Showing posts from February, 2008


Sunday 24th February 2008

A trip to Slimbridge WWT this afternoon with Mark produced a female Merlin hunting over the Dumbles (that's it sat on a log in the photo above - what's known as a 'record' shot!), whilst on the Tack Piece the mass of bird-life included three Ruff, 300 Dunlin, 700 Golden Plover, and the Bean Goose with the White-fronted Geese.

Earlier in the garden, there were six Bramblings, 20+ Chaffinches, seven Greenfinches, two Starlings, two House Sparrows, and a male Great Spotted Woodpecker. A Kingfisher was at the Clearwater Drive wetland.

Short-eared Owls and other Raptors, plus Hempsted Atlas survey

Saturday 23rd February 2008

Despite the unpromising conditions, i.e. windy, dull and some light rain, a trip to Great Barrington this afternoon with Andy and Mark produced exceptional results. A total of four Short-eared Owls gave superb views, plus a ring-tail Hen Harrier and a Red Kite, all of them obliging by flying over the county boundary into Gloucestershire.

Other sightings included 13 Tufted ducks and c80 Wigeon on the Windrush at Sherborne, and a group of eleven Corn Buntings at the Hawling triangle.

Atlas survey
Earlier in the day I carried out my late winter visit to SO81D around Hempsted. Here is the total count for the two-hour survey period:
Grey Heron 1
Mute Swan 1
Shelduck 2
Mallard 5
Pheasant 9
Common Gull 17
Herring Gull 263
Lesser Black-backed Gull 104
Great Black-backedGull 2
Black-headed Gull 444
Feral Pigeon 3
Wood Pigeon 70
Collared Dove 4
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Grey Wagtail 1
Skylark 4
Dunnock 5
Wren 4
Blackbird 16
Robin 12
Great Tit 12
BlueTit 7
Magpie 8
Jackdaw 10
Rook 2

Water Rail at Slimbridge and Brambling movie

Friday 22nd February 2008

On a mostly dull day with some light rain, I had the day off, so headed for Slimbridge WWT first thing. On the way, the Green Sandpiper was still on the flooded part of a field next to the A38 at Hardwicke, 0.7 miles south of the BP roundabout. At Slimbridge, a Water Rail(above) was showing well around the Holden walkway feeders. The highlights from the Holden Tower were a Little Stint, a Spotted Redshank, two Ruff, a Peregrine, 400 Dunlin and around 300 Golden Plover.

In the garden, there was a total of eight Bramblings today, plus a female Blackcap, and a Cormorant over was a garden tick. Below is a video of a male Brambling I took this afternoon, and some more photos.

Short-eared Owls, and Brambling update

Thursday 21st February 2008

On a dull day with an increasingly keen south-westerly breeze, I headed for Great Barrinton straight after work. Here, two Short-eared Owls were showing on the Gloucestershire/Oxfordshire border, along the road towards Taynton. One of the owls made it into Gloucestershire, and I was grateful for the first county tick for shorty in nearly two years. It was also nice to see a Yellowhammer nearby in full song, plus a Stonechat.

This morning I noted seven Bramblings in the garden, the highest number so far.

Garden Watching

Sunday 17th February 2008

On another beautiful sunny day, I spent some of the morning watching the garden birds. These included three Bramblings, eight Greenfinches, c15 Chaffinches, a female Blackcap, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Dunnock, two Robins, two Blue Tits, a Great Tit, a Goldfinch and a Wren.

Look at this hungry lot - I'll need to start bulk-buying the sunflower seed!

Great Bustard and Atlas survey at Quedgeley

Saturday 16th February 2008

On a sunny but cold day, the Great Bustard was showing well for Andy, Mark and myself this morning, in a Brassica field near Foss Cross. The left wing-tag is clearly visible in the second two photos above. Three Grey Partridges and seven Bullfinches were nearby.
Other highlights of a tour of the Cotswolds, starting at Quedgeley included:
Three Bramblings and 14 Chaffinches in my garden.
Cassey Compton
An amazing 19 Buzzards, including 15 on the ground in a field.
Four Yellowhammers with 40 Chaffinches at Northfield Barn.
A pair of Stonechats(female pictured below), 180 Golden Plovers and 100 Lapwings at the triangle.

This afternoon I carried out my second winter BTO Atlas survey at Quedgeley South SO81B tetrad with Linda. The results were:
Mallard 4
Buzzard 2
Moorhen 1
Herring Gull 22
Lesser Black-backed Gull 25
Woodpigeon 22
Collared Dove 5
Pied Wagtail 1
Skylark 2
Wren 1
Dunnock 11
Robin 22
Blackbird 47
Fieldfare 55
Song Thrush 1
Redwing 73
Blue Tit 18

More Brambling photos

Thursday 14th February 2008

A dull and cold day. Four Bramblings, including a male, were visiting the garden again today. Also 14 Chaffinches and four Greenfinches.

Garden Redpolls

Wednesday 13th February 2008
When I left for work this morning it was still very foggy and the birds had not yet arrived in the back garden, although a male Brambling was already waiting in trees to the back of my garden, at the edge of the Dimore playing field. On leaving the house however, I was greeted by two Lesser Redpolls feeding on the silver birch in my front garden. I feverishly went back in the house to grab my camera and despite the conditions managed to get a couple of reasonable shots. My garden is the place to be at the moment!

Garden sightings

Tuesday 12th February 2008

Another glorious day brought a superb selection of wintering birds in the garden today with four Bramblings, including a male, a male Siskin, and the female Blackcap again. The Siskin, the first in the garden for several years, was feeding on nyger seed and also briefly on the black sunflower seed feeder.

(Photos: from the top, male Siskin, male Brambling, botton two female Brambling).

Garden Brambling

Monday 11th February 2008

A cold and frosty Monday morning was brightened considerably by a female Brambling in my garden feeding with Chaffinches and Greenfinches on black sunflower seed. At the same time, a female Blackcap was on one of the feeders.

Slimbridge, Frampton and Atlas Survey at Brockworth

Saturday 9th February 2008

On another warm sunny day, the brilliant early morning light made for great study of Lapwing (above)Bewick's Swan and Pintail(below) in the Rushy at Slimbridge WWT.

Other Sightings at Slimbride included the leucistic Egyptian Goose(below) and two Oystercatchers in the Rushy, and a Peregrine, a Buzzard, a Little Stint, a Bean Goose(bottom photo), two more Oystercatchers, 2,000 Golden Plovers and a Spotted Redshank from the Holden Tower.

At Frampton, two Cetti's Warblers, a Kingfisher, a Little Egret,two squealing Water Rails and Reed Bunting singing unseen from within the reed-bed were north of Splatt Bridge. Two Stock Doves were near the church and 1-2 Green Woodpecker were heard calling.

This afternoon I carried out my second winter BTO Atlas survey at Brockworth SO81Y tetrad. The two-hour period yielded the following:
Sparrowhawk 3
Black-headed Gull 30
Herring Gull 2
Feral Pigeon 4
Wood Pigeon 40
Collared Dove 4
Skylark 2
Wren 5
Dunnock 3
Robin 28
Blackbird 15

Cotswold Water Park

Friday 8th February 2008

On a glorious sunny day - spring feels just around the corner - I spent an afternoon off with Andy and Mhairi around the water park. The highlights were six Tree Sparrows at Harnhill, two Grey Partridges, four Red-legged Partridges, nine Stock Doves, two singing Skylarks, c15 Linnets, a Stonechat, three Roe Deer and a Red Admiral at Driffield and at the Cotswold Water Park, two Goosanders on pit 44, seven Goosanders, four Goldeneyes, two Goldcrests, a Treecreeper, a Water Rail and a Chiffchaff at pit 57, 12 Goosanders, a Merlin (I missed that one!), two Goldeneyes and a redhead Smew at pit 41. Bird of the day was the Great White Egret at an undisclosed site.


Sunday 3rd February 2008

A cold day with a strong southerly wind. I spent a couple of hours at Slimbridge this afternoon, where on the Tack Piece I saw a Little Stint, two Ruff, a Spotted Redshank, c50 Redshanks, c200 Dunlin, c80 Golden Plovers and a Buzzard. Around 120 Bewick's Swans came into the Rushy for the late afternoon feed.

(Photos, from the top: Bewick's Swan, Spotted Redshank with Common Redshanks, Spotted Redshank, Ruff)

Vale and Forest Sightings

Saturday 2nd February 2008

On a sunny but cold day, I spent most of the day birding with Andy. On the way around Gloucester, c3000 Starlings were in the air at Over, going in the direction of Maisemore. First stop was Hasfield Ham to see two Egyptian Geese(below) reported yesterday. Nearby there was a flock of 40 Lesser Redpolls and 1-2 Water Rails squealing. Next stop was Highnam Wood where there were two Marsh tits, three Treecreepers, two Bullfinches, 30 Redwings, a male Great Spotted Woodpecker, a calling Green Woodpecker and a Stock Dove.

In the Forest of Dean the birding was superb with everything falling into place:
Five Hawfinches, three Willow Tits (top photo and photos below), a Raven, a Sparrowhawk, 30 Siskins and two Bullfinches.

Boys Grave
The Great Grey Shrike(below) and three Crossbills (many more were heard in the woods).

Cannop Ponds upper pond
A Dipper, a male Mandarin, two Little Grebes, a Grey Wagtail and a Mistle Thrush.
New Fancy
Three Goshawks (one displaying), a…