Thursday, 16 November 2017

Somerset Levels & Patch Walk

Date: 16/11/2017 + 17/11/2017
Somerset Levels & Patch
Grey, Misty (Wednesday) 
Starting Blue, Turning Grey (Thursday)
Species Highlights: 
Peregrine, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Lapwing, Bittern, Yellowhammer, Starling

Wednesday morning headed down to the Somerset Levels, Ham Wall with the aim of getting there for sun up and a bit of Starling action, unfortunately a journey that normally takes me 50 mins ended up taking me 120 mins! 
Slow traffic and all sorts of hold ups so when i pulled into Ham Wall there was no hope of seeing a murmuration, but headed off round anyway VP1 Great White Egrets and Lapwing were up swirling around almost murmuration on the Lapwing front. 

Plenty of birds around. 

Headed onto Avalon hide and a couple of Bitterns flew by always a good spot for them.

Left hide and this Cettis posed and then disappeared.

A distant Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Marsh Harrier were hunting across the reserve, and still I hadn't even seen a Starling! 
Liked this poor shot with backdrop of Glastonbury Tor.

Leaving Ham Wall, I headed off to Greylake in the hope of seeing a few more species as at that moment I was on 39 species.
4.6 miles later and Greylake car park was full plus reed cutting was going on but went around to the hides anyway, not much from hides although a few Snipe were doing what they do so well!

A Peregrine Falcon came whizzing over the flocks off Wigeon and Teal putting everything up briefly, A Marsh Harrier also hunting. The Falcon returned to distant pylons without a kill.

Returned to car park a Sparrowhawk coasted overhead.

The Feeders were full, here's a bit of the action, although high ISO and slow shutter resulted in not my best pictures.

Starling such feisty little things and great to watch.

In fields opposite car park Lapwing, Starling and Ruff were feeding and getting spooked by something, I couldn't tell what.

Newton St Loe.

On way home had a message from Anthony a birder from Bath asking to go round patch Thursday, always happy to have some company so started patch walk around 10:30 Thursday.
At least 10 Blackbirds and 15 Redwing feeding on Dog Walk, bottom fields fairly quiet, met Tony just before Pennyquick and soon spotted 5 Yellowhammer, Bullfinch, Linnet and a Sparrowhawk around Seven Acre. Into Village and normal stuff around, towards the Duchy's offices spotted this male Kestrel looking fantastic in the now sunshine.

 The sunshine was soon to turn to much greyness.

Sad news or maybe good news from Lakes, Billy the long staying single male Swan was gone hopefully he'll find a mate and return, top lake still not many ducks, no Teal, 3 Mute still present.
The woodland surrounding is looking great with the Autumn colours.

50+  Redwing overhead and surrounding trees.

Left Tony back in Village and carried on, the Stonechat popped up in front of me, Tony saw M/F on on Seven Acre fields as I was meeting him earlier, although I'm sure there is just one pair.

Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Goldfinch, House Sparrow in good numbers were in last Oak tree before I turned down Lanes to home, and apart from overhead Gulls were the last spots of the day. Ended walk on 40 species.

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Monday, 13 November 2017

2 out of 3 isn't bad

Date: 13/11/2017
Eastville Park + Brean Down + Chew Valley Lake
Weather: Started blue ended grey overcast
Species Highlights: 
Goldcrest, Black Redstart,Rock Pipit, Stonechat, Long Tailed Duck, Goldeneye
A free monday and decided to go on a bit of a tour, starting at Eastville park to check on Otters, sadly none were seen, but a tip off from Allan Chard pointed me in the direction of some Firecrest. On going to the wrong place i found 2 within 5 minutes of looking jumping around and landed on same perch at one point managed a few half decent pictures high iso 3200 but my first UK firecrests , i was well happy.

Showing his little head strip and white brow.

A cracking start to the day and it was only 10:45AM. Next target was Brean Down for a look in on the Black Redstart.

A quick drive down the M32-M4-M5 and 40 miles later i was sat on the beach eating a apple looking around for the Black Redstart, not 10ft from me it landed!

No crop needed!

It was feeding on seaweed and flies that were leaving the weed

No mealworms were harmed or used it was quite happily coming within 10 foot of me i just sat and let it come.

A excellent little bird, my day was going to plan, after 60 or so keepers i left, Stonechat, Robin, Dunnock and Rock Pipits were also present.

The sign didn't apply to him!

Not another soul was on the beach, just how i like it.

Next target was Chew Valley lake and the Long Tailed Duck, was hoping for more of the same pictures nice and close tack sharp.....after chatting with Robert & Anne they told me it was off of the yacht club on scanning the waters for 45 mins no sign best bird was this distant Goldeneye still a nice bird. Headed over to Picnic one to check and 4 birders had it in there scopes.

After much squinting i saw it....just! Not the closeup tack sharp image i was after but 2 out of 3 really isn't bad. I left a happy man.

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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Forest of Dean & Newton St Loe

Date: 07/08/ 11/2017
Patch Newton St Loe + Forest of Dean
Weather: 7th Blue skies but cold 8th Grey overcast
Species Highlights: 
7th- Nuthatch, Marsh Tit, Mandarin Ducks, Buzzard. 
8th Common Gull, Stock Dove, Goldcrest, 
Lauren off work so we headed to Forest of Dean to check out Shrike but no sign although it was spotted in another part of the forest, my second attempt. 
Apart from deer at Crabtree hill it was very quiet. 

my previous  attempt did manage to get close and personal to this beast!

I've been many time to FOD but never seen them this close, he was wandering around the car park, people, dogs and cars all around.

We left Crabtree hill and went to our favorite spot for some Nuthatch, Marsh Tits and what ever else was about. 

The autumn colours made a fabulous backdrop.

Amazing how they scamper up side down, look at those claws.

Although we did see Marsh Tit 3, they didn't pose to well so here's one from 02/11/2017 a greyer day.

The Robin's didn't feed at all they continually chased each other around.

Little grebes also looking good.

Plus a few Mandarin, on golden pond. We had a great day and i'm sure we'll great that Shrike one day!

Thursday 08/11/2017 

Patch a grey day what a difference. Headed out through Bath Mill and on up to fields with very little showing and little change from last few walks. In Village a male Blackcap briefly not photo to quick. Top lake was alive with Goldcrest at least 8 could be heard in yew trees along with a small groups of Redwing counted 25 on whole walk. 
Highlights were on way down Back drive with a very large group of corvids, 25+ Crow, 35 Jackdaw and 20 Rook, also of note were Black headed gulls 50+ and 15 Common Gulls first ones since February! Herring gull and Lesser also feeding in with cows.

Bit further along drive saw 7 Stock Dove a patch record! Stonechat pair in horse fields the female Kestrel in normal fields and that was my lot.

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