Thursday, 12 April 2018

NSL catch up with Pied Fly, Peregrine, and Slavonian Grebes

Date: 04-12 April 2018
Location: 
Newton St loe, Cheddar, Kingsgate Park(Yate)
Weather: 
Mostly grey apart from Cheddar which was totally blue.
Species Highlights: 
Slavonian Grebe, Peregrine Falcon, Pied Flycatcher, Willow Warbler, Sand Martin, House Martin, Barn Swallow.
Observation: 
Another round up of the week, first off a garden tick while getting the washing in off line eagle eyed Lauren spotted a Peregrine Falcon above garden, I ran in, got camera and managed a shot. This was on the 4th.



5th April Blue skies were forcast and the Slavonian Grebe was still at Cheddar so headed down.
Almost in same spot as my previous trip but looking so much better with the sun on its back!


Great Crested Grebes looking spectacular too.


 Last one of this little stunner.


Next a patch walk a grey day but me and lauren had high hopes for something special....Not much going on, top lake really low looking prime for a wader but almost empty of wildfowl. We did manage a sighting of the Little Owl.


At Keep Greenfinch and still Hawfinch saw 6 birds into the 4 month now.
Apart from a few Chiffchaff and 2 Blackcap that was it until village where we spotted our first returning Barn Swallow, within a week of previous years.


A bit of decorating and next free day was 11th a very grey and damp day so headed around patch again, Linnet numbers good 150+. Yellowhammers have dropped a bit but lots of corvids feeding in the Yellowhammer spot so may have moved. Another Peregrine flying into 7 Acre wood getting a bit more frequent. I
Into village and no Barn Swallow was hoping to see a few more, soon i hope.

Lake still very low despite lots of rain, it appears slice gate still wide open 8 Grey Heron 2 nesting on top lake instead of Herony.


Billy has a friend at last!! last years cygnet from top lake has finally been driven off and has joined him, names for the nameless female on a postcode please.
The Swans top lake have made a second nest, no egg yet.


No Hawfinch seen but workmen doing path up to keep so lots of noise. Greenfinch still in yews though.


Very grey misty skies but John Hurt the Buzzard seems to have found a mate and was displaying while she looked on from a vantage point.


7 acre in mist but Linnet, Yellowhammer, Stock Dove and Wood Pigeons in the specs along with Jackdaw & Crows. Ened my walk on 43 species.


Today the 12th and the has weather not changed still misty and grey but a Pied Flycatcher had been showing at Kingsgate Park in Yate never been before but a cracking little place with lots of birds on show. Walked around small lake and soon found the Pied Flycatcher.


Also my first Willow Warbler of the year.


After a couple of hours and getting freezing cold, April! I thought i'd head down to Chew to see if the Osprey which was reported in the morning, no it didn't show but plenty of these hawking over the lake.

Sand Martin.


These of the Dam at Chew, think we're gonna need a bigger aerial!


Just didn't have the light, terrible setting but great to watch and looking forward to the warmer months and better light. 
That's the lot, till next week, I hope a few butterflies about as its suppose to get warmer finger crossed 



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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Spring Mirgrants

Date: 03/04/2018
Location: Newton St loe
Weather: Grey, Overcast becoming Brighter at end of walk.
Species Highlights: 
Chiffchaff, Hawfinch, Mandarin Duck, Kestrel.

Observation: 
Just a quick update after a long overdue patch walk, out through Bath Mill and the Chiffchaff have returned at least 2 heard and seen calling along brook with more on dog track.

Awful picture, they'll get better I promise.



Linnet flock still around but fewer birds saw  around 25, plenty of Skylark activity heard but all very high and difficult to see. After being away for over a week Yellowhammers seemed to have spread across fields, again numbers lower with around 10+ by trigpoint.


No Swallows or Martins in or over village yet, any time soon.
More Chiffchaff in Send a Cow woodland, plus this rather smart male Grey Wagtail on lower lake waterfall.



At top lake water level very low in fact lowest I've ever seen meaning Teal number at 5 birds Mallards also low but some could be off nesting. 
7 Grey Heron at top end of lake with only one bird on nest, they don't seem to be using Herony this year yet but still early. More Chiffchaff calling around lake. One distant Hawfinch seen, but chatting to another birder he said he saw 2 birds.


Barn Owl seen, first daytime sighting this year all previous sightings have been in darkness.
Almost home just before Pennyquick I heard i thought 2 Mallards rise from flooded field just before road, but very surprised to to see it was 2 Mandarin Duck male and female!


Almost a garden tick, with Chiffchaff and the Mandarin this takes our year patch total to 69 species. Going well with plenty more to add, I hope.


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Monday, 2 April 2018

Barcelona and Scotland Trip Reports

Date: 1st April 2018
Location: Barcelona, Scotland and Back in the UK
Weather: Barcelona - Blue Skies, Light Winds and 20+ Degrees
Scotland - Cloudy, Rain and Windy
Cheddar Reservoir

Species Highlights: 
Barcelona
House Martin, Red-Rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Kestrel, Serin, Yellow-Legged Gull, Monk Parakeet, Spotless Starling, Peregrine Falcon, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Alpine Swift, Blue Rock Thrush, Rose-Ringed Parakeet, Alpine Accentor
Scotland 
Hooded Crow,Ringed Plover, Curlew, Razorbill, Guillemot

Barcelona Trip Reports here:

I visited Barcelona from 25th March to 29th March for a City Trip so didn't have my birding lenses or binoculars, I also didn't do any birding, so anything I seen was a unexpected bonus. We stayed in the Hilton at the Diagonal Mar area.


On the first morning, we walked through Parc De La Ciutadella on our way to the Centre and within minutes I spotted a single Spotless Starling feeding alongside some Starlings. With that a Monk Parakeet starting feeding alongside them also! 



Inside the park, there was Yellow-Legged Gull, and normal UK birds, but plenty more Monk Parakeet and a single pair of Rose-Ringed Parakeet (Ring-Necked Parakeet)





We spent most the day in Parc De Montjuic which had views of the City and Port.

Plenty of singing Serin about, Chiffchaff, a single Sardinian Warbler singing from the cliff and some butterflies - Swallowtails and Spanish Wall Brown.



The second day we went to Park Guell, and once again plenty of singing Serin and Parakeets.



Our last full day we went to Monserrat via the Train and spent the morning there.

A few surprises here! Blue Rock Thrush displaying and singing away from the cliff edge.



Also a Alpine Accentor was a very unexpected find, it posed nicely before continuing to feed.


Overall a very successful trip and will have to return to do some birding!



Scotland trip Dunoon

 A coach trip mainly but took my camera and binoculars just in case! After the 11 hour coach journey up....11 hours i know! I arrived in Dunoon and after checking in headed down to the Firth of Clyde estuary shore, soon had hooded Crow, Oystercatchers and Redshank in view.
Hooded crow seemed very jumpy but great to watch collecting shellfish.





Curlew stayed distant but again nice to watch it feed along shore.


Went on a few day trips Oban, Loch Lomond and was surprised how little bird life was about, Oban 1 Black Guillemot, 2 Red Breasted Mergansers a few Turnstone on beach was about it. Hooded Crow was the most abundant species.


Went every morning and evening down to Clyde but again little about, a couple of Ringed Plover blending into the pebbles.


A few Razorbill around 40 Eider and a few more Red Breasted Merganser. I walked around 5 miles either side of the hotel.


Some stunning landscapes this one from Inveraray looking across to Inveraray castle.
Next trip to Scotland will be for the Chequered Skipper in June,
 let's not hope it'll take 11 hours !!


Cheddar Reservoir

Headed down to Cheddar for a couple of year ticks Common Scoter and the Slavonian Grebe which had been showing, on arriving not showing so almost walked halfway round before seeing the Scoter very distant but a few shots. 


Carried on around 3/4 way round got on to the Slavonian Grebe, showing much closer.


Such a smart little bird.



Saw a few House Martin i think but i'll wait to tick those, a few Chiffchaff heard calling on the 3 miles walk around. My uk year list now stands at 139 world year list at 173.

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Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Slimbridge - Jack Snipe 20/03/2018

Date: 20/03/2018
Location: Slimbridge WWT
Weather: Grey Skies, but warmer
Species Highlights: 
Jack Snipe, Chiffchaff, Black Tailed Godwit, Ruff, Redshank.
Observation: 
On Monday a Jack Snipe had been found at Slimbridge and seemed to be showing quite well so i thought i'd head up on the off chance, my previous shot of a Jack Snipe was poor and i'd last seen one 15/01/2012 at Chew Valley Lake.

See, pretty bad!


So almost any picture would beat my previous, on heading towards the Knot hide spotted this rather smart Chiffchaff and my first of the year.


Had a scan through reeds but apart from a Snipe nothing of note so checked Holden hide and a group of Black Tailed Godwits feeding, great looking birds.


With Redshank, Oystercatcher and this lovely Ruff also showing.



Headed back to Knott hide and Les Ditchburn @Lesditch had just got a scope view of the Jack Snipe! Brilliant, after some distant obscured shots went to Willow hide, could just see it but then it darted across wet patch.


 It didn't feed just sat, but still Jack Snipe.


Such amazing camouflage.


This zoomed out view, just to show how difficult it was to see.


A cracker for sure.


Had a wander around, Crested Screamer feathers.


Velociraptor or Muscovy Duck.


Went back for a last look at Jack Snipe and did a video, even a bit of bobbing.

Press here
You Tube -Video

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