Showing posts from August, 2009

Farmoor Terns

Sunday 30th August 2009

A trip to Farmoor Reservoir, Oxfordshire, with Andy J. produced the goods. The juvenile American Black Tern(above) and juvenile White-winged Tern(below) were both present, along with a juvenile (Eurasian) Black Tern to compare with the American. The American looks quite a lot darker than its European counterpart, with obvious grey flanks, and it was good to have both to compare and study for a long period.

More photos below of American Black Tern in flight, with a Black-headed Gull, and White-winged Black Tern and American Black Tern together:

A large number of hirundines were also present, plus three Swifts.

Yesterday morning I saw my first Arctic Tern of the year at Frampton on the Sailing Lake, a juv., along with a juvenile Black Tern and four Common Terns (3 ad. 1 juv.)

The Gower

Monday 24th - Wednesday 26th August 2009
I spent a few days on the Gower, earlier this week, staying in Berry, near Scurlage. It was a family break but there were a few birding highlights. Above: Worm's Head, Rhossili
On Tuesday I spent an hour seawatching at Port Eynon Point and saw five Manx Shearwaters, a Kittiwake, five Sandwich Terns, a Fulmar, and three Shags(below). On Wednesday at The Mumbles there were around 100 Kittiwakes(next photo below) on and around the colony on the pier, and about 30 Turnstones(bottom photo) on the beach. The best birds however were two Choughs(top photo) at Worm's Head, near the coastguard lookout, being alarmed initially by a Raven.

Black Tern

Thursday 27th August 2009

I managed to fit in a quick bit of birding in the morning by nipping down to Frampton where a juvenile Black Tern(above and below) was still present from yesterday on the sailing lake. Also present were four Common Terns (three adults and a juvenile) and three Sand Martins.

Below: Black Tern, left, with juvenile and adult Common Terns:


Wednesday 26th August 2009
Not long after arriving back from a few days on the Gower, I legged it down to Witcombe Reservoir to see this Wryneck(record photo above) found by Terry Fenton. This is a lifer for me, and very welcome after two dips in recent years. The bird tended to be somewhat elusive, but I did get a couple of good, but very brief, views; well worth it despite getting damp in the rain. Two Common Sandpipers, a Whitethroat and a Grey Wagtail were also present.

Birding Bore & Mothing

Saturday 22nd August 2009

A excellent morning spent on the Birding Bore event at WWT Slimbridge, then on the Land Rover Safari. Highlights on the high tide included a juvenile Cuckoo, two Turnstones, three Sanderlings, three Wheatears, and Yellow-legged Gulls. A full list of the sightings is shown on the WWT website. Two Green Sandpipers(above) were seen later on the Tack Piece and a Greenshank and a Wheatear were on the Holden Pool, before being spooked off by a Peregrine chasing a Woodpigeon. On safari the highlights were two Bank Voles, a Smooth Newt(below) and a Grass Snake, plus Brown Hawkers, Migrant Hawkers, Ruddy Darters and Common Darters, and Short-winged Coneheads(second photo below).

In the evening I went round to Jake's with Richard for an evening's mothing. Some of the moths found are below, in order are: Burnished Brass, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Green Carpet and Setaceous Hebrew Character.

Slimbridge & Guiting Power

Tuesday 18th August 2009
The highlight of a visit to Slimbridge WWT was the close views of Black-tailed Godwits on (above and below) the Tack Piece, from Robbie Garnet hide, and on South Lake, with 19 at each location. A Green Sandpiper was also on the Tack Piece as were 1-2 Yellow Wagtails. The tide was out at Middle Point so most things were a long way off, including a Peregrine, a Little Egret and two adult Yellow-legged Gulls.
Below: a Shoveler on South Lake
Back in the garden, a Common Darter was seen briefly. As well as the hoverflies, a couple of Mint Moths Pyrausta aurata can usually be seen on - you've guessed it - the Mint (below).
Monday 17th August 2009
On a walk around Guiting Power and Naunton with Linda we came across three Whinchats, four Wheatears and two Whitethroats north of Grange Hill Farm. Also a juvenile Little Grebe at Barton.
In the garden, one of my favourite hoverflies Myathropa florea was feeding on the Mint (below).

Coombe Hill Meadows & The Mythe

Sunday 16th August 2009

A morning's birding with Andy and Mark produced:
At Coombe Hill Meadows, a Whinchat, a Greenshank, three Green Sandpipers, a Snipe, a Little Egret and a Sedge Warbler. Along the canal there was a lot of passersine activity including five Willow Warblers, four Chiffchaffs, a Lesser Whitethroat two Whitethroats, a Blackcap and a Treecreeper. At The Mythe, Tewkesbury, a Spotted Flycatcher was hawking insects at Mythe Pool, also a Willow Warbler, and on the Odonata front two White-legged Damselflies(above) and six Brown Hawkers(below).

Turtle Dove

Sunday 9th August 2009

With Jake and Andy L. I finally saw a Turtle Dove(above) in Gloucestershire this morning, at Ruardean Hill. They are becoming very scarce in the county, and having tried the usual locations of Crabtree Hill and Oakenhill several times, I had all but given up hope. The bird was perched on a spruce tree, below houses down a track next to the sports and leisure centre, GR SO635165. After that it was on to Boys Grave where there were 40+ Crossbills, 15+ Siskins, a raven, a Nuthatch and a Buzzard. The final stop was Poor's Allotment, Tidenham, where the highlights were five Redstarts, c30 Linnets, four Bullfinches, a Marsh Tit (heard), 2+ Yellowhammers, a Sparrowhawk and Holly Blue(below) and Small Copper(bottom) butterflies.

Wood Sandpipers & Insects

Friday - Saturday 7th-8th August 2009

Yesterday I headed for Coombe Hill Meadows early where two Wood Sandpipers(above) were still present from the Grundon Hidealong with a Common Sandpiper, 7+ Green Sandpipers, a Little Egret; two Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff were singing along the canal. I the afternoon the highlight of a Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey near Clarke's Farm. Hardwicke, was two Clouded Yellows(below) north of Monks' Hill.

A Belted HoverflyVolucella zonaria has been in the garden the last two days. Its quite impressive, being the UK's largest hoverfly(below).

This afternoon, a visit to Rodborough Common produced a good selection of butterflies including Chalkhill Blue(below), Holly Blue, Common Blue and Brown Argus(bottom).


Sunday 2nd August 2009

After missing out all year so far, and hearing lots of reports lately, I finally caught up with Crossbills this morning, with 27 at Boys Grave, Forest of Dean, feeding on Larch (above and below). Also here, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Hawfinch (heard), two Ravens, a Buzzard, two juvenile Pied Wagtails, a Blackcap and two Willow Warblers.

Painted Ladies

Saturday 1st August 2009

Despite the weather, at least one Painted Lady was back in the garden; yesterday nine were counted at one point (above), plus at least six Peacocks. A lot of my free time at the moment is spent fitting my new kitchen, but I did manage to get down to Slimbridge WWT this afternoon for a couple of hours where a Green Sandpiper was on the Holden pool, and on South Lake, 43 Black-tailed Godwits, a Ruff, six Redshanks and 167 Lapwings.