Monday, 27 October 2014

Budleigh Salterton - Sun 26 Oct

Another trip out this afternoon and a jaunt down to the Devon coast and the small town of Budleigh Salterton. Things didn't go entirely to plan and the visit was cut short, but I did manage to see the Grey Phalarope that was on the estuary near the river mouth.
As you can see it was pretty close, less than two metres away at times, so even I managed to get some half decent pictures of it! What a cracking little bird!
A single Black-tailed Godwit and a couple of Rock Pipits were also present, though I must admit I didn't really have the opportunity to spend any time looking for anything else!

Sutton Bingham - Sat 25 Oct

After the trip to Abbotsbury I spent an hour before dark viewing Sutton Bingham Reservoir from the dam in the hope that something special may drop in to the gull roost. I'd not had the opportunity to check the gulls as the gathered in the evening for a long time, so I was quite looking forward to it.
Birds constantly streamed in to the reservoir during my visit, but I was able to estimate the counts as follows: 2500 Herring Gulls, 200 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 800 Black Headed Gulls, a single Common Gull and a first calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. It was a pretty impressive site!
Also tonight three Kingfishers and a Little Egret on the dam.

Abbotsbury - Sat 25 Oct

A trip down to the coast this afternoon and I made for Abbotsbury, with my first stop overlooking the Swannery from the road. I set up my 'scope and scanned The Fleet and before too long picked out the three Scaup that had been present for a while, I believe the female has been here all summer. As I was watching the Scaup an interesting and familiar call made me look up, and a Richard's Pipit flew over heading west, followed by a couple of Meadow a very good size comparison! That was a really unexpected bonus!
I failed to pick up anything much else of note on The Fleet so drove down to the Swannery and took a walk up to St Catherine's Chapel and back. I failed to locate the Yellow-browed Warbler that had been seen near the entrance to the Swannery, in fact the only birds of note were a couple of fly-over Ravens. But it was a lovely walk and a great trip out.

Sutton Bingham - Thu 23 Oct

I managed another morning at the reservoir today and started off by checking out the extreme southern end of the reservoir around Cotton Bridge, etc. The flock of Wigeon which has been near the dam for the past few days was today around the south of the reservoir and being typically flighty, so my presence soon put the flock in to the air and I counted fifty-four birds as they headed off. Overhead eight Meadow Pipits and five Skylarks passed by and a couple of Raven were also seen.
West Pool hosted a single Tufted Duck and the first two Common Gulls of the winter were on the main reservoir off the northern causeway. A couple of Kingfishers were also seen.
However, the highlight of the morning was not related to birds at all. As I was creeping around the water's edge near Cotton Bridge movement in the water caught my attention, after a few minutes I was treated to some amazing views of what I presume was a family party of Otters, a female and two kits I would guess. The three Otters put on quite an amazing show as I watched before they finally vanished...amazing stuff and I was less than five metres away.

Sutton Bingham - Tue 21 Oct

I managed to spend three hours at Sutton Bingham this morning and as a result was able to cover most of the reservoir. Starting at the dam I noted nineteen Wigeon grazing on the bank, with a dozen Meadow Pipits and a White Wagtail on the dam itself. Two Raven drifted overhead.
On then to the Car Park and a walk around which failed to produce much at all other than a couple of Chiffchaffs! I then bumped in to a fellow birder who mentioned that he had seen a first-winter Mediterranean Gull on West Pool earlier in the morning, so along I popped but could only find three Tufted Duck. He then told me of another bird he had found near the Canoe Club...this time it was a patch year tick, so after thanking him I zoomed off and less than five minutes later I was watching a very smart Stonechat!
I think this must be the first Stonechat I've seen at Sutton Bingham for about three years, so I was pretty pleased to connect with it. A couple of Skylarks flew over whilst I was watching the chat.
Off then for a quick walk around the southern end of the reservoir but this was a dead loss with no birds at all...but I did round the morning off with four Clouded Yellows!

Arne RSPB & Studland - Mon 20 Oct

A trip out today and I headed down to the Isle of Purbeck, starting off with a morning at Arne RSPB reserve. The day started out pretty well with a fleeting view of a Firecrest in the car park before I walked out to Shipstal Point.
From the small beach a Sandwich Tern was feeding in the channel and a flock of none Dark-bellied Brent Geese dropped in. Overhead small parties of Goldfinch, Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Siskin flew through.
Walking back through the heathland two Dartford Warblers could be heard calling. I also 'scoped the saltmarsh where nine Spoonbills were typically asleep on the sandy spit amongst a number of Shelduck, Curlew and Redshank.
The walk back to the car was pretty unproductive, but it was a nice start to the day.
After a picnic lunch I drove round to Studland and parked at Middle Beach. A quick walk south along the cliff top produced a single Ring-necked Parakeet which showed really well perched in a tree...unfortunately the battery in my phone was flat thus preventing me from obtaining one of those high-quality photos that I like to include from time to time!
Out on the water a flock of nine Black-necked Grebes were feeding and at least twenty Mediterranean Gulls were present. My attention was distracted from the sea however when a foraging party of birds flittered through the vegetation. Amongst the many Long-tailed Tits at least one Chiffchaff was present and frustratingly I could hear, but failed to see, a Yellow-browed Warbler!
Back to the car and I was planning on checking out Hartland Moor, but the rain struck and so I called it a day and drove on home.

Ham Wall RSPB - Sun 19 Oct

For the first time in what seems like an age I took a trip up on to the Avalon Marshes today and visited Ham Wall RSPB reserve. A walk out to the second viewing platform produced a flock of ten Ruff amongst a number of Lapwing, at least 150 birds must have been present, and at least nine Snipe.
A Great White Egret was present from the viewing platform, and a second individual was showing from the first viewing platform. Two Marsh Harriers hunted over the reed beds, causing mayhem amongst the wildfowl. A Kingfisher rounded off an enjoyable afternoon visit.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 18 Oct

Another fairly brief visit to the patch today, and I concentrated my efforts on the area around the dam where the grassy bank played host to a flock of 109 Canada Geese and ten Wigeon. Great Crested Grebes numbered thirty birds, I guess a few more would've been present in the southern arm as well. A couple of Raven flew over and single Meadow Pipit and Grey Wagtail were on the dam itself. A small flock of twelve Chaffinch were feeding around the Fishing Lodge.

Sutton Bingham - Thu 16 Oct

A fifteen minute stop at the reservoir on the way to work provided very little of interest, however, the field just north of Hyde Farm hosted 375 Black-headed Gulls, and around forty Pied Wagtails. Some thirty-one Meadow Pipits passed overhead whilst I was scanning the fields, as did a couple of Jays.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Sutton Bingham - Sun 12 Oct

I popped up to the reservoir after lunch for about an hour or so and today concentrated my efforts on the area around Cotton Bridge at the extreme southern end of the site. A flock of twenty-five Wigeon was the pick of the birds, though a couple of Skylarks and at least eight Meadow Pipits flew over. Other birds of note around Cotton Bridge included a Nuthatch and a Bullfinch.
Two Little Grebes were on the water off the southern causeway and a Kingfisher was seen from the northern causeway. Again, there was no sign of the Osprey.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 11 Oct

I spent a couple of hours at the reservoir this morning, parking up by the site of the hide and walking along the water's edge as far as the car park and then back again. There was a little bit of visible migration with at least six Skylarks (a new patch year tick!) and five Meadow Pipits passing overhead. Jays have been very noticeable over the past week or so and four birds were seen today and three Ravens also drifted over.
On the ground there were still several Chiffchaffs milling about with at least half a dozen birds recorded as well as four Goldcrests. West Pool hosted a female Tufted Duck and a Reed Bunting and the final sighting of note was of four Wigeon that flew south. Not a bad morning on the patch really.
I popped back to the reservoir for a shorter visit in the afternoon, this time concentrating on the area around the dam. After a stay of about seven weeks the juvenile Osprey had finally moved on, I guess the recent dismal weather was enough to convince it that Africa may be worth the trip after all!
A small flock of five Linnet flew over and there were four Meadow Pipits around the dam. The Little Egret was also present still.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2014 now at 105 species.

Sutton Bingham - Fri 10 Oct

Just a quick visit early evening on the way home from work and I popped in to the Fishing Lodge and checked the northern end of the reservoir from the dam. The Osprey was again present and a Little Egret was feeding on the dam. The flock of Wigeon had increased to twenty-seven birds.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Sutton Bingham - Wed 8 Oct

A quick visit after work this evening and I spent about ten minutes only at the reservoir and I concentrated on the north-east corner scanning the area from the dam. The juvenile Osprey was still present, again perched up in its favourite tree, though in strong winds and after the heavy rain over the last couple of days I wonder just how much longer it will hang around!
The grassy bank west of the dam held a fair-sized flock of Canada Geese (I must admit I didn't count them though) and twenty Wigeon. Not much this evening in the way of smaller birds, but a juvenile Swallow flew through battling against the winds.
The only other bird of note this evening was a Raven which landed in the top of a tree and was subjected to a constant barrage of abuse from a Jackdaw.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Sutton Bingham - Sun 5 Oct

I managed to spend about thirty minutes at the reservoir this morning and made straight for the dam and a quick look around. To my surprise the juvenile Osprey was still about, it did a couple of circuits, freaking out the gulls, and then settled in the ash tree it seems to be favouring.
On the dam a few Pied Wagtails were present along with four Meadow Pipits, at least two White Wagtails, and a Grey Wagtail. A Kingfisher did a fly-past and a single Little Egret was still about. Finally, a Mistle Thrush was foraging in the horse paddock situated below the dam.