Friday, 22 February 2019

Spring is Springing

Date: 18- 21  February 2019
Wiltshire, Pit 44, Epney, Slimbridge, Eastville Park, Aust, Newton St Loe
Mixed bag
Species Highlights: 
Tree Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Red Kite, Yellow Browed Warbler, Whooper Swan, Golden Plover, Pintail, Tornado, Grey Heron, Red Admiral.


Monday morning Lauren was off work so in order to let her catch up we did a bit of a driving starting with a site in Wiltshire for Tree Sparrow, on arrival we were greeted with 50+ Reed Buntings with Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer covering the trees.

The Tree Sparrows were in their normal spots, everywhere but without cover it was difficult to get closer shots but really excellent to all the bird life.
With around a hour spent our next spot was a short drive to Pit 44 Cotswold Water Park.

The Yellow Browed Warbler which i'd seen a few times now was on arrival
 flitting up the small stream giving us good views, photographing another story, its such a quick little bird, moving from branch to branch.

 The YBW then flew across road to lakeside and we couldn't relocate but another year tick for Lauren.

Our plan was to head for Slimbridge but dropping into to Epney where some Whooper Swan had been. We parked up near the Anchor Inn and walked along the Severn Way for a short distance and saw the 5 Whooper Swan on other side of the River Severn.

Job done it was time for Slimbridge. Slimbridge is always great but it was half term and it was very busy the car park almost full.
It was just the long staying Jack Snipe to see..... no sign that morning and has not been seen since! As the song goes 3 outta 4 not bad, well nearly.

Flocks of Lapwing, Dunlin across the Dumbles

Filling the skies with birds.

Dodging all the welly boot kids which apparently it was the world championship puddle jumping competition, we walked around to the South Hide a group of Avocet were displaying.

That 4th tick of the day for us both.

Another look for the Jack Snipe and Curlew were flying over the Dumbles, always good to see.

Jackdaw showing how well he can balance, a very underrated bird and stunning.

Back to the Rushy Hide for the remainder of the day, always good to watch the coming and goings.

Bewick Swan, Pintail, Shelduck to name a few that kept us entertained.

A good day was had and we returned home. Wednesday was my next day out and went to Eastville Park in the hope of Dipper or Kingfisher, very little was seen but this Jay sing away to himself surrounded by the many dog walkers.

Quite a few Feral Pigeons were around pond, I chucked a handful of seed down and this rather smart White Pigeon came to feed.

Spent 2 hours looking but to no avail so headed to Aust to see what was about, a single Stonechat near Pilling Wetlands and not much else. 

No Owls but did manage to just about see the farewell Tornado flypast, unfortunately I'd walked down to the new Severn Bridge and the Tornado's decided to fly over the Old Severn Bridge!

40 years of service and a superb plane to watch, a such a great noise!

Thursday and as normal a patch walk with lots of singing Great Tits, Robin, Song Thrush a party of Long Tailed tits up on to Dog Track.

As I entered the small wooded area this Roe deer using his stay very still and no one will see me technique, on walking around the woodland the was still in same spot from the other side.

But a highlight was my first Butterfly of the year!!! It flew in front of me at bottom of the track and I even spotted another, a very worn and obviously overwinter specimen. 

But it means my Butterfly year has started just 57 to go for my 3rd year on photographing all UK species, I'm not including the Irish Cryptic Wood White this year..

Skylark singing, sun shining and Butterflies can't get much better.
But on Top Lake, Grey Herons nesting or at least standing on nest.

Hopefully a better year for them, remember only 2 nests in 2018.

A large group 250+ of mainly Common Gulls and back drive.

So with spring, it seems just hours away, i'll leave you with some snowdrops.

Wayne's Year total= 125
Butterflies = 1
Lauren's Year Total= 120
Butterflies= 0

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Friday, 15 February 2019

Tree Sparrow, Red Kite, and Newton St Loe

Date: 03-14 February 2019
Newton St Loe,Cotswold Water Park, Hackpen Hill.
Mostly cloudy
Species Highlights: 
Marsh Tit, Goldcrest, Yellow Browed Warbler, Red Kite, Grey Partridge, Goosander, Tree sparrow.
After our US & Canada Trip it was back to UK for birding and to with a start a patch walk, snow was still covering the ground but with a temperature of -2 it was t-shirt weather after Quebec with a temp of -37!

Birds around the patch we a bit scarce, but it was good to be back.

A few jumpy Goldcrest feeding in Yew Tree around university.

But highlight of the walk was finally seeing the Marsh Tits again, everyone had been seeing them, but me and Lauren kept missing them so pleased to add to the 2019 year list. 
(sorry about Pic)

Sunday decided to do another Patch walk with mixed weather but turning blue it was a good walk, The skylark were up displaying as i walked up lanes from Bath Mill.

Saw around 6 birds chasing each other and singing a great sight.

The skylark were all of note on top fields.

This Kestrel showed well as i was looking down towards Globe.

Not much change on the lake with Cormorant, Mallard, Mute Swans and Teal in normal numbers. 
Did see the Marsh tit again, at least 3 birds seen. but Coal tit, Blue and Great Tit in good numbers feeding in the leaf litter in top woodland.

Another walk over it was low count with only 37 species.

Monday morning and met Allan Chard at Marshfield for a look for Brambling but no sign while we were there so we headed of to the Cotswold Water Park , Lower Mill estate Pit 44 to see if we could see the Yellow Browed Warbler.
Met up with Merv an old friend from my post office days, luckily he just seen the YBW so we stood waiting for it to reappear. I got bored and wandered off.

I did manage a few decent shots of the many Goldcrest that were flitting around the trees.

Almost a flight shot, Chiffchaff , Red Kite were also seen. 
While I was photographing the Goldcrest, I said to Merv call me if YBW appears.........mmmm I never heard and when i returned both Allan and Merv had shots of the bird!!

But it was appearing every 40 mins or so and eventually did appear.

A few snaps of the ever present Red Crested Pochard and we departed.

We dropped into Corsham Park and Goosander were busily feeding this female showed well in the overcast light.

Really showing off its sawbill.

Still trying to get some decent shots of Tree Sparrow so returned to Hackpen Hill, Wiltshire area did a 6 mile walk checking all hedgerows for birds.

Was very pleased to see this very distant Grey Partridge, a lifer, picture can only get better from here!

I saw plenty of Tree Sparrow at least 50+ birds but none really wanted to have their photo taken. I will try again, soon.

While walking around the Ridgeway did see some cracking Red Kite.

Corn bunting, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting and Chaffinch, Red Legged Partridge also seen.

Normal Thursday patch walk and again not much to report but spring around the corner, should hope it comes alive soon.
4 Song Thrush singing, Bullfinch and lots of Coal tits around patch.

Jenny still on lower Lake, coming over for a feed.

Saw a few Dunnock too a bird that i see a few of or none of.

Checked out the footpath that runs up to New barn and back through Woodenhouse Covert as was told someone had seen Woodcock , but no sign. So the end of another low count walk 38 species.

My 2019 Year list now is at :121
Lauren :115

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