08/02/2017

Frampton and WWT

Saturday 4th - Sunday 5th February 2017
Cattle Egret, Frampton-on-Severn
Saturday's birding was spent at WWT hoping to locate a Lapland Bunting that has been seen recently. A long search across the Dumbles was fruitless as was a scan from Zeiss Hide for Spotted Redshank. The highlight was a male Goshawk which was seen from the Holden Tower over the Top New Piece flying over the Long Pool and the Tack Piece.

On Sunday at least three Cattle Egrets were in a horse paddock off Arlingham Road between Frampton and Saul.
Cattle Egrets, Frampton-on-Severn
At the red bed flashes north of Splatt Bridge four Green Sandpipers were present.
Two of the four Green Sandpipers, Frampton-on-Severn - rather distant
A Great White Egret was at Court Lake viewed from Court field in the reeds on the opposite side of the lake.
Great White Egret, Frampton-on-Severn
Great White Egret, Frampton-on-Severn

01/02/2017

Waxwings

Saturday 21st to Sunday 29th January 2017
Waxwing, Quedgeley, 29th January
A nice museum of Waxwings arrived and settled in Quedgeley over the past week and I made a couple of visits to see them over the weekend. On Sunday morning I had them all to myself as they came to feed on Rose hips next the the footpath opposite the moat at Manor Farm. I counted 28 on Saturday and there were still at least 20 on Sunday.
Waxwing, Quedgeley, 28th January
Waxwing, Quedgeley, 29th January
Waxwing, Quedgeley, 29th January
The hedge at Kingsway, Quedgeley
With Andy on Saturday we finally caught up with the White-front flock, 180-strong, when they flew in to the Dumbles during the morning, illuminated by the sunshine.
Russian White-fronted Geese, WWT, 28th January
A Dunnock showed well next to the Holden Tower:
Dunnock, WWT, 28th January
Snipe, WWT, 28th January
And Snipe, Water Rail and Long-tailed Tits around the feeders at Willow Hide:
Water Rail, WWT, 28th January
Long-tailed Tit, WWT, 28th January
The previous weekend's birding with Andy saw us doing the rounds in the forest, picking up Hawfinches at Parkend (but no Dippers), Crossbills at Gorsey Tump, Siskins and Lesser Redpolls at Woorkgreens (but no sign of the GG Shrike), and nice views of birds coming to seed at Cannop Ponds (but no Marsh Tit):
Great Tit, Cannop, 21st January
Blue Tit, Cannop, 21st January
Nuthatch, Cannop, 21st January
The Sunday we went to Frampton, finally getting the Great White Egret at Court Lake:
Great White Egret, Frampton, 22nd January
We finished at the Splatt Bridge where a Water Pipit was at the north reed-bed scrapes. A confiding Redwing was encountered near Frampton church:
Redwing, Frampton, 22nd January

15/01/2017

Pipits and Things

Monday 26th December 2016 to Sunday 15th January 2017
Richard's Pipit, Arlingham Warth
 The wintering Richard's Pipit at Arlingham showed well, eventually, on Saturday morning, catching insects in the winter sunshine. This is undoubtedly the bird that was at Rodley in October, directly on the opposite side of the river.
Richard's Pipit showing how long its legs are
The Richard's Pipit site, on the bank of the Severn horseshoe
The Severn Bore heads upstream towards Priding
Occasionally a bird turns up in circumstances so surprising that its origin becomes the subject of much debate, rather than being regarded simply as a vagrant. The Stow-on-the-Wold Blue Rock Thrush is one of these, with dubious credentials, but nonetheless attracts a lot of attention. This adult male is certainly an attractive bird, although they are better shown off in the Mediterranean sunshine. Whatever its origin, I had to see it, and, just for good measure made a return visit in the new year.
Blue Rock Thrush at Stow-on-the-Wold
Glorious sunshine on 29th December
Duller conditions on 7th January
After Stow on 29th December I went to Blagdon Lake, Somerset, for the Blyth's Pipit, a bird with somewhat greater provenance. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, and after some wait the bird showed nicely for some time at Holt Bay before flying off towards the far side of the lake. Well worth the permit fee for this lifer.
Blyth's Pipit, Blagdon Lake
Holt Bay, Blagdon Lake
A couple of birds at WWT on 7th January, both on the Rushy - Pink-footed Goose and Little Stint:
This Cattle Egret was one of at least three this week at Saul:
 And finally, this Fieldfare was a nice sight in the garden late morning today:

11/12/2016

Eastern Black Redstart at Tewkesbury

Sunday 11th December 2016
Eastern Black Redstart - photo: Mark Hobson
After two days of frustrated attempts at Ripple GP to get good views of Dusky Warbler - unsatisfactory views on Friday, and heard only Saturday - it was nice to see what is presumably another recent Ripple bird as it turned up in Gloucestershire. The Eastern Black Redstart on Tewkesbury Abbey is a cracker of a bird, and was pleasing a good number of birders as it flitted around the abbey and made a brief visit to nearby trees. A nice finish to the weekend.
The magnificent abbey

04/12/2016

Masked Wagtail at Camrose

Saturday 3rd December 2016
Saturday morning saw a trip to deepest SW Wales with Richard, Mike and Paul to twitch the Masked Wagtail at Camrose, near Haverfordwest. It performed well for the small group of 20 birders, preferring to feed on the road (taking mealworms?), dodging the cars and occasionally spending time in gardens or on roofs.

28/11/2016

Lapland Bunting at WWT

Saturday 26th - Sunday 27th November 2016
Lapland Bunting - phonescoped record shot
The highlight of the weekend was a Lapland Bunting at WWT Slimbridge on Saturday morning. First spotted on Friday morning it showed well around the Holden scrape in the sunshine, flying off for a period but returning later. An adult winter Little Stint was also on the edge of the scrape.
Cattle & Little Egrets, Frampton Court Lake
On Sunday, a short return visit to WWT in murky conditions didn't produce a repeat performance of the Lapland Bunting, which was reported later. I went back out later to Frampton for the Egret roost at Court Lake where four Cattle Egrets, four Great White Egrets and 17 Little Egrets were seen at dusk. The Great Whites flew straight in to roost over the back of the lake.
Redwing, WWT

22/11/2016

Chew and Local Sightings

Saturday 19th - Sunday 20th November 2016
Great White Egret, Herriott's Bridge, Chew
I did the rounds at Chew Valley Lake on Saturday after leaving Mrs. M. in Bristol shopping with the youngest daughter. A total of eight Great White Egrets were at Herriott's Bridge, also a first-winter Mediterranean Gull. One of the GWEs sported a red colour ring on the left leg with an engraved white three letter alpha code 'AAF'. This bird was ringed as a chick this year at Ham Wall (bird in top photo). Two Goldeneyes were feeding off the dam from picnic area 1, and a Cattle Egret and three more Great White Egrets were at Heron's Green Bay. I finished the afternoon, before being recalled for duty, at Stratford Hide. Here, two Water Pipits were feeding in front of the hide, rounding the excursion off nicely.
Water Pipit, Stratford Hide
Common Gull at Picnic Area No. 1, Chew
Med Gull from Herriott's Bridge
Stratford Hide
Cattle Egret, with Little Egret, Heron's Green Bay
On Sunday, a Winter Random Square survey in my home square didn't turn up anything surprising. There are some nice berry-laden Rowans around just waiting for the Waxwings to arrive. I found a Holm Oak growing near the bypass bridge st Naas Lane - not native but I hadn't spotted any that local before.
Holm Oak, Quedgeley
After my survey duties - I don't enjoy walking around housing estates with a notebook and binoculars - I went home for lunch before heading out again. I stopped at Frampton Sailing Lake where the Siberian Chiffchaff was heard calling several times, but I couldn't get a clear view of its plumage features. It is in company with two Common Chiffchaffs and two Goldcrests were also in the area. Finishing at WWT Slimbridge, two European White-fronted Geese were on the Tack Piece brifley before flying over the hedge to the Ox Piece beyond. A Peregrine was sat in the Turkey Oaks and a Water Rail showed in front of Martin Smith hide. From the Holden Tower 40 European White-fronted Geese flew from the Dumbles edge towards the northern part of the reserve, probably also to feed on the Ox Piece.
White-fronts, WWT
Enjoying a Cappuccino in the restaurant Nick tweeted that two Whooper Swans had just gone over Frampton Pools heading towards the trust. I checked the Rushy and there they were. Also here, in the run-up to the late afternoon feed, were 28 Bewick's Swans and a single Mute Swan. 
Whooper Swans, WWT
Whooper Swans, WWT
View over the Rushy, WWT - the Whoopers are asleep at the left back