Sunday, 26 November 2017

Sunday Patch 39 species & 6 miles

Date: 26/11/2017
Location: Newton St Loe
Weather: Overcast & cold
Species Highlights: 
Teal, Fieldfare, Jay, Redwing.
Observation: 
After working last night got up around 11am and headed out around patch, Bath Mill had a influx of Jay seeing 3 walking through, with Blackbird numbers high too, at least 10 on dog walk underneath apple trees.


Up on to Fields and saw 10 pheasant, no Skylark seen although a few Meadow Pipit flying through. Big numbers of LBB & B headed gulls seen today.


Redwing overhead in village and really pleased to see our first Fieldfare this winter in church orchard, chasing off any Blackbirds and Robin that were stealing his apples.


In Sheep field below church yard lots of activity with Goldfinch, Song Thrush, Nuthatch and even 3 Pied Wagtail feeding around the 2 sheep in field.


Plenty of Rook, Crow and Jackdaw in fields before SAC (Send A Cow) Goldcrest in SAC Woodland but not much else today. 
Up onto Lake, lower 10 Mallard and Billy the Mute plus this Kingfisher , fishing from at least 15ft up a tree and catching!


Top lake all 3 Swan present that Cygnet still with mum & Dad, Strange ?!
Really pleased to see the Teal back, 10 birds in normal spot at far end of lake by boathouse.


In yews in college Redwing feeding along with Greenfinch, all very flighty you'd think they'd be used to disruption from students.


On out through college and onto back drive lots i mean 100's of Black Headed Gulls flying overhead never seen so many, it's normally Lesser Black Backed gulls flying to roost but BH today outnumbering by 100's.


House Sparrow in village but little else going on. This Buzzard is interesting, we first saw it November 5th today unusually it with perched on pole in village watching horse field, Rabbits? notice his face?


A car went past as i approached!


He seems to have a feathers out of place or marking on his face, not sure if it's a injury? i'll keep a eye on him. At least i'll be able to tell him apart from the rest.

That was it today, need some sunshine! Ended the walk on 39 Species & 6 miles.


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Friday, 24 November 2017

Patch Gold today

Date: 23/11/2017
Location: Newton St Loe
Weather: Some Blue, some rain and wind
Species Highlights: 
Lapwing, Greenfinch.
Observation: 
Weather been grey and wet recently but this morning it started blue and sunny so headed out around patch. I'm very glad i did! Along brook which was very high, alarm going off at bridge. goldcrest in trees but nothing out of the ordinary here. On up to fields Skylark, Linnet and Meadow Pipits but not in big numbers. 
As i looked towards Seven acre woods i thought i saw a Wood pigeon flock, better check i thought as quite distant and to my amazement it was Lapwing!!! 


I counted 24 Birds flying right over the top of Seven Acre, Excellent, Patch Gold as they say.


The last time we had Lapwing was 2010, taken with my first camera D3000 85mm lens.
That was one bird so 24 a record for sure and takes our Patch total this year to 84 species, we've beaten last year by 2 species and still 38 days to go !!


Wood pigeon in large numbers with at least 70+ in this one tree.


Despite the lovely sunshine and the still smiling face from the lapwings, species were quite low on this walk, i was expecting to see more Redwing, Fieldfare and Mistle Thrushes but as of yet on walk was missing these but 4 Roe deer 2 in church fields + 1 back on dog track.


Plus this cracking little male in send a cow Woodland.


Lakes very quite but good news Billy the male Mute on lower lake is back! not sure where he went but he's back and took food from me. 3 Mute still on top with no sign today of the Water Rail.
A few Redwing in normal Yew trees and Mistle thrush now, 2 Greenfinch plus a couple of Chaffinches.


Out back along rear drive 25+ of each corvid feeding in fields.


At end of drive 6/7 Greenfinch in trees, similar place to last week.


Blue skies looking splendid.


Didn't mention but Coal tits and Goldcrest in good numbers with at least 6 and 7 birds seen along walk. West of England falconry had about 5 Harris Hawks and this other Raptor, not sure what it is.


No Stonechat today as farmer seems to be pulling hedgerow where i normally see them!! No ideal why, if i see him i'll ask . Ended the day on 38 species, but still smiling from the Lapwings.
 Just got home and it poured down, Perfect.


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Thursday, 16 November 2017

Somerset Levels & Patch Walk

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

Observation: 
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
Location:
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
Observation: 
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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