Showing posts from December, 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…