Showing posts from 2011

Lesser Scaup at WWT

Wednesday 28th December 2011
Some photos here of the female LESSER SCAUP taken this afternoon from Robbie Garnett hide at WWT Slimbridge. The photo above was taken in one of its rare and all too fleeting waking moments, as most of the time it looked like in the photos below, bobbing around among the Tuftys and Pochard. In fact I spent so long trying to get a decent 'head-up' shot I hardly had time to study the thousands of other birds on the Tack Piece, including Dunlin, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit and Wigeon.

Temminck's Stint at Shorncote

Friday 9th December 2011
The TEMMINCK'S STINT was at Shorncote again yesterday. I arrived at the hide overlooking pit 84 at around 1.50pm to the news that it was there earlier but had 'flown left'. I was getting a distinct sense of déjà vu after arriving to the same news last Saturday and dipping. At 2.15pm however, it flew right and back into view. I watched it for a good hour and it was still there when I left, quietly feeding on the muddy margin at the back of the lake, and for a period dozing / basking in the sun (photo). The views were always rather distant (c240m - I measured it on Google Earth), but at least it was nicely lit in the afternoon sunshine. Other birds noted included 16 Teal, 30+ Lapwings, and at least three Water Rails were squealing from within the reeds in the area. 

A Semi-P at Chew Too!

I am grateful to Paul T for alerting me to the fact that the apparent Little Stint I saw along with the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper etc. on 20th November, was in fact a SEMI-PALMATED SANDPIPER! For some photos, see the Chew Valley Birding website. My second of the year and I didn't even realise it at the time; must try harder.

Mallorca Diary

I have put a trip report of my holiday in October here.

Chew Rarities

Sunday 20th November 2011
I caught up with the SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER at Chew Valley Lake this morning, and very distinctive it looked, despite the misty, murky conditions and distance - not much chance of a photo!. Also viewed from Herriot's Bridge, the two LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS  were also still present and correct. Both species were lifers for me. The SPOTTED SANDPIPER was on Herriot's Pool on the other side of the road, and a Little Stint and a Green Sandpiper added to the interest. Thanks to Andy for a great morning.

Pied Wheatear at Oldbury-on-Severn

Friday 18th October 2011

I finally had an opportunity to catch up with the female PIED WHEATEAR at Oldbury-on-Severn after work this evening. Arriving just after 5pm I spent the next hour watching it darting around the roof of the Thornbury Siling Club building, occasionally launching into the air after insects. It is a very obliging bird, and I spent much of the time photographing it from just about every angle - what a nice way to start the weekend!

The evening sun sinking behind the Severn bridges:

Setting the scene, the Sailing Club building:

Reflections of Mallorca

I've recently returned from a fantastic 10 days holiday in Mallorca, based in Port de Pollença. Good weather, good wine, good food, and of course, good birds - nine lifers, plus some new butterflies and dragonflies. I'll do a trip report soon but in the meantime, here's a few photos.

Above: Purple Swamphen, Black-winged Stilt, Sardinian Warbler

Snow Bunting and Whooper Swan

Saturday 8th October 2011

A great morning out with Mark, and the SNOW BUNTING was still present this morning at Saul Warth and showing well (above and below). A Wheatear was also seen on the sea wall and a Swallow was perched in a tree with Goldfinches near Hock Ditch.


At Frampton, an early WHOOPER SWAN(below) was on Court Lake ,along with four Greenshanks and nine Little Egrets.

Local Wildlife

Tuesday 27th September 2011

A couple of photos here taken on a bike ride with Amelia this evening along the canal between Parkend Bridge at Moreton Valance, and The Pilot at Hardwicke. The Brown Hare, above, sat tight quite near the canal hoping I hadn't seen it, then eventually took flight. This 16-Spot Ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata), below, landed on my sunglasses!

Autumnal shades along the Gloucester-Sharpness Canal:

WWT Sightings

Wednesday 21st - Sunday 25th September 2011

A photo above of a Chiffchaff taken near the Martin Smith hide at WWT Slimbridge last Wednesday; I liked the red stems of the Willow glowing in the sun. The best bird in recent days was the juvenile SEMI-PALMATED SANDPIPER, the latest in a good run of local birds, and well worth getting soaked for on Sunday morning, though it has to be said the views weren't as good as when I saw the last one on 22nd September 2006:

Finally, back to the present with a study of a Black-tailed Godwit again taken last Wednesday at South Lake:

Buff-Breasted & Dotterel on The Dumbles

Saturday 17th September 2011

An excellent morning birding on The Dumbles at WWT Slimbridge with Mike (and the other birders there), the main focus being the juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER and juvenile DOTTEREL which both showed well (record shots of BBS above and Dotterel below).

A MANX SHEARWATER floated up on the incoming tide spotted by Ian R. distantly , the ID Ian confirmed a bit later by Ian at Middle Point where he had a much closer view. Other birds included a Little Stint, a Curlew Sandpiper and c8 Sanderlings among the Dunlin/Ringed Plover flocks, a Grey Plover, three Knot, three Golden Plover, a Wheatear, three Arctic Terns, a Peregrine and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull.
Quite a crowd joined the Wader Walk group on The Dumbles:

Spotted Sandpiper at Lydney

Thursday 15th September 2011

A very nice bird this evening south of Lydney Harbour in the shape of a juvenile SPOTTED SANDPIPER, a county first - well done to John and Viv for finding it. Also a Common Sandpiper and a Wheatear.

Fulmar at Hock Ditch

Monday 12th September 2011

A grounded Fulmar was found by Greg and Tom this evening at Hock Ditch, resting in the lee of the sea wall immediately north of the sluice. There was little else of note with light giving out before the evening tide properly got underway. The remains of a Manx Shearwater and another bird, later identified by James & Martin as an Arctic Skua, were nearby.


Recent days
The highlight of the weekend was the superb adult SABINE'S GULL at WWT Slimbridge seen from Holden Tower on Saturday; other good birds being a juvenile Black Tern on Frampton Townfirld (sailing) Lake(Saturday), Arctic and Common Terns at Sharpness and Hock Ditch (Saturday/Sunday), and also a Manx Shearwater seen briefly and fairly distantly Sunday morning at 8.30am beyond Hock Cliff.

South Hams Weekend

Friday 26th-Sunday 28th August 2011

Above: female Cirl Bunting, Prawle Point
I spent a few days with Linda in South Devon last weekend for my birthday staying at the lovely Buckland Tout-Saints Hotel near Kingsbridge. The first birding highlight was a family party of CIRL BUNTINGS at Broadsands on Friday, followed by somewhat tame Turnstones wandering around the quayside at nearby Brixham, in the rain. The replica Golden Hind there is well worth a visit.
Turnstone, Brixham:

On the Saturday, my birthday, we headed for Prawle point, where in cloudy and breezy conditions, I eventually tracked down c10 CIRL BUNTINGS feeding in a more sheltered barley field, one allowing close views.
Another pic of the obliging female Cirl Bunting:

A rather shy male Cirl Bunting!:

Prime Cirl Bunting habitat, a view from near Langerstone Point looking towards Peartree Point:

Prawle Point and Arch Rock, the 'Horse's Head', at its tip:

Two Wheatears, two Chiffchaffs, two Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethr…