Showing posts from 2016

Eastern Black Redstart at Tewkesbury

Sunday 11th December 2016After two days of frustrated attempts at Ripple GP to get good views of Dusky Warbler - unsatisfactory views on Friday, and heard only Saturday - it was nice to see what is presumably another recent Ripple bird as it turned up in Gloucestershire. The Eastern Black Redstart on Tewkesbury Abbey is a cracker of a bird, and was pleasing a good number of birders as it flitted around the abbey and made a brief visit to nearby trees. A nice finish to the weekend.

Masked Wagtail at Camrose

Saturday 3rd December 2016
Saturday morning saw a trip to deepest SW Wales with Richard, Mike and Paul to twitch the Masked Wagtail at Camrose, near Haverfordwest. It performed well for the small group of 20 birders, preferring to feed on the road (taking mealworms?), dodging the cars and occasionally spending time in gardens or on roofs.

Lapland Bunting at WWT

Saturday 26th - Sunday 27th November 2016
The highlight of the weekend was a Lapland Bunting at WWT Slimbridge on Saturday morning. First spotted on Friday morning it showed well around the Holden scrape in the sunshine, flying off for a period but returning later. An adult winter Little Stint was also on the edge of the scrape.
On Sunday, a short return visit to WWT in murky conditions didn't produce a repeat performance of the Lapland Bunting, which was reported later. I went back out later to Frampton for the Egret roost at Court Lake where four Cattle Egrets, four Great White Egrets and 17 Little Egrets were seen at dusk. The Great Whites flew straight in to roost over the back of the lake.

Chew and Local Sightings

Saturday 19th - Sunday 20th November 2016
I did the rounds at Chew Valley Lake on Saturday after leaving Mrs. M. in Bristol shopping with the youngest daughter. A total of eight Great White Egrets were at Herriott's Bridge, also a first-winter Mediterranean Gull. One of the GWEs sported a red colour ring on the left leg with an engraved white three letter alpha code 'AAF'. This bird was ringed as a chick this year at Ham Wall (bird in top photo). Two Goldeneyes were feeding off the dam from picnic area 1, and a Cattle Egret and three more Great White Egrets were at Heron's Green Bay. I finished the afternoon, before being recalled for duty, at Stratford Hide. Here, two Water Pipits were feeding in front of the hide, rounding the excursion off nicely.
On Sunday, a Winter Random Square survey in my home square didn't turn up anything surprising. There are some nice berry-laden Rowans around just waiting for the Waxwings to arrive. I found a Holm Oak growing near the …

Norfolk in November

Thursday 10th - Friday 11th November 2016
I spent a brilliant two days birding in Norfolk with Mark, connecting with many excellent birds. We started off on arrival in Nelson's County at Thornham Harbour hoping for Twite. After not finding any, it seemed like a slow start. A Spotted Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed GodwitGrey Plover and Kingfisher in the creek were all good birds. Four Marsh Harriers over the reed-beds and salt marsh and Pink-footed and Dark-bellied Brent Geese were the first of many at various locations.
Next stop was Holkham Gap where we soon connected with a 60+ flock of Shore Larks feeding on the salt marsh, This was an incredible sight and as if that wasn't enough the flock was supplemented by two Lapland Buntings. A small flock of Snow Buntings seen at long range couldn't be re-located.
On the way to finish the day in the Broads we passed through Holt, stopping off to see seven Waxwings feeding on Rowan near the church opposite the High S…

Gran Canaria

Saturday 1st - Saturday 8th October 2016
A week in the hot sunshine of Gran Canaria at the start of October produced some good birds despite this island not getting much representation in the available range of published bird guides. This isn't surprising since it doesn't hold any populations of the endemic Canary pigeon species which can be found on Tenerife and La Gomera, and Blue Chaffich is much easier to find on Tenerife; next to impossible on Gran Canaria.  Based in Maspalomas at the southern tip of the island, my birding was incidental, or confined to the occasional short solo exploration on foot, in between simply being on holiday. A brackish lagoon, La Charca, stretches behind the beach at Maspalomas, cut off the sea by the beach, and with the dunes along one side. La Charca was always interesting to visit and turned up some good birds.

The highlights included (no particular order):
Canary Island Chiffchaff - common and vocal virtually everywhere
Sardinian Warbler - al…