Friday, 29 March 2019

The Butterflies are coming!

Date: 25th -27th March
Somerset Levels, Newton St Loe
Blue skies and rising temperatures
Species Highlights: 
Bittern, Glossy Ibis, Garganey, Chiffchaff, Marsh Harrier, Lesser Scaup & 
Monday Morning was forecast to be blue skies and sunshine so we headed down to the Somerset Levels, We drove along North Chine Drove and were rewarded with a Red Kite and 27 Cattle Egrets just below Mudgley. Our first stop was Westhay it was very quiet so after a brief wander we Went to Ham Wall.
Lots of calling Chiffchaff, Blackcap & Butterflies making a lovely spring spectacle.

The Garganey was sleeping so views were limited.

But while sat in the Tor hide a bonus Bittern could be seen sat in reeds.

A brief flight and dropped it into Reeds, then started to Boom immediately.

From Shapwick we had some distant views of the Glossy Ibis, so small, it got spooked by a Great White Egret.

A highlight of the day was a displaying Male Marsh Harrier, swooping and soaring over the reed bed with the female high above watching her mate.

Trailing cob webs.

We watched a Great Crested Grebe fishing below the hide amazing to see it change position under water, very agile!

OOOoo European Peacock just showing off. Brimstone, Small White were also seen today.

Still looking for better shots of the Garganey we headed around to Catcott, unfortunately no more were seen but 3 Great White Egrets were having a battle this one launching to attack.

On way home we dropped into Cheddar Reservoir the Male Mandarin was present still looking splendid.

After a long walk around this female Goosander was the best of the rest.

Tuesday after the sunshine we'd been getting i was feeling lucky so wandered around Bath Mill and up to Seven Acre woods in search of butterflies, not disappointed. Brimstone's in good numbers.

A few Small Tortoiseshell.

Plus 2 Orange Tip 5 days earlier than previous years (I have records since 2008)
Still very flighty but managed a few decent shots.
Feeling very happy a Speckled Wood Landed in front of me (21/03/2016 earliest) just to top day off.

Wednesday I went to Chew Valley and Blagdon a brief song from a Willow Warbler but many Chiffchaff and Blackcap's singing.

This male Greater Spotted Woodpecker busily feeding, it had a ring but couldn't quite read it (8278?)

Lots of Bee Fly hoovering around lake, this one the Dark Edged Bee Fly.

Went for another shot at the Lesser Scaup, always a bit distant but with perfect light i waited enjoying the sunshine.

It didn't come any closer after watching for 40 mins so I left heading home to see if i could improve the  butterfly count on my patch.
Had a walk around Patch and only thing of note was Swans top lake seem to be nest building(work still ongoing on Dam)

On the Butterfly count It turns out I could, 2 Holly Blue seen, high up near transmitter in Seven Acre and 5 days earlier than 2017.

Speckled wood seemed more settled today giving me a opportunity at open flat wings.

European Peacock

Comma, a little worn this one.

Small White first picture of the year for this very fast moving individual I'm sure they'll settle down.

Wayne Year bird List: 138
Lauren Year Bird List: 132

The first 10 for me 
Butterflies :10 species

Red Admiral, Large Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Brimstone, Comma, Small White, Orange Tip, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue.

Lauren Butterflies 5

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Sunday, 24 March 2019

March round up

Date: 1st March - 24th March
Location: Slimbridge, Weymouth , Lodmoor, Radipole, Severn Beach, forest Of Dean, Newton St Loe.
Alsorted ending with Spring!
Species Highlights: 
Lesser Yellowlegs, Brambling, Lesser Scaup,Sparrowhawk, Spoonbill, Corn Bunting, Ring Necked duck, Marsh Tit, Wheatear, Chiffchaff.
Been a bit bit busy of late so really just a catch up of our travels in March so far.
4th March a trip to Slimbridge.

Pintail's from the Rushy hide always great to photograph.

A close up snipe.

Black Headed Gulls looking splendid.

I always like trying to photograph the Jackdaws, so quick, I like a challenge.

11th March we headed down to Weymouth. Lodmoor first and plenty to see.

The single Spoonbill stayed distant, shame.

But the Dunnock didn't !

Amazing feather detail.

After a couple of hours we headed around to Radipole and finally we saw the Ringed neck Duck my 4th attempt.

Not as close as we'd like but a year tick all the same.

Not much else about we headed but to Lodmoor and the Spoonbill was on the move.

The almost resident Lesser Yellowlegs showed extremely well in the excellent light from the west path.

The leucistic Ruff flew past not to be left out.

Not forgetting the Black Tailed Godwits.

But the LY looked great.

A beautiful Sparrowhawk.

Chiffchaff arriving now too.

On way home dropped into Maiden Castle not a bad spot for Corn Bunting.

A large flock of Golden Plover there too.

13th March just me and I headed to Forest of Dean, not a bad day managed a few year ticks.

Always showy the Nuthatch.

Saw a couple of Marsh Tits.

18th March stayed home managed a few on my feeders.

20th March  Blagdon Lake and a Lesser Scaup was showing, distant but nice to see.

Headed to Severn Beach after Blagdon and was not disappointed, Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails and...

A super Wheatear, i'll take that tick !

On way home met up with Allan Chard in Eastville Park managed to spot this great little Goldcrest, posted picture on Twitter and Facebook it went wild with 252 likes 30 comments on Facebook and twitter 91 retweets- 584 likes- 13 comment , one of our best tweets ever!!
I posted the comment.  "Punk rock anyone? Goldcrest singing Anarchy in the U.K. I think "
Seem to go quite well !

Eastville park has got it all Kingfishers and Dippers.

23rd March Few more from our tree, Lauren this time.

Today 24th March
Headed up to Bath University to see if we could find the Brambling that had been seen, Lovely to see this Nuthatch enjoying the Spring Sunshine.

We found, Lauren found , the Brambling and they show quite well.

Darted to Blagdon for Lauren to tick the Lesser Scaup, it took some finding but we did. On way home popped into Newton St Loe for a WEBS count, very glad we did. Brimstone and Comma were seen, in fact 8 Comma, 4 Peacocks and 1 Brimstone plus Bee Flies.

While walking around the lower lake we spotted this great Toad.

Female on bottom male hanging on!

WEBS count done, we have a visitor on lake this strange looking Mallard a sort of Chilean Mallard hybrid?

 A lovely walk with not too many people about also worth a note this Hare climbing bank towards student residences.

So the final tally of our bird year listing is 

Butterflies starting to add up now 
Lauren- 4

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