Friday, 18 January 2019

Forest of Dean & Newton

Date: 14/17 January 2019
Forest of Dean + Newton St Loe
Overcast then Beautiful Sunshine.
Species Highlights: 
Dipper, Crossbill, Marsh Tit, Short Eared Owl, Buzzard.
Monday morning we popped over the bridge to the Forest of Dean to see the Crossbills that had been all over social media, we've been going in January since 2014 but this year it seems everyone else decide to go! We arrived at 8am with just one other car there but soon the small car park was full with people walking, chatting and more cars arriving all morning long after 2.5 hours we left with no Crossbills. On a up note we did hear a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Drumming. 
From Parkend we went to our usual spot for Dipper and excellent to see a Pair.

After checking out Woolgreens with not a single bird on the lake or seen on the walk we headed to Cannop ponds for lunch and soon had all the normal birds visiting.

Marsh Tit always a little stunner.

Even asking fashion advice, Does my bum look big in this!

The light was very overcast so a very high ISO but the bird performing well.


Not getting our target birds we headed back up to Parkend, even more people were there but after a hour of waiting a flock of Crossbill landed in tree above us then 2 came down to puddle.

A very brief visit in fact 30 seconds but great to see.

All targets ticked we drove back to England and stopped at Aust to check in on the Shorties, on pulling in we immediately spotted a SEO pearch on a distant branch. Another Short Eared Owl appeared and a brief tussle started.

We had a great day with Siskin, Crossbill, Dipper, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Tit all added to our year lists.

Thursday my normal patch walk and the sunshine was shining like a summer's day top field still quiet but did see 5 Skylark and this lovely Buzzard flew towards me for a change.

Love the colour on his tail almost Red Tailed Hawk!

He soon spotted me and drifted off.

Lots of small birds through Send a Cow woodland and this Grey Wagtail feeding on the lower Waterfall, bottom lake.

Teal numbers have dropped right of now only 17 birds all swans present but little else to report from lakes.
A few Common Gull on back drive in orchard at end of drive the single Fieldfare we busly feeding and fallen apples, along we a female Blackcap.

After a walk ending on 43 species a few birds were visiting my feeders, mostley Goldfinch, Tits.

But great to see a pair of Blackcap looking good in the sunshine.

Off to Canada wednesday for 10 days so check our Twitter feed for updates.

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Friday, 11 January 2019

A good start to 2019

21/12/2018 till 10/01/2019
Slimbridge, Newton St Loe, Chew Valley, Lodmoor, Radipole, Portland Bill.
Species Highlights: 
Blackcap, Siskin, Black Redstart, Golden Plover, Goldeneye, Water Pipit, Black Necked Grebe, Lesser Yellowlegs, Brent Geese, Purple Sandpiper, Jack Snipe, Bewick Swan, Wigeon, Water Rail
It's been a while since last post, but a lot has happened!
To start on the 21/12/2018 our Blackcaps have been visiting our feeders i've never seen both on tree at once but both male and female our visiting.

We've had plenty of birds visiting feeders Redwing, Coal Tits, Blue, Great, Long Tailed Tits all visit regularly along with Greater Spotted Woodpecker.

On the 26th December Boxing me & Lauren did our traditional Walk although picture were few we did manage a count of 48 species which this time of year is pretty decent.

The normally active Goldcrest stopped still!

A large group of Common Gull along back drive, lauren counted around 160.
(not all in this picture)

Always a good spot for Rook, Jackdaw and Crow.

On the 29th December I did another Patch walk but couldn't better our previous walk, did beat the Common Gull count. 250, took me a while but counted them all.

You may remember my Van Broke down, this was code, on checking internet it seems it's gonna be expensive......more to come on this.

That was the end of 2018, a good year for us. 
I ended on 281 birds worldwide,
202 uk birds with 35 life ticks. 
Along with 58 species of uk butterfly.

Lauren ended year on  251 worldwide with 192 Uk ticks and all 58 Butterflies too!!


So the first day of a new year and using the wifes Polo we set off early towards Clevedon, a glorious start to day with sunshine.

Within a few minutes we spotted the female Black Redstart this our number 13th bird of the year. It didn't show very well and was very mobile.

Next off a slow dash up the M5 to Slimbridge ( wife Polo) a good place to start the year, Golden Plover  in full flight, weather was now grey and overcast so not many pictures but lots to count.

Sparrowhawk on the prowl, Zeis hide. 
Leaving Slimbridge we dropped into Frampton Court a first for us both, managed a few more ticks, will definitely pop in again. Our plan was to drive across to Cotswold Water Park then back towards home and drop into Marshfield, Red Crested Pochard was it from CWP & Marshfield by the time we got there was nearly dark so ended day with Red Legged Partridge and 67 species.

 Got my van back on the 05/01/2019 with a price tag of £980!!!!! a bit more than i was expecting, first trip a short one to make sure all was good so headed down to Chew valley, a good plan as it turnned out, plenty of Goldeneye around the lake this from the Dam.

But the highlight was the Water Pipit from Stratford hide, most of the afternoon it paraded in front he hide.

A rare treat.

Best we could mange for the Black Necked Grebes at Chew unfortunately always distant.

Monday morning the 7th Jan we headed to Weymouth area with high hopes Lodmoor first and the long staying Lesser Yellowlegs not in the promised sunshine, it was almost dark!
A few more spots like Marsh Harrier, Med Gull but headed off to Ferrybridge to miss the the tide again!

Around 20 Dark Bellied Brent geese were cleaning and feeding but no waders to be seen.

From Harbour side we picked up Red Breasted Mergansers and a few Black Necked Grebes but again nothing else.

While watching a group of Skylark started to feed, a bird we never get to see close.

Twice that day we headed to Radipole to see Ring Necked Duck, we counted many Tufted and despite looking in all its normal spots couldn't find it, we heard Bearded Reedlings and saw some great looking Mediterranean gulls in car park. So after dinner we drove back over on to Portland.

The dark skies never really improved making photography difficiut, and not many birds to see anyway. Walking down through top fields only spot was a Stonechat, down to cliffs and Gullinott, Gannet was it.

On bill tip we finally managed to see the Purple Sandpiper at close range feeding in the now incoming tide.

Lauren back at work and some great weather forecast (typically) so headed up to Slimbridge again, Spot the Jack Snipe.

High Shutter, low iso and flocks of Wigeon.

A wonderful spectacle.

Plenty of photographers in the Willow hide spying the 2 Water Rails.

But light was best out onto the Tack piece.

Unringed Common Cranes.

Mum Dad a 3 juveniles

Took so many pictures of the Wigeon flocks.

Buteo buteo or Common Buzzard.

The Snowdrops are coming, followed by Spring !

I found the Ring Necked Duck, shame its not at Lodmoor. We are going to Canada on the 23rd Jan so expect to see a few in the wild plus a few other goodies i hope.

Staying on the captive side obviously American or Caribbean Flamingos.

Jackdaw so pretty in the sunshine.

A final look in on the Jack Snipe and he's woken up! The hide was full but managed a few over the shoulder shots.

To end the I day positioned myself in the Rushy hide and this little Dunlin landed strolled past.

No visit to Slimbridge would be complete with plenty of shots of the Pintail and other fly past birds.

Bewick very close no crop.

Tufted Duck.


O go on then another Pintail.

Last one of my fantastic day Shelduck. Slimbridge in the sunshine no better place!

So for anyone that's interested our UK count for this year stands at
Wayne: 107
Lauren: 101

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