Showing posts from 2008

Slavonian Grebe

Monday 29th December 2008

On another very cold day, I made the journey to the Fairford area this afternoon for the Slavonian Grebe, on pit 114 (Dudgrove pit), in the eastern section of the Cotswold Water Park (photos above and below). The grebe was fishing along the north-western edge of the lake, and I saw it take several fish. Also present were four Goldeneyes, two males and two females.

My county year list is now on 208.

Waxwings and other Forest Sightings

Sunday 28th December 2008

On a bitterly cold day, the highlights of a trip out to the Forest of Dean today included:

Waxwing - 3 opposite The Belfry pub (photos above)

Speech House
Hawfinch - 2
Stock Dove - 1
Raven - 1
Redwing - 100 on cricket field
Nuthatch - 2 (above)
Coal Tit - 3 (below)
Great Spotted Woodpecker - male drumming
Treecreeper - 1

Cannop Ponds
Mandarin - 47 on lower pond (below)
Marsh Tit - 2 at upper pond feeders (2nd below)
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Bullfinch - 2

Back at home this afternoon, a Redwing(below) was a welcome visitor in my garden.

White Gull

Wednesday 24th December 2008

After Andy sighted what appeared to be a Glaucous Gull at Epney early this afternoon, It rather frustratingly flew off before I could get to out, despite me being only a short distance away checking the river at Longney. My frustration soon turned to joy though as I eventually managed to track it down at 2.00pm down-river at Priding (photo above). I got good views of it, especially when it moved closer, before it and most of the other gulls took off and headed towards the estuary at 2.40pm. The bird is now believed to be an albinistic Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Some more photos are below, I was puzzled by its size at the time, and its very white plumage, and the bottom photo gives a chance to compare its size next to another Lesser Black-backed Gull, in front, and the much larger Great Black-backed Gull, behind.

BTO Atlas Survey: Huddinknoll Hill

Sunday 21st December

I carried out my first Bird Atlas TTV survey of the season this morning in SO81K Huddinknoll Hill, aided by Andy and Mark. The two-hour visit produced a total of 37 species, with the following counts:

Red-legged Partridge 21
Pheasant 4
Buzzard 2
Kestrel 1
Common Gull 2
Herring Gull 2
Stock Dove 80
Wood Pigeon 54
Collared Dove 2
Green Woodpecker 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Meadow Pipit 1
Pied Wagtail 1
Wren 8
Dunnock 6
Robin 16
Blackbird 16
Fieldfare 2
Song Thrush 4
Redwing 3
Mistle Thrush 2
Blackcap 2
Goldcrest 6
Long-tailed Tit 12
Blue Tit 15
Great Tit 21
Nuthatch 2
Treecreeper 1
Jay 1
Magpie 13
Jackdaw 129
Rook 103
Carrion Crow 107
Raven 1
Chaffinch 13
Goldfinch 1
Bullfinch 1

(Photo above: Stock Doves near Huddinknoll Hill)


Saturday 20th December 2008

The highlight of the morning was the Waxwing in Longlevens which was feeding in a Rowan between the Co-op and the BP garage at 9.00am (photos above and below). This takes my county year list to 207. It's fantastic to see the species back in the county.

Sightings at Epney with Andy included a Goosander flying downriver, 2000 Lapwings and 200 Golden Plovers being harassed by a Peregrine, two Ravens and a Stonechat. Two Little Owls were at Stonebench.

Quedgeley and Slimbridge

Sunday 14th December 2008

A couple of hours around Quedgeley (tetrad SO81C Quedgeley North) with Andy this morning taking in Clearwater Drive, Rea Bridge, Stonebench, The Orchard and Green Farm, produced 39 species:

Cormorant 1
Mute Swan 1
Mallard 12
Red-legged Partridge 3
Pheasant 6
Moorhen 5
Black-headed Gull 1
Herring Gull 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1
Feral Pigeon 10
Wood Pigeon 22
Collared Dove 4
Little Owl 2 (Stonebench)
Green Woodpecker 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Meadow Pipit 10
Grey Wagtail 1 (photo above)
Pied Wagtail 4
Wren 2
Dunnock 8
Robin 14
Blackbird 42
Song Thrush 3
Goldcrest 4
Long-tailed Tit 10
Blue Tit 20
Great Tit 20
Magpie 10
Jackdaw 5
Rook 2
Carrion Crow 12
Raven 2
Starling 33
House Sparrow 46
Chaffinch 8
Greenfinch 1
Goldfinch 17

A trip to Slimbridge WWT in the afternoon was very pleasant, but the best birds were in the road side fields, including 43 Bewick's Swans, five Ruffs, a Redshank, 60 Dunlins and 500 Lapwings. A Green Woodpecker was in the car park, 10 Lesser Redpolls were around the reed…

WWT and Snowshill

Sunday 7th December 2008

I wasn't intending doing any birding today, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to look for the WWT 100-acre Breaded Tit this morning. Despite perfect conditions, i.e. sunny and still, the bird could not be found. Compensation was provided however by a Short-eared Owl, a Cetti's Warbler and a Stonechat.

Linda and I decided to make the most of the winter sun with a visit to the National Trust's Snowshill Manor this afternoon where both the gardens, and more importantly, the tearoom were open. Several thrushes, including Redwings, and Fieldfares, were enjoying the local fruits (photos, above: Redwing eating Cotoneaster berries, below:Blackbird).

Newport Wetlands

Saturday 6th December 2008

I spent the day with Mark, Andy and Mhairi in Gwent at Newport Wetlands. The weather was fantastic wall to wall sunshine, and feeling warm. The highlight was the wader flocks. The several thousand Knot and Dunlin created stunning aerial displays whenever they took to the air as the tide approached. Here's a summary of our sightings:

Little Grebe - 6
Eurasian Cormorant - 1 over
Little Egret - 3
Mute Swan - several
Shelduck - c40 on the foreshore
Wigeon - c20
Gadwall - c30
Eurasian Teal - 3
Mallard - numerous
Pintail - 3 on the foreshore
Shoveler - c15
Pochard - 1
Tufted Duck - c10
Goldeneye - 2
Common Buzzard - 2
Common Kestrel - 1
Moorhen - numerous
Coot - numerous
Ringed Plover - 1
Golden Plover - 3
Grey Plover - 8
Lapwing - 60
Knot - 5,000
Dunlin - 1,000
Jack Snipe - 1
Common Snipe - 50
Black-tailed Godwit - 100
Curlew - 50
Common Redshank - 40
Turnstone - 8
Black-headed Gull - numerous
Common Gull - several
Lesser Black-backed Gull - several
Herring Gull - numerous
Great Skua - 1 distan…

Birding on a Sunday Afternoon

Saturday 29th November 2008
Another cold 4oC day, but brighter than yesterday with some sunny spells developing in the afternoon as I headed out.

At Frampton the immature male Lesser Scaup and two first-winter female (Greater) Scaup were present (photo above), plus two Wigeon, 90+ Tufted Ducks, c20 Pochard and c20 Gadwall, a Little Grebe and a Little Egret.

Then at Slimbridge WWT, three Spotted Redshanks were at Zeiss Hide and a Kingfisher was at Hogarth Hide. 50+ Bewick's Swans were in the Rushy late afternoon just before the 4 O'clock feed (photo above - Bewick's Swans squabble for position). Photo: the sun sets over the grounds at Slimbridge, taken from the Sloane Tower.

Chilly Saturday

Saturday 29th November 2008

On a dull day with a very cold feel with temperatures reaching 4oC at best but feeling a lot less in the wind, I tried Frampton first thing. Although the Lesser Scaup and two (Greater) Scaup* were present later on in the morning, they eluded me and I could only find 90+ Tufted Ducks, c20 Pochard and c20 Gadwall, plus a Raven and two Chiffchaffs.

At Slimbridge WWT, three Redwings and two Goldcrests were in the overflow car park, a Lesser Redpoll and two Siskins were feeding on the ground on fallen Alder seed with c10 Chaffinches along the Holden Walkway near Robbie Garnett Hide, and another Goldcrest was also along here, c30 Wigeon were very close to the Knott Hide. No sign of the Bittern at the Zeiss Hide, just two Bewick's Swans and three Snipe were of note.

(Photos, from the top: Redwing, Wigeon, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin and Goldcrest)

*The Scaup were seen by Mike King - well done Mike on making 200 for a second time.

Bittern & Two Flavours of Scaup

Sunday 23rd November 2008

A cold day with showers, but plenty of brighter, sunny spells made for quite a pleasant day - made all the more pleasant by some good birds. Sightings at WWT Slimbridge included 11 Bewick's Swans on the roadside fields, a Bittern was still showing at Zeiss Hide at 9.40pm and I managed to get some views before it soon melted back into the reeds, plus a singing Cetti's Warbler here, four Lesser Redpolls(above) were feeding on the Alders at South Finger, while the thousands of birds on the Tack Piece included four Ruffs, 16 Bewick's Swans, (probably including the 11 seen earlier on the roadside fields), 43 White-fronted Geese, 90 Dunlins and a Black-tailed Godwit.

Photo above: Wigeon on the Tack Piece, WWT Slimbridge

I stopped off at Frampton on the way back to look at the immature male Lesser Scaup on Court Lake (photo below), which was still present, as were three(Greater) Scaup(bottom photo) including an immature male (thanks to Nick Goatman and John…

Short-eared Owls

Friday 21st November 2008

On a cold but bright late afternoon, two Short-eared Owls(photos above and below) were performing well at Aust Warth in South Gloucestershire. I can't get enough of these beautiful birds, and watched them hunting until near-dark, the birds sparring with each other on a couple of occasions.


Saturday 15th November 2008
On a mild and sunny morning (before a murky, increasingly damp afternoon), sightings from Slimbridge WWT with Andy included:

Roadside fields - four Ruffs with Curlews; it is always worth checking the south field on the way into the centre at this time of the year as there is usually something of interest here;

Holden Tower (over the high tide) - large numbers of Dunlin, Lapwings and Golden Plovers, a Peregrine, two Redwings, three Fieldfares, seven Bewick's Swans, 50+ White-fronted Geese, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Goldcrest; despite the 9.1m tide pushing most of the waders on to the Dumbles, they remained distant, favouring the flooded area adjacent to the south cross-fence -where the Peregrine was perched!;

Zeiss Hide- 63 Black-tailed Godwits, two Spotted Redshanks and a Sparrowhawk;

Canoe Safari - a Chiffchaff;

Car Park - three Lesser Redpolls over.

Lesser Scaup

Friday 14th November 2008

At Lydney Pools, on a mild and sunny afternoon, the immature male LESSER SCAUP was showing well after not being seen for a couple of days. The bird is on the second lake on the left of Harbour Road after the level crossing. My county year list now stands at 204.


Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th November 2008
I've had no luck this weekend at Slimbridge WWT looking for Thursday's Lapland Bunting - but I'm now on first-name terms with the Meadow Pipits on the Holden pool. The highlights on Saturday were: 80 Curlews and two Ruffs in the roadside fields, two Bewick's Swans in the Rushy Pen, 44 White-fronted Geese, 52 Black-tailed Godwits, 400 Golden Plovers and a Merlin from the Holden Tower and two Chiffchaffs and a Lesser Redpoll along the Holden walkway. Today (Sunday) a Spotted Redshank was on the Tack Piece.

Water Pipit

Sunday 2nd November 2008
The highlights at Slimbrige WWT today were 10 White-fronted Geese on the north roadside field, two Lesser Redpolls over the car park, a WATER PIPIT on the scrape in front of the Holden Tower showing well at 12.30pm, also on the scrape were four Black-tailed Godwits six Dunlins and two Pied Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail was just in front of the hide, while a Peregrine, a Kestrel, two Buzzards, two Ravens and a GoldenPlover were on the Dumbles. There is still just the single Bewick's Swan on site, Anga, which was in the Rushy Pen.

First Bewick of the Autumn at Slimbridge

Saturday 1st November 2008
On a mainly dull day with a cold northerly wind, the first Bewick's Swan of the season has finally arrived. 'Anga' (above)was in the Rushy Pen this morning, probably wondering where its mates have got to, let's hope more arrive soon.

Other sightings at WWT Slimbridge this morning included 500+ Redwings and Fieldfares over the entrance road moving north, a Lesser Redpoll over the grounds, from the Holden Tower over high tide nine White-fronted Geese and three Greylag Geese were on the Dumbles, a Little Stint, three Dunlins and four Black-tailed Godwits were on the scrape and a flock of another 100 Dunlins were mobile around the Dumbles, 58 Black-tailed Godwits were on the Top New Piece. (Other photos: Wigeon, above, and female Pintail below).