Friday, 31 January 2020

Great Grey Shrike & Slimbridge

29th-30th January
Daglingworth, Slimbridge, Newton St Loe.
overcast with Some blue skies.
Species Highlights: 
Great Grey Shrike, Curlew, Shoveler, Bewick Swwan, Bullfinch, Whooper Swan, Blackcap

29th Wednesday I headed up to see the Great Grey Shrike in Gloucestershire, Daglinworth. On arriving met another birder who'd already seen it we waited on the road waiting for it to return to it's patch, 20 mins past and we had distant views but it then disappeared only to fly over our heads perching a bit closer with a Kill!

I've cropped image to show you the small bird, I posted on Twitter the consensus seems to be either, Linnet, Stonechat, Robin, Corn Bunting?
What do you think? 
Answers on a postcard to the usual address. 
It caught 2 birds while we were watching, diving down to its lair to pluck the birds, leaving feathers drifting on the breeze.

On way home I headed to Slimbridge, a Green winged Teal was on show from the Zeiss hide. It's amazing that I've never seen a Green Winged before the Chew Valley bird but now in just over 2 months I was looking at my second one, not any closer but tick! ( tiny white stripe in middle of frame...really)

From the hide I stared into the distance hoping for something else to add, this non-ringed Common Crane landed, I think the only wild Crane there?

From the other hides had good views of Curlew a fine looking bird.

A few flocks took to the skies put up by two Peregrines which i couldn't see and still not on my year list.
Barnacle Geese.

Black tailed Godwits with a odd one out.

One of my favorite duck is the Northern Shoveler, very smart duck

Almost better than the Red Arrows!

The day was a mixture of sunshine and grey overcast, the sun was shining from the Rushy hide, this Male Pintail always looks fabulous.

Any trip to Slimbridge this time of year you can't fail to spot a few Bewick Swan.

Mostly Black Headed Gulls from the Rushy and a single Common Gull, another top bird.

Lots of photographers in hide when this "just a Buzzard" floated over, its never just a Buzzard, surely. no one else took a picture of this fine bird!?

Thursday I was back on Patch it started with 2 Bullfinches in the garden and 4 more in through Bath Mill. Treecreeper along the brook,Not much up over fields but Common gulls flying over. Down onto Globe fields more gull species here, Lesser Black Backed and Black Headed washing and chilling.

Down towards Send a Cow more Bullfinch and all the normal species.

On through woodland and out onto Butterfly alley leading to fishing lake, another Bullfinch making 8 birds, a influx!

Signs of spring on the way with Snowdrop and Primrose starting to come into flower along the banks of top lake.

 A surprise to see Grey Heron in nest, previous year date are:
Hope this year its more successful than last years 3 nests.

After two conversation with professional dog walkers letting their 10 dogs run wild along and into the top lake!!! it a permissive path and dogs must be kept on a lead, AAARRRGGGGG!

Sort of pleased the Whooper swan is still there, I think maybe he should be going but with Mutes seen to be chasing and him at the other end of lake now, don't think it'll be too long now till he departs.

So another week over, next week Lauren but on the ticking thing hoping for a few good ones, check back next Friday for a update.

Whilst working from home, Lauren spotted a stunning Male Blackcap on the Home Feeders. We managed a few shots before it got flushed by the neighbour walking past.

Wayne Year Bird List: 110
Lauren Year Bird List: 101

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Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Short Eared and Tawny Owls

15th-28th January
Marlborough downs, Somerset Levels,Newton St Loe, Chew Valley
Blue Skies,sunsets, hail, grey overcast, wet.

Species Highlights: 
Short Eared Owl, Red Kite, Corn Bunting, Bearded Reedling, Tree Sparrow, Tawny Owl, Starling, murmuration

15th January I headed to my favorite part of Wiltshire for my fix of Tree Sparrows and Short Eared Owls, I was not disappointed! 
Corn bunting sat Singing, Yellowhammer, all greeted me on arrival.

But a sudden and not forecasted hail storm made everything disappear but after 20 mins the sun shone through and Tree Sparrow appeared.

Tricky to get close too but happy to get a few shots.

From There I headed up on to the Marlborough Downs for some Owl action, Kettle on and a sandwich before we saw any but 5 or 6 eventually showed well.

Hunting across the fields in perfect light for a change.

Such great birds always a treat to watch.

Catching mostly voles, this one mantling its lunch.

People gathered on the hills all having great views.

On the 19th Sunday Me and Lauren went back up, It was very different with cars, dogs and walkers everywhere. We walked around looking for some action and came across 4 Red Kites just chilling in the afternoon sunshine.

The Shorties did show but no where near as well but we were very happy to watch them.

Even if some people didn't even notice them!

We waited till sunset and it was worth the wait!

20th Monday we headed down to Ham Wall and Shapwick, no sign of the Firecrest or Yellow-Browed Warbler but this Chiffchaff showed well.

Great Crested Grebe feeding well on Perch , i think.

Looking splendid in winter plumage.

while looking for the YBW a group of birders spotted this fine chap, not often we get to see a Tawny Owl in the Daylight.

He sat for most of the day here by Avalon hide.

With the sunshine even got my first Butterfly of the Year a Red Admiral, just 58 to go!

From the hide 3 Marsh Harrier cruised past always distant.

A coffee then we walked over to Shapwick for the main attraction the Starling murmurations.

A slow start to the show tonight but soon there must have been 500,000 plus in the skies above.

Count that lot!

Lauren took these pictures, a great job!!

No real patterns but we did see Peregrine, Marsh Harrier, the Starling soon went down to roost was a amazing sound.

Once down to roost the skies turnned orange and red a perfect end.

21st January was the first full patch walk for me, it started with a heavy fog making visibility down to 50ft birding was tricky! Once at the Lake happy to see the Whooper Swan was still present, Little grebe, Tufted Duck also still about.

The resident Mute is starting to chase our Whooper, has been seen by someone this week to fly off but has since returned, i'll check in on him this Thursday.

Really pleased to see a Marsh Tit at the top of top lake, just the one,a bit scarce around these parts.

From the misty start the light was stunning by end of walk and good to be back on patch.
ending first full patch on a 39 count.

Weekend off work as we visited Lisbon Portugal 23rd-26th, a few good birds will do a blog soon.

Headed down to Chew Valley to a wet grey Hide at Stratford Marsh Harrier, Black Necked Grebe and 2 Bearded Reedling showed, light was awful.

Once I got home and warmed up noticed on the feeder tree at home 4 Bullfinch 3 Male and 1 Female again light bad so just a record shot of this stunning male, will try harder!

Wayne Year Bird List: 105
Lauren Year Bird List: 100

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