Friday, 26 April 2019

Dips, Ticks and lifers

Farmoor, Aston Rowant, Sand Point, Newton St Loe, Frys Hill, Crook Peak, Chew Valley, Cotswold Water Park, North Meadow- Cricklade, Chipping Sodbury, Goldcliff
Mixed bag but mostly dry.
Species Highlights: 
Black Tern, Common Tern, ring Ouzel, Red Kite, Nightingale, Garden Warbler, Snakes Head Frittilary, Lesser Whitethroat, Bar Tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Whimbrel. Green Hairstreak, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper.

Its been a busy couple of weeks, i was ill for 5 days in bed so when we could get out we made the the most of it!.
Starting on the 14th April we went to Farmoor.
Our first spot of the day was a stunning male Sparrowhawk checking out one of the birds we came to see, Yellow Wagtail, he was unsuccessful.

Only saw 2 Yellow Wagtails and a bit jumpy too.

We walk around both Reservoirs at Farmoor, very windy but Common Terns were fishing way out into the middle.

On the far side a large group of Feral free flying Snow Geese around 30+ birds, Tickable ....just.

Also a group of around 9 Little Gulls, best shots we could get, Farmoor pretty big, need a boat!

After spending the afternoon there Lauren trolled through Twitter and saw that Aston Rowant had a few Ring Ouzel, well as you may remember these seem to be our boogey birds we always seem to miss them. So as only a few miles away we headed to my Silver Spotted Skipper hunting grounds, it was opposite side of the M40 a much quieter. traffic noise.
Red Kites were plentiful in the skies above, we must have counted 30+.

 Finally after seeing a few birders on a hillside opposite we spotted Ring Ouzel, not one but at least 4 birds!


Finally, we watched them feed on the steep hillside. A delight after Cleeve hill, Portland and a few other places.

15th April.
We went to Sand Point hoping for a windfall of migrants that didn't happen, but a nice walk was had.
Had this cruising Peregrine.

The Wheatear that i'd seen a few days before were almost in same spots, still looking stunning.

17th April.
On the 16th i had a rather large tooth out so had to take it easy but 17th the sunshine was shinning and decided to have a small wander around Newton n St Loe with Macro lens, Orange Tip and Brimstone were on the wing, tried for a flight shot, tricky stuff.

Nursery Web Spider (I think)

Noon Fly always so obliging.

After i took this picture i stated feeling ill so stumbled home and then spent the next 4 days in bed, mainly sleeping, not nice as the sun was blazing outside and butterflies were appearing everywhere.

Sunday I awoke feeling much better so raced down to Frys Hill, Cheddar and within minutes had my very first Green Hairstreak of the year.

Dingy Skipper next and then this fresh Grizzled Skipper. 
My 10th on finger species.

A great morning and lovely to be outside.

I walked to the top of Frys hill just to prove to myself I was back to normal, I was!

Dingy Skipper.

Drove to Crook Peak but only 2 Grizzled Skipper seen.

 I met Lauren at a beautiful Chew Valley missed everything apart from this rather smart Ring Necked Duck.

Went looking for roosting butterflies around Newton but none found, Lauren did see her first Whitethroat of the year, and took the rather nice photo.

22nd April.

And the hope of Nightingales, these would be UK tick so looking forward to it, after some research and help, we headed to a secret spot near Cotswold Water Park.
We were greeted with at least 4 birds singing amazing. Couldn't quite get a clean shot but a brilliant tick all the same.

A great little spot with Sedge Warblers, Whitethroat all around us.

Another highlight were Garden Warbler again 4 or so birds a bird we rarely see.

Laurens last time was 2011 at Apex, Burnham 
and my last time was 2015 on the Somerset Levels.

Linnet buzzing about too.

 Still early and with local knowledge we checked out a few other spots in CWP, Close by was a place i'd been wanting to go North Meadow near Cricklade and the Snakes Head Fritillary meadow.

Beautiful and well worth a visit. 

From here and driving home a Red Necked Phalarope was seen at Goldcliff, Newport, it was only a few miles out our way so we went for it and failed! Dipped.

It was a Bank holiday so Lauren was off Tuesday and more birding was on the cards, Stitches out from my tooth first then Chipping Sodbury Common. A quick walk about and we could only Skylark displaying.

Great to watching the full display.

 After scanning tree and bushes we spotted a few Whitethroat nice to see these summer visitor returning.

I could also hear a Lesser Whitethroat and managed a few awful pictures.

Our plan to go to Slimbridge but that Phalarope was still being seen so you guessed it another trip to Goldcliff. On arriving mixed reports on yes its its gone, It had gone on failing tide with its Dunlin friends!! AAAARRGGG.

A few bonuses were had like  Bar Tailed Godwits.

There had been loads flying in Portland reporting 211 birds and more coming up the Bristol channel so good to connect with a few.

Whimbrel too.

Avocets displaying, we left Goldcliff again with no RNP.

Almost done 25th April and a patch walk.
I'd spotted a Common Whitethroat,Willow Warblers & Red Legged Partridge on the 17/04/2019 but no picture so this the first of the year. ( their were hailstones at this part of the walk)

House sparrow in the rain.

Really happy to report the Lakes now all open, so hopefully it can all return to normal but I think its too late for the Grey heron to nest.

Got back to the Village and great to see some rather soggy Barn Swallow on wires, wishing they were somewhere warmer no doubt.

Even better news a loan Yellowhammer in cupcake ladies garden, hope this is the return to top fields, fingers crossed.

We leave for the USA on Tuesday so look out for our blog on return, 
very excited !!

Wayne Year bird List: 168

Lauren Year Bird List: 161

No change on Butterflies still 14 species

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Friday, 12 April 2019

Newton St Loe 101st tick

Date: 08/04 - 11/04
Portland Bill, Chew Valley, Sand Point/Bay & Newton St Loe
Cold but clear dry.
Species Highlights:
Gannet, Fulmar, Razorbill, Skylark, Willow Warbler. Beaded Tit, Mediterranean Gull, Redstart, Yellow Wagtail, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin

Morning Morning on the 08/04 Me & Lauren headed down to Weymouth and Portland Bill, first stop was a look for the Ringed Ouzel but no sign after spending 40 mins looking in horse fields, it was a bit misty and there seemed to not much about so continued our walk along the coastline where we saw lots of Meadow Pipits overhead along with Sand Martins and our first House Martins of the year. Stock Doves feeding in fields.

Fulmar, Guillemots, Razorbill and at least 50+ Gannets off Pulpit Rock plus the sun was starting to break through.

Rock Pipit we abundant around the coast, it looked like they were pairing up.

Feeding well & showing well.

A pair of Stonechat posing too as they do.

From the Car Park this stunning Kestrel hunting across the fields.

 We left the Bill stopping off at Ferrybridge, tide was just going out so no waders present but the Skylark were performing well.

This Pied Wagtail was the only bird around but looked splendid.

 Radipole was next stop, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff were calling all around the reserve and this Great Crested Grebe close to visitors center was busily building nest, great to watch them so close.

Lodmoor was our last stop of the day and surprise sighting of 4 Bearded Reedling is always good, shame not closer, no sign of that Penduline.

Chiffchaff in Blossom.

Must be One of the best looking UK gull, Mediterranean gull.

Very Smart.

Black Tailed Godwits in Summer Plumage.

Plenty of mating squabbles going on too.

Finally a Peacock resting on Blossom as we left. 

Tuesday I was busy so Wednesday decided on going to Sand Point, WSM.
Popped into to Chew and Blagdon Lakes on way through, a few White Wagtails and Chew Dam but none of the Yellow Wagtails that were reported.

Lots of House Martins and Sand Martins and a single Barn Swallow over Chew and 100's at Blagdon.

I arrived at Sandpoint 10 am and walked along the beach, saving on parking! Tide was in but Dunlin plus this Ringed Plover were feeding on Tideline.

The weather was a bit overcast & cold, Curlew and 2 Whimbrel also seen, distantly but good views, I marched on to Sandpoint, where i saw nothing!

As i started to descend the path the blue skies started to reveal themselves, birds started to sing with Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbirds in full song.

Back on the beach Stonechat's and a excellent Common Redstart tried to get better shots but dog walkers kept her moving until i lost view.

A group of 4 Wheatear didn't seem that worried about the disturbance, looking beautiful now the sun was shinning.

3 male and 1 female were seen.

Going through Twitter I noticed that Yellow Wagtail's/ Redstart male had been seen at Cheddar so as on the way home i stopped in.
Yellow Wagtail on the south side.

I must have walked a extra mile as the birds kept flying off and returning further along the reservoir, more dog walkers and dogs swimming in the reservoir. 
(Dogs must be on Leads and no Swimming in Reservoir) Or so the signs said.
But pleased to get a few shots of this very smart little Wagtail.

Thinking the Redstart must have moved on and nearly back to car park was very happy to spot the Male Redstart, feeding a flies in scrub.

While watching this tired Sand Martin landed almost in front of me, he stayed for 10 minutes while i was taking pictures of Redstart and Him.

The skies were Blue and perfect light. I felt honoured to see this bird so close.

2 cracking birds and a excellent day.

Thursday and a return around patch, I met with Tony cook near 7 Acre.
Blackcap were singing in good numbers 8 seen but probably more unseen.

The first 4 were seen together before i met Tony on the dog walk, along with Chiffchaff.

While stood chatting near 7 Acre about NSL's 100th patch tick I spotted a few birds flying close to ground across field, amazingly it was 5 Sand Martin!! This was tick 101, no picture as i thought it was House Martin but with us both seeing them happy to count them.

A fairly quiet walk after that apart from Blackcap and Chiffchaff until i left tony at the Lakes, Mallard with 9 young, hope they make it, but with Lesser Black Backed gull circling i doubt it.


Met lots of walkers were we chatted about the stunning day and bird song lakeside.

The Snake's head fritillary were in there normal spot, no white ones this year yet.

Stock Dove, Greater, Green woodpeckers along with Marsh Tit and Treecreeper's were added to list.

A few butterflies were starting to warm up Orange Tip, Brimstone, Small Tort and Peacock were seen.

Ended walk on 40 until almost home and I spotted the Kingfisher on our brook, so 41 species not bad plus the Sand Martins, a great day was had.

Wayne Year bird List: 154

Lauren Year Bird List: 146

No change on Butterflies still 10 species

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