Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Another Lockdown Blog!

Date: 10th April - 25th April
Location: Garden and Newton St Loe Patch
Weather: Blue Skies, Light Winds
Species Highlights: 


With the UK still on Lockdown, we have spent every day on the Patch and in the Garden, this has its advantages as we are currently on 73 for Patch Ticks, a mere 8 off last year's total!

Plenty of Buzzard out on Patch recently taking advantage of the Thermals.

Along with a Red Kite passing through and Sparrowhawk displaying.

Garden hide is going well with this female Bullfinch.

And even both

Dunnock is also showing up daily.

Made a Bee Hotel for our bee and insect friends within minutes of putting it up had mason bee's checking in!

Chopping board as a backdrop and an early morning shot, Bee posed briefly warmed up and flew off.

A worn Painted lady from Seven-acre, but could be the same one from last week may have been attacked?

Our Common Whitethroat have returned, in the normal spot, but it seems in bigger numbers with at least 6/7 seen around Seven-acre.

Back in the Garden Hide, the Goldfinch posing nicely.

The Bullfinch pair, seem to come at first light and last light.

A pair of Grey Wagtail are taking advantage of the flies and bee's around the Garden Pond.

Whilst in the Garden Hide, a Willow Warbler joined in, getting the flies, managed a few shots before it flew off, heard it call.

One of the pair of Collared Dove, we also get.

New day, same Patch Walk. This time the highlight was Skylarks.
Singing and pairing up, allowing us a close view.

Grey Wagtail on brook.

Bluebells looking fabulous around patch.

Yellowhammer keeping low in the hedgerow, still small numbers, not like 3 years ago when we had 20+

A very nicely framed Robin.

A large number of Large Red Damselflies on the Pond this year, and 3 weeks earlier than previous years.

Pond Skaters also out on the Pond, this one has it's his lunch.

Some of the Damselflies have paired up and already egg-laying (Oviposition)

Butterflies have made a sudden emergence too with Speckled Wood a few days later than previous years.

Orange-tip still not stopping for long, on the hunt for females.

Green-veined White also out.

With the stunning weather, we've been having wildlife has had a lot to sing about.

I generally walk around 30 miles a week so this lockdown has had me exercising further afield, this walk started from home taking in Corston, Saltford river Avon and up to Kelston Knoll.
Yellowhammer looks great against the hedgerows.

Crossing the main A4 at the Globe the dual carriageway was deserted, this 10 am!!

Blackcap singing his distinctive song, Saltford.

Leaving Saltford behind and climbing up towards Kelston this Green Woodpecker gave me a rare photo opportunity.

Buzzards soaring above Kelston Knoll

View looking towards Bristol and beyond.

Another new visitor to the hide Coal Tit.

The next day and still fine and perfect butterfly weather, I dusted off the pushbike, I've had this bike for 30 years and we've travelled many 1000's of miles together.

My destination was Bathapton to look for the Green Hairstreak, no sign until was just about to leave and one flew past at speed.

I managed a few shots till I lost view of it but first butterfly tick of the day.

What a view eh!

Next spot is a secret, sorry, but on my way home.
Dingy Skipper, feeling very chuffed I checked the image and thought I could get better, had another look and found...

A very fresh and the magician of the butterfly world, it can disappear in front of your eyes this one so very happy to get a clean shot, I left with a very sore ass, the 1000's of miles I've done was a while back and my bum was not prepared!

Following Day, numbers are on the increase for Barn Swallow, we also had our first House Martin on the 23rd April, that's within 2 days of previous years.

A Holly Blue egg-laying, normally good numbers of Holly Blue around the patch, but they seem very spread out this year. Plus fewer numbers.

The tiny yellow eggs of the Holly Blue.

On the 24th of April, for a change of scenery, I walked up to Lansdown as some good sightings were coming from that area.

A good number of Wheatear at Lansdown, allowing close views also, worth belly crawling through stinging nettles to get this shot.

Next day and with more people patch birding we had some good news that the Warblers had returned along the River Avon, we did our usual Patch walk and extended it to return through Corston and along the River Avon.

We missed out on Sedge Warbler over the last 3 years, but we had a definite 2 singing Sedge Warbler in the reeds, with a possible third bird.

Further along by the Boathouse Pub, we heard a singing Reed Warbler and had brief views but no pictures, we will be trying again, when the Boathouse Loop is less busy!

An update on our Whooper Swan. 
It was last seen on 14th April (near dusk) and there was no sign on the 16th April, or on visits since then, meaning it must have departed after 175 days.
Let's hope it makes it's way back to the breeding grounds and maybe even return in Winter, with cygnets, imagine that!

With hundreds of Tadpoles still on the Pond, we have been seeing a small number of Frogs staying on the Pond and popping up every now and then.

The weekend we stayed inside, Monday I ventured back down to River Avon via patch and managed a few shots of the Yellowhammer 

and Whitethroat.

On out to the lake and although deserted of people, odd dog walker the wildlife has taken a dramatic fall in numbers, Grey Heron, Coot, Teal and Mallard number either low or non-existent!

Grey Heron hunting on the empty of people fishing lake.

Down through Corston and have found where all the Greenfinch hang out, 8 or so birds along with Starling seem to call Corston home, In fact, every time I go there I see Greenfinch and Starling. Along with Barn Swallow swopping over Manor Farm.

Down on to River and Sedge Warbler present and that picture I promised of the Reed Warblers, definitely 2 Reed Warbler present as I saw two together.
And almost all caught up..... 
Well, I've started Moth trapping so I may do a blog on that some beautiful moths out there, I made it myself so something you could all do as a hobby, it's like Christmas every morning coming down to see what I've caught!!

Wayne Year Bird List: 144
Lauren Year Bird List: 139

Patch Total Stands At 73

Thanks For Looking! 
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