Tuesday, 21 March 2017

A 4 Season Patch Walk

Date: 21/03/2017
Location: Newton St Loe
Weather: Blue Skies, Hail, Rain, Wind and Thunder!
Species Highlights: 
Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Tufted Duck.

Blue skies when I left home and out through Bath Mill as usual, leaf blowers on full blast so no birds heard or seen along brook! Up on to dog track, Chiffchaff in full song.

On to fields and a distant Roe Stag across fields with at least 9 Skylarks skyward and singing, just past seven acre a sparrowhawk came swooping over hedge line even got a picture! Sort of! Buzzards over woods and the Kestrel seen in normal spot.

Best in village 3 Pied Wagtails, still waiting for our first House Martin or Barn Swallow. Green Woodpeckers heard. More Chiffchaff's and Goldcrests down past Send a Cow. Grey Heron's, fewer in Herony only 7 in trees with a few more scattered along brook. 
Bottom Lake, 2 Mallard and a Moorhen! 
Top Lake, 7 Mallard, 1 Cormorant, 11 Teal, 2 Mute Swan, 5 Coot, 4 Moorhen. Very poor count on Lakes normal count for Mallard is 40/45 but i suppose 3 Tufted Duck a bonus that's one up from the 15/03.

A Single Cormorant looking splendid.

A Grey Heron decided to make a very close pass in front of me!

More Chiffchaff and Goldcrest's singing in between lakes.

Singing away, little stunners!

Thought I'd take path down to Corston today and back along river. Stopped to talk to Lauren on phone and 2 Treecreeper popped up.

Finished phone call and a Sparrowhawk circled above me, followed by a Buzzard.

Really please don't get to see many Sparrowhawk's. 
2 in one day as well!

Thinking that was nice and a Hare suddenly appeared 2 shots and bounded off!

Eyes in the back of his head?

With rain as I reached the river then Hail then wind plus a few rumbles of thunder just to add to atmosphere not much else to add to list 3 more Buzzards and a couple more Chiffchaff's this one with his lunch!

 Good numbers of Chiffchaff this year already with a count of 8, best count last year on walk was 12.

Finally a Comma Butterfly taking my Butterflies to 4 Species this year, 55 to go!
Walk count ended on 46 species so not bad at all.

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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

NSL Patch & St Johns Peregrines

Date: 15/203/2017
Location: Patch Newton St Loe + St Johns (Bath)
Weather: Blue Skies and Beautiful
Species Highlights: 
Bullfinch, Stock Dove, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Buzzard, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Grey Heron, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Chiffchaff

No walk today today, my buddy is ill so thought I'd wander out on patch. Out through Bath Mill and Chiffchaff still singing strongly along brook and 4 Bullfinch on start of Dog Track.

More Chiffchaff on Dog Track and 1 singing its heart out not bothered to eve look at me creeping close.

On out across Fields checking Seven Acre for Butterflies and nothing showing despite the blue skies and sunshine, Skylark were singing I counted around 5.
Through Village not a lot, Churchyard Goldcrests as normal, by hiding behind a tombstone managed a couple of decent shots.

At least 3 of them in Yew tree.

Down from church just missed snapping a Green Woodpecker in the small sheep field, today I counted at least 5 Green Woodpecker calling around patch, in woodland by Send a Cow Treecreeper and Nuthatch seen.

Grey Heron in the Herony, no more nests but counted 13 birds today.

First waterfall a pair of Grey Wagtail feeding & bobbing along. 
Love the Grey Wag such lovely colors on the Males.

No fishermen on Lake today so the Carp just sat sunbathing, use to fish here a few years back biggest I caught was 19lb common carp, I'd guess most of these around 12/15 lb.

Good News! Top Lake 2 Tufted Duck have arrived making 4 this year so far, feeding quite happily. Students out in force today sat almost in the lake, or on the banks!

Sat and watched Tufted for a while and a Little Grebe popped out from in front of me. Couldn't find other Little Grebe, guessing this a female.
 Our Mallard & Teal number still low around 8 birds on top lake with 6 Teal?

Really pleased with a few butterflies, saw Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Brimstone, tried to take picture but they wouldn't keep still!
Plus a Peacock taking my year list to 3, 56 to go!

Skies even bluer now so my plan was walk back at speed and go check on Peregrines again, but these Grape hyacinth deserved a picture, looking great, taken through hole in fence.

On arriving at St. Johns only 1 Peregrine was present and sat on highest point, so took a few shots of the birds which were about. Great to watch the Lesser Black Backed ripping open the bin bags, despite the owner of bags tying them up on railing! Birds fly so railing not really out of reach! DUH!

Such lovely birds shame Bath & North East Somerset Council are spending £57,000 pound on taking eggs and culling the population, money not well spent!
Money better spent on culling cars or some humans!

Then heard a incoming Peregrine and a Male came in at speed, best I could manage, flew around spire and departed again, saw the Juvenile high up also circling a brave Buzzard.

This I think, the female sat watching the youngster an her partner. 
Gonna go back tomorrow try my luck again. 
Watch this space!

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Sunday, 12 March 2017

WeBS and Patch Walk

Date: 12/03/2017
Location: Patch - Newton St Loe
Weather: Grey Skies turning to Drizzle
Highlight Species: 
Buzzard, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Little Grebe, Chiffchaff, Treecreeper,
Stock Dove, Grey Heron with 4 on nests

WeBS count today so out through Bath Mill as the norm. Really pleased to hear and see 3 Chiffchaff singing, the first ones this year and first since 29/11. On up on to fields and Buzzards circling above 7 Acre counted 4 together with a further 2 on rest of walk, circling and tumbling going on, courtship displays. 
Met up with Robert & Anne at Send a Cow and Song Thrush, Redwing & Mistle Thrushes added to list.

Lots of Nuthatches about today calling and scurrying around the trees. Grey skies not helping photography today!

At least 5 Birds seen in between fisherman's car park and top lake.

WEBS count a bit poor.
Coot 3
 Cormorant 1
Grey Heron 10 of which 4 now on nests
Kingfisher 1
Little Grebe 2 (1M / 1F) a first
Mallard 13 - Poorest count for some time?
Moorhen 6 
Mute Swan 2
Teal 16 
Black-headed Gull 4
Lesser Black-Backed Gull 2 
Grey Wagtail 1
Jackdaw 3

Round the Lake many Goldcrest calling a darting around and hawk eyed Anne spotted 3 Treecreeper!

Really nice to see these great little birds, 
Robert spotted another round the corner as well, making 4 individuals.

As I said Goldcrest everywhere although some of us couldn't hear them!
(First bird to be lost to hearing, Goldcrest sing at around 8 HZ test your ears here
I can hear up to 18HZ
 I could hear them and counted at least 13 birds.

At end of lake another Goldcrest distantly bathing.

A few flowers starting to come out these in the college grounds called Siberian Squill or Wood Squill, I think?

Leaving Robert and Anne heard a Stock Dove them saw 2 more with Starling and 6 more Redwing, plus a group of 25ish Meadow Pipits ending the day on a very respectable 47 species.
Cheers for now and here's to sunnier days!

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Friday, 10 March 2017

Somerset Levels - Greylake & Ham Wall

Date: 09/03/2017
Location: Greylake - Ham Wall ( Somerset Levels)
Weather: Blue Skies and Beautiful
Species Highlights: 
Snipe, Peregrine Falcon, Great White Egret, Marsh Harrier, Glossy Ibis, Bittern, Raven.

Blue Skies forecast, so headed to the Somerset Levels with Robert, first off Greylake for a look for the Green Winged Teal. 

We saw lots of Teal, Wigeon, Snipe, Great White Egret even Marsh Harrier and Buzzard but no Green Winged Teal despite looking for some two plus hours.
The Snipe looked great in the sunshine.

Closest birds were the Lapwing with their plumage looking stunning.

Wigeon went up a few times, Teal went up once while we were there and the Green Winged  Teal was even spotted once. But we couldn't relocate.

1500/2000 Golden Plover in the distance were constantly up doing murmarations avoiding not sure what, we headed up to end of reserve to see what was putting them up and....

2 Marsh Harrier were patrolling the edges of the reserve, great to watch if a little distant.

Back in the now safe car park, we were told that the thief or Scumbag who'd been breaking into cars from Westhay, Ham Wall and here has been caught! Good news.
The feeding posts had a few birds on, and perfect light here as normal.

Mrs Reed Bunting

And the cracking Mr. Reed Bunting.

 So after 3 hours we headed to Ham Wall, been down a couple of times this year but kept missing the Glossy Ibis's for my year ticks. It didn't take long to locate, plus while watching had a fly past Bittern.
This shot taken with 560mm so a bit distant but a Glossy Ibis!

Also saw 2 Marsh Harriers, Great White Egrets, Buzzard and a pair of Ravens honking away and displaying, which was brilliant to watch and a fly over Peregrine to finish.
In shot below is my effort to see how many species in one shot. 
I count 8.
Crow, GW Egret, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Coot, Little Egret, Teal and Glossy Ibis.

Can you beat it. Let me know!

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