Showing posts from November, 2009

Pomarine Skua

Saturday 28th November 2009

It was a quiet morning at Saul Warth with a Jack Snipe providing some interest, and two Black Redstarts at Sharpness Docks (around gate 12) being the highlight there. These were both female/immatures types and therefore different from the one I saw last week indicating three birds at least are present in the docks at the moment. News of the Pomarine Skua at Beachley this afternoon was very welcome and I took no time in taking to the road. The bird is a cracker, and looked stunning despite the fading light, allowing good views as it fed on a sheep's carcass. The grid reference is ST550918, reached by taking the public footpath down to the estuary, off Loop Road. Photos above and below.

Pacific Diver at Fretherne

Sunday 22nd November 2009
The high tide at Sharpness this morning failed to produce anything of interest, but the morning was saved by a nice immature male Black Redstart around the Port Authority Office at midday. Mid afternoon I was alerted to a Pomerine Skua which had been seen at the trust, and was last seen heading towards Fretherne. I couldn't set off immediately as I had to do a bit of shopping in Tescos, but eventually headed for the river with Mark. Conditions at Fretherne were difficult, with a strong SW wind right in our faces, and an initial scan failed to turn up anything of interest. I then picked up a bird fishing on the river, clearly a Black-throated type diver. Further observation revealed the bird as the Pacific Diver seen earlier in the week. The strong wind and driving rain made viewing very difficult, and photography was not an option, but the bird definitely lacked the white flank patch of Black-throated. The bird was actively diving and feeding and after wal…

Wilson's Phalarope

Saturday 7th November 2009
I managed to get to Slimbridge WWT just in time to see a Wilson's Phalarope on the Top New Piece; in less than ten minutes after I arrived it took to the air, landed briefly and then took off again flying quite high over the centre, going east. It could not be relocated in a check of the other hides; I'm glad I made it in time for this excellent county tick.
I had spent the morning at Ashleworth and Coombe Hill with Mark, where highlights were as follows: Ashleworth Ham - Five Snipe, c60 Fieldfares, c15 Redwings, c1000 Starlings, a Reed Bunting and 12 Pied Wagtails. Coombe Hill Meadows - Six Teal, eight Meadow Pipits, a Pied Wagtail, c300 Fieldfares and c40 Redwings. Water levels are very low at both sites, but good numbers of winter thrushes are now evident, with Fieldfares in particular very numerous.

Glossy Ibises at Catcott

Thursday 5th November 2009

A business engagement at Bridgewater afforded me the opportunity of checking out nearby Catcott Lows N. R. afterwards for the Glossy Ibises reported earlier in the week. I was pleased to find three Glossy Ibises present, and quite near the first car park, giving great views and looking particularly 'glossy' in the late afternoon sunlight as they fed on the marsh(above and below).

One of the birds(below)is ringed, wearing a metal ring on the right leg and a plastic ring with the letters N4C on the left leg; I shall investigate this for more details.

There was a good supporting cast of birds with 330 Wigeon, 28 Shoveler, 35 Teal, two Pintail, 23 Mallard, 10 Gadwall, two Black-tailed Godwits, eight Mute Swans, a Greylag Goose, 30+ Fiedfares, with a Redwing, and other flocks also seen in the area, a Buzzard, a Great Tit, a Wren and 30 Starlings plus two Roe Deer. Around 3000 Starlings were seen in pre-roost display between Burtle and Westhay.