Friday, 20 December 2019

Record Breaking Patch Walk

Date: 16th- 18th December
Newton st Loe, Bleadon Levels
Wet, Grey and Wet!
Species Highlights: 
Whooper Swan, Kingfisher, Stonechat, Green Woodpecker.
16th Monday started with a patch walk, a break in the weather and a nice day to wander, working our way down the spreadsheet slowly ticking off species.

Groups of Redwing & Fieldfare starting to appear in number around village now.

Bullfinch, Greenfinch and the more common species all being ticked off, at the Lower Lake Kingfisher was next to been seen.

Big crop but nice to get good views of the beauty.

Robin feeding in between lakes.

6 Mute Swan, 1 Whopper Swan now its 54th day, 11 Grey Heron split between Globe fields and lake, also 1 Little Grebe and the female Tufted all present on the top lake.

Large groups of Common Gull, Black Headed and starling were feeding above football pitches. Back walking through College still ticking off species the Wren posed.

A Fieldfare feeding in the small orchard at end of back drive, surely the same one as last year?

 a large group of Meadow Pipit in fields towards home and this stunning Buzzard Perched briefly.

While watching this pair of Stonechat appeared.

Walking up to gate to get a better view and ....

Spotted this Green Woodpecker searching for food.

Not often you get decent views. 
Toting up the spreadsheet as we do with home insight amazingly we were on 52 species entering the house a male Sparrowhawk zipped through he garden making a Patch count of 53 species! A Record for 2019, the last 53 count was back in 30/12/2017.

After that success Wednesday I headed down to the Bleadon Levels in search of Short Eared Owls, unfortunately it was uneventful, in fact 7 miles walking and searching proved fruitless with very little being seen, the tide was right in unusual as its normally miles of mud!

Thursday and I awoke to rain but another patch walk before work, how very different it was today. Dunnock, Tits, And a few Blackbird posed near Send a Cow.

At the lakes was very surprised to count 9 Swan, 8 Mute and the 1 Whooper Swan., the resident Mutes were busy chasing off the visitors, or trying.

The Whooper very wet but happily Whooping.

The other day I mentioned to Lauren about the lack of Starlings on our patch when I spotted this group, a count revealed 432 the most ever counted on patch , Newton st loe is always surprising even after 10 year of walking it.

No new birds for our 200 year list so it stands on

Wayne Year Bird List: 206
Lauren Year Bird List: 197 

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Friday, 13 December 2019

Creeping Closer to the 200

Date: 09-12th December
Chard, Greylake, Ham Wall, Newton St Loe
Dry to absolutely soaking
Species Highlights: 
Smew, Yellow-Browed Warbler, Firecrest, Tufted Duck, Whooper Swan.

Monday morning started with a trip down to Chard reservoir for the Smew, perfect conditions but at first no Smew, in fact not much a walk down the road side and Lauren spotted the Red-Headed Smew tucked in against the bank. We waited for a hour but it stayed where we spotted it, so left for Greylake and a Yellow-Browed Warbler.

A full car park at Greylake, but only one person looking for the YBW on entering the small picnic area where it had been seen, I saw it! Called to Lauren and it disappeared, I saw it once more but very elusive. This Starling from the car park.

We then drove to Ham Wall for a try for the Firecrest which had been showing nicely, Lauren on fire today spotted her first ever Firecrest and the small crowd all managed to see it also.

Two birds were seen but moving so fast, as they do.

Really pleased for Lauren to get this great little bird a lifer for her.

A walk to VP1 proved to be very quiet so we returned home.

Rain Wednesday, and Thursday but a patch walker has to check on patch just in case.
Very quite around, birds obviously sheltering from the rain,13 Red Legged Partridge on top fields, released ready for their sad slaughter.
Whooper Swan still present now its 80th day. 

The Tufted Duck female still present also, our longest staying Tufted.

Teal number at 13 birds, making lots of noise and even the Little Grebe still about, but I'm now soaking wet so started the trudge home.

Lots of gulls feeding in fields 70+ Black Headed, 5 Herring Gull, 15 Common Gull, 20 Lesser Black Backed, plus a constant stream going to roast on way home, one day will have to count gulls going to roast as must be 1000's.
This Buzzard almost as wet as me was last spot of the day.

So with the Smew for us both adding to our year total and the lifer Firecrest (my Firecrest was on patch this year) for Lauren creeping closer to her magic 200!

Wayne Year Bird List: 206
Lauren Year Bird List: 197

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Friday, 6 December 2019

Birthday treats

02-05 December
Somerset Levels, Slimbridge, Newton St Loe 
Cold but mostly blue
Species Highlights: 
Starling, Treecreeper, Kingfisher, Whooper swan, Slimbridge, Bittern, Water Rail, Stonechat.

Lauren at work so I headed down to Ham Wall to see what was around a very cold morning but beautiful blue skies, This blackbird was sunning himself near the visitors center.

 I walked to hides but seemed to be very little to snap at, so drove down to Greylake. In the car park as usual a few birds coming to the feeders. 

Reed bunting, female.


But the stars were the Starlings, squawking and scrapping over and around the feeders

Wren- Troglodytes Troglodytes

From the hides Gadwall, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon numbers starting to build, on returning back to the van my Fit-bit fell off, didn't notice till much later. 
I left for Wells, Bishops place

At Wells this Treecreeper landed almost next to me, letting me have a few nice pictures.

The reason I went to Wells was to see the Kingfishers but although I saw 2 the light was disappearing and I'd now realised I'd lost my Fit-bit! 
That night I got home and posted a few pictures on Facebook, mentioning my lost Fit-bit, which I'd thought i'd never see again........

Tuesday and more blue skies a early patch walk, very quiet but this Mirror Carp at around 15 lbs was a great breakfast for this Robin, not so lucky for the Carp.

The Moorhen was also digging in.

I then had a Facebook message saying "I think I've found your Fit-bit" from a very nice chap called Kieran, whose gonna post it back to me, Whoohoo!

Back to the Walk and this Raven flew over Honking.

Along the back drive to University a small group of Meadow Pipit plus a pair of Stonechat (not pictured) unusal here.

Wednesday 4th December was my birthday 53, so after opening a few presents I set off to Slimbridge.
As a birthday treat the Bittern had arranged to give me a viewing from the Zeiss hide!

Saw 2 birds for a few minutes then they both disappeared into the reeds, as they do.

Such amazing camo, blending into the reeds, some people couldn't see them even though they were in plain sight!

The sun was shinning and the captive ponds looked fantastic.

 Goldeneye - Bucephala Clangula

Greater Scaup - Aythya Marila

Eider - Somateria Mollissima

Smew - Mergus Albellus

From the Willow hide a Water Rail had also decided to show for my Birthday.

From the other hides Wigeon, Lapwing and Curlew could be seen,

And Pintail, such a stunning duck

Not much flying past so dropped back to the captive ducks.

Redhead - Aythya americana

Greater Scaup female

Ring- Necked Duck - Aythya collaris

The Eider were mating and this the after shot, wouldn't want to evade their privacy.

Had to head home for my my birthday tea but dropped into the Rushy hide this Bewick taking a well earned drink after its long flight.

Thursday I met with Nigel Sluman at Church for a guided tour, not much going on but Nigel, Eagle eyed, spotted this female Tufted Duck, first for the year on top lake. 
Whooper still present in to its 44th day. 
Teal numbers at 16 and Little Grebe still present.

Walking along the back drive managed to get a picture of the Stonechat which I'd seen on Tuesday.

Showing well as they do. Leaving Nigel I carried on home.

This Kestrel was the last tick of the day, and the week.

Still no change but next week hope to add a few to Lauren's list.

Wayne Year Bird List: 205
Lauren Year Bird List: 195

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