Rose-coloured Starling at Bristol

Saturday 29th November 2014
Rose-coloured side-by-side with Common Starling
The adult ROSE-COLOURED STARLING in Bristol showed well for around 10 minutes on Saturday afternoon from 3.08pm.  I waited for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes in Friary Road, in the Bishopston area of Bristol, almost thinking of giving up as it hadn't been seen for 3 hours. At last it showed, in flight with a small flock of Common Starlings, alighting on a tree top and then on St. Bonaventure's Church roof. A pesky Sparrowhawk then flushed everything, but not before I got some very nice views of a cracking bird in the afternoon sun.
And another
A lovely sunny afternoon showing up the starling's stunning attire nicely
Rear view
Handy starling perch on the roof of St. Bonaventure's
Sparrowhawk - don't go for the one in the hi-vis vest!


Barred Warbler and Fungi

Saturday 1st November 2014
Fly Agaric, Silk Wood, Westonbirt
At a range of 250m and with only a cheap back-up scope I have no photo, but what a superb bird the first-winter BARRED WARBLER at Frampton was. Well done and thanks again to Martin for a brilliant find at the Marsh Sandpiper site. The Barred Warbler showed occasionally on Saturday morning in the sunshine as it fed on Hawthorn fruits. The photo below of the view from the canal towpath looking out towards the bushes near the sea wall defences, with the river beyond. The scene was enhanced by two juvenile Marsh Harriers and a pair of Stonechats among the supporting cast and also two late Common Darters still on the wing in the unseasonably warm weather.
The view toward 'Barred Warbler Bush' as it will now be known, 250m away
The afternoon was spent with the family enjoying the autumn colours at Westonbirt Arborteum. I always enjoy looking for fungi here at this time of year and was pleased to find Fly AgaricCommon Puffball and Shaggy Parasol fruiting bodies, among several others not so easy to identify.
Sun through leaves
Common Puffball, Silk Wood, Westonbirt
Shaggy Parasol, Old Arboretum, Westonbirt



Thursday 2nd - Saturday 4th October 2014
Beer - with Beer Brook running alongside Fore Street towards the beach
No, the village in Devon, not the beverage. It now seems, after days of rain and wind, or fog, that in my few days in SE Devon recently with Linda, we really had the last gasp of summer. A few photos here of this lovely corner of England (going a bit misty-eyed there, sorry about that).
Aboard a tram on Seaton Tramway, with the Axe Estuary on one side and Seaton Marshes on the other
A juvenile Black-tailed Godwit snapped from the moving tram
Coastal scenery between Beer and Branscombe
Always nice when you look for something and find it, this Clouded Yellow was at Branscombe Mouth beach
This Red Admiral was also on the beach at Branscombe, dodging the surf at times
Picturesque cows at Branscombe village


Pink-footed Goose at WWT

Sunday 5th October 2014
Some photos here of the juvenile Pink-footed Goose at WWT Slimbridge allowing close study as it fed/swam/wandered around the Big Pen.


Speckled Bush Cricket

Wednesday 1st October 2014

Linda alerted me to a "strange grasshoppery thing" in the kitchen last night - it was this Speckled Bush-cricket. It's missing a hind leg, but still an impressive insect.



Tuesday 30th September 2014
Pisaura mirabilis (Nursery Web Spider) - quite a few of these around at the moment
As I contemplate the repair estimate for my scope - an accumulation of wear and tear culminating in a fault on the focusing - my attention has turned of late to Spiders. My curiosity has been sparked by Collins Field Guide: Spiders - Britain and Northern Eurpoe, a recent birthday gift, and a desire to try and identify the local Araneae (a low-scoring scrabble word that). The author, Michael J. Roberts, isn't big on common names, but I've included here those used elsewhere. I must add, it is an excellent book. Anyway, here are a few pics from the garden and local environs.
Pisaura mirabilis (Nursery Web Spider)
Pardosa amentata (Spotted Wolf Spider) - several in the canal area but I haven't yet seen one in the garden
Meta segmentata (Autumn Spider), male (left) and female (right)
Meta segmentata (Autumn Spider), male
Salticus scenicus (Zebra Spider) - only around 6mm long
Zygiella x-notata (Silver-sided Sector Spider) - this one tends to hide in the corner of window frames
 I've also seen a few of these recently - Dark Bush-crickets, one in the garden and several around the canal-side vegetation:
Dark Bush-cricket
And a couple of local moths I've spotted, the first two in the garden, the third one near the canal:
Light Brown Apple Moth, Epiphyas postvittana - originally an Australian species - one or two in the garden recently
Beautiful Plume, Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, I've seen a couple of these in the garden too
Common Nettle-tap, Anthophila fabriciana, near the canal



Saturday 6th September 2014
Three of the Curlew Sandpipers
At WWT Slimbridge this morning with Mike and Mark a good selection of birds around, including a GARGANEY, five CURLEW SANDPIPERS, five Ruffs, a Spotted Redshank, five Little Stints and 20+ Black-tailed Godwits from Zeiss Hide, six Common Cranes (presumed GCP birds but too distant to confirm), six Ruffs and six Green Sandpipers from Robbie Garnett hide and a Greenshank from Holden Tower. The pics here were taken with my S4 phone through Mark's scope - my own scope decided to play up and is being sent to the scope hospital.
Spotted Redshank among Lapwing and Common Redshanks
It was a good birders meet last night at the Fromebridge with a good crew and lots of merriment on the occasion of Andy J's 50th. Below is Jeremy's pic shortly before mass high-fiving the local crew in a random act of bonding.