Showing posts from March, 2010

Little Gull at Frampton

Thursday 31st March 2010

This Little Gull was on Townfield Lake (the sailing lake) this evening at Frampton (record photos above and below), thanks to John O. for the call.

It was nice to see my first Swallows of the year too (photo below), with c40 over the lake plus c60 Sand Martins, and a male White Wagtail was near the sailing club-house with a Pied Wagtail.

Pair of Garganey at Saul Warth

Sunday 28th March 2010

A trip down to Saul Warth in the evening to look for the drake Garganey revealed a pair, with a female keeping in close contact with the drake (record shots above and below).

Bufflehead, Hoopoe and Alpine Swift in Dorset

Saturday 27th March 2010

A fantastic day in Dorset with Andy and Mark produced a trio of excellent rarities. First, Bufflehead. We started of at Abbotsbury looking from New Barn Road but with no success so we headed for the car park at Chesil Beach. It was a long slog from there as we decided to walk most of the way on the top of the shingle to keep an eye on the sea rather than the firmer route at the bottom of the landward side. A raft of 18+ Common Scoter rewarded our efforts. We reached the tank traps and scanned and scanned, and just on the point of turning back, a fellow birder picked up the Bufflehead very distantly on the fleet beyond Shipmoor Point. We then headed for Langton Herring to try for the Hoopoe which had been about in recent days. Our efforts were initially unsuccessful, though the 20+ Red-breasted Mergansers on the fleet were very nice. Again, after all but giving up, the Hoopoe flew along the coastal hedge-line, perching further along, where it sat for some time p…

More Great White Egret photos and other sightings

Saturday 20th March 2010

The Great White Egret was showing well again this afternoon at Ashleworth as can be seen in these photos (above and below).

Other sightings on a very rainy but mild day included 10+ Snipe, a Green Woodpecker, and a male Reed Bunting at Bentham this morning, and this afternoon just north of Netheridge Farm 20 Mute Swans and two Canada Geese were in the usual field near the pond. A good count of ten Goldfinches were in the garden this afternoon plus the male Blackcap.

Great White Egret history

Friday 19th March 2010
I am very grateful to Loïc Marion of CNRS-University of Rennes1, France, for an extremely quick response regarding the colour-ringed Great White Egret at Ashleworth Ham:

"Dear Paul,

Many thanks for these sightings of GWE. The red colour rings are in fact orange. I ringed it as nestling at Besné (Loire Atlantique, F) on 6/5/2009, metal ring CA 69229. It has been seen on 25/9/2009 at Brockholes Wetland LWT, Lancashire, UK, from 8/11/2009 to 13/11 and between 13 and 28-12/2009 on at Crossens Outer Marsh, Lancashire, on 29/12/09 and 8/1/2010 at Churchtown Moss, Lancashire, on 1/1 and 20/1/2010 at Marshside RSPB, on Lancashire, on 22-23/1/2010 at Castleton Court, Fortran Road, St Mellons, Cardiff, and already at Ashleworth Ham, Gloucestershire on 17-18/3/2010."

I find this really fascinating, especially to think that at four months old it had already traveled to Lancashire from the west coast of France.

Great White Egret at Ashleworth

Thursday 18th March 2010

I made a flying visit to Ashleworth Ham late afternoon and got good views of the Great White Egret which arrived yesterday. It was posing nicely, before eventually making a short flight and landing behind trees. The bird is sporting leg rings which I'll seek to find more information on.

Yesterday I spent the day out with Linda on her birthday and visited the National Trust's Basildon Park in Berkshire. I wasn't carrying bins but on a 3-mile woodland walk through the grounds saw a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker briefly, plus 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and four Red Kites together (plus another three a couple of miles away on the way home).

Greenland White-fronted Geese at WWT

Saturday 13th March 2010

At last temperatures are starting to feel a bit more spring-like, reaching 12 degrees by this afternoon. A fruitless search for the Lesser-spot at Cox's Meadow, Cheltenham, this morning wasn't the best start. Things picked up with a Red Kite at Charlton Abbots later which was a county year tick. I rounded off the morning nicely at WWT with the two Greenland White-fronted Geese (A. albifrons flavirostris) feeding and drinking on the Tack Piece late morning (photos above and below).

In the photo below, one of the Greenlands is seen behind to 'European' White-fronts, and the difference in bill colour can easily be seen; the Greenland albifrons bill is bright orange, compared to the pink bill of the 'European'. The Greenland is also darker, giving it a more contrasting, 'smarter' appearance.

Ring-necked Duck

Saturday 6th March 2010

The female Ring-necked Duck(above and below) was on Court Lake, Frampton this morning. It was present until 10:50am at least, associating with the Tufteds.

Below, with male Tufted Duck:

Other birds of note included male and female Gadwall, male and female Pochard, and the feral geese flocks comprised 63 Greylag Geese, 142 Barnacle Geese(below) and 65 Canada Geese.

In the garden, the Chaffinch count reached 30 (but no Brambling - yet), plus nine Greenfinches, the male and female Blackcaps and a female Great Spotted Woodpecker.