Showing posts from January, 2010

Black Kite at Rhayader

Saturday 30th January 2010

A trip to Grigrin Farm near Rhayder, in mid Wales on a perfect, crisp and clear day was a day to remember. The juvenile Black Kite(photos above and below) together with over 200 Red Kites coming to feed was a fantastic spectacle.

Below: Red Kite

Below: Red Kite and Black Kite together

Siskins Arrive in the Garden

Friday 29th January 2010

Just before leaving for work this morning I noted two male Siskins (male and female yesterday, above), a Lesser Redpoll, three Goldfinches male and female Blackcaps and the female Great Spotted Woodpecker all at the garden feeders at the same time. The three small finch species are all going mad for the Nyjer seed, which I am having to top up with increasing frequency.

Forest Dwellers

Saturday 23rd January 2010

I spent an excellent morning in the Forest of Dean with Mike managing to get a good variety of typical woodland species. There are still some patches of snow around in the forest, with temperatures a few degrees cooler than in the vale. The highlights were:
A Willow Tit(above), 17 Crossbills, two Jays, two Coal Tits and a Raven;

A pair of Mandarins on the small lake at Brookways Ditch, a Dipper on Cannop Brook behind The Fountain Inn, four Hawfinches at Parkend Beech and two Stock Doves;
Photo: Cannop Brook in spate at Parkend

New Fancy View
25 Chaffinches, three Coal Tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker;

Cannop Ponds
Six Siskins at the feeders (photos above & below, bottom photo with a Goldfinch), on the ponds 11 Coot, six Tufted Ducks, four Mandarins, 78 Mallards and three Little Grebes;

Hignham Woods
Two Marsh Tits at the feeders.

Smew and co. Still on Court Lake

Sunday 17th January 2009

On a sunny and warm winter's day I was engaged on family duties for most of the day, but managed to get out and do a bit of birding later in the afternoon. First stop was Slimbridge WWT, where the weather had brought out the crowds in force, I expect the trust are glad that the turnstiles are spinning again after the recent freeze. The Rushy hides were packed so I checked out South Lake and noticed a fully-winged drake Mandarin, with collection counterparts, from the little bridge over the drain on the way. Yearning for a quieter end to the afternoon I checked out Court Lake at Frampton on the way home in the fading light, where a redhead Smew, a drake Ruddy Drake and now eight Red-crested Pochards (above)(5m, 3f) were still present, plus an Egyptian Goose (below). After that, a Little Owl was at Castle End Farm, Longney.

Todd's Canada Goose

Saturday 16th January 2010

The Canada Goose showing characteristics of the race Branta canadensis interior, commonly known as Todd's Canada Goose, was in the Rushy Pen at Slimbridge WWT this morning (photos in poor light above and below), before flying off with other Canada's at 9:40am. This is a very interesting bird, showing several features which together set it apart from its feral counterparts. My observations of the differences are: it is slightly smaller with a more slender neck; shorter bill; narrower white cheek patch; the black on the chin is linked to the black of the neck; at the bottom of the neck at the back, the black joins the brown of the mantle, with no white in between; the pale fringing on the scapulars etc. is much less distinct; the tertials are more contrastingly paler, giving the effect of a pale wing panel; it has a pale eye-ring; and if these features don't help - it has a limp!

Other sightings this morning included:
Sharpness Docks
A female/immature

Local Patch Sightings

Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th January 2010

In the garden yesterday, two Fieldfares were feeding on Cotoneaster berries. There weren't many berries left by the end of the day so I put some apple halves out in the evening and one Fieldfare has been feeding on them all day today (photos above and below). Other garden birds visitors included a Redwing, a female Blackcap(bottom photo), a female Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Lesser Redpolls and a record ten Wood Pigeons.

Yesterday, a walk around the local patch with Andy in the snowy conditions produced a good variety of birds, the best being a Green Sandpiper in Dimore Brook near the canal and a further two in the small stream that runs parallel to the canal and along the back of Clearwater Drive wetland. Other birds in this area included three Snipe, a Water Rail and a Grey Wagtail. Four Red-legged Partridges were in a field at Stonebench where four Cormorants and nine Mallard were on the river. On a similar walk today with family and …

Meadow Pipit Finds Religion!

Thursday 7th January 2010

The snow and ice is bringing birds into unusual places, as this Meadow Pipit at Gloucester Cathedral today shows (above); a Pied Wagtail was also here. Yesterday four Skylarks flew west over Southgate House car park in Gloucester.

Above: Snowy Scene at Gloucester Cathedral
In the garden, I counted ten Chaffinches yesterday, the highest count so far this winter, and today, three Lesser Redpolls were on the feeders again, also a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Bitterns at Dudgrove

Saturday 2nd January 2010

On another day of perfect, sunny, winter weather I kicked off the the year list today with Mark around the county with a total of 71 species. The highlight was finding two Bitterns in the eastern part of the Cotswold Water Park at pit 114, Dudgrove (photos above and below). They showed very well for an hour along the NW edge of the lake, viewed from the SE bank, from 10:40 to 11:40am. We watched them walking between the reed-beds and one bird took to the air a couple of times. The selection of birds on the lake also included 16 Goldeneyes, and a Raven flew over.
This is the other individual which we saw first:

Other highlights of the day included:
A female Blackcap in the garden again; a Little Grebe on the canal just north of Sims Bridge.

Cotswold Water Park (Eastern section)
Pit 125 - The two Great Northern Divers, also a Chiffchaff(below); Pit 108 - 6+ Red-crested Pochard.

Two Grey Partridges, also three Brown Hares.

Cotswold Water Park (Western…