Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Goosanders Return and Depart!

Date: 29/11/2016
Location: Patch - Newton St Loe 
Weather: Cold but stunning blue skies and sunshine

Observation: 
Very cold morning frost everywhere but the sky totally clear not a cloud to spoil the view! Feeders full of Goldfinch, Blue Tits and Great Tits plus a couple of Coal Tits, A visiting Pied Wagtail is running the gauntlet of the car park always keeping a couple of steps in front the cats! The Brook now back to normal level and very little on it. On up to the dog track and a noise I recognised from the summer a Chiffchaff!


Carried on up on to fields and a Buzzard feeding with a few Black Headed Gulls on field. Managed a shot through the undergrowth.. Just


Also 2 Common Gulls circling on same field. Unusual to see Black Headed and Common Gulls on these fields.



 Further up the Byway a hunting Kestrel, didn't see it catch but always nice to see.


Overlooking the globe fields on to A4 and Bypass 5 train spotters were scattered across field waiting for steam train? I looked on web no steam train till tomorrow, the LNER A4 Class 4-6-2 no 60019 Bittern is scheduled lunch time, Wednesday, so strange!


On in to Village and apart from a single Fieldfare and Nuthatches final count 5 not a lot about. On to Lakes and 4 Mute Swans although only 2 on top lake, a Male in between Lakes and a Female at top of hill by Keep, eyeing up the lake.
While sat trying to educate a dumb dog walker with no luck!!! 
The 4 Goosanders came whizzing on to lake!


4 Females immediately started to feed, being surrounded by Black Headed Gulls. 5 Teal also on lake.


Then ahot air balloon appeared from the College a bit usual and Goosander and the Teal took flight a disappeared!


So with that I disappeared and carried on home seeing the dumb ass dog walker cutting across cow fields where no footpath exists! Typical!
But a super walk all the same, a low count of only 30 species.


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Monday, 28 November 2016

Brean Down - Black Redstarts

Date: 28th November 2016
Location: Brean Down → Chew Valley Lake
Weather: Blue Sky, Sunny with Cold Wind 
Other Species: 6+ Stonechat, 2 Black Redstart, 1 Kittiwake, 1 Peregrine Falcon, 1 Kestrel, 5+ Goldfinch, 10+ House Sparrow, Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Common Gull, Tufted Duck, 500+ Dunlin -
Of Note

Observation: A sunny day forecast so we headed down to try and photograph the Black Redstart at Brean Down. We had a quick look in the Cove, but with no sign apart from Stonechat, Dunnock, Wren and Robin's. We walked up the many steps to the Fort.

At the Fort, there was a bitter cold wind, but there weren't alot of birds there. Until a huge flock of 500+ Dunlin flew past shortly followed by a Peregrine Falcon. After a further 10 minutes of searching for the Black Redstart, there were no signs so we returned via the lower path. As we returned to the steps this Raven flew along the hill top giving us some lovely views.



Near the bottom of the steps, 1 of 3 Meadow Pipit were present scurrying around.


We tried our luck at looking back in the Cove for the Black Redstart, as we turned to return to the Van, we spotted a distant Black Redstart! Within minutes the second Female was spotted. Fairly jumpy to start with but after around 20 minutes, the Black Redstart started coming close to us in perfect light!



She even had a good clean after some rapid fly-catching.


What a bird!! Unfortunately no Male present but the 2 females were just as welcome!


We had a short stop off at Chew Valley Lake, and the Lake was in a stunning golden light.





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Thursday, 24 November 2016

Floods, Patch and Slimbridge.

Date: 21+ 23/11/2016
Location: Patch then Slimbridge
Weather: 
Wet with heavy rain on 21st then Grey,misty for Slimbridge.
Species List
Observation: 
Its been 10 days since last blog so a bit of a catch up starting with  Laurens Picture from the Newton Park rather nice!


Moving on i did a Patch walk on the 20th with very Little to show for my efforts picture wise, but Bird wise a good count of at least 50 Meadow Pipits over village ! With 35 Redwing a few Mistle Thrush usual stuff ended walk on 35. full total above in link. 
Picture below by Lauren from our front room window !


Next the rain started, this picture taken 4pm on the sunday, Our brook was rising fast ! 
its usually a meter lower than this.


Some 18 hours later and the Rain water was draining off of surrounding fields, Pennyquick, the road still good.


3:10 pm still raining heavy, but Brook still holding.


5:20pm its burst ! Within a few minutes of us going down to check it out it was at least 1 foot high across road.


Causing a few problems for some cars who decided to drive through ant way !


This shot from Bath Mill bridge looking to Pennyquick !


That water level scale now gone. 
But bridge into Bath Mill wasn't quite underwater , water soon dispersed. next day fast flowing but much lower. hope our Grey wagtail returns soon ! 


Next 23rd went to Slimbridge to see some birds !

A misty and very cold start to day, Holden hide freezing! But A Peregrines Falcon with putting on a bit of a show, first saw it in front hide plucking something to distant to see it had 2 crow for company who kept trying to sneak in for a taste! The Peregrine had enough and took off with its kill.....this picture below if the Peregrine realising he's dropped it it !


He was not happy !


Watched him fly off but returned to kill some 10 mins later only for another Peregrine to arrive and try to muscle in on his kill, not sure but male and female ?


The larger of the the 2 took off and flew of at speed along hedge line and out of sight.


With 2 Peregrines on site much off the wildfowl was up and moving in skies above. But headed down to Kingfisher Hide to see if the reported Black-tailed Godwit, 300+ Lapwing,  Redshank, Snipe, Dunlin and 300+ Teal. where grounded.... nope all up and distant.
The look of disappointment on this Goldeneye sums it up ! 


There were a number of Fieldfare and redwing constantly flying over site.


This the view of the skies above Lapwing, Black Tailed Godwits and the rest !


Work was taking place in South hide so stopped to check out the Flamingo's, 
Beautiful this a Puna Flamingo.


A few Bewick's on site, number for morning feed was 35 still more to come i hope.


A lone Lapwing from the Rushy stunning little bird in a flock or on its lonesome !
Next on way back thought i'd drop into Sharpness Docks as a  Black Redstart was reported.


On arriving spotted her within a few minutes high up on building at end of Dock Road.



A female immature Black Redstart Excellent ! and a great end to a cold day.


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Sunday, 13 November 2016

WeBS Count On Newton Park Lake

Date: 13th November 2016
Location: Newton Park Lake
Weather: Blue Sky, Sunny + Light Wind
Other Species: 1 Coal Tit, 6+ Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2+ Buzzard, 6 Starling, 3 Jay, 1 Blackcap (Male), 25+ Redwing, 3 Mistle Thrush, Goldcrest, 2 Song Thrush, 1 Fieldfare, 2 Greater Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Stonechat (Pair), 2 Meadow Pipit.
WeBS Count - 53 Mallard, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Mute Swan, 63 Black-Headed Gull, 6 Moorhen, 1 Coot, 1 Wigeon, 3 Teal
Click Here for Full List

Observation: Today's aim was to complete our first WeBS Core Count. Our fellow patch birder Robert assisted us with today's walk and count: @Rojobus As normal we headed out through Bath Mill, with some lovely mushrooms on display.


A fly-over Grey Wagtail along with a single Pied Wagtail on the roof of reception. Onto the Dog Walk, 2 Roe Deer were present in the woodland along with a Buzzard who was being mobbed by Crows and Magpies! On the Top Fields a further 2 Buzzards were circling over Seven Acre Woods and 6 fly-over Starlings.

Black-Headed Gulls and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were present, feeding in their normal spots on the Lower Globe Fields. Another Buzzard (the same one from earlier) and a single Kestrel (Female) circling over our heads.


Whilst watching them, another 2 Roe Deer come bounding across the Lower Globe Fields in the sunshine.


We were hoping they would jump over the hedge but unfortunately not...


In the Village a single Male Blackcap was present in the Yew Tree along with a small group of House Sparrow, Blue Tit and Great Tits.

At the Lake we started the WeBS count, we spent around an hour completing this. The result was:

1 Grey Heron, 2 Mute Swan, 53 Mallard, 6 Moorhen, 63 Black-Headed Gull, 3 Lesser Black-Backed Gull, 1 Coot, 1 Wigeon, 3 Teal. This totalled to 9 species and 133 individuals!

The single Female Wigeon, 1 Coot present in this photograph.


Other birds during this time but can't be counted, 1 Cormorant (fly-over), 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Goldcrest.


After the count we walked back through the College and out onto College Drive. Plenty of Redwing about in the trees collecting berries, also a single Fieldfare, another Mistle Thrush, 2 Song Thrush.



Robert dashed off at this point, so we continued along the College Drive, after watching the Fieldfare and Redwing for a while.

The Grey Heron was present again in the fields, posing for a few shots...


Before flying off towards the Lake.


A single Greater Spotted Woodpecker and Herring Gull also present.

Back in the Village, the Stonechat pair were in their normal post in the far fields. A fly-over Greater Spotted Woodpecker heading towards the location of the one on the College Drive.

At the Crossroads a pair of Collared Doves landed on a nearby roof and the last spot of the day was a pair of Meadow Pipits, only one seen (other one heard calling).


 A total count of 43 species today and once again another great patch walk, although the 3 Goosander seen earlier in the week have disappeared, hopefully they will return for winter again this year!


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