Friday, 30 November 2018

Short Eared Owls & Sparrowhawk

Date: 26th- 29th November
Location: 
Dorset, Newton St Loe
Weather: 
Mainly dry
Species Highlights: 
Red Breasted Merganser, Mediterranean Gull. Dark Bellied Goose, Skylark, Short Eared Owl, Raven, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk.
Observation: 
In the search for a few more ticks to end the year on 200, Monday morning me & Lauren headed down to Weymouth with high hopes. we got to Ferrybridge as you never know what'll come in.... not a lot was the the answer to that question! we did see Dunlin, Mediterranean gull and 20 Dark Bellied Geese but very little else.

Alway good to to see Med gulls, we don't see them up this way much. 


Plenty of Black Headed.


Brent, Brant, Pale I'm going for Dark Bellied Brent Geese.


Looked great in the morning sunshine.


A few Skylark kept buzzing past, giving us great views of this bird that on patch is normally 1/2 mile up in the sky!


Moving on from Ferrybridge we dropped into Portland Castle nothing going on so carried on to the Bill. Parking at Sweet Hill Lane and walking down over top fields, I'd say the most abundant bird seemed to be Kestrel 5/6 seemed to be hunting as we looked down towards the Lighthouse. 


Even closer views of Skylark, perfect light too.


As we scanned the fields we spotted a Short Eared Owl hunting, then 2 more!
They were hunting in middle of the fields so not close views so headed on down to coastline.


Linnet, Skylarks and more Kestrel and this Raven onking kept us entertained, nothing from the coastline, so wandered back up to see if Owls were showing better.


Sat right in middle of fields but still looking good.


While watching 2 Peregrine raced over the top heading for the East cliffs.


A few other birders had turnned up, It was quite nice to have Owls to ourselves in the morning. One togger walked out into middle of the field(no footpath) and at that point the Owls came closer to other end leaving him in middle of field with no Owls! 




The SEO made up for not getting any new ticks for me and Lauren, a good day.



Wednesday had planned to go to Salisbury Plain but weather was against me so sat inside watching the rain hammering down but plenty of birds on our feeders.

Plenty of Blue Tits.


3 Coal Tits, seems to be a lot of these here and around patch recently.


Plus the always present Goldfinch.



We often get Collared dove and the pesky Wood Pigeons, I do try to put feeders so Woodies can't perch on tree and empty feeders.


Not so many Great Tits.


 Great to have a Greater Spotted woodpecker too, or so i thought my new 10 port feeder is taking the brunt of her visits, she's already broken one of the ports.



So Thursday and thankfully the rain had stopped but wind was howling, I headed out around patch. 
Onto Dog walk and Redwing, Blackbirds were giving lots of warning calls I stood and wondered why, when this Sparrowhawk raced through the bushed and circled above me.


This female keeping everything on its toes! While writing this Blog she's keeps screaming through my feeder tree leaving the feeders empty, but stunning to see.


Not much change on patch, Mute swans have returned again, Jen back on Lower lake and 2 Adults and a single juvenile have returned to top Lake, i wonder where they go ??

Redwing all over patch but only saw 1 Fieldfare, strange?
More corvids than normal all feeding on back drive, 3 Raven also seem today.

Rook.

So next week as Christmas draws closer what will be the last 3 ticks for me and Laurens 16 (still hope!!) 

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Saturday, 24 November 2018

Golden Plover on Patch

Date: 18th-22nd/11/2018
Location: 
Stockhill, Cotswold Water Park, Slimbridge, Newton St Loe
Weather: 
From Blue,cold to Grey drizzle
Species Highlights: 
Golden Plover, Crossbill,Water Rail, Jack Snipe, Sparrowhawk, Yellowhammer.
Observation: 
My travels this week started on the Sunday 18th with Chew Valley then Stockhill trying to get a few ticks for Lauren, none at Chew but Stockhill and was very pleased to see a group of Crossbill feeding in the pines along main track.


Needed a ladder really but great to hear them and see them feed for a few minutes.


Next off was Cotswold Water Park with a Old Mate from my Post office days,  Headed to pit 125 for a long staying Great Northern Diver but it seemed had gone, but did get a Red Crested Pochard from middle of the lake but tick number 197.


On walking around pit 125, 59,68 and 74 didn't see much it was very cold and drizzled for most of the day the highlight was the largest collection of Little Egrets i've ever see at least 60+ birds with 2 Great White Egret were seen.



After seeing so little decided on Slimbridge for some guaranteed Bird action, Martin Smith hide first and after looking for like 10 mins with other birders I finally spotted the Jack Snipe buried in the grass.


The Willow hide was on form with 2 Water Rail seen throughout the day showing extremely well.


Checked out the other hides, from the Holden watched a Peregrine chasing small flocks. This Jackdaw looked particular nice against the Dumbles


Looked back in at the Water Rail, yep still showing with a constant stream of a admirers.


A fair few Bewick's around the site and from the Rushy they were flying around.


I kept popping back to see if the Jack Snipe had moved but it stayed hunkered down for most of the day, Wigeon were very jumpy, but shows how many birds were on site.


Light was awful, very grey, this Sparrowhawk was from the Willow hide returned twice but missed his prey.


Amazing how flat how he looks when diving.



Some sunshine just as i was about to go, but stayed in the Rushy for the last few shots.


 Male Teal.


Pintail.


Tufted Duck.


To finish a full framed Bewick no crop!


Thursday Morning and my patch, started on leaving front door and seeing a patch first, a Muntjac deer running along Sunnybank!!
After seeing the local dog walkers having a nice chat, i know!
I scanned fields and spotted.....


Golden Plover, WOW 14 birds seen.


Light was head on so walked back to other side of field, some of the birds looked much paler, but thought it must be the light? Skylark behind.


Really great to see them makes you wonder how much we all miss on our patches!



By kneeling down and poking camera through hedge managed a few closer shots. 
Think it my closest ever Plover!


Wider shot of 10 birds.


All time Patch tick 98 and year patch tick 82 I need 5 more to beat last years 87, getting close.


Headed on smiling to myself and was shocked to see a group of Yellowhammer back in their normal spot overlooking Globe fields, 2 even perched for so half decent pictures.



Normal stuff around with Redwing still in numbers around Send a Cow Woodland also 2 Grey Heron along back drive. At lakes the Mute Swan family have gone again! Jen back up on top lake, 2 Cormorants and 10+ Black Headed gulls.


20 Teal along with a single Male Goosander top end.


From Keep Redwing could be heard with small flocks of Tits buzzing around but only 2 Fieldfare seen.


Kestrel last tick, again!

On a much sadder note found this Tawny Owl, it looked like it was hunting and got tangled in Barbed wire fence, I previously heard one calling in the small woodland here, very sad it was still quite flexible so guess it must have been previous night.


Not sure how it got so tangled, It took a real effort for me to get it off wire.


Poor thing. I ended walk on 43 species, not counting Owl. 
Golden Plover and Muntjac highlights for sure.



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