Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Sutton Bingham - Tue 29 Apr

A real flying visit on the way in to work proved to be worth while as a pair of Shelduck were present at the southern end of the reservoir opposite the site of the hide. Quite a surprising find, and the first Shelduck I'd seen at Sutton Bingham for a few years. The only other bird of note was a fly-over Raven.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2014 now at 87 species.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Town Tree Nature Garden - Sun 27 Apr

In between visits to Sutton Bingham I managed to get out this afternoon to this small nature reserve near Martock. It had been many years since I had been here and despite constant rain whilst I was walking around I had an enjoyable time on site. A very obliging Sedge Warbler put on a bit of a show soon after I left the car. A pair of Gadwall were on the large pool and a very pale Buzzard caused a bit of mayhem as it flew across the fields. Other birds seen today included a couple of Goldcrests and a pair of Jays. A nice little trip out, despite getting soaked!

Sutton Bingham - Sun 27 Apr

A visit to the reservoir late morning produced a cracking summer plumaged adult Black Tern hawking over the water and viewable from the northern causeway and the car park. I really nice find and given the recent weather conditions I had been hoping one would drop in. A Common Tern, which caused a few discussions given that it was a pretty pale bird, was also present. I had initially dismissed this bird as a Common, had another look later in the day and thought Arctic, then saw the bill in better light and the diagnostic black tip confirmed my first thoughts! One of the things I love about birding, you're always being kept on your toes.
I didn't see anything else of note in the morning, but did pop back in the evening and both terns were still present. A Kingfisher was also seen at the southern end of the reservoir and the first real numbers of House Martins were present.

Meare Heath NR - Sat 26 Apr

A fairly short trip out this afternoon and I spent a some time at Meare Heath where the only birds of note were a Little Ringed Plover on the drained scrape, alongside two Lapwing and sixty-one Black-tailed Godwits, and a male Marsh Harrier. Very quiet but it was pretty overcast and extremely windy!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Sutton Bingham - Tue 22 Apr

A flying visit before work and the Common Tern was still present near the Canoe Club and two Common Sandpipers were on the southern causeway.
I spent a little longer on patch later afternoon and added Reed Warbler to the patch year list with a very obliging (though very quiet) individual near the car park. A couple of Linnets were also seen.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2014 now at 84 species.

Ham Wall RSPB - Mon 21 Apr

Making the most of the Bank Holiday sunshine we took a family trip out to Ham Wall RSPB this morning and enjoyed a good couple of hours out. A leisurely walk out to the second viewing point produced singing Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler...all new for the year list.
From the second viewing platform a Cuckoo was heard singing and a Great White Egret looking magnificent in breeding plumage was fishing along the reed edge. A total of three drake Garganey were seen and three Marsh Harriers also put in an appearance. A single Bittern was seen in flight, though at least three were heard booming.
Several butterflies were on the wing including a good number of Orange Tips.
We retraced our steps back towards the car and stopped briefly at the first viewing platform where a very smart male Bearded Tit put on quite a performance and rounded off a really nice morning out.
Year list for 2014 now at 162 species.

Sutton Bingham - Mon 21 Apr

An hour on patch before breakfast and my second tern in as many days, this time a Common Tern working the reservoir between the Canoe Club and site of the hide.
The only other birds of note this morning, a Willow Warbler and a pair of Tufted Ducks.
I popped back late afternoon and the Common Tern was still present as were a pair of Linnet. A slight surprise in the form of a Snipe which flew south over the reservoir.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 20 Apr

A couple of quick visits to the reservoir over the past few days had failed to produce much, highlights being a drake Mandarin and seven Common Sandpipers yesterday. However, a visit this morning produced my first Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat of the year with the former seen near the Canoe Club and the latter singing on the far side of the reservoir. A pair of Teal were seen along the water's edge near where the hide used to be and a pair of Linnets were also present.
At about 9.30am the rain started so it was off to do other things for the remainder of Easter Sunday. That being said, a flying visit late afternoon/early evening proved worthwhile as an Arctic Tern had been brought in by the heavy rains and was seen for a couple of minutes from the northern causeway before appearing to head off north when the rain eased off briefly.

Arne RSPB & Best Wall RSPB - Fri 18 Apr

A trip down to the RSPB reserve at Arne today with the family. So with picnic lunch packed we set off, arriving at around 10am and taking the walk from the car park out to Shipstal Point and back again. It was surprisingly quiet on the bird front, with the pick of things on offer being a singing Tree Pipit. With the tide being in it made for poor viewing with regard to any waders, just a few Curlew and Redshank about.
After our picnic lunch we set off to Wareham and I had a quick look over Best Wall RSPB reserve, nothing! Well, there were loads of gulls wheeling around overhead before they passed off eastward, mainly Black-headed Gulls but a good number of Mediterranean Gulls in with them...a really distinctive call helped separate them. I finally had a signal on my phone and a quick check of the pager informed me of an Osprey at Arne, so back in the car and back to Arne.
Some ten minutes later we were back and I took off, heading straight for Combe Heath and within a few minutes had some great views of the Osprey perched on the same post where I had seen one last year. Heat haze and distance made it tricky to get any sort of half decent photo.
Walking back to the car a Stonechat was seen and a small flock of Black-tailed Godwits flew through. A nice day out with the family and a couple more year ticks.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Sutton Bingham - Sun 13 Apr

A mid-morning visit to the patch today produced my first Willow Warbler of the year, though not singing and actively feeding it was presumably a passage bird. Surprisingly there was a total of eight Tufted Ducks present today, all at the northern end and all but one being a male. Also at the northern end a total of two hundred Herring Gulls present, the vast majority being sub-adult birds.
A couple of Linnets were with a small flock of Goldfinches not that far from the Canoe Club and a pair of Ravens were sat atop one of the pylons.
The only other birds of note were a pair of Bullfinches near the Water Treatment Works and at least four Blackcaps are now back on territory.

Meare Heath NR - Sat 12 Apr

A fairly short trip up on to the Somerset Levels this afternoon and I concentrated on Meare Heath and Noah's Lake (which was pretty quiet and had nothing worth reporting!) rather than Ham Wall. My first port of call was the drained lagoon where I found a Little Ringed Plover in the company of a couple of Dunlin. Two Lapwing and fifty-eight Black-tailed Godwits were also present. Over the reed beds to the south a pair of Marsh Harriers were quartering the reeds, a Bittern did a quick fly-by, and a female Sparrowhawk put in a couple of appearances.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Sutton Bingham - Thu 10 Apr

Another fairly quick visit today after work and I made straight for the southern end of the reservoir where a drake Gadwall was a new arrival and somewhat of a surprise, one of the drake Tufted Ducks was also present still. A pair of Little Grebes were also seen, so are hopefully nesting, and a female Mallard swam across the reservoir with eleven small ducklings. I also managed to track down my first Blackcap of the year.
Off then to the northern causeway and a check of the gulls, and today something different turned up as a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull was hanging around with the Herring Gulls. So two more patch year ticks today, things may be picking up?

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sutton Bingham - Wed 9 Apr

I'd made a few flying visits to the reservoir over the last few days but had not really seen that much, a Kingfisher on West Pool one morning, the four Tufted Ducks still at the southern end one afternoon, and a few Swallows just about sum it up, though a fly-through Mistle Thrush was an addition to the patch year list.
However, this afternoon was a little different. Parking by the site of the old hide I walked along the water's edge back toward the Canoe Club, several Sand Martins and Swallows were feeding over the water and a male Reed Bunting showed well. There were a few Goldfinches milling about and over the next ten or so minutes the flock steadily grew to around thirty birds and a bit of a bonus as a male Linnet was present with the flock. I don't ever guarantee Linnet on the Sutton Bingham year list, so it was good to connect with one.
I then stopped off at the southern causeway and saw two Common Sandpipers, the first birds passing through this Spring, so a couple of patch year ticks in the space of a few minutes!
Back to the northern end and other than ten Lesser Black-backed Gulls (my highest count on patch so far this year) there was nothing of note.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2014 now at 76 species.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Sutton Bingham - Sun 6 Apr

A busy weekend so no chance for any birding until mid-afternoon today, and an hour at Sutton Bingham in constant drizzle and fairly strong winds amazingly produced two year ticks! The southern end of the reservoir hosted a fair-sized flock of feeding hirundines, though mainly Sand Martins at least twenty Swallows were also present and a single House Martin. Also present four Tufted Ducks, three male and a female. That was pretty much it, with nothing of note at the northern end of the reservoir.