Showing posts from August, 2011

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…

Wryneck at Sharpness

Monday 29th August 2011

After a fantastic few days in South Devon it was also great to get to see the stunning WRYNECK at Sharpness this morning (well done to WWT's Dave Paynter for finding it). Some photos here, the bottom two experimental digiscoped images taken with my new birthday present, the TZ20. First one below, on someone's roof-rack!

Finally, a closer crop of the roof-rack shot:

Weekend Round-Up

Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st August 2011

Above: View N from Selsley Common, All Saints Church centre right
On an overcast Saturday morning with some light rain at first the Land Rover safari produced five Wheatears, four Yellow Wagtails among sheep on the saltmarsh, nine Greenshanks, a Black-tailed Godwit, five Redshanks and c15 Teal on Frampton Pill scrape, and a Wigeon, a Little Grebe, two juvenile Great Crested Grebes and an adult, and two Common Terns with a juvenile on the WWT 100-Acre; the only Odonata seen were two Blue-tailed Damselflies. Five Green Sandpipers were on the Rushy Pen and a Spotted Redshank(below) and two Ruff were on South Lake plus c200 Black-tailed Godwits and c15 Redshanks.

Today, a warm and sunny day but with an assertive WSW breeze, particularly at high level. My second UKBMS Wider Countryside butterfly survey on SO7713 turned up only a handful of butterflies, but a pair of mating Common Darters was interesting. A walk around Selsley Common this afternoon…

Hidcote Wildlife

Sunday 14th August 2011

Some wildlife shots from Hidcote Manor Garden today. The Grass Snake was quite a draw in the Lily Pool, a big snake too, about 72cm long. Also Great Crested Newts in the same pool, including juveniles still with external gills.
More photos of the Grass Snake:

Female Great Crested Newt:

Juvenile Great Crested Newt:

And some insects at Hidcote: -
White-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lucorum:

Hoverfly Syrphus vitripennis:

Woodchat Shrike Revisited

Saturday 13th August 2011

I returned to Sodbury Common this morning with Mark where we had some excellent views of the Woodchat Shrike. I couldn't resist another look, and this time got some slightly better photos.

Woodchat Shrike

Sunday 7th August 2011

I finally had an opportunity today to go for the Woodchat Shrike at Sodbury Common. Thankfully it had stayed long enough for me to add it to my life list, and I managed to avoid the showers and find it within 10 minutes of arriving. I watched it for some time, hunting from its favourite bush catching grasshoppers/bush crickets and the like. What an excellent bird to round off the weekend!

Chalkhills and Walls

Friday 5th August 2011

After butterfly surveying my BBS square at Hardwicke for the UKBMS, SO7713, (most numerous were Gatekeeper - 24) I headed to Crickley Hill to look for more butterflies. I noted four Wall Browns, though these were very active in the sun and hard to photograph (bottom photo), plus at least nine Chalkhill Blues, which were more obliging (photos above and below). Other butterflies of note included a female Silver-washed Fritillary, a male Brimstone and a Brown Argus.