Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Somerset -12th February

 On the weekend of the 12th February we were staying in the Cotswolds, Sarah had a pre-birthday bash with her sisters arranged and so I headed out on a mini-twitch, First stop was at Greylake RSPB where a male Baikal Teal has been present since 9th December 2021. The bird showed well but was asleep for much of the time that I was there. Having seen a flock of 450,000 in South Korea in January 2020 I did question why I had driven for over an hour to see a single bird, see photos and video here. However, this is a fantastic site with large numbers of wildfowl present, I also saw Marsh Harrier and up to seven Great Egret. My eBird checklist for the site can be viewed here.

I then headed to Weston Airfield where I had good views of two Penduline Tit feeding on Greater Reedmace seed heads with a third bird heard nearby. There have been up to three birds present at this site since 21st December. My eBird checklist for the site can be viewed here.

Monday, 7 February 2022

Warblington - 7th February

After a survey for work I popped into Warblington near to Havant to year tick Cattle Egret. The fields around Church Lane are a regular wintering site for these ever more common birds and I quickly found five birds feeding with cattle and giving good views. My eBird list for the site can be viewed here

Sunday, 6 February 2022

Blashford Lakes and Normandy Lagoon - 4th February

I made a quick visit to Blashford Lakes and specifically to the Ivy Lake North hide this afternoon. A wintering Bittern has once again taken up residence in the small Reed and Reedmace bed in front of the hide. I arrived to find around six people in the hide and the Bittern 'on show' just to the south. The Ivy Lake North hide is one of the worst hides I have ever watched from. There are only a couple of open viewing slots the others have, inexplicably, been fitted with a lightly purplish tinted glass which overtime has become distorted and marked. This makes viewing almost impossible and photography worthless - its an absolutely terrible hide, why the glass is simply not removed I do not know.

Anyway, the Bittern was showing but was keeping hidden in the Reeds and Reedmace, it did climb one of the stands of Reedmace when it showed a little better but still rather obscured. I got some rubbish views from inside the hide and then left to view from the small screen just outside the hide where views were far more satisfactory. My eBird checklist for the visit can be viewed here.

I then headed down to Normandy Lagoon for an hour or so before school pick-up, the tide was very high and there were few birds on the lagoon and I failed to see my two main targets, Slavonian Grebe and Little Stint. The highlights were one Spotted Redshank, five Greenshank, four Goldeneye and 16 Avocet. My eBird checklist for the visit can be viewed here.

Goldeneye - Normandy Lagoon, Lymington

Avocet - Normandy Lagoon, Lymington

Monday, 31 January 2022

Hook with Warsash Local Nature Reserve - 28th January

After a bird survey in Fareham I headed to the Hook with Warsash Local Nature Reserve to see a Yellow-browed Warbler that is overwintering at the site. The bird showed fairly well and relatively quickly as it travelled with the local Long-tailed Tit flock. I had never visited this site before and I spent a little while enjoying the small number of waders and wildfowl present on the falling tide.

My eBird checklist for the visit can be seen here.

Eastbourne - 27th January

Today I visited Chatsworth Cross on Madeira Walk on the seafront at Eastbourne for a Hume's Warbler that has been present since 14th January. Hume's Warbler is British tick for me despite there having been 170 records of the species in Britain to the end of 2019 with a further three records in Ireland to the end of 2018. The bird showed almost immediately on my arrival foraging in Holm Oak just off the pathway. During my time on site it spent most of time foraging very actively in Holm Oak. It would give frequent bursts of rapid calling but would go quiet for 5-10 minutes at a time and would then be very difficult to track. I managed to obtain a few sound recordings but only poor photographs in the lowlight and breezy conditions.

My eBird checklist and sound recordings can be viewed here.

Loddon Valley - 24th January

Today I headed to North Hampshire to the Loddon Valley to the north-east of Basingstoke. A tailless Richard's Pipit had been present in a wet field in the valley bottom for a few days as well as a few Jack Snipe. With the use of my thermal camera I soon found a couple of Jack Snipe but despite criss crossing the field on several occasions the Pipit eluded me. My eBird checklist can be viewed here.

Jack Snipe - Loddon Valley, Hampshire

Monday, 17 January 2022

Norfolk Weekend - 15th - 17th January

Sarah, Tobias and I spent the weekend in Norfolk. It was fairly slow going bird wise but we enjoyed walks at Titchwell, Cley and Holkham and stopped at Welney WWT on the return journey. Highlights were a 1st year Iceland Gull at Cley, a single Snow Bunting at Holkham (we couldn't locate the main flock of 80 birds) plus of course the large numbers of Pink-footed Goose that provide the soundscape for many walks. At Welney we saw eight Tundra Bean Goose, several hundred Whooper Swan and two Cattle Egret.

My eBird checklists can be viewed here:

Iceland Gull - Cley Beach, Norfolk

Iceland Gull - Cley Beach, Norfolk

Tundra Bean Goose - Welney WWT, Norfolk

Tundra Bean Goose - Welney WWT, Norfolk

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Slimbridge WWT - 2nd January

Sarah and I made a short visit to Slimbridge while staying in our cottage in the Cotswolds today. There were large numbers Golden Plover, Lapwing, Wigeon and Teal present and 120 Bewick Swan. We spent quite some time just watching the sheer spectacle of so many birds. These were regularly hassled by either a Peregrine, Goshawk or Marsh Harrier putting all the birds into the air in a massive swirling mass. As we left a Glossy Ibis showed well on the approach road.

Lapwing - Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire

Lapwing, Wigeon and Golden Plover - Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire

Bewick's Swan - Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire

Bewick's Swan - Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire

Glossy Ibis - Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire

Glossy Ibis - Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire