Saturday, 29 October 2011

South-east Devon - Sat 29 Oct

An early start as myself and some of the usual crowd set off at 7.00am and drove down to Orcombe Point near Exmouth to search for a Dusky Warbler. After a good search we drew a blank, hardly surprising as the weather overnight had been pretty clear and ideal for migration. We did see several hundred Woodpigeons fly over as well as a Peregrine but with little else about we headed inland.
Our next stop was Aylesbeare Common RSPB, we were hoping to find some Dartford Warblers, but the severe weather over the past two winters has decimated the population and we again missed out. We did see a couple of Siskin fly-over and heard a few Lesser Redpolls and Redwings also.
Continuing east we stopped off at Branscombe, parking in the village and walking down to the beach. Whilst it looked ideal for scarce migrants we again saw very little, with the pick of the few birds we did see being a Chiffchaff. A couple of Ravens flew over, as did a Peregrine.
We then set off for Seaton, and after a quick and unproductive stop (other than giving me a chance to get a very tasty bacon and sausage baguette) at Seaton Hole we drove on to Black Hole Marsh...where there were no birds! Technically not quite true, but there was certainly nothing out of the ordinary. A few Black-tailed Godwits were on the estuary and were about the pick of the crop.
So at 3.30pm we called it a day and headed on back home. A great day out socially, but a real dead loss with regard to birds!

Sutton Bingham - Fri 28 Oct

A brief afternoon visit to the reservoir was not overly productive. Two Little Egrets were on the exposed mud off the dam, and three Wigeon were grazing on the vegetation on the edge of West Pool.
At the southern end of the reservoir there were still two Mute Swans present, as were twenty-three Teal. A single female Tufted Duck was also seen and at least thirty Meadow Pipits were seen in flight, the majority of which were heading south.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Oldbury-on-Severn - Thu 27 Oct

A long drive in really dismal weather this afternoon as I set off up the M5 to Gloucershire and the small village of Oldbury-on-Severn. I arrived on site at about 2.30pm and then had a half mile walk in the rain to the yacht club where a female Pied Wheatear had been present for the last couple of days. As I neared the yacht club I could see a couple of birders scoping a bird that was on the roof, so a quick look through my scope reaped rewards as I got on to the bird.
Happy with the sighting I carried on to the club itself and over the next half an hour was treated to some cracking views of this delightful bird, at times as close as six feet away.
Pied Wheatear was a life tick for me, and I was lucky enough to manage a couple of semi-decent record shots with my mobile.

Also present, in pretty awful weather, a single Northern Wheatear and a few Meadow Pipits, but to be honest, I was not really looking around for much else as this was a simple twitch. At 3.00pm I walked back to the car and drove back home after a really profitable afternoon.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Sutton Bingham - Sat 22 Oct

A late afternoon visit today, and I spent a fair amount of time around the trees at the southern end of the reservoir. However, there was very little about and the pick of the few birds present was a Marsh Tit. One of the neighbouring fields held a single White Wagtail alongside five Pied Wagtails. Two juvenile Mute Swans had arrived overnight and were with the four adults that I had seen last night. A single Little Grebe was seen from the hide. The northern end of the reservoir produced a Little Egret and nothing else of note.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Sutton Bingham - Fri 21 Oct

A quick visit after work today and there was very little of note at either end of the reservoir. From the northern causeway I saw a Little Grebe, but that was about it. A walk from the hide produced four Mute Swans which were new arrivals, and thirty Teal. A couple of Meadow Pipits flew over and a Peregrine was perched on one of the pylons.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sutton Bingham - Sun 16 Oct

Unlike recent weeks all the action during an hour long visit this morning, whilst Ellie was at church, was around West Pool. At least twenty Meadow Pipits were feeding on and around the area of earth that has been exposed due to the laying of some new piping. Alongside the pipits were three White Wagtails and a Little Egret was also present. A Chiffchaff was feeding in sallows and ten or so Skylarks flew over heading south. Wintering wildfowl look as if they are starting to return with a small party of ten Wigeon that flew in and landed on West Pool, whilst the number of Teal at the southern end had risen to twenty-three birds.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Sutton Bingham - Wed 12 Oct

I had a busy morning attending an Asbestos Awareness Course and as it went on into the early afternoon I ended up missing out on a fair portion of my half day, and I then had to take Ellie in to town and buy some tiles for the kitchen. So it was hardly surprisingly that I could only make a brief visit to the reservoir late in the afternoon today.
I started off with a walk along the water's edge from the hide to the Canoe Club, but other than a few Teal and the Yellow-legged Gull there was nothing about...and a couple walking a dog probably explained why. However, I was my diplomatic best today and instead of a rant I politely told them that dogs were not allowed on the site...which they took very well, something that dog-walkers don't always do when in the wrong!
A fairly short stop at West Pool produced a single Wigeon and two Little Egrets, and a Snipe flew up and circled above me for a while before flying south. There was nothing else much of note and as I was expecting a visit from a plumber I had to head back home after less than an hour on site.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sutton Bingham - Sun 9 Oct

As Ellie had been stuck indoors all day we decided to pop up to the reservoir for a walk before dinner. We followed the water's edge from the hide up to te car park and then retraced our steps. As was the case yesterday, it was very quiet on the bird front. However, the juvenile Common Tern was still present and allowed us to approach to within six foot. The adult Yellow-legged Gull was seen briefly and a Little Egret was on West Pool, and that was about it!

Chew Valley Lake - Sun 9 Oct

After getting up early to watch South Africa vs Australia in the Rugby World Cup I then set off for the morning leaving Ellie fast asleep in bed. I arrived at Chew Valley Lake just after 9.00am and scouted out Herriot's Bridge where a Spotted Sandpiper had been present for the last week or so. Unfortunately there was no sign of the bird in pretty poor conditions, there was a strong wind and steady, albeit light, drizzle. I did see a very obliging Water Rail though. After about half an hour I decided to move on and after collecting a day permit from Woodford Lodge drove down to Stratford Hide, a very brief stop at Heron's Bay produced a Green Sandpiper amongst loads of wildfowl.
From the hide I soon picked out two Ruff feeding on the mud in front of the hide and they were joined by two Pectoral Sandpipers, a small flock of eighteen Dunlin were also present. Scanning across the water I picked out two surviving Ruddy Ducks (a fortunate pair that had evaded the guns of DEFRA) and a drake Red-creasted Pochard. A couple of Meadow Pipits were feeding in the short vegetation that had started growing up on the exposed mud, and they were in the company of a Wheatear.
I was hoping to find the long-staying Ferruginous Duck, but there was no sign of this rarity either. Fortunately another birder entered the hide and after a bit of a chat he told me had just seen the Ferruginous Duck from Moreton Hide, so I thanked him and rushed off!
About five minutes later I arrived at Moreton Hide, somewhat out of breath, and started scanning for the bird. Eventually I tracked it down and it showed pretty well in front of the hide. With time ticking on by, I walked back to the car and drove back round to Herriot's Bridge. The weather was still pretty dismal and there was still no sign of the Spotted Sandpiper, but much of the causeway was out of view. I decided to walk down the road a short distance and luckily found a gap in the hedge which allowed me to squeeze in and view more of the causeway. Another Green Sandpiper flew up from in front of me and there, just to my left, the adult Spotted Sandpiper...still in partial summer plumage with a nice assortment of spots on its breast.
So job done at Chew and so I decided to pop up to Black Down to try my luck again with the Pallid Harrier. On top of the Mendip Hills I could not see more than about twenty metres and the rain was now pretty intense...nothing would be flying in this weather so I didn't waste any time and simply drove back home for lunch with Ellie.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 8 Oct

A late afternoon visit produced a little bit of interest in a juvenile tern that was present on the shoreline halfway between the hide and the Canoe Club. It was very approachable and a typical "commic" tern. I did manage to rattle off a few record shots with my camera phone and carefyl study led me to the conclusion that it was a Common Tern. The dark carpal bar and greyish upperside along with the pale base to the bill and longish bill and legs all pointed to it being this species. 
The only other birds of note were the long staying Yellow-legged Gull and a single Little Grebe. Despite there being loads of exposed mud, there were no waders anywhere to be seen.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Sutton Bingham - Wed 5 Oct

Very little at the reservoir this afternoon, just a single Common Sandpiper on the mud near the hide and nothing else of that's all I'll write for today!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sutton Bingham - Sun 2 Oct

My usual Sunday morning visit whilst Ellie was at church produced a few interesting birds. Four Tufted Ducks and two Little Egrets were viewable from the northern causeway.
At the southern end of the reservoir the adult Yellow-legged Gull made a brief appearance and there was some visible migration as three Siskin flew south, and I heard Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, and Pied Wagtails also fly over.
In the ploughed field opposite Goose Slade Farm there were good numbers of Pied Wagtails and at least four White Wagtails. Also in the field, six or more Meadow Pipits.
No waders today, but a brief note...a flying visit on Thursday night (29 Sept) did produce a Little Ringed Plover.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Black Down - Sat 1 Oct

My recent run of successful twitches ended with a dispointing dip in north Somerset this afternoon. I headed up to Black Down in the Mendips straight from work in a hope of seeing the juvenile Pallid Harrier that was found earlier in the week.
Unfortunately, I could not give it much time due to the fact I was on call and this site was right on the edge of my one hour responce window, and I also have a pregnant wife waiting for me back home!
Whilst at Black Down I did have a small flock of half a dozen Crossbills fly over, and on the moor there were several Linnets and Meadow Pipits and a couple of Wheatears. Lots of Red Admirals were also on the wing. So after less than a hour I had to head back home, only to get a pager message an hour after I had left the site to say the Pallid Harrier had been seen win some, you lose some. I'm just glad I'd already seen a couple in the UK!