Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Wed 31 Aug

A half hour visit before work failed to produce much of note. Two Green Sandpipers were on West Pool with another at the southern end. Also from seen from the area in front of the hide, four Common Sandpipers and ten Teal. A single Sand Martin flew through heading south and a Stock Dove passed by overhead.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Meare Heath NNR - Sun 29 Aug

After a relaxing morning recovering from a late night at the local pub, Ellie and I set off to the Somerset Levels after lunch and took a walk out to Meare Heath. We sat on a bench overlooking the drained lagoon in the hope of seeing the very elusive Spotted Crake that had been present for a couple of days. However, the closest we got was a Water Rail. Also on the lagoon amongst large numbers of Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings I saw both Redshank and Spotted Redshank, a Green Sandpiper, and a couple of Ruff. A female Garganey was also present.
I walked Ellie back to the car so that she could rest in a comfortable seat before walking back out to the hide overlooking Noah's Lake. I saw my target bird straight away, an Osprey perched on a dead tree. I had only been watching it for a short while when it took off, and I was then treated to three fishing attempts by the Osprey, though all three were unsuccessful.
Leaving the hide and walking back to the car I tried and failed again to see the Spotted Crake, but had enjoyed a pleasant afternoon out.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Sun 28 Aug

After dropping Ellie off at church I spent an hour at the reservoir, making straight for the hide and scanning across the exposed mud. Three Green Sandpipers and six Common Sandpipers were present, and the juvenile Ringed Plover was still about. The adult Yellow-legged Gull was again seen briefly and a Little Egret was sat with the mass of Cormorants and Grey Herons. A total of eight Teal were seen, so a few more had arrived overnight. Several Chiffchaffs were flitting around in the various trees and bushes, though whether these are passage birds or local breeders is anyone's guess. Before I knew it my time was up and I had to head on back to pick up Ellie.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Sat 27 Aug

After a morning in the supermarket followed by chilling out in front of the TV watching the Grand Prix qualifying I decided against a trip to the Somerset Levels and stayed close to home, popping up to the reservoir for an hour.
There was nothing of note on West Pool or from the northern causeway so I went on down to the south and set up my 'scope near the hide. There were a few waders about, with four Common Sandpipers, two Green Sandpipers and a juvenile Ringed Plover. But the surprise find was a Spotted Redshank.
As I watched the waders all hell broke lose as a Peregrine suddenly swooped in and sent everything flying. The Spotted Redshank took to the air calling and after starting off north gained height, banked round and vanished to the south.
The adult Yellow-legged Gull made a brief appearance and a female Sparrowhawk soared overhead. More excitment in the form of a Yellow Wagtail bathing on the water's edge. At least one more was heard calling as it flew overhead.
A small party of six Ruddy Ducks were also present, I have waited 24 hours before reporting these (they were not present the following day) as DEFRA would be sure to turn up and blast these delightful birds out of existence should they become aware of their presence.

I then drove round to the Water Treatment Works as I hadn't visited this part of the site for a while. A female Grey Wagtail was by the water outlet and a Chiffchaff was seen picking insects from the leaves of an Oak tree. Around the outflow stream there were a number of damselflies, with both Beautiful Demoiselle and Banded Demoiselle seen. With my stomach rumbling I headed on home for tea.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Thu 25 Aug

A visit before work today as I was hoping that heavy overnight rain might have forced something to drop in. Yet again, it hadn't! On West Pool there was a single Green Sandpiper and a Common Sandpiper whilst it was pretty much as you were at the southern end.
The Great Black-backed Gull was still present as were the adult and juvenile Ringed Plovers. The two Green Sandpipers hadn't gone anywhere and there were still five Common Sandpipers about. The single Wigeon was also seen.
One amazing bit of action this morning as about half a dozen House Martins had somehow got themselves "beached" in the mud on the water's edge and this left them completely powerless as both a Grey Heron and a Black-headed Gull saw them as an easy meal. I have no idea how or why the House Martins landed on this sticky mud, the only thing I can think is that they came down to drink and their feathers got caked up and water-logged leaving them unable to fly away.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Wed 24 Aug

Having not visited the reservoir for five days I popped up after work and made straight for the southern end where there was quite a bit going on. There were still four Common Sandpipers and two Green Sandpipers present but an adult and juvenile Ringed Plover were new arrivals. The adult Yellow-legged Gull was still about but the real surprise was an adult Great Black-backed Gull, a very scarce visitor to Sutton Bingham. A sign that winter is on the way, with six Teal and a single Wigeon having turned up. Finally, a Little Egret was also at the southern end.
I drove back up to the northern causeway and a second Little Egret was seen as it flew over the car. Another Green Sandpiper was present on West Pool and was the only other bird of note this afternoon.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Fri 19 Aug

I made a late visit to the reservoir this evening and made for the southern end where there were four Common Sandpipers, two Green Sandpipers and a Dunlin present. The adult Yellow-legged Gull was still about, as was the female Teal. A juvenile Little Egret flew in for a while before flying in to the trees presumably to roost.
At the northern end there were a further two Little Egrets and on West Pool another Common Sandpiper and a Green Sandpiper. Just as I was leaving four Mandarin flew over heading north.
A new sighting for me at the reservoir tonight as I saw a Hare in one of the fields neighbouring the site. There were also several Roe Deer and a Grey Squirrel was attacking a hazel tree looking for nuts.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Wed 17 Aug

After a heavy rain shower I decided it might be worth a quick visit to the reservoir after work. A Little Egret was the only bird of note at the northern end, and the southern end produced pretty much the same as yesterday. The two Green Sandpipers were again feeding on the exposed mud and the adult Yellow-legged Gull was still about. Another Little Egret was present and the only "new" bird was a summer-plumaged Dunlin.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Tue 16 Aug

A half hour visit before work failed to turn up anything that unusual this morning. A Little Egret was feeding along the shore opposite the car park and picnic area but again the most interest was at the southern end of the reservoir where there were two Green Sandpipers and three Common Sandpipers present. The adult Yellow-legged Gull was again about, two Teal were sat on the mud roosting, and a Kingfisher was also seen. But still no rare Nearctic wader!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Fontmell Down - Sun 13 Aug

After an early lunch Ellie and I set off to a site just south of Shaftesbury to search for a butterfly that is rapidly decreasing in numbers, the Silver-spotted Skipper. We arrived at about 1.30pm and started walking down in to a valley, seeing a couple of Holly Blues, Speckled Woods and Green-veined Whites along the way. As we walked down the hill we met a couple coming the other way, and on asking about the butterflies told us we were heading the wrong way! Fortunately they gave us directions and before long we had found the field we were looking for. Ellie was by this time feeling rather tired so she walked back to the car, but I set about trying to find some butterflies. There were loads of Meadow Browns and a few Small Heaths and Small Coppers, and after some searching I was lucky enough to find a couple of Silver-spotted Skippers and soon called others over to see them too.
So after a successful trip we headed back home after an enjoyable afternoon out.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 14 Aug

After dropping Ellie off at church I spent an hour at Sutton Bingham, and yet again there was little change to previous days. Nine Common Sandpipers and two Green Sandpipers were feeding at the southern end, and a Little Egret was also present. Eleven Canada Geese were roosting on the shore opposite the hide. It was quantity rather than quality today, with over thirty Cormorants and a dozen Grey Herons at the reservoir and at least six Buzzards soaring overhead. The only real bit of interest came in a distant falcon seen flying east, but I could not get enough detail to identify it.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Sat 13 Aug

Awaking to overcast skies and the threat of rain, Ellie and I decided against going out for the day and instead spent the morning catching up on some bits and pieces in the house before popping out for a hour. A flying visit to the supermarket was followed by an equally brief stop at Sutton Bingham. After a quick walk Ellie sat and read in the car whilst I took a quick look to see if any new birds had turned up overnight. They hadn't! There were still six Common Sandpipers and a Green Sandpiper at the southern end with the Yellow-legged Gull. Another Common Sandpiper was on West Pool and that was that!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Fri 12 Aug

The thing with having a local patch is that you have to work hard sometimes to gain some reward, well another visit to the reservoir this month again failed to produce anything different. The southern end still hosted half a dozen Common Sandpipers and a single Green Sandpiper. The adult Yellow-legged Gull was still present and a Little Egret was seen from the northern causeway. An hour long visit tonight and maybe a return visit over the weekend may produce something a bit more unusal!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Thu 11 Aug

My first visit to the reservoir for a few days and not a lot had changed. West Pool hosted just a single Common Sandpiper and at the southern end of the reservoir another four Common Sandpipers were present. An adult Little Grebe was feeding with a juvenile bird, indicating successful breeding at Sutton Bingham for this species this year. The adult Yellow-legged Gull was still about and was the only other bird of note during my thirty minute visit after work.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Sat 6 Aug

Another day and another trip to Sutton Bingham, this time I took a packed lunch and spent a couple of hours on site during the middle of the day. A quick look over West Pool on my down to the south of the reservoir produced just a single Common Sandpiper, though on my way home two hours later there were two Mandarin and a Green Sandpiper on West Pool.
Sat in front of the hide I noticed a drop in the number of Common Sandpipers present compared to recent days with just seven about. Another Green Sandpiper was seen and an unexpected highlight was the presence of a single Wood Sandpiper.
The long-staying Yellow-legged Gull was again about, as were two Little Egrets. A Kingfisher whizzed by skimming across the water's surface and a Little Grebe was also seen. Finally, a Raven was perched briefly on top of one of the pylons and the female Teal which I have seen on and off over the past few weeks again put in an appearance.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Fri 5 Aug

A brief visit after work produced more of the same today, with single Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpipers on West Pool and a Little Egret on the water's edgte of the main reservoir. Yet again the southern end was the most productive with a total of seventeen Common Sandpipers today and another Green Sandpiper. The adult Yellow-legged Gull was still around and another two Little Egrets were seen, but there was nothing different from the birds seen over the past few days.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Sutton Bingham - Thu 4 Aug

After a night of heavy rain I thought it might be worth a quick trip to the reervoir late morning in case the weather had brought in any migrant waders overnight. Unfortunately there were no mega rarities about, but Common Sandpipers numbered some sixteen birds and a single Green Sandpiper was also present, all viewable from the area outside the hide.
The adult Yellow-legged Gull was again present and was seen making light work of a Crayfish. A Kingfisher flew past heading up the reservoir and the two Little Egrets were seen again. A single Mandarin was roosting on the water's edge with a Teal, and a second Mandarin was on West Pool.
After about half an hour the incessant drizzle was getting too much so I came on home to enjoy the last of my day's off this summer.

Sutton Bingham - Wed 3 Aug

A late afternoon visit with Ellie after work generated a bit of interest in the way of birds, all of which was at the southern end of the reservoir. A walk from the hide almost as far as the car park only produced the adult Yellow-legged Gull sat on the water and a real surprise in the form of a fly-over Linnet, my first at the reservoir for many a year. We also saw a Kingfisher, a bird which always delights Ellie.
When we returned to the hide I spent ten minutes scanning the area and saw two Little Egrets opposite the hide and a total of seven Common Sandpipers scattered along the water's edge. More unexpected visitors were present with three Redshank feeding for a while before settling down to rest.
So after a pleasant hour out in the sun we headed back home.