spot for Hobby, this family of Little Grebe floated by.

Then the Hobby made a few passes, light was getting worse so i'll try again after the weekend.

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Thursday, 16 August 2018

Cornwall and the Chough.

Date: 12-15 August
Location: Cornwall, Botallack + Newton St Loe
Weather: Some sunshine mostley grey
Species Highlights: 
Chough, Gannet, Sanderling.
Went down to Cornwall for a couple of days away camping with wife and headed for the Botallack area nr. St. Just. Did a bit of looking first and found they had some Chough in the area so every morning and afternoon i did a bit of wandering along coast line in search of what i could find.

A stunning part of the UK coastline and almost deserted, apart from wildlife.

Most of my wandering was 6:30 am till 9 am, this is The Cape of Cornwall, scilly isle in distance.

These the old Tin Mines that scatter the coastline.

Most mornings there was a constant passing of Gannets, but to far off coast to get good pictures but plenty of Whitethroat along with Stonechats, Sedge Warblers and Meadow Pipits hiding in gorse and heather.

This first morning and afternoon didn't see any Chough so headed off to Sennen Cove and walked along coastline to Lands End a lovely walk and far better than parking at Lands end.

Get there early would be my advice beat the crowds. Saw a few Grayling dotted along South West Coastal Path.

Any Black bird along coastline i had to investigate! 
Jackdaws and Ravens and Starling everywhere.

I shared a apple with this beauty.

After walking many miles we headed back to Botallack and Campsite, wife wanted a rest so headed down to coastline and within a few minutes caught up with some Chough!

A group of around 10 birds were flying around cliffs, calling, brilliant to see, while sat watching the group flew almost directly over my head too close to focus!

Watched as they disappeared along coastline, job done and ticked.

Next morning was grey and nothing new on my morning walk was seen, i walked towards Pendeen in the drizzle. After breakfast headed to St Michael's Mount at Marazion.
At 12:10 the tide was low enough to walk across, we didn't pay the £10 for castle and £5 for gardens but a nice walk across was had.

While waiting for the tide you can always check out tideline or RSPB Marazion Marshes, this morning there were Dunlin, Sanderling and Ringed Plover feeding.

Popped in to Penzance for dinner then back to Botallack to find Chough again, I found the area they prefer and watched them for a couple of hours.

Ravens seemed to like watching them too.

I found a house nearby which they kept returning too and got some great views.

Bit of tiding.

Ahh that's better.

The house had put out some food I took the next couple of shots from around 15 ft away.

The sky was dark grey and some drizzle in the air but very happy with catching up with them. Saw around 20 birds in total, even got picture with a family group of 10 birds. 

A couple of drinks to celebrate that evening, On the last morning headed down to coastline Whitethroats posing nicely. Didn't see Chough in Mornings only saw them in afternoons 3pm onwards.

A great couple of days spent in beautiful Cornwall and well worth the trip. (if you'd like a google map of locations or advice drop us a email.)

While i was away Lauren did a Webs walk to Newton Park and a window watch.

Mute Swans doing well this year.

Coal Tit on our Feeders.

Greenfinch have returned up to 3 birds seen recently.

A real surprise for Lauren and me was the cracking Willow Warbler on our urban, car park feeders!

Also a single juv House sparrow has been visiting for the last couple of days.

Plenty of these also with a new generation being fed constantly.

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