Friday, 6 March 2020

Waxwing to Mandarin

17th-Feb - 5th March
Newton St Loe, Chew Valley Lake, Blackminster, Slimbridge.
Mixed from Rain to blue skies
Species Highlights: 
Sparrowhawk, Waxwing, Whooper swan, Mandarin Duck, Yellow-Legged Gull. 
Over the last few weeks, this beast has been whipping through the gardens front feeders, luckily Lauren managed to get a picture of him, its the first time we've seen him perched on our tree shortly after this was taken he caught a Goldfinch and flew off to munch his dinner.

A scary sight for any smaller bird!

A bit of decorating stopped my birding for a week so my next outing was a Thursday Patch walk, a report of a Red Kite was tweeted but also I found on the top lake a male Mandarin, a tick for the year and 4th ever on patch.

The Whooper Swan seems to have made friends again with the Mute Swans and was spending more time in close contact with them.

He seems in great condition doing plenty of wing flaps and stretching.

I sat down on the far bank and he even came over to me.

Goldcrest are always in good numbers around the lake dispite Bath Spa cutting down some of the Yews.

Storm Dennis hit over the previous weekend causing some damage to garden fences, In the village, this horse barn where Barn Swallow nested last year took a battering ending up on its roof!

On the way home, a Green Woodpecker was seen looking for bugs, patch year tick.

Sunday and we went to Chew to look for this very smart Yellow-legged Gull.

It didn't take too long and he came into the closest bank, giving us excellent views.

A fabulous bird for sure, the info on the ring says it's from Switzerland, first seen at Chew on July 25th, 2016. It was ringed at Sempech, Switzerland on May 25th, 2016.

On way home, we drove up over lanes and spotted 2 Red Kites, Patch tick.

Also this unusual bird We posted it on twitter and the consense to say 1st winter Peregrine?, What do you think?

Monday ~morning we a beautiful day with bright blue skies, a Waxwing had been found at Blackminster, Worcestershire so a drive up was required. As we drove over a railway crossing we saw a few bird watchers seemingly not watching anything but on parking up, we spotted the bird in a nearby tree.

The only Rowan tree in the area and we were stood right under it! There was no choice as the railway crossing was right next to us, the bird really didn't mind and made several visits to the tree to feed.

The twitchers.

Greenfinch, Collared Dove kept us entertained while we waited for the Waxwing to return.

Such stunning birds glad we made the effort.

Glaucous, gull and Smew were nearby but checking out fields and a walk around we found neither, so we dropped off at Slimbridge.

Always good to see Curlew 20/30 birds present but a bit distant.

The Flocks on the Dumbles are starting to disperse now but still plenty to see.

Black-Tailed Godwit.

This Goldcrest showed well flitting around the undergrowth.

My Thursday patch walk started in the rain, with very little to show until the Lake where major up evil, the path around will be shut for 3/4 weeks, essential works to the path??

Not good for nesting birds again, the Grey Heron had started to nest but another failed season for them, let's hope they nest in old Heronies down the drive, the water level on the lake has drop to half-empty too so teal struggling to feed also.

But on the upside 2 Canada Geese have arrived, first spotted by Jon Margetts and pleased to stay still about, our first record of Canada's on the lake although we've seen flyovers.

Happy families Canada Geese ( the other was hidden), Whooper Swan and Mutes all cleaning together.

Wayne Year Bird List: 130
Lauren Year Bird List: 125

Patch total stands at :60

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Friday, 14 February 2020

Spawning Frogs on Newton St Loe

Date: 8th-13th February
Newton St Loe, Chew Valley Lake, Stockhill, Ashleworth Ham, Slimbridge
Cold, Rain, Blue Skies.
Species Highlights: 
Frogs, Bearded Reedlings, Greater Scaup, Crossbill, Black-tailed godwit, Kestrel.
This year our frog spawn is early 2 weeks early, it appeared a day after we did a Pond clean, just pulling up dead and dying plants getting it ready for a bumper Dragonfly year I hope.

Lauren does the photos for the pond, and a great job she does!

Monday the weather wasn't great so a trip down to Chew Valley Lake was in order not long after entering the hide and seeing nothing in front...I mean nothing we left and we were gonna try another hide when I spotted a Bearded Reedling, year tick for Lauren, again Laurens pictures.

We heard 2 but this male put on a great show, such stunners.

We walked around to next hide with rain starting, on entering we spied Scaup another year tick for Lauren, 15 birds seen, really Scaup through the rain.

The rain eased off eventually leaving the great looking rainbow, with scaup at the end of it.

Next stop was Stockhill, It wasn't long before we spotted our targets Crossbill, male & female perched as always at the top of larch tree's very tricky as the wind was blowing a hooly!

Wednesday Lauren at work I decided to go to Ashleworth Ham in Gloucestershire, for a look for the Bean Goose after the drive up and an hour waiting for it, it was a no show. A bit of a Knightmare journey back, with a road closed, the diversion was flooded and my Van door falling off!

 I dropped into Slimbridge on way back eventually to at least see some birds, hardly anything from hides so wandered around the captive pools.

Canvasback duck- Aythya valisineria

Hooded Merganser F -Lophodytes cucullatus

Lesser Scaup - Aythya affinis

Ferruginous duck - Aythya nyroca ( a Duck I keep missing for Uk but have seen in Rhodes)

This the male.

Not a bird I expect to see in the Uk but another Duck I've never seen, I've been to Slimbridge many times, seen photos of this bird there but never managed to see it! Its a Baikal teal (Sibirionetta formosa

What a beauty eh!

The captive Crane looks great close Up this one just a few feet away. 

A Jackdaw posed nicely too.

The only hide where anything was happening was the Hogarth hide, Black-tailed Godwits just outside the windows.

An airborne predator or something flew over spoking the Godwits.

So that was Wednesday highs and lows.

Thursday was patch walk day, and a grey day to start but on top fields, I had a view of the only Fieldfare of the year.

Not much else to report apart from the Whooper Swan now it's 115 days. Mute swans all showing aggression towards it now, I hope soon it will depart.

Another year Patch tick was this Kestrel in the horse fields.

Like buses another kestrel,  male/female.
Patch year list up to 55.

Wayne Year Bird List: 126
Lauren Year Bird List: 118

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