Showing posts from February, 2007

Great Grey Shrike and Temminck's Stint

Saturday 24th February 2007

I made an early start this morning for the Great Grey Shrike near Cannop, and got straight on it obligingly sat on top of a tree. After posing for a bit, it flew towards where I was standing on the track and perched in a tree overhead before flying back out to the clear-fell area to perch on a more distant tree. The Goosanders are still on the lake at Cannop Wharf, and a Little Grebe, also a Siskin near the feeders. It was then back home to do my chores - lay some flooring in my new utility room. I finised that in time to head back out, this time to Slimbridge, where an unseasonal Temminck's Stint was on the Tack Piece, also five Little Stints and c400 Dunlin and the Tundra Bean Goose with the White-fronted Geese, and 77 Bewick's Swans. The waders where never settled for long, but I managed to re-locate the Temminck's a few times. Finally all the waders went up at around 14:40 and it peeled off and flew past the Holden Tower on it's own. A Bu…

Lesser Scaup in Gloucestershire

Tuesday 20th February 2007
I found myself able to make an early getaway from work today, and as I am out of the county for the next couple of days, decided to go for a twitch down at the Cotswold Water Park. I found the drake Lesser Scaup where last reported, lurking near lakeside trees in the south-east corner of pit 16. I tried at first to view from the footpath that runs alongside the lake, but with bushes, fences and glorified beach-huts in the way, I decided to head back to view from the bridge by the car park. This gives a much better view, but by scope eyepiece has had to go to hospital after getting a bad case of rising damp a few weeks ago, and the eyepiece I borrowed wasn't up to the fading light conditions. Enter Nick to the rescue, who was having tripod issues, so we combined forces and eventually got a better look. This species is a first for me and it's nice to get it in Gloucestershire, after it initially turned up across the border in Wiltshire. I even got home …


Sunday 18th February 2007
Another murky start, the visibility was quite poor when I arrived at the Holden Tower. It gradually improved though and eventually the sun made it through. I finally managed to pin down the long-staying drake Greater Scaup for the year after doubtful sightings on the Frozen North pen. It was clearly visible on the Long Ground Pool, which unfortunately can only be viewed, somewhat distantly, from the Holden Tower. There were very few White-fronted Geese on the Dumbles compared to recent visits and no sign of Bean or Pink-foot, but good numbers still of Lapwing and Golden Plover plus smaller number of Dunlin and two Little Stints. I took a few photos of the birds at the decoy feeding station, and noticed when I got home that one Dunnock had a metal leg-ring, which can almost be read, apparently most of the resident birds sport rings as part of the Constant Effort Site, so I don't think it's come far! (photo: Paul Masters).

Back out in the Forest

Saturday 17th February 2007
An early start with Andy, and we headed for the Forest of Dean in cloudy but bright conditions. Fist stop was Wenchford, where two Dippers were on the Bybrook around the lower bridge. I captured a few shots as one flew towards us and under the bridge we were standing on (photos: Paul Masters). Then Parkend, at least four Hawfinches were in the trees near Parkend Beech, on the other side of the cemetery we heard and then saw two Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers high in the larches, also around were 25 Redwings, two Buzzards and a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming. At Mallards Pike just a Raven, and by the time we reached New Fancy View the mist and murk had descended and we saw just two Mistle Thrushes.At Cannop Wharf there was a Lesser Redpoll and nine Mandarin. We then left the forst and checked out Lydney Marsh to find 80 Tufted Ducks and a Little Grebe, and at Lydney Harbour there was a male Blackbird with white head. Then a stop at Beachley gave us just one Oy…

Saunter Home

Friday 16th February 2007
I stopped at Lower Rea on the way home from work, donned me wellies and took the Severn Way north. It's an interesting area, with a lot of bird-life around, including two Canada Geese and three Mute Swans on the river, over 100 Fieldfare and Redwing, 12 Meadow Pipits, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a calling Chiffchaff and a pair of Bullfinches.

Before and After Work

Wednesday 14th February 2007
It's always nice to fit in a bit of birding during the week. This morning, a quick visit along the canal south of the Pilot turned up a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Green Woodpecker and at least 11 Cormorants. Then on the way home, on a lovely clear late afternoon, I took my usual detour via the lanes and found a Little Owl in the old orchard between the Pilot and Hardwicke Farm, perched in one of the apple trees.

Vale and Forest

Sunday 11th February 2007
After a brief visit to Ashleworth where I could see what looked like a very pale Buzzard in the trees above the cliff at Wainlode, I headed for Wainlode Hill. It was indeed a pale Buzzard. From near the top of the hill I scanned across Leigh Meadows to find three adult Whooper Swans with six Mute Swans (can you spot the Whoopers in the long-range photo?). From there to the Forest of Dean. It very very quiet at New Fancy View so I moved on to Woorgreens to find five Goosander (1 male, 4 redhead) and a pair of Tufted Duck on the lake, and 60 Lesser Redpolls, 50 Siskins, two Bramblings with Chaffinches among the alders and larches. Photos: Paul Masters.

Frozen North and South

Friday 9th February 2007
At Slimbridge this afternoon, after searching South lake for the drake Scaup , I eventually found what was probably it resting at the back of the Frozen North pen where the collection Scaup are currently based. I couldn't resist photographing House Sparrows among the bright red branches of a dogwood nearby (photo: Paul Masters). There was not much else around, but a Chiffchaff was calling near Robbie Garnet hide.

Winter Sun

Sunday 4th February 2007
Another frosty morning but without the fog, and me and Andy headed for Sharpness. We got tantalising glimpses of the male Black Redstart before it disappeared for a while, so we went to the picnic spot to stare at the river for a bit. Not much doing there, so back round to the docks where the Black Redstart was now performing around Severnbank House. A quick stop at Slimbridge gave us good views of a Cetti's Warbler at Zeiss Hide, and there was an early Oystercatcher on South Lake. Six Redwings with some Song Thrushes in the overflow car park showed up nicely in the sun.

In the afternoon, I encountered 10 Red-legged Partridges alongthelane from Elkstone near Colebourne (pics: Paul Masters).

I Can See for Miles

Saturday 3rd February 2007
I woke up to a pea-souper in Quedgeley this morning, and walking near the canal, a Fiedfare made a willing subject for a photograph. Heading for Cotswold Water Park (with Andy), once on top of the wolds it was totally clear. The view from Barrowwake was spectacular, Robinswood and Chosen Hills standing out like islands. At Driffield, three Red-legged Partridges were a county year-tick (Andy also saw two Grey Partridges), at Cotswold Water Park: Pit 42 four Smew, three males and a red-head, and four Ruddy Ducks, at pit 57 a Chiffchaff,at pit 41 (Freeth Meer) five Goosander, all male, three Goldeneye, and a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker and in the marsh next to pit 41 a Jack Snipe and 11 Common Snipe, also a Green Woodpecker nearby (photos:Paul Masters).