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Signs of Spring

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Sunday 12th - Monday 12th March 2017
At least three Garaganey turned up in the county last week, and after dipping at WWT Slimbridge in the morning, I stopped off at Ashleworth Ham on the way back from Kempley to check out this fine drake above. My first Sand Martins of the year, c80, were at Frampton Court Lake earlier. I had been to Kempley in the afternoon with Linda for our annual fix of Wild Daffodils around Kempley. I don't think I have ever seen them looking as good.
Along the canal locally, Sweet Violets have been coming into flower. The white form predominates here over the 'standard' purple form.
On 12th March, a second summer Mediterranean Gull was on South Lake, at WWT, acquiring its black summer hood.
A Black Swan was also at WWT on 12th March, near the centre, and I have seen presumably the same bird twice sine at Frampton and locally on the canal at Hardwicke. I wonder where it has originated from!

Late February Update

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Sunday 12th - Sunday 26th February 2017
I could spend all weekend catching up with birds found during the working week, but I really haven't got the time, having fitted in two Winter Random Square Surveys this month. On the way back from a random square near Lydney last Saturday with Andy, we stopped at Ashleworth Ham to catch up with the Green-winged Teal. The Teal was fairly close for much of the time, although often obscured by the roadside hedge. On Sunday I went to see the female/immature Black Redstart found by Mark at the settling pond in Chivenor Close at Kingsway, Quedgeley. I struck lucky and found it within about a minute of arriving.
The previous weekend's highlights were the wintering Lapland Bunting at WWT Slimbridge and another look at the wintering Richard's Pipit at Arlingham.
The week before that I was at Chew Valley Lake for the afternoon enjoying at least five Scaup, a pair of Goldeneyes and a drake Common Scoter.
And finally, on the last day of the mon…

Frampton and WWT

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Saturday 4th - Sunday 5th February 2017
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.
At the red bed flashes north of Splatt Bridge four Green Sandpipers were present.
A Great White Egret was at Court Lake viewed from Court field in the reeds on the opposite side of the lake.

Waxwings

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Saturday 21st to Sunday 29th January 2017
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.
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.
A Dunnock showed well next to the Holden Tower:
And Snipe, Water Rail and Long-tailed Tits around the feeders at Willow Hide:
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):

Pipits and Things

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Monday 26th December 2016 to Sunday 15th January 2017
 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.
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.
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 n…