Showing posts from August, 2007

Spotted Crake

Wednesday 29th August 2007

With Andy, Mike and Mark, I got excellent views of the Spotted Crake at Coombe Hill Meadows this evening. After a bit of a wait it eventually came into view just before 8.00pm and performed right in front of the Grundon hide, just feet away, making up for the three-hour plus wait yesterday.

WWT and Coombe Hill Meadows

Tuesday 28th August 2007
I started off a day's birding at Slimbridge WWT with three Green Sandpipers, a Snipe and 10 Black-tailed Godwits at Robbie Garnett hide. I then got news of a Spotted Crake at Coombe Hill Meadows. I arrived just before mid-day, the same time as Jake, and despite a watch of over three hours, later joined by Graham, there was no sign. We did see a juvenile and adult Water Rail, a Common Sandpiper, two Ringed Plover, six Dunlin, a Little Grebe, ten Pied Wagtails, two Grey Herons, 166 Canada Geese, a Greylag Goose, 11 Lapwings, two Willow Warblers, a Little Owl calling, four Buzzards and a small number of Teal and Tufted Ducks (photo of juvenile Water Rail below).


Not in this country, but in Italy, and I am already missing the almost ever-present calls of these birds I enjoyed throughout most of my recent time in Tuscany, not to mention their dazzling colours. I will produce a fuller account soon, but the other highlights of our family holiday in Pisa and Casole d'Elsa included Italian Sparrows, Squacco Herons, Cattle Egrets, Zitting Cisticola plus Swallowtail and Geranium Bronze butterflies, and of course the odd drop of Chianti.


Wednesday 15th August 2007
At Frampton, dodging the showers, a juvenile ArcticTern was fishing on the sailing this afternoon, also two CommonTerns, a CommonSandpiper, four GreatCrestedGrebes, 200 Coot and two GreenWoodpeckers. Nine Little Egrets were beyond the reed-bed north of Splatt Bridge and the female Wood Duck was on the canal (photos of Arctic Tern, above, and Common Tern, below).

Aldsworth & Slimbridge

Friday 10th August 2007

An excellent evening's birding with Andy (and his eagle-eyed son Thomas) with an immature male Hen Harrier hunting over the barley field immediately to the south of Windrush Airfield this evening, also nine calling Quail, a juvenile Grey Wagtail, two Barn Owls, two Buzzards and two Kestrels in the area.

Earlier at Slimbridge on South Lake there were 47 Black-tailed Godwits, two Spotted Redshanks, 15 CommonRedshanks,three Ruff, 400 Black-headed Gulls and 120 Lapwings.

(Photos of Barn Owl, Black-tailed Godwit, and Spotted Redshank)

Sightings 7th and 8th August

Wednesday 8th August 2007
Very quiet at Frampton this evening, the female Wood Duck was on the canal near Splatt Bridge again, as were two Great Crested Grebes. Eight Little Egrets were on the 100-acre, also a Kestrel, and a Sparrowhawk and eight Long-tailed Tits were in Green Lane. Another Sparrowhawk was at Upper Framilode.
Tuesday 7th August 2007 A Willow Warbler at 6.00am this morning calling and singing in the Birch tree in my front garden.

Marsh Harrier and Spoonbill

Monday 6th August 2007

At Frampton this evening a Marsh Harrier was resting in the 100-acre until 8.40pm at least, and a Spoonbill until 8.30pm when it flew south with eight LittleEgrets. Also 1000+ Starlings going to roost in the reed-bed.

Dave Pearce and me had all but given up on seeing the Marsh Harrier or at least the Spoonbill, both reported present at 5.00pm, when I had a final scan with the bins. Among the Egrets, a more buff-coloured bird stood out - buff compared to the pure, almost bluey-whiteness of the Egrets. The glimpses between the clumps of sedge and rush showed it was feeding keeping it's head down, not like an Egret. A view of the head and then a short flight confirmed Spoonbill. Then Dave noticed a bird of prey perched below the sea wall behind the Spoonbill. It then flew up into a nearby tree against the sky, almost in the direction of the sun. It wasn't a Buzzard and looked very Harrier-like and as the sun went behind a cloud, it's markings, especially …

Slimbridge, Stonebench and Quedgeley

Saturday 4th August 2007

Sightings today with Andy:
Slimbridge WWT
17 Snipe flew over the car park heading east, two Whinchats (adult and juvenile), 12 Dunlin, two Oystercatchers and two Ravens at Mid Point, 110 Black-tailed Godwits, two Spotted Redshanks, 17 Redshanks, two male Ruff, a Green Sandpiper, 12 Dunlin, 150 Lapwing, 3 Common Terns (adult and two juveniles) and 300 Black-headed Gulls on South Lake.

The male Redstart still and five Stock Doves.

Quedgeley Nature Reserve
Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Green-veined White butterflies, a female Ruddy Darter dragonfly and a Meadow Grasshopper.

(Photos of, from the top, Holly Blue, juvenile Whinchat, Meadow Grasshopper and female Ruddy Darter © Paul Masters)

Sightings 1st and 2nd August

Thursday 2nd August 2007
After morning of rain, it finally cleared up this afternoon. At Slimbridge WWT, two RedKnot in Summer plumage were on South Lake later this afternoon, also four GreenSandpipers, two SpottedRedshanks, 21 CommonRedshanks, 18 Dunlin, 35 Lapwings, and Oystercatcher and 300 Black-headed Gulls(Photo of Red Knot below: © Paul Masters).

Wednesday 1st August 2007
Yesterday evening, the male Redstart was still near Stonebench, Elmore, rather elusive but calling vigorously, while at Frampton a Snipe flew over Green Lane and a female WoodDuck was on the canal near Splatt Bridge. On the way back home, a Little Owl was at Elmore.