Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Patch Walk - Newton St Loe

Date: 18/07/2017
Location: Patch - Newton St Loe
Weather: Warm, Overcast
Species Highlights: 
Buzzard, Yellowhammer, Tufted Duck, Kestrel, Kingfisher.

Met a fellow birder today Paul, to show round Patch and started as the normal at the entrance to Bath Mill and walked along Brook pointing out the lack of birds, or where birds would normally be!
Very quiet apart from Wood Pigeon in trees. On up to Dog Track and through the stingers which have built up since I've been butterflying recently, nearly there just 4 species left to get!
Up onto Byway and a single Whitethroat darted into cover plus a Yellowhammer could be heard calling. The fields have been cut leaving little hope for the young Skylarks that normally can be heard on the lower fields. 
Following on around towards Seven Acre and a year tick.. for butterfly anyway on patch a Brown Argus. 

Still lovely to see. 
Red Admiral, Large and Small Whites, Comma plus Holly Blues also on bramble section.

Leaving wood behind saw a Yellowhammer on telepole calling, then flew off to join another.

Into village and House Martins still outnumbering Barn Swallows with House Martin's streaking through the skies and feed young.

Found another nest in village it seemed full of House Martins.

 On out through village and onto Fishing Lake with no fisherman for a change and Billy the Male Mute Swan still on his lonesome. 
A single Goldcrest in Yew trees but little else. Top Lake the Mute family still doing well and 6 Cygnets all present, very few Mallard and a lack of Moorhen today. 
Top End, 3 Grey Herons youngsters all practising their fishing techniques. 

But carried on to check top ponds for dragonflies of which Common Darters and a single Emperor were present. Sat and ate a sandwich and a Buzzard soared overhead.

On way Back at Top Lake, a female Tufted Duck had arrived first since March 30th, plus a fly through Kingfisher.

House Sparrow numbers in village seemed a bit low with a single Pied Wagtail Juv in with Pig's at busy Farm Shop.

At second horse fields saw 3 Kestrel, Buzzard and a few Lesser Black Backed Gull feeding in skies maybe flying ants?
Pictured below Juvenile Kestrel sat watching mum and dad in skies above.

Not a lot on rest of the way back but time of year always slow ended on a count of 37 Species. 
Butterfly species count 14 species.

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Monday, 10 July 2017

Feeder Time and Patch Wander...

Date: 10th July 2017
Location: Newton Park Lake - Return
Weather: Cloudy but Brightened to Blue Skies
Other Species: Full Sightings List

Observation: We both haven't been out on the patch recently so a walk was required, whilst Wayne had a break from Butterflies where he is currently on 55. Before we started the walk, I spent a few minutes in front the Feeders, the tree's are FULL of both adult and young birds and the feeders are emptied by them every morning!

This morning's count included: 1 Jay, 3 Coal Tit, 3 Bullfinch, 8 Blue Tit, 5 Great Tit, 7 Goldfinch, 2 Collared Dove, 1 Crow and 2 Wood Pigeon.

Jay (Juvenile)

Collared Dove (Adult)

Coal Tit (Juvenile)

Bullfinch (Adult Pair)

Blue Tit (Juvenile)

Goldfinch (Juvenile)

Blue Tit (Juvenile)

Onto the Walk, through Bath Mill and up the Dog Walk was very quiet, a single Chiffchaff was the best.

A single Skylark was heard singing as we crossed over into the Village. A group of 5 Collared Doves by the new cottages with calling House Sparrow's, Goldfinches and Blackbirds, along with House Martin's and Barn Swallow's soaring around by the Farm Shop.
A pair of Pied Wagtail feeding on the roofs of the Farm Shop also.

Onto the Lakes -
Bottom Lake still has the solo Mute Swan (Male), with a few Mallard one of which has a new brood of 3 ducklings.
Top Lake pretty quiet due to the water levels being low, the brood of 6 Cygnets still present with the Adult pair. A count of 45 Mallard (highest count since April), 2 Coot, 3 Grey Heron and a single Moorhen.

4 Buzzards on thermals around the Lakes also.

Before doing the return route, we had a check of the Ponds for Dragonflies. After a short wait, we got a few shots of the Emperor Dragonfly (Female) also 2 Male's present.

Also an abundance of Northern Damselflies around the Ponds.

On the return, we walked back through the Lakes, the Mute Swan brood were away from the bank so we took a few pictures.

Back at the Village, the House Sparrow were enjoying the mud pit in the Pig pen, feeding on the flies.

A single Linnet, a fly-past Kestrel and a further 2 Buzzards also seen taking the Species count to 36.

Plenty of Butterflies around today including - Red Admiral, Comma, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large Skipper, Essex Skipper, Small White and Green-Veined White.



Back onto the Feeders and a few more shots taken after the walk today.

Goldfinch (Adult)

Great Tit (Juvenile)

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Friday, 30 June 2017

A Little Otter.... No!

Date: 29/06/2017
Location: Newton St Loe
Weather: Grey & Cloudy
Other Species: 
Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Blackcap, Goldcrest, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff.

It's been a while but Butterflies have taken over. Been to Scotland, Lake District, Norfolk, Kettering, Peterborough, Lulworth Cove & Wales since last blog and i'm loving it!

My current tally of Butterflies is 50 not 51 as I've posted on Twitter, a mistake on a simple ID for Meadow Brown thinking it was a Gatekeeper! DUH! 
But no worries I'll get them, leaving me now on 9 species left and another trip to Dorset & Lake District planned soon.

But onwards to the Patch for now. Recently it's all action on the Feeder trees outside home with a family of Bullfinches visiting every day.

Plus the 2 Juvenile Jays every hour coming onto feeders taking 3 peanuts eating them and then taking 3 more until disturbed, it's been great watching them grow.
Lauren got some great shots of them.

Plus plenty of Blue & Great Tits.

Out through Bath Mill as the normal on this very grey day seeing lots of juvenile Robin, Blackbirds and Wren along brook and up on to dog track which is now overgrown.
Skylarks in fields and Buzzard overhead. a few pairs of Whitethroat plus 3 Yellowhammer along byway.

A group of 10 Swift were screaming overhead too. (My awful picture)

Village seems a bit quiet with birds, Barn Swallow, House Martin number seem lower than previous year but are spreadsheet we didn't start counting until August so will judge numbers again.
Goldcrest do seem to be having a good year with numbers high Church Yard and Send a cow Woodland alive with their song.Also Blackcap singing in Send a Cow.

On to Lakes and Lower Lake still the single Mute Swan but only 4 Mallard. 
Top Lake a bit busier with 2 Mute and 6 Cygnets all doing well. Normal numbers of Coot and Moorhen. 
Mallard numbers into the 30's.

I carried on round and Grey Heron's which have now dispersed from Heronry and seem to be scattered down on river and here on top lake, learning how to fish with Mum or Dad watching on.

Normally the Heron fly off when anyone is near but this learning lark they don't seem bothered.

Didn't see them catch nothing but practice makes perfect.

When I walked back down the Mute Swan and Cygnets were trying to all get back on the nest, strangely?

They did manage it, but a bit of a squeeze! 
Dad was other side of the lake having a clean and chasing off those pesky Mallards.

Walked down towards Corston and through Manor Farm which seem to have a much healthier population of Barn Swallow and House Martins with House Sparrow, Crows and Jackdaw in very good numbers here. 
Think the Farm Shop in Newton St Loe only attracts Cars!

Out through Corston and onto River Avon where Blackcap and my first Dunnock of the day showed up.

It was that time of year to check on Reed & Sedge Warblers and I wasn't disappointed with at least 5 Sedge Warblers and 2 Reed Warblers.

Standing still for some time the sedge finally came into view.

The next set of Reeds seemed to be a creche for Whitethroats of which 3 Juveniles and a single Sedge Warbler.

While watch this Banded Demoiselle.

I saw what I thought was Otter!
3 running along opposite bank and in to cover but now after the excitement and looking at very bad images I think they are Mink, I've still not seen a wild Otter!

While waiting for them to come out of cover which they didn't! 
This Heron suddenly appeared from the same bushes that the Mink went into! 
Surely not trying to find lunch?

He seemed very upset by it and after a bit of squawking decided to have a clean and watch bushes until I left.

Walked on home thinking Otter, brilliant but alas another time maybe.

 I leave you with a worn Ringlet. More Butterfly trips coming up so a couple more weeks before next Blog, Sorry. 

I will do a Butterfly Blog showing you all my accomplishment of the 59 species, I hope!

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