Welcome to my online wildlife diary, which I update from time to time with sightings, thoughts, comments and photos relating to birds, and nature generally. I am based in Gloucestershire but like to visit other counties, especially Norfolk, and like to visit foreign shores too.
It was a foggy start at Slimbridge WWT this morning, but the mile-long trek to the north of the reserve was well worth it to see the Black-necked Grebe, bringing my county year total to 202. It was rather distant and elusive after the first sighting, but I'd already had much closer views of these birds in Venice earlier in the year. Other highlights of the walk included two Curlew Sandpipers on the estuary with Dunlins and Ringed Plovers, 15 Sanderlings, a Hobby, a Whinchat (above), three Wheatears, two Snipe, a Brown Hare and a Common Frog. More details are on the WWT sightings page.
Butterfly Survey The afternoon turned warm and sunny, so I decided to carry out, belatedly (due to the weather), my second survey for UKBMS at Hardwicke in square SO7713. The butterflies were few and far between given the lateness in the season, with just a few species present namely Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White(well-marked female, above), Small White, Lar…
Sunday 7th September A dry day after the torrential rain of the past two days, and the birds at Sharpness we not quite as good as yesterday's Long-tailed Skua. The highlights from the lifeboat station, on the incoming tide (high tide 12:30pm), were a first-winter Kittiwake,flying south at 10:20am, two Common Terns, a Little Egret, 20+ Redshanks, 18 Cormorants, three Curlews, 21 Wigeons and a Yellow Wagtail. A pair of Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff were along the road to the lifeboat station. Kittiwake takes my county year list to 201. We (myself, the other two amigos, Mike, Duncan and Steve) waited for a Manx Shearwater to float back down from Mid Point at WWT, but I gave up at 1:00pm, it would have been a county tick, but I saw loads in Cornwall!
Here are the main birding highlights, with a few photos, of my holdiay last month in Cornwall. Although definitely a non-birding holiday, I did fit in a couple of sessions of sea-watching at Hella Point, Porthgwarra which was quite rewarding, and usually had my bins close at hand! (Photo above: Porthgwarra) Day 1 – Friday 8th August Penzance: We stopped here in the afternoon to have our picnic on the beach near Wherry Rocks. Birds here included c7 Ringed Plover c7, a Dunlin, two Oystercatchers, 2-3 Rock Pipits, a White Wagtail and 3+ Pied Wagtails.
Lamorna: Our home for the week was a cottage in Lamorna, situated on the south coast of the Penwith peninsular between Moushole and St Leven. The wooded valley supports a lot of common species, including a rookery in the public gardens. The roadside Buddleias provide food for large numbers of butterflies, especially Red Admiral and Large White, plus Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell. The small village sits strad…
Thursday 4th September 2008 Although two have been present over the last couple of days, just one Spoonbill was visible from the Grundon Hide at Coombe Hill Meadows this evening, but it was enough to give Andy membership to the 200 club. Well done amigo! Mark will be next, and hopefully will get there before too long. (Photos: above, Andy at the Grundon Hide looking rather pleased with himself, I don't blame him, below, record shot in fading light at 8:05pm - the nights are drawing in!).
Thanks to those who voted in the poll, little did I know it would be the next day, you were both right anyway, it was 'other' in the form of a Dotterel. It was nice that my 200th Gloucestershire year tick was a lifer and was also at Slimbridge WWT, where I have spent many an enjoyable day birding. I don't want to sound like I'm accepting an Oscar, but I must give a big thanks to all those who have helped me get there, and especially to Mike King, my two fellow amigos Andy Chapman and Mark Hobson, to Martin McGilland James Leesat WWT, and last but not least, to Linda, for putting up with me. Above is the best shot I could manage in the howling wind and fading light, but it's a special photo.