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Showing posts from January, 2015

January Birding

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Friday 16th - Sunday 25th January 2015
Friday 16th I took the afternoon off work to bird, on a lovely sunny, and cold, day. I stopped first at the Horsbere Flood Storage Area just off the Barnwood by-pass/Elmbridge Court roundabout link road. This was my first visit here, which was prompted by the chance to see a Red-crested Pochard relatively close to the city. Besides the drake RCP there was a good range of other birds, including a Kingfisher, eight Wigeon and five Snipe. It's a fabulous habitat, and I shall be returning in the not too distant future. I have a fondness for Horsbere Brook, having grown up quite near it further upstream at Brockworth, and spent many hours trying to dam it!
After Horsbere I headed for Hawling for owls. Three Short-eared Owls were showing well when I got there at 3pm, and a Barn Owl also showed before too long. Two Red Kites and the usual Kestrel added to the interest. A nice end to the day, and my toes had almost thawed out by the time I got home.

Forest Birds

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Saturday 10th January 2015
A trip out to the Forest of Dean this morning with Andy and Mark was very productive, despite the initially unpromising weather. Early rain gave way to sunny conditions, although the NW wind kept temperatures down.The highlights were a Dipper at Wenchford, 12 Hawfinches at another site, the Great Grey Shrike, a pair of Stonechats and a Goshawk at Crabtree Hill, and seven Goosanders at Woorgreens.
Early on around Quedgeley near the canal / Clearwater Drive area I saw two Little Egrets, a Chiffchaff and a Grey Wagtail.
A Coal Tit on the garden feeders is the first I've seen in the garden for some time. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker has replaced usual female this weekend; the male Blackcap continues to be almost ever-present at the feeders.
After making the most of the day with a 3-mile walk around the National Trust's Brockhampton Estate in Herefordshire with Linda, we got back in time for me to pop down to Court Lake to see the Scaup I dipped last w…

WWT and Dartford

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Saturday 3rd January 2015
With Andy this morning at WWT we had some good birds for the New Year, despite the damp and gloomy conditions,  including a male Merlin hunting on The Dumbles (thanks Jake for the shout on that one - I didn't see one all last year), a Little Stint on the edge of the Holden scrape, a Whooper Swan in fields to the NE of the centre viewed from the Sloane Tower, a Marsh Harrier on a kill on the Tack Piece, and the Ferruginous Duck still in the Asia Pen.
A Water Rail was showing very well from the Holden Walkway through the viewing-gaps in the wall.

I returned to Cheltenham this afternoon for the Dartford Warbler at Pittville Park where it is still keeping company with a pair of Stonechats in the wildflower-seeded area east of Tommy Taylor's Lane (top photo).