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Showing posts from April, 2013

Flowers and Birds

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Saturday 27th - Sunday 28th April 2013
With Mike at Coombe Hill Meadows the GREAT WHITE EGRET was still present Saturday morning, but always distant towards the Long Pool. Also three Yellow Wagtails, including a stunning male, a Pied Wagtail and a White Wagtail, three Tufted Ducks (2m, 1f), three Shelducks, five Common Sandpipers, two Redshanks, two Curlews, 10+ Lapwings, a Little Egret, two Swallows, and along the canal two Lesser Whitethroats, plus Whitethroats, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, and Sedge Warblers.
Later my attention turned to botany with a visit to Barnsley Warren to see the Pasqueflower display, and then to North Meadow, Cricklade (Wilts) for the Snake's Head Fritillaries. The Pasqueflowers are just coming to their peak and looking superb. I left it too late last yer and they had all gone over, so it was nice to see them in flower. I also noted a Wheatear here and c10 Linnets.
At North Meadow, it was a different picture. Very few of the Fritillaries are in flower …

Terns and Things

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Friday 12th - Tuesday 23rd April 2013
Spring has arrived at last and everything seems to be happening at once. Yesterday (22nd) I made it in time to Witcombe Reservoir to see the cracking adult WHISKERED TERN, resplendent in breeding plumage, found by Duncan Dine. I'm glad I made the effort  although the light was fading fast by the time I got there, hence the rather grainy photos! The Tern eventually settled on a buoy, where I left it at dusk. It departed early this morning.
Going back to Friday 12th, a welcome day off work found me at Fretherne/Saul Warth for the tide. A Sanderling was the highlight, but news of Velvet Scoters at Chew Valley Lake still, from the previous day, had me heading there for the afternoon. The four Velvet Scoters were always rather distant, and gave me a bit of a runaround, but views of them on the water and in flight were a treat, being a lifer for me. A first-winter Little Gull and two drake Scaup were the other highlights here.

Back at Fretherne /Sau…

West Down

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Sunday 7th April 2013
Finally the wind direction has changed to the south, giving a much more spring-like feel to the day. With Andy and Mark this morning I managed to locate a male Ring Ouzel at West Down near the track to Wontley Farm. After being flushed by dog walkers who decided to walk straight into where it was instead of using the footpath, it did return to the same area. A female bird Andy found from nearer the farm was not seen again. Eventually it flew off in the direction of Postlip Hill. Also of note, two Wheatears were on the track from Wontley Farm towardsCleeve Common and two Red-legged Partridges near West Down Car park. We couldn't, however, nail a Black Redstart found by Mike between West Down and the masts.

And finally, yes it's more Hawfinch photos; these from this morning when I finally had decent light.

Hawfinch and Garganeys

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Saturday 6th April 2013
Some more photos of my garden Hawfinch here, taken this morning by Richard Tyler, in perfect conditions (above and below).
The definite highlight of a trip to the forest later with Andy and Mark was the group of four Garganeys (three drakes and a female) on north Cannop Pond. The birds showed down to a few feet giving absolutely cracking views. Other than the Garganeys, still pretty quiet in the forest; very few finches about generally but we did see some nice Bramblings at Parkend Church.

Female Hawfinch in Garden

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Thursday 28th March - Tuesday 3rd April 2013
As the cold weather continues, and over a week since the male last put in an appearance, a visit by a femaleHawfinch to the garden at 7.00am cheered me up no end (photos above and below).
Around six Hawfinches are still present around the Dimore playing field, and yesterday I made a sound recording of calls and song here:
Other news: on Thursday I spotted a Water Rail wandering around beneath the Wild Cherry trees just beyond my back garden, very nice to see. Some inscet interest in the garden recently too with both Buff-tailed and Tree Bumblebees nectaring on Mahonia japonica and Helleborus foetidus flowers. Two Buff-tails were present on Friday. They start feeding surprisingly early, just after 6.00am on that day with frost still on the ground.
On Saturday, a confiding Chiffchaff was feeding near the kitchen window. Later, on the way back from a family afternoon out at Tintern, I called in to Woorgreens to catch up with the Garganeys th…