Sunday, 31 August 2014

Meare Heath NR - Sun 31 Aug

This afternoon I made my first trip up on to the Somerset Levels for a couple of months and it was well worth the trip. Parking at Ashcott Corner I walked east towards Meare Heath and Noah's Lake, stopping at the drained lagoon to check out the mass of birds assembled there. Before too long I had noted four Green Sandpipers, half a dozen Dunlin and four  Ruff and a roosting Garganey. A single Great White Egret was also present and the arguable highlight a moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper. A Water Rail was also seen on the fringes of the pool skulking in and out of the reeds.
I then headed off to the hide that overlooks Noah's Lake and almost the first bird I saw was a very smart Osprey.

Not a lot else was seen from the hide so I retraced my steps back towards the car, pausing again to look over the waders before heading on home after a lovely afternoon out in the sun with some good birds to boot.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 31 Aug

I must have spent less little more than quarter of an hour at Sutton Bingham this morning as I had other commitments so literally popped in whilst passing by...and unbelievably I managed to add another bird to the patch year list. A Greenshank flew in and did a couple of circuits of West Pool, attempted to land once or twice then gave up and gained height before vanishing to the south, all the while calling away with that piping trisyllabic "tui-tui-tui"! A real unexpected bonus as it looks like the chances of any mud being available for waders this year will again be zero.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Sutton Bingham - Wed 27 Aug

A flying visit to the patch on the way to work and I spent literally minutes at the northern end of the reservoir. Just as I pulled away I noticed the gathered gulls suddenly take to the air so I slammed on the brakes and grabbed my bins and looked to the skies expecting to see something and sure enough an Osprey was overhead. I watched it for about a minute before it drifted south and was lost to view.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 24 Aug

A while since my last blog entry simply because I've not actually seen anything much. An entire morning on the patch last week failed to produce anything other than a good number of Chiffchaffs and a few flying visits have only yielded a couple of Common Sandpipers and the odd Kingfisher!
Today was slightly different though as a mid-morning visit produced a couple of really good birds for the patch. Scanning the fence line at the edge of West Pool I found a Whinchat and a Redstart! A real result, with only my third record of Redstart (and second in two years) and the first Whinchat on patch for a couple of years.
As it happens there was not much else about other than a single Little Egret feeding on the dam and the outflow stream hosted a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2014 now at 98 species.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Wydcombe Estate NT - Tue 5 Aug

My first ever trip to the Isle of Wight today, and the main reason was to see the breeding Bee-eaters. When the National Trust released the news a week earlier I had run the idea past my better half and we decided to make a family day of it, so I booked the ferry and because it was a mid-week sailing it cost less than fifty pounds for the return trip.
An uneventful journey and we arrived at the special viewpoint on the Wydcombe Estate at around 12.30pm, and within a couple of minutes I had seen one Bee-eater with prey flying almost over the car. Over the next hour I had a couple more flight views and some good, if a bit distant, views of at least two different birds perched on wires. Absolutely brilliant stuff, and although I had heard a Bee-eater on the Isles of Scilly last year, this firmly planted it on my UK list. I attempted some photos, but the birds were distant!
Not a lot else in the way of birds as the rest of the day was spent doing family things, but I didn't mind, it had been a very successful trip to a place I'd never been to before.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Middleton Lakes RSPB - Sat 2 Aug

A trip "Up North" today to twitch a pretty rare bird! Up soon after 4:00am and on the road within the hour, myself and two friends arrived at Middleton Lakes RPSB reserve in Staffordshire at around 7:40am. Luckily we bumped in to a local chap who pointed us in the right direction and by 8:00am we had seen our target bird, albeit in flight only...a summer-plumaged Pacific Golden Plover!
After about an hour of waiting for the bird to emerge from vegetation it did another fly-around and then settled for the remainder of our stay, affording brilliant views and enabling me to pick out all the characteristic plumage features. A brilliant bird and well worth the trip.
Whilst on site I also saw a couple of Snipe and two Common Sandpipers. At least two juvenile Little Ringed Plover were also present and there were good numbers of Common Terns, including several recently fledged birds. A Grasshopper Warbler was briefly heard a few times. After a couple of hours on site we headed back home and got caught in holiday traffic on the M5, so a bit of cross-country driving got us back home by early afternoon after a very successful twitch.