Saturday, 10 December 2011

Longham Lakes - Sat 10 Dec

Our final stop of the day was Longham Lakes and our only twitch of the day! We spent an hour looking for a female Blue-winged Teal, and eventually we tracked it down as it sat on a small island...sleeping! In the fifteen minutes we were watching the bird it did manage to stretch briefly, showing off the blue wing, and remaining diagnostic features and as you can see from my record shot's definately a Blue-winged Teal (seen here with a drake Gadwall).
We also saw another Kingfisher and as we got back to the car a Kestrel flew over startling a fair sized flock of Fieldfares. All in all an enjoyable day out with a couple of my best mates and the first time we'd managed to get together for an age!
UK List for 2011 ended up at 266 species.

Blashford Lakes - Sat 10 Dec

Leaving Christchurch we drove north to Ringwood paid a visit to Blashford Lakes. Starting off at Ibsley Water we scanned the water and before long had picked up a couple of Goosanders and several Goldeneye amongst the commoner wildfowl. I also picked out an adult Yellow-legged Gull amongst other large gulls.
We then crossed over to take a look around some of the other areas of the reserve, starting with Ivy Lake...but the hide soon filled with a load of babbling OAPs so we didn't hang about and popped along to the woodland hide. From here we saw loads of common woodland species, and singles of Lesser Redpoll and Siskin. We then retraced our steps back to the car and after a bite to eat headed off west to our next stop.

Stanpit Marsh NR - Sat 10 Dec

An early start as I left Ellie asleep in bed, picked up my mate Steve from Yeovil and drove down to Stanpit Marsh, arriving a little before 8.30am and meeting John for a day's birding. We spent about ninety minutes walking around the reserve, and there were plenty of birds about. Waders were pretty numerous, with lots of Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank....with smaller numbers of Turnstone, Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwits. The marshy area held a flock of at least twenty Meadow Pipits and a few Skylarks, and surprisingly a couple of Green Woodpeckers. But the highlight of the morning came in the form of not one, but three Kingfishers...all of which showed extremely well.
A quick walk out on to Priory Marsh produced a couple of Egyptian Geese and a male Stonechat, but little else of note and as we were in the area, we quickly popped down to Avon Beach to see if there was anything out ot see, but we only saw four Great Crested Grebes, so didn't linger and headed off inland.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Torr Reservoir, East Cranmore - Sun 4 Dec

A drive up to north-east Somerset this afternoon. Ellie was feeling pretty exhausted so she decided to have a nap whilst I drove up to East Cranmore, halfway between Shepton Mallett and Frome and a visit to Torr Reservoir. I can't ever recall visiting the site before but it was not too hard to find and after parking the car walked out along a public bridleway towards the reservoir...and then it started to rain.
Despite the poor weather I soon found the flock of Canada Geese that I was after, that was the easy bit done I now had to locate the very small one in amongst about four hundered or so big geese. I did pick out a pair of Barnacle Geese and a slightly less authentic Bar-headed Goose. But there was no sign of the Richardson's Canada Goose...and that was what I was after!
So as the rain fell I carried up the track and viewed the reservoir proper, there were several Tufted Duck on the water and I also saw a Little Grebe, but other than gathering gulls there was little else so I retraced my steps and looked over the geese again. Finally I found my target as the Richardson's Canada Goose moved out from behind the much larger Canada Geese and eventually gave me some good scope views, but the heavy rain and distance meant my record shots were poorer than normal (if possible!):
So having successfully found what I was after I headed back to the car, seeing a Mistle Thrush along the way and hearing a Goldcrest call from the trees near the car. All in all a good afternoon out, even if I did get rather wet.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 4 Dec

Ellie felt a little better this morning so I dropped her off at church and spent an hour at the reservoir. I started off at the northern causeway and scanned over West Pool where there was a flock of forty-one Wigeon and a smaller party of eighteen Teal. Well over a hundred Redwings were milling about along with a few Fieldfares and a couple of Meadow Pipits...all of which got spooked when a female Sparrowhawk drifted across West Pool and over the bushes, scattering many of the thrushes.
On the main reservoir there were at elast thirteen Common Gulls in with the more regular species.
I then drove on down to the hide and scanned the southern end of reservoir. Ducks were again the most conspicuous birds present with a further ninety-one Teal and over a hundred Mallard. A single Wigeon was also present and the surprise find of the day was a female Pintail.
Having seen very few Sparrowhawks at Sutton Bingham this month I was surprised when a second female whizzzed over the water scattering the Teal. Before I knew it my hour was up and it was time to head on back and collect Ellie.