Saturday, 26 November 2011

Lodmoor RSPB & Wyke Regis - Sat 26 Nov

Finishing work at midday I drove straight down to Weymouth and arrived at Lodmoor RSPB at about 12.50pm. I parked in the beach car park today, instead of my usual spot on Beachdown Way, and walked along the west of the reserve. I was looking for a flock of Starlings and found them without too much trouble feeding on the mud...that was the easy bit.
Searching through the flock I could not find what I was looking for, until after just ten minutes, the juvenile Rose-coloured Starling I had been searching for suddenly appeared. I watched the bird for ten minutes or so before heading off.
Also at Lodmoor I noted a few Snipe feeding and a Reed Bunting was also seen. A couple of Water Rails were heard squabbling in the reeds.
Leaving Lodmoor I drove through Weymouth and on to Wyke Regis, parking along Camp Road and wakling west for about a kilometre. After speaking to a few birders along the way I soon found the area I was looking for but the bird I was after proved to be much more elusive. I was hoping to see a Hume's Warbler that had been present since Wednesday. Whilst waiting for the warbler to show itself I scanned across The Fleet where the flock of Dark-bellied Brent Geese contained a pair of Pale-bellied Brents and a Black Brant.
Over the next thirty minutes I heard the Hume's Warbler call at least four times, and after missing a fleeting glimpse of the bird I eventually got lucky as it came out in to the open to feed for a short period. It was far too mobile to even attempt a record shot with my phone, but it was a delightful bird to see.
So with the two targets ticked off I headed home for a late lunch.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Sutton Bingham - Wed 23 Nov

I took Ellie in to town this afternoon so she could do a couple of bits and pieces and on the way back we popped up to the reservoir for a quick visit. There was not really anything much of note, the Teal flock at the southern end numbered some hundred birds and a few Common Gulls passed over heading south with the commoner gull species.
A couple of Fieldfares were seen and a small group of seven Redwings also flew over. By the church a Song Thrush was in full song and a Green Woodpecker was in the picnic area car park.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Man Sands - Sun 20 Nov

An out and out twitch today as I headed off for south Devon late morning and a drive down to Man Sands, a few miles south of Brixham. I parked in a National Trust car park at the top of the valley and walked down a steep track to the beach and soon found the Coastguard Cottages and a few other birders. After a wait of less than a minute my target bird popped up on to the roof of the cottage and showed really well. It was a cracking male Desert Wheatear.
I watched the bird for the next twenty minutes or so. It was occasionally in the company of a Rock Pipit and I also had a quick view of a Black Redstart. As I had left Ellie at home today I did not hang around for long and set off back up the track to the car, seeing a Stonechat along the way. The walk back to the car was certainly hard work, but it was certainly worth it. A UK tick for me, the last Desert Wheatear I saw was in Israel!
UK list for 2011 now at 262 species.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Sutton Bingham - Sat 19 Nov

Despite having the morning off work I was on duty this moring in a different way as I had to take Ellie in to Yeovil to do some shopping ready for the big day in a few weeks time! By the time we had got back from town, done some chores, and had lunch the day afternoon was well underway so we had to stay local and ended up at the reservoir for a half hour visit.
Scanning through the wildfowl at the southern end I counted over one hundred Teal and a similar number of Mallards. Three drake Mandarin were present, the first I'd seen at the reservoir for a few months, and a pair of Mute Swans were also seen, as were four Wigeon. A pair of Grey Wagtails flew past me, circled around a bit and then headed off north. A single Redwing passed over heading south.
There was nothing of note from the northern end of the reservoir so it was back home to cook dinner and wash up before an evening out.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sutton Bingham - Sun 13 Nov

An hour long visit this morning whilst Ellie was at church produced a new arrival in the form of a female Goosander.
Other birds at the southern end included at least eight Meadow Pipits and a dozen Pied Wagtails and a White Wagtail.
A small flock of ten or so Long-tailed Tits flitted through the willows but unfortunately nothing unusual was hanging out with them. There was some migration going on with over a hundred Woodpigeons heading south during the time I was at the reservoir and three Wigeon also flew in.
A return visit late afternoon was slightly less productive. The female Goosander was nowhere to be seen, but there were several fairly large flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings present. A Little Egret was on the shoreline off the Fishing Lodge and four Tufted Ducks were on the water near the car park and picnic area.
I stayed at the reservoir until it was pretty much too dark to see anything, but it was a nice evening out in the fresh air.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Sutton Bingham - Sat 12 Nov

A late afternoon stroll at the reservoir this evening was enjoyable if not overly productive on the bird front. Teal numbers had risen to over eighty birds and there were sixty-three Cormorants present. Three Meadow Pipits were seen near the Canoe Club and a flock of forty Fieldfares flew over heading south. A pair of Ravens were on top of one of the pylons before heading off north, a Grey Wagtail flew south, and West Pool held just two Wigeon.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sutton Bingham - Sun 6 Nov

We stopped off briefly at the reservoir on our way back from Abbotsbury. The water level has risen quite considerably since my last visit and at the southern end there were three Wigeon, twenty-three Teal, and over forty Mallard. A small group of Pied Wagtails feeding on the areas of mud that is still exposed contained a White Wagtail.
At the northern end there was a small flock of fourteen Wigeon off the dam, and the first Common Gull of the autumn was present.

Abbotsbury - Sun 6 Nov

After an early lunch Ellie and I decided to head down to the coast as it was such a lovely day. We enjoyed a very pleasant walk along the beach before heading inland and completely a circuit which took us a little over half an hour, about Ellie's limit at the moment.
We failed to see much in the way of birds, a few Goldcrests were about but that was pretty much it. There were lots of Red Admirals on the wing though, the bright sunshine obviously tempting them to take to the wing.
So after a nice time out at the coast we set off for home.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Meare Heath NNR - Sat 5 Nov

After spending the morning at work Ellie and I thought it would be good to get out and about this afternoon and set off for Meare Heath and a walk we used to do a lot before Ellie got pregnant. Enjoying a lovely autumn evening we walked out to Noah's Hide (seeing a small flock of half a dozen Siskins along the way) and were greeted by a birder who told us that the adult Sabine's Gull that had been present for a few days had flown fifteen minutes earlier. This chap was more upset than us as we had seen three juveniles at Exmouth last month. However, within a minute or two I had relocated the bird...and it was still in summer plumage. A cracking bird and lovely to see and it did not matter that it wasn't a year tick.
As we returned to the car we saw a Great White Egret fly in to the reed bed, presumably to roost, and I had a fleeting glimpse of a Bittern too. Ellie and I also enjoyed the spectacle of the Starling roost as thousands of birds dropped in to the reed beds at Meare Heath, the irony was the RSPB had sent everyone to Ham Wall to see the birds...hopefully they managed a few! With the light failing and after a lovely evening stroll we headed on home.