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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Saturday, 8 February 2020

Devon tick tick ticking

Date: 3rd-6th Febuary
Man Sands, Brixham, Broadsands, Seaton, Lyme Regis, Newton St Loe
Rain- Blue skies
Species Highlights: 
Blue-winged Teal, Cirl Bunting, Purple Sandpipers, Turnstone, Black Redstart.

Monday morning and me & Lauren headed to Devon, weather was not great in fact it rained nearly all day! 
But on arriving at Man Sands for the Blue-Winged Teal we had a brief spell of clear skies, walking down to the beach and pools a Sparrowhawk dived across the fields, with Stonechat in adjacent fields we soon spotted the distant Blue-winged Teal, it didn't really come close enough for decent pictures, but much better than our previous pictures from Jamaica Bay, New York shots.

A lookout from the coastline didn't add anything but this smart Dunnock singing from the hedge line.

Our next stop was Brixham Breakwater, with rain at a constant drizzle now we ventured along the harbour wall.
The Harbour Resident seal was our first spot, only the one.

With up to 8 Purple sandpipers busily feeding on the sea side of the wall.

Quite a few Shag were feeding in the Habour, with this stunning adult.

This Juvenile just resting on nearby rocks.

It really was raining now, making it difficult to keep lenses and cameras dry.

Brixham is always great for Turnstone and today we had 2 birds who came to investigate us. following us along the sea wall.

Just feet in front of me this one was checking out Lauren!

Very photogenic birds.

A couple of Great northern diver also fishing around the harbour. 

The Great Black-Backed gull getting as wet as us!

He even decided to fly to somewhere a bit drier, so did we.

Leaving Brixham behind we headed to Broadsands for lunch.

At Broadsands car park the rain was heavier, but we made a coffee and ate some sandwiches.
With 8 Dunnock, 15+Chaffinch and 6 Greenfinch feeding we only needed the reason we were sat in this wet car park to turn up, I spotted the female first, it soon came down to the seed. 

This smart male was soon to follow.

The Punk rock version.

All of our targets acquired next stop was the male Black Redstart at Seaton, hoping the rain would abate on the hour-long drive, it didn't, in fact, it was harder. we parked and walked the short distance down the steps to the beach, seconds later we'd spotted this cracking bird.

The orange cliff face giving it a great backdrop.

A pair of Robins kept the bird on the move, this is the cock Robin who constantly kept moving the Redstart.

Sliding down the steep beach I managed to get this shot obscuring the feet by a rock, giving it a nice blur effect.

A few Fulmar were nesting in the cliff, but rain now was just too much to handle so we left, for our last stop of the day.

Lyme Regis and the long-staying Eider, a definite tick to end the day....or so we thought. On arriving the tide was receding and no sign of the Eider, we walked around the Harbour and off the Cobb but nothing! Ringed Plover and Rock Pipit were are last ticks of this fantastic but very wet day.

Wednesday was my next outing and I decided to go to Corsham Lake for some views of the Goosander which are present, very distant but the Great Crested Grebe showed well even doing the mating dance.

Common Gull, Black Headed Gull and even a flyover Red Kite kept me entertained for an hour.

But the Grebes we great to watch squabbling.

Almost at full summer plumage a stunning bird.

As this Grey Heron left, I packed up and left fort home too.

Thursday was patch walk day and I was greeted with blue skies, makes a change. This is the start of my walk and used to be Sunnybank where I got Marbled White, Brown Argus and Common Blue, the gardeners have cleared everything!! I'll keep an eye on it this year to see what species I see, if any?

Very quiet up over fields and into the village but more clearing work going on, this is another Butterfly spot, what we call Butterfly alley, which leads down to the lakes!

This Blue Tit was the only bird I saw on the once full hedgerow.

Up on to Bottom lake I spied a Treecreeper feeding on the Alders.

Walking on past fisherman I noticed a sheep in the lake!! I asked the fishermen what was going on and they informed me a Dog had just ran through chasing and biting the 43 sheep.
                    The dog had jumped into the Lake killing one sheep, another sheep managed to be rescued by another Fisherman,  I was about to try to pull the other sheep out, the Farmer then arrived on his Quad with a woman who's dog had done this terrible deed. she was apologetic but the farmer was not happy obviously. All Dogs through the Bath spa Uni must be kept on leads as the signs say but it seems more and more people don't follow this simple rule! 
In my experience, its 90% of Dog walkers do whatever they like!

Back to Walk Cormorants in their normal tree. 

I find it very difficult to get a picture of the many Nuthatches around the lake, so here's proof.

Another Treecreeper just past the Temple.

Whooper Swan still present after 108 days or 15 weeks and 3 days,  but definitely more distant to the resident Mutes.

The walk ended on 42 species and a fantastic Buzzard.

Wayne Year Bird List: 122
Lauren Year Bird List: 113

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