Showing posts from 2012

More Waxwings

Saturday 15th December 2012
Since 1st when I saw my first WAXWINGS of the season, I have been lucky to see many more. On 8th, four flying overhead at c8.30am whilst I was standing in my garden were a garden tick. Later that morning Andy found c40 at Rea Bridge, and I arrived on my bicycle just as they took to the air and flew north. Then on the morning of 12th, a work colleague told me she had seen  6-8 along Bruton Way near GL1. I had seen these birds on the way to work earlier, though couldn't be 100% sure of the ID at the time as I had been driving past, and wasn't able to check myself during the day. On 13th I checked the area, and 18 were present, coming to feed on small Rowan trees on the central reservation between Asda and GL1. The birds were competing with four Blackbirds and later three Wood Pigeons for the dwindling berry supply. At lunchtime on 14th eight were present, and later Mike saw  around 10 near Go Outdoors just the other side of Barton gates. That brings m…

Bring on the Waxwings!

Saturday 1st December 2012
Out with Mark this morning I finally saw my first Waxwings of the winter. We found the first Waxwing along Hempsted Lane, Hempsted (approx.GR SO817171), initially perched in a tree and then feeding in a roadside line of small trees and shrubs on Rowan. Deciding to head for the forest, we looked for the Cinderford birds seen yesterday at the Forest Vale Industrial Estate. We arrived to find 15 here, feeding on an ornamental Rowan, but also on Alder seeds and apparently on the small buds of some larger trees. We watched these for some considerable time in the sunshine, before heading for Mallard's Pike for a cuppa, and then stopping at Wenchford where we noted a pair of Dippers on the Blackpool Brook just downstream of the lower bridge. We found a Caddis Fly, Halesus digitatus I think, crawling across the road at Blakeney - we rescued it of course!
Garden birds today included a Song Thrush, a female Blackcap and a Lesser Redpoll, the latter feeding on Nyg…

Norfolk Excursion

Friday 16th - Saturday 17th November 2012
I spent a fantastic couple of days in Norfolk on Friday and Saturday with Mark, basing ourselves in Sheringham. Our adventure started at Thetford on Friday morning, where the BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER was showing well by the old Bridge Pub, a cracking bird and a first for us both.
We then headed for NWT Cley Marshes. Highlights on the main reserve included a Marsh Harrier and 1000+ Brent Geese (all the Brents we saw were the Dark-bellied form). The star bird I found at the beach though, a LITTLE AUK, which was feeding close in for most of the time; also a lifer for us. Also Red-throated Divers, a Razorbill, a flock of  c200 Chaffinches came in off the sea containing at least one Snow Bunting, six Blackbirds flew in off the sea and immediately landed behind the beach, plus two Grey Seals.
It was then time to head for the Broads, and the main reason for me originally planning a trip to these parts in the winter. After parking at Hickling Broad, we wa…

Snow Bunting at Aylburton

Sunday 11th November 2012
The Snow Bunting was still at Aylburton Warth this morning, and showing nicely in the sunshine on a cracking, still and clear morning. No sign of yesterday's Lapland Bunting, but a Lesser Redpoll, two Rock Pipits and four Pied Wagtails were among the morning's list, also two Brown Hares.

I stopped off at Hawling this afternoon where a Short-eared Owl was perched on a wall, also c600 Jackdaws and c100 Carrion Crows were going west to roost at 4.40pm.

In the garden, a female Great Spotted Woodpecker has been a regular visitor (and a male has also been seen recently on one occasion), and a Coal Tit is now a regular. Chaffinch number build as the Autumn marches towards Winter, with 18 yesterday and seven Greenfinches. A pair of Blue Tits were investigating the nest box yesterday, hopefully they'll use it in the Spring.  My garden Spindle, Euonymus europaeus, looks spectacular this Autumn, the best it has ever looked - absolutely laden with fruits.
My …

Recent Highlights

Friday 2nd - Sunday 4th November 2012
Garden visitors today in the rain included a Brambling, coming to the feeders throughout the day, also five Greenfinches, seven Chaffinches and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
After a quiet start at Coombe Hill on Friday morning in overcast and damp conditions, I went to WWT Slimbridge following news that James had found a YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER. The sun came out for the rest of the day and the YB showed nicely in Willows near South Lake hide, then disappearing for several hours before showing again later in the afternoon when I saw it again. The Long-billed Dowitcher was on the Tack Piece with the Godwit flock, also a Little Egret, and three Lesser Redpolls were around the grounds; c180 Dunlin and five Golden Plover were on the Top New Piece.
On a sunny Saturday, with Andy and Mark, I returned to WWT, but no sign unfortunately of the YBW. On the Tack Piece 146 Black-tailed Godwits were present and a Snipe was in front of Martin Smith hide; 114 Black-t…


A report on my trip to Menorca in October can be viewed here.

Roesel's Bush-crickets

Saturday 6th October 2012
Photos here of Roesel's Bush-crickets at Sherborne Water Meadows this morning.
Fairly quiet bird-wise, highlights were a Red Kite, six drake Mandarins and seven House Martins over. Lots of Siskins and Skylarks. Also a Red Admiral and four Fallow Deer seen.

Rare Bird

Saturday 29th September 2012
The highlight was Avro Vulcan XH558 performing a flypast at Staverton on its Diamond Jubilee tour. See and get the App to help support it. Some photos here as it did its rounds just before 4pm in glorious sunshine.
Earlier at WWT Slimbridge, the juvenile RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was feeding on floods on The Dumbles, but quite distant. Around the high tide, waders seen from Holden Tower included two Curlew Sandpipers, 45 Grey Plovers, three Little Stints, a Sanderling, a few Ringed Plover and c100 Dunlin.On the Top New Piece from Zeiss Hide, the LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER with Black-tailed Godwits, two Spotted Redshanks, a Greenshank, three Knot, 50 Golden Plovers and 33 Redshanks. A fully-winged drake Mandarin was near the hide.

Buff-breasted & Pec fest

Saturday 22nd September 2012
The midday guided walk at WWT Slimbridge on to The Dumbles produced absolutely stunning views of both the BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER and PECTORAL SANDPIPER feeding together on the tidal salt-marsh ledge. The lighting was perfect, and many people enjoyed the experience, many with cameras. Thanks to the WWT staff and volunteers for arranging and facilitating a great couple of hours. Here are a few of my best pics of the Yankee sandpipers; first, Buff-breasted:
And Pectoral:
As if that wasn't enough, I spotted my first PAINTED LADY for two years on the Ivy near the In Focus shop. The Ivy flowers were swarming with Hoverflies, including Helophilus pendulus, and several other butterflies; I counted seven Red Admirals, five Commas and two Small Tortoiseshells.
Elsewhere on the reserve the LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was on the Top New Piece with 291 Black-tailed Godwits, also c10 Snipe, six Ruff, a Spotted Redshank, 24 Redshanks and the four GCP Common Cranes. Severa…