Wednesday, 2 November 2016

October Birding

Work has been very busy and with an upcoming trip I have spent a great deal of time treating Sarah and making her as happy as possible, hopefully paving the way for an acceptance of another foreign foray - its been tough going and taken a lot of financial input! So birding has taken a bit of a back-seat position and I have hardly been out at all since Scilly at the end of September in what has been billed as one of the best Autumn's for rarities ever in the British Isles. Much of this birding action has been on the east coast and in the northern isles and local rarities have been a bit thin on the ground with the exception of a few Yellow-browed Warbler here and there. I wish I could have twitched one of the Siberian Accentor's though!

On 8th October I paid a short visit to Pennington Marshes, the birding was nice but there was little of any real note, the days totals were:
  • Brent Goose - 9
  • Pintail - 21
  • Wigeon - 190 (49 on Efford Lagoon)
  • Shoveler - 36
  • Pochard - 1
  • Tufted Duck - 35 Efford Lagoon
  • Coot - 110 Efford Lagoon
  • Spotted Redshank - 1
  • Lapwing - 45
  • Stock Dove - 120
  • Sky Lark - 55 over
  • Swallow - 11
  • House Martin - 14
  • Bearded Tit - Small group calling from Avon Water reedbed
  • Whitethroat - 2
  • Blackcap - 2 male, 1 female
  • Dartford Warbler- 3
  • Willow Warbler - 1
  • Chiffchaff - 13
  • Goldcrest - 7
  • Wheatear - 1
  • Stonechat - 9
  • Siskin - 8
  • Brambling - 1 over 
  • Raven - 2
On my return home 11 Redwing flew over home, my first of the winter.

Northern Wheatear - Keyhaven Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Grey Heron - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Wigeon - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh


On 9th October we were in Cheltenham for the day and I was able to get to Slimbridge while Tobias spent time with his cousins and Sarah went out with her sisters. I spent most of the time in the Discovery Hide scanning the South Lake where the highlights were 21 Knot, four Ruff, 11 Common Crane and a Spotted Redshank. The highlight of the morning was a rather distant Pectoral Sandpiper from the Zeiss Hide.

Knot from the Discovery Hide, South Lake, Slimbridge

Shoveler from the Discovery Hide, South Lake, Slimbridge

Common Crane from the Discovery Hide, South Lake, Slimbridge

Common Crane from the Discovery Hide, South Lake, Slimbridge

Common Crane from the Discovery Hide, South Lake, Slimbridge

Shoveler from the Discovery Hide, South Lake, Slimbridge

Herring Gull (adult, 3rd winter and 1st winter) plus Lesser Black-backed Gull (3rd winter) from the Discovery Hide, South Lake, Slimbridge

Herring Gull (2nd winter) from the Discovery Hide, South Lake, Slimbridge

Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult winter) from the Discovery Hide, South Lake, Slimbridge

On 12th October I paid another visit to Pennington Marsh but it was pretty slow going, highlights were six Chiffchaff, five Swallow, 45 Brent Goose and four Greenshank.

Oystercatcher on the intertidal at Pennington Marsh

My final birding of the month on 29th October was a trip to Slimbridge with Tobias while Sarah was meeting a friend, we spent most of the time feeding ducks but did stop for the group of six Cattle Egret that had been present since 26th October. They showed fairly distantly feeding amongst the cattle opposite the school - a tick for Tobias. I didn't have a camera with me but below is a shot of five of the group by Roy Shilham.

Five of the six Cattle Egret at Slimbridge - Image by Roy Shilham