Friday, 28 November 2014

Sutton Bingham - Sun 23 Nov

A little under an hour at the reservoir this morning and I managed to add another species to the patch year list. A drake Pochard was present and showing well at times from the northern causeway. Amazingly this is only my second Pochard at Sutton Bingham in the past two years...a species that used to be present here in good numbers during the winter months.
The only other birds of note were seven fly-over Meadow Pipits.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2014 now at 107 species.

Sutton Bingham - Fri 21 Nov

A brief visit on my way home from work and a scan of the gathering gulls failed to turn up anything different, though a couple of Mediterranean Gulls and a leucistic Herring Gull had been seen prior to my arrival! As the light faded three small flocks of Snipe left West Pool and headed east, a total of twenty-one birds.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Sutton Bingham - Sun 16 Nov

A short visit late morning again failed to turn up much, though a male Blackcap feeding on the railway embankment was a bit of a surprise. A single Meadow Pipit flew over and there was a considerable movement of winter thrushes. During the half an hour or so that I was present several hundred Fieldfare and Redwing passed through.

Abbotsbury - Sat 15 Nov

This afternoon I headed down to Abbotsbury and a walk around the Sub-tropical Gardens, however, I did manage a quick scan out to see from the beach first...where I saw two adult Mediterranean Gulls and three Kittiwakes.
Wandering around the gardens I was somewhat surprised at the lack of birds, though the weather was rather gloomy and it was getting late. No sign of any Firecrests today, so I dare say I'll pop down this way again and have another go.

Sutton Bingham - Wed 12 Nov

Another flying visit late in the day and the first Fieldfares of the winter were seen, with a small flock of just three birds feeding in trees with eight Redwing. Out on the main reservoir three Wigeon and a female Tufted Duck were the only birds of seems a long time ago when there were large flocks of duck at Sutton Bingham.

Sutton Bingham - Wed 5 Nov

A quick visit to the reservoir late afternoon and I just concentrated on the northern causeway and West Pool. It was pretty quiet but a Water Rail was heard calling from the water's edge on West Pool. The small patch of vegetation in the corner nearest the railway bridge held a feeding flock of Long-tailed Tits with a single Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest amongst them. Just one Redwing put in an appearance and a Bullfinch was also noted.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Huntspill & Steart WWT - Sat 1 Nov

I managed to get a day out with a couple of birding mates today and we headed to north Somerset for a complete change of scenery. I'm not sure why but I very rarely venture in to the north of my county, somehow going north seems to take's uphill I suppose!
Anyway, an early start had us arriving at Huntspill and parking in the village by 7.30am and we walked down to the sluice, scanning the area around us. Pretty much the first things we saw were a few fly-over Redwing and then a female Merlin drifted past us. Over the next hour or so there was a steady passage of birds heading south, primarily Chaffinches, but also several Redwing, Skylark and Meadow Pipits...I also thought I caught the call of a Woodlark, but couldn't nail it down. At least three Stonechats were also seen.
On the estuary there were large flocks of Avocet, Knot, Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit alongside smaller numbers of Curlew and Redshank. A small group of Grey Plovers flew through and a single Whimbrel was seen in flight.
We were also treated to some great views of a second Merlin as it flew in and landed on a fence a few metres in front of us, but typically flew off just as I was about to take a photo. A third Merlin, this time a male, was also seen, as were two Peregrines. However, there was no sign of the long-staying juvenile Pallid Harrier this side of the river.
After a couple of hours we were starting to get hungry so it was back to the car for a late breakfast or early lunch before driving round to the opposite side of the estuary to visit the newly created WWT reserve at Steart. It has been several years since I was in this neck of the woods and the new reserve looks cracking...however we failed to see much in the way of birds whilst we were present. We dipped out on the Pallid Harrier and this cost us so much time we missed the opportunity of heading to Dunster and the chance of Snow Bunting and Hoopoe...hindsight is a wonderful thing! A Great White Egret was seen at Steart, as was yet another Merlin and another Peregrine (this time a juvenile bird). So not the best of afternoons but all in all a brilliant day out and it was great to catch up with some old friends for the day.