Showing posts from March, 2007

Osprey and Wheatears

Saturday 31st March 2007

I was wondering yesterday if Spring will finally get going, well I think today has answered that with a definite YES after an excellent morning's birding with Andy. First, at Compton Abdale an Osprey flew north towards Compton Grove at 7.30am. Later, a group of six Wheatears (4 males, 2 females) and c20 Linnets were at the old airfield, and at least 500 Fieldfares to the east of the airfield. A pair of Mandarin were an usual sight on the River Coln near Yanworth. There were also plenty of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests singing in the Woods, and numerous Skylarks on the airfield. On the mammal front, we saw three Brown Hares around the area and around 20-30 Roe Deer in Chedworth Woods. This afternoon in my garden at Quedgeley, a Brimstone butterfly made a brief visit. (Photos of Wheatears, Skylark, Buzzard and Fieldfares by Paul Masters).


Friday 30th March 2007
At Frampton this evening on the sailing lake with Andy, there were at least 100 Sand Martins and after they had all disappeared, at least 10 Swallows, my first of the year (two days later than my first Swallow last year). Will spring finally get going now?

Red Kite

Sunday 25th March 2007

I accepted an offer of a lift with Mark this afternoon to look for Red Kites. After reaching Withington village, we took a wrong turn and ended up on the road to Woodbridge. It wasn't really a wrong turn though because as we reached the edge of the woods, a Red Kite was soaring parallel to the woods, and gave superb views for about 10 minutes, twice circling overhead (photo: Paul Masters). Absolutely brilliant. The afternoon was complete with a female White Wagtail at Cassey Compton nearby, and later a male near Andoversford while looking through a flock of Common Gulls.

Buntings and Plovers

Saturday 24th March 2007

An early start to Frampton this morning, and I finally saw my first Water Rail of the year at the reed-bed to the north of Splatt Bridge. There were also four Little Egrets see in the area, three of them in flight and another perched in a tree by the canal at Nebrow Oakwood. At the sailing lake there were c60 Sand Martins and a Kingfisher, and 10 Linnets were in afield near Parkend Bridge at Moreton Valence.

At Hawling this afternoon, two Corn Buntings were in a field just north of the 'triangle', also two Yellowhammers and in a further field 221 Golden Plover were seen in the air, (photographed and counted - see below!). Near Shipton, cutting back to the A40 there was a big flock of mainly Starlings but also 10 Fieldfares and two Redwings among them (photos of Corn Bunting and Golden Plover flock: Paul Masters).

A Host of Golden Daffodils

17th - 19th March 2007

It's been a busy weekend, what with Linda's birthday on Saturday, travelling to relatives in Weston-super-Mare later the same day, Mother's day Sunday, plus a slight case of common cold on top, I haven't had a chance to do much birding. On Saturday we went to Kempley to take in the wild Daffodils, which are in full flower at the momentand looked fantastic in the warm sunshine (photos: Paul Masters, taken at Gwen and Vera's Fields GWT Reserve). You have to keep reminding yourself that these are wild flowers. On a two-mile walk the only birds of note were at least four Buzzards, a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker and a calling Green Woodpecker. I keep hoping for a covey of Grey Partridges in the same spot I saw them several years ago between Kempley Green and Dymock Wood, but I haven't seen them since. Sunday in Weston, a visit to the sea-front was 'bracing', the sand-blasting followed by horizontal rain, with a cold, and I couldn&#…

Marsh Tit

Thursday 15th March 2007

I stopped off at Highnam Woods this morning for a brief visit before work. Using the car as a hide, a hungry MarshTit visiting the table nearest the car park made a nice study for a photograph in the early morning sun. Other species at the feeders included another Marsh Tit, a Coal Tit, at least two Nuthatches, a Jay, and several Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches and Greenfinches(photo: Paul Masters).

Garden Chiffchaff

Tuesday 13th March 2007
Another fine, sunny day, and it's getting more spring-like. In the garden, a Chiffchaff was picking among the twigs of the winter-flowering honeysuckle at 7.15am this morning, and a pair of Blue Tits that have been showing interest lately in the nest-box were there again. Yesterday a Carrion Crow was collecting small twigs in it's bill by snapping them off the silver birch that overhangs my garden at the back. Also three Starlings on the lawn and feeding on peanuts- they are by no means a regular sight on my garden feeders - although they are always in the neighbourhood I don't often see them in the garden.

Turnstones and Supporting Cast

Sunday 11th March 2007
Sightings with Andy this morning: along the Berkeley Shore south of Severn House Farm, at least 20 Turnstones were picking amongst the seaweed on the rocks, until the incoming tide drove them further up the shore and mostly out of sight. A morning of hazy sun and no wind, the river was like a mill-pond. Another Turnstone flew from behind us later, and there seemed to be a number more further down the shore towards the county border and beyond. Also 30 Dunlin, 40 Lapwing, nine Curlew, 13 Wigeon, four Shelduck, six Oystercatchers, a Redshank, two Reed Buntings and three GreyHerons. A quick visit to Slimbridge on the way back found the usual Redshanks and three Oystercatchers on the tack piece (no Spotty red though) and the pale Glaucous Gull and the third-winter Yellow-legged Gull on the Dumbles. The Ring-necked Duck didn't show, it seems to sleep out of sight under trees between Robbie Garnett and Stephen Kirk hides until later in the day, although it was repo…

Spring is in the Air

Saturday 10th March 2007

At Frampton this morning, along the towpath north of Splatt Bridge with Andy, a group of 11 Sand Martins suddenly appeared up the canal, and circled around us for a few minutes before flying off towards the sailing lake. I even managed to phograph one as it whizzed by. Spring is definitely in the air. No sign of Jack Snipe at the reed-bed, but five Little Egrets were on the flashes. At Slimbridge, a Spotted Redshank, 20 Redshanks, the third-winter Yellow-legged Gull, two Buzzards and two Oystercatchers were on the Tack Piece, and to add to the Spring atmosphere, a Chiffchaff and at least two Reed Buntings were singing near Robbie Garnett Hide. From the Holden Tower, the Great Skua and pale first-winter Glaucous Gull were there again. Photo above of a Sand Martin, photos below of Common Redshanks, Spotted Redshank and 'Gadwall', another in my Wildfowl collection (photos: Paul Masters).

Slimbridge and Frampton

Friday 9th March 2007
On a lovely sunny afternoon, first at Slimbridge, a pale first-winter Glaucous Gull feeding on a dead sheep on the Dumbles, the Temmink's Stint on one of the islands on the scrape in front of the Holden Tower, the Great Skua on the river, and two Oystercatchers on the Tack Piece. The female Ring-necked Duck showed at 2.50pm on the nearest pool on the Tack Piece and I quickly moved to the Stephen Kirk hide to get better views. At Frampton Sailing Lake later, a Little Gull was fishing until 4.15pm. (Photos Paul Masters).

Lunar Eclipse, and Birds

Sunday 4th March 2007
This morning I explored the shore at Berkeley with Andy, in increasingly wet and windy conditions but very rewarding. Nine Tree Sparrows were a delight, and the most I have seen at once in the county. Six were with six Yellowhammers and three Reed Buntings in the hedge at the back of an old Sunflower crop next to the footpath around the power station, and another three near feeders within the power station perimeter. Alomg the shore there was a Rock Pipit, a Curlew, six Oystercatchers, and a Goldcrest with some Long-tailed Tits. At Severn House Farm there was an amazing 37 Collared Doves. Later I got down to Slimbridge in time to see a female Ring-necked Duck before it flew off with tufties and Pochards at 4.30pm toward the Rushy. I couldn't locate it there, but two Stock Doves right in front of the Peng Observatory at feeding time were nice. Last night, with clear skies, the lunar eclipse was an impressive spectacle. I took the photo below just after 11.00pm.

Wildfowl Collection

Saturday 3rd March 2007
I headed out first to the Cotswolds to Harnill where there were 2-3 Tree Sparrows in the garden of the house near the phone box, also a small flock of 15 Fieldfares and a Green Woodpecker nearby. No sign of Grey Partridges around the Driffield area, but several singing Skylarks and Yellowhammers added a spring-like chorus to the welcome sunshine. I then made for Slimbridge. Most of the waders had deserted the Dumbles and the Tack Piece, apart from the odd Curlew and an Oystercatcher, but the Great Skua was still on the river, and a third-winter Yellow-legged Gull was near the pool in front of the Holden Tower. The White-fronted Geese with the Bean Goose moved on to the estuary. With not much else around, I took advantage of the sun to photograph wild ducks, especially the resplendent drakes, as a Peregrine swept across the back of the Tack Piece in vain. Below, from Robbie Garnett and Martin Smith hides, are Teal, Shoveller, Tufted Duck, Pochard and the collecti…