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Showing posts from 2014

WWT Fudge Duck

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Wednesday 31st December 2014
Another good find by Martin and another county tick for me yesterday in the form of a female FERRUGINOUS DUCK. I returned today for a second look and experiment further with my new Nikon P600. It was on the Asia Pen again, but less cautious than yesterday, asleep at first, but later actively feeding down to a few feet.
The fully-winged RUDDY SHELDUCK was there too, skating on the ice.

WWT Goodies

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Sunday 21st December 2014
I spent a welcome break from fatherly duties (a.k.a. Paul's Removals and Junk Disposal) with Andy and Mark at WWT Slimbridge where we caught up with some nice birds. First, we found the Whooper Swan in the first field on the right after the canal bridge; on its own at 8.30am, but later at 11.30am with Bewick's. A mystery duck of apparently very mixed origins was at Martin Smith hide, with features recalling a few species including Red-crested Pochard and Pintail.
A Water Rail was showing well at Willow Hide, swimming right in front of us, though poor light excused the poor photos I got. From Holden Tower, a Marsh Harrier flew past from the direction of Middle Point and towards the Top New Piece, where it was seen to take a hapless Black-tailed Godwit for breakfast. We watched a Barn Owl hunting distantly beyond, and entering an opening in one of the pill boxes. On South Lake two Avocets were present, and also a Ruff, among the Black-tailed Godwits and…

Dartford Warbler at Cheltenham

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Friday 19th December 2014
I popped over to Cheltenham this afternoon to see the DARTFORD WARBLER at Pittville Park, found by John Sanders on Wednesday.It showed very well at times and kept company with a pair of Stonechats. Just a couple of record shots here - looking forward to Christmas and getting my hands on my P600. I noted at least one other Stonechat on site, also small groups of Goldfinches and Meadow Pipits were around.



Rose-coloured Starling at Bristol

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Saturday 29th November 2014
The adult ROSE-COLOURED STARLING in Bristol showed well for around 10 minutes on Saturday afternoon from 3.08pm. I waited for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes in Friary Road, in the Bishopston area of Bristol, almost thinking of giving up as it hadn't been seen for 3 hours. At last it showed, in flight with a small flock of Common Starlings, alighting on a tree top and then on St. Bonaventure's Church roof. A pesky Sparrowhawk then flushed everything, but not before I got some very nice views of a cracking bird in the afternoon sun.

Barred Warbler and Fungi

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Saturday 1st November 2014
At a range of 250m and with only a cheap back-up scope I have no photo, but what a superb bird the first-winter BARRED WARBLER at Frampton was. Well done and thanks again to Martin for a brilliant find at the Marsh Sandpiper site. The Barred Warbler showed occasionally on Saturday morning in the sunshine as it fed on Hawthorn fruits. The photo below of the view from the canal towpath looking out towards the bushes near the sea wall defences, with the river beyond. The scene was enhanced by two juvenile Marsh Harriers and a pair of Stonechats among the supporting cast and also two late Common Darters still on the wing in the unseasonably warm weather.
The afternoon was spent with the family enjoying the autumn colours at Westonbirt Arborteum. I always enjoy looking for fungi here at this time of year and was pleased to find Fly Agaric,  Common Puffball and Shaggy Parasol fruiting bodies, among several others not so easy to identify.

Beer!

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Thursday 2nd - Saturday 4th October 2014
No, the village in Devon, not the beverage. It now seems, after days of rain and wind, or fog, that in my few days in SE Devon recently with Linda, we really had the last gasp of summer. A few photos here of this lovely corner of England (going a bit misty-eyed there, sorry about that).

Pink-footed Goose at WWT

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Sunday 5th October 2014
Some photos here of the juvenile Pink-footed Goose at WWT Slimbridge allowing close study as it fed/swam/wandered around the Big Pen.

Speckled Bush Cricket

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Wednesday 1st October 2014

Linda alerted me to a "strange grasshoppery thing" in the kitchen last night- it was this Speckled Bush-cricket. It's missing a hind leg, but still an impressive insect.

Spiders

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Tuesday 30th September 2014
As I contemplate the repair estimate for my scope - an accumulation of wear and tear culminating in a fault on the focusing - my attention has turned of late to Spiders. My curiosity has been sparked by Collins Field Guide: Spiders - Britain and Northern Eurpoe, a recent birthday gift, and a desire to try and identify the local Araneae (a low-scoring scrabble word that). The author, Michael J. Roberts, isn't big on common names, but I've included here those used elsewhere. I must add, it is an excellent book. Anyway, here are a few pics from the garden and local environs.
 I've also seen a few of these recently - Dark Bush-crickets, one in the garden and several around the canal-side vegetation:
And a couple of local moths I've spotted, the first two in the garden, the third one near the canal: