Showing posts from June, 2007


Friday 29th June 2007

On a nice sunny evening, compared to the usual rain we have endured for some time now, I went to Hawling to try and catch up with Quail. Despite a long wait into twilight there wasn't any sign. Birds seen included four Corn Buntings, a Curlew, two Little Owls, several Yellowhammers, two Skylarks, a Common Whitethroat, a Kestrel, a Buzzard and two Linnets. Meadow Cranesbill is out in full flower at the moment along many of the Cotswold roadsides, the photo above was taken near Larkhill Farm (photo: © Paul Masters).


26th-27th June 2007

I had to go to Bristol today on business so made a quick detour on the way back to Avonmouth to see the drake Ring-necked Duck. It is still on the square pool opposite the sewage works (off Kings Weston Lane) where I first saw it nearly two years ago in July 2005. A female Goldeneye and three Green Sandpipers were also present today (Photos: Ring-necked Duck above and Goldeneye with Tufted Ducks and a Coot below - see it? - it's the third duck from the front! © Paul Masters). Yesterday evening I went to check on the Bee Orchids at Arlingham, which are still in flower although the older blooms are going over. A Little Owl was nearby and another Little Owl was at Elmore.

Woolston Eyes

Saturday 23rd June 2007

Having dropped one of my daughters and her mates at Alton Towers for the day, I used the opportunity to spend the day at Woolston Eyes Bird Reserve near Warrington, Cheshire. Featured recently on Chris Packham's excellent 'Nature's Calender'BBC series, the reserve is managed by the Woolston Eyes Conservation Group and contains a good population of breeding Black-necked Grebes. More information, including obtaining permits, can be found on the WECG website.

Below is a list of the species observed:
Black-necked Grebe - at least 26 birds, 13 adults and 13 young at various stages of development from three tiny chicks on the back of an adult, the adult and chicks being fed by the other parent, to a fully-grown independent juvenile
Little Grebe - adult on nest
Great Crested Grebe - a pair with one young
Ruddy Duck - three pairs with broods of 5, 6 and 9 plus at least two other adult males
Teal - one in eclipse plumage
Wigeon - two adult males
Shoveller - three…


On a little excursion to Arlingham this evening I found these Bee Orchids in full bloom growing near the river. These are surely one of the most beautiful and fascinating (not to mention photogenic) wild flowers we have in Britain, and such a treat to find growing locally. Also in the same area there was a sprinkling of Pyramidal Orchids (below). These too are very beautiful especially when viewed in close-up - click to enlarge the pictures as usual. (Photos: © Paul Masters).

Cannop Ponds

A circular walk from Cannop Ponds, Forest of Dean, this afternoon with the family produced a number of highlights, including six Mandarin on the lakes, including three juveniles, a singing Garden Warbler near the upper pool, a family party of at least five Grey Wagtails below the stone works, another individual at the upper pool and a Pied Wagtail, a female Pied Flycatcher and a singing Tree Pipit at Farmer's Green and a Spotted Flycatcher and two Buzzards at Boys Grave. Also a few butterflies including two Ringlets and a few Speckled Woods. (Photos of Ringlet, Grey Wagtail and Mandarin: © Paul Masters).

Turtle Doves

After visiting Westbury Court Garden with Linda this afternoon, followed by Newnham-on-Severn for afternoon tea (in the excellent George Cafe) we then went on to Lydney Harbour. On getting out of the car at the car park I was welcomed by the unmistakable soothing purring of a Turtle Dove. Normally these birds are very shy but this one, although still a bit wary, was singing in full view perched on telegraph lines, and was also displaying. At one point I could hear a second bird purring from within cover several yards away. A male Sedge Warbler was also nearby singing for all it was worth (Photos of Turtle Dove: © Paul Masters).

Damselfly and Partridge

Today has been even warmer than yesterday, and although the birding's a bit quiet at the moment it's just great being out in the Gloucestershire countryside. The first photo from today is an immature male Blue-tailed Damselfly taken at the sailing lake, Frampton this morning. The second photo, below, is a Red-legged Partridge calling at Elmore this evening, one of three in the area. Also this evening a Little Owl was at Elmore again. (Photos: © Paul Masters)

Warm Evening

Friday 8th June 2007

It feels more like summer at last with temperatures this evening still at 230c locally. The photo above of a Little Owl was taken in Elmore at 8pm between Kenton Green and Barhouse Farm. The juvenile Great Crested Grebes below were on the pool behind the sailing lake, Frampton on Severn, a little earlier. (Photos: © Paul Masters)

Corn Buntings

Tuesday 5th June 2007

One of six singing male Corn Buntings at Hawling this evening (photo: © Paul Masters).

Forest of Dean

Friday 1st June 2007

An early start in the forest with Andy rewarded us with a good selection of birds and other wildlife:

Woorgreens/Crabtree Hill
Two Turtle Doves (being characterstically shy), 20 Siskins and Lesser Redpolls, four Garden Warblers, a Tree Pipit and 13 Wild Boar (two adults and 11 young). At the car park, a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were feeding young, a Redstart calling and a Buzzard.

A Firecrest, several Goldcrests, a pair of Pied Flycatchers feeding young, a pair of Nuthatches also feeding young, a pair of Bullfinches and a Treecreeper.

(Photos of Wild Boar: © Paul Masters)