Friday, 8 November 2019

Chough'ed to get to 200, sorry :)

3rd - 7th November
Newton St Loe, Chew Valley Lake, Porthcawl, Southerndown, Cheddar, Barrow 
Getting colder, from drizzle to blue skies.
Species Highlights: 
Whooper Swan, Red Throated Diver, Merlin, Snow Bunting, Red-billed Chough, Long-Tailed Duck.


Sunday 3rd November 

Lauren hadn't had time to see the Whooper Swan so we took a wander out to lake, House Sparrow are spread around village looking fine in the now winter sunshine.

Past the fishing lake there seem to be a big group of Goldcrest around 5 birds with more scattered along Top Lake.

The Whooper Swan still present but tucked into the far bank.
 We've since learnt that Janie from Bath Spa took a picture on the 24th at 14:07, I left the lake on the 24th at 13:53 !!

As we were walking back home news of a Red Throated Diver at Chew Valley Lake came in. A new bird for us both so we headed down to Woodford Lodge, Lauren spotted it and this was 199 for me and 186 for Lauren. When we arrived it was at it's closest and just kept swimming into middle of lake.

Monday 4th 

We had planned a trip to Porthcawl, Wales for a Snow Bunting, I'd already seen the Bolrenge bird but happy to make the journey. Rain on the journey there but stopping in the car park the sun started to shine and we had a lovely walk along the Porthcawl coastline, Oystercatcher, sleeping with passing Greater Black Backed Gull, Herring Gulls.

Lauren on top spotting form saw a Merlin and photographed it just, but ID'able from picture, I missed it!
The Snow Bunting hadn't moved from the previous day, feeding on the Golf green, a lovely little bird and Lauren on a roll with another tick.

We walked further along the coast and unbelievable I almost stood on another Snow Bunting, this one slightly bigger and much paler.

We think Male Non-
breeding juvenile.

Moving much faster but giving us some good photo opportunities.

Plenty of other birds at Pink Bay/Sker area and some friendly locals, Skylark singing and chasing each other around.

Stonechat always happy to pose.

With Starling, Meadow Pipit and Wren dotted along coast we had a great time here.

Tata Steel works could be seen in the distance, not sure what was being pumped into the atmosphere?

Just before the car park we spotted a few Golden Plover too.

Our plan was from here to head to the Gower for Red-Billed Chough but another birder mentioned Southerndown for Chough so on the way home thought this a better option.

A stunning walk we spectacle scenery and to make it even better we heard a Red-Billed Chough flying above us, distant photograph confirmed this, my #200bird of the year!!!

We climbed to Dunraven Castle with even better views back along to Porthcawl and the Gower. 

 A selfie to celebrate getting to 200 Lauren now on 189.

While sat we heard more Chough and 2 Birds were circling over cliffs, we managed some better shots, weather was on the turn so darker grey skies but happy to get better views.

We spent a further 20 minutes watching these great birds, a lifer for Lauren, I'd previous seen them at Botallack, Cornwall.

Much colder and greyer on the walk back to Car Park but a few Hardened Surfer were braving the frigid waters.

A great place and will definitely return.

5th November

Popped out to the Lake, Whooper Swan still present, 16 days.

6th November

I headed down to Cheddar for another Diver Great Northern but walked half way around and it poured down continued round with no sign of the Diver, this Great Crested Grebe and plenty of Coots were the best of it.

Dropped into Barrow Tanks for a look at the Returning Long-Tailed Duck, looking for his Tufted female from last year?

The day before it was at Chew Valley but think it prefers Barrow Tanks, Barrow Gurney. Just to say you need a permit to visit this site.

From there stopped of at Chew Valley and Stratford hide, A  brief view of this Kingfisher in not ideal conditions, misty grey skies.

The now normal flypast Great White Egret.

2 minutes of sunshine this Mute Swan looked great.

7th November

Thursday Patch walk before work that evening, 2 Buzzards were circling over Seven acre, but very quite up over fields and into village.

Top Lake, Cormorant on it's favorite perch against the autumn leaves.

Whooper stretching its massive wings ( 6.75 - 9.2 feet : 2.1 - 2.8 meters) 
18 days present.

A good number of Grey Heron scattered around lake, but hidden in the trees.

Being so little about I decided to walk up to Park Farm and down past Pennsylvania Farm, with a large flock of 35 Skylark, 20+ Chaffinch and even 15+ Yellowhammer in the freshly cut field proved to be a good option. Large numbers of Pheasant were about ready for the Christmas shoot, lets hope a few escape!

Almost home a this Green Woodpecker flew towards me landed in nearby tree, keeping a eye on me. 
So another week over and the magic target reached for me, Lauren still needs a few but still hope, a few more trips planned before Christmas and you never know what might come in.

Wayne Year Bird List: 200
Lauren Year Bird List: 189

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