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.
After completing my BTO Atlas survey this morning (details later) and with little around locally, I decided to travel to Chew Valley Lake to see the drake Ferruginous Duck which was showing nicely from Stratford Hide (above). Other birds here included 67 Great Crested Grebes, 120 Coot, a Cetti's Warbler (plus another at Herriot's Bridge), a Reed Warbler and 29 Cormorants. Below: Stratford Bay, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset
BTO Atlas Survey - SO81K Huddinknoll Hill Here are the counts for my 2-hour early breeding season survey this morning: Red-legged Partridge 4 Pheasant 1 Buzzard 1 Wood Pigeon 15 Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 Skylark 5 Swallow 3 House Martin 3 Pied Wagtail 2 (plus two recently-fledged young) Wren 13 Dunnock 3 Robin 20 Blackbird 17 Song Thrush 1 Blackcap 4 Chiffchaff 9 Blue Tit 5 (plus recently-fledged young) Great Tit 8 Magpie 7 Jackdaw 18 Rook 11 Carrion Crow 18 Chaffinch 9 Greenfinch 3 Goldfinch 2 Yellowhammer 3
I returned to the forest Saturday morning with Andy and Mark, and saw a similar range of birds at Woorgreen as I had seen Friday, but this time there were two Pied Flycatchers near Woorgreens car par. A pair of Redstarts(male above)plus another male were at Speech House, while two Tree Pipits were at Tidenham Chase plus several Small Heath butterflies (below).
A Buzzard was over the garden in the afternoon, and a Large White(below) was on Allium.
I have received confirmation that the ringed Mediterrnean Gull I saw on South Lake, WWT, on Friday was ringed in June 2008 as a pullus in the Seine-Marne area of France, near the River Seine, approximately 22 miles SSE of Paris. The bird turned up in Ireland, in the Dublin area, in July 2008 and several sightings of it in this area were reported through to February of this year.
This afternoon at WWT there was a total of three Mediterranean Gulls on South Lake, all first-year birds. First, I spotted the bird in the photo above, sporting a green ring on its left leg marked '0M8'. Checking the European Colour-ring Birding website indicates this bird was one of 33 young birds ringed in the Seine-Marne area of France (east of Paris), which carried the alphanumeric codes 0M0 - 9M9 on green rings. I then spotted the bird I saw last Saturday, instantly recognisable by its eye-mask and vermilion bill; this is it in the photo below, just before all the gulls took off at 15:10. The other two Meds came back but I didn't see this one return.
The third was this one below, which I recognise from The Gloster Birder site as the one photographed by Richard Tyler last Sunday.
Here's a photo of birds 1 and 3 together:
Here's a couple more Med photos:
There wasn't much from Middle Point earlier between high and low tide, just two Whimbrels…
There was little of note at Saul Warth this morning, save a Little Egret, but a check on the Sailing Lake did produce a pair of Yellow Wagtails, plus two Common Terns(below) and lots of hirundines and Swifts. South Lake at Slimbridge WWT hosted two Mediterranean Gulls, one, a second-summer, I didn't see as it flew of just as Andy spotted it, but I then found a first-summer which was much more obliging (above). The strong southerly winds, with frequent showers, failed to produce any seabird interest on the early afternoon tide at Middle Point, but we did see 13 Sanderlings, three Ringed Plovers, three Dunlins, seven Curlews, five Oystercatchers, nine Shelducks and a summer-plumaged Grey Plover.
The appearance of a Spoonbill at Saul Warth this morning was very welcome, given the recent lack of county rarities. I'd also missed the one at WWT a few weeks ago. The Spoonbill spent most of the time asleep as I was observing it, but it did have the odd fidget (above). Three Redshanks, 18 Black-tailed Godwits and two Common Terns were also seen here, while a walk around to the estuary produced just four Whimbrels, a group of three plus a flyover. Two Hobbies, a Nightingale and a Cuckoo were around Frampton Pools.
Saturday 9th May 2009 An excursion into South Gloucestershire this morning produced c60 Oystercatchers, a Turnstone, eight Dunlins, a Whimbrel and a smart male Wheater(above) at New Passage, but very little earlier at Severn Beach on the high tide, just some Swift and Swallow movement, and some House Martins collecting mud from the shore (below).
An afternoon's walk from the Fox Inn at Little Barrington taking in Sherborne Meadows and Windrush was extremely pleasant, with a good variety of birds including a Cetti's Warbler next to the River Windrush, a Peregrine, two Buzzards, two Kestrels, a Cuckoo, a Kingfisher, six Whitethroats(below), a Lesser Whitethroat, two Willow Warblers, three Blackcaps, three Skylarks, c40 Swifts, c30 House Martins, several Swallows and my first Red Admiral of the year.
Monday 4th May 2009 An afternoon in Webbs of Wychbold at Upton Warren, on a Bank Holiday Monday, was rewarded with a visit to The Flashes part of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust's Christopher Cadbury Wetland Reserve, just opposite the garden centre. There is always a good selection of birds here at this time of year, and this visit didn't disappoint, with seven Avocets (above), four Little Ringed Plovers, a Common Sandpiper, two Dunlins, three Redshanks, two Oystercatchers, two Lapwings, two Sedge Warblers and a Cetti's Warbler.
A visit to the forest this morning produced a male Pied Flycatcher near Speech House, opposite the Woorgreens car park, and another three males were at RSPB Nagshead on the short trail. Also at Nagshead, a singing male Wood Warbler(above) was performing well along the long trail. I made these recordings of Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler:
At the Cotswold Water Park this morning eight Common Terns, a Common Sandpiper, two Red-crested Pochards, c30 Swifts and c40 mainly Sand Martins, with other hirundines, at pit 16; six Hobbies, 15 Common Terns, eight Red-crested Pochards and an early Broad-bodied Chaser at pit 58; and from Swillbrook Lakes to pit 58 five Nightingales(photo above) five Garden Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Sedge Warbler, a Reed Warbler, a Reed Bunting and a Cuckoo. Also lots of butterflies about including Peacock, Orange-tip, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood and Brimstone and many Damselflies.
Here is a recording I made of the Nightingale in the above photo:
Friday 1st May 2009 Along the Gloucester-Sharpness canal, between Sellars Bridge and Simms Bridge, this morning there were two Lesser Whitethroats and two Whitethroats, and a Cuckoo was calling from the direction of Hardwicke Farm. An Oystercatcher circling around the canal, calling, at the KFC basin was a complete surprise. This evening there were two Reed Warblers south of Sellars Bridge, both back on territories, but unfortunately there has been no further sign of the Nightingale from Monday evening.