Monday, 30 March 2015

Ham Wall RSPB - Sun 29 Mar

I braved the gales and popped up on to the Somerset Levels this afternoon for a walk around Ham Wall and whilst it was indeed an enjoyable walk the strong winds really put pay to any birding. The only birds of note I managed whilst on site were a male Marsh Harrier and a Great White Egret that flew over the car park!

Sutton Bingham - Sat 28 Mar

I spent a couple of hours on the patch this morning, arriving a little before 8.00am. The only signs of Spring were at least seven singing Chiffchaffs, but nothing else to indicate Spring was on the way!
Two Teal were seen at the southern end of the reservoir and a single Raven flew over. Three Reed Buntings were noted between the "hide" and the car park and a lone Redwing was seen in trees in the car park. A Snipe was flushed near the Canoe Club and six more were put up by anglers around West Pool.

Sutton Bingham - Fri 27 Mar

Just a quick stop off at the reservoir this evening on my way home, and scanning the southern end of the reservoir I located a drake Gadwall and a drake Tufted Duck. There were still eighteen Wigeon around, and a Little Grebe also put in a brief appearance.
Driving back to the northern causeway three more Tufted Ducks flew south. A total of at least forty Great Crested Grebe were seen at the reservoir tonight.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Abbotsbury - Sun 22 Mar

A trip down to Abbotsbury Swannery this afternoon as it had reopened after the winter closure. Not a lot seen in the way of unexpected birds, though a very nice drake Scaup showed very well.
A male Marsh Harrier caused quite a stir when it passed over the meadow, scattering the dabbling duck present. I didn't see anything in the way of spring migrants, but I've a feeling I'll be popping down this way again before too long!

Sutton Bingham - Sun 22 Mar

An early morning walk around the southern end of the reservoir produced my first singing Chiffchaffs of the year, with two birds setting up territory. A Skylark was also in song, but typically high up and elusive to the eye! Twelve Teal were still loitering, whilst singles of Raven and Meadow Pipit passed overhead. A very smart looking male Bullfinch put in a brief appearance and a couple of Common Gulls were on West Pool.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 21 Mar

The drake Shoveler was still at the extreme southern end of the reservoir today, but elusive at times and quite distant. Unlike last night it was associating with a flock of twenty-four Wigeon today.
A check of the fields around the Canoe Club produced ten Redwing hanging on despite the Spring weather today and in the same field a dozen Meadow Pipits. I managed another patch year tick today, with three Stock Doves seen in flight opposite the Canoe Club.
The only other sighting of note today was of a female Kestrel was seen at Bingham Bower Farm.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Sutton Bingham - Fri 20 Mar

I managed to get in about quarter of an hour's worth of birding at the reservoir tonight on my way home, and I made straight for the southern end for a bit of a change, and it turned out to be a good decision. Scanning the water to the south from the site of the old hide I found a very smart drake Shoveler, a nice addition to the patch year list. Also in the area five Teal (four of which were drakes), seventeen Wigeon and a single Little Grebe. A Kingfisher did a typical quick fly-by.
I also stopped off at the northern causeway very briefly, where a sub-adult Mute Swan was a new arrival on West Pool. Still no hirundines at Sutton Bingham this year, must to due some Sand Martins any time now!
Sutton Bingham year list for 2015 now at 66 species.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Radipole RSPB & Maiden Castle - Wed 18 Mar

A lovely afternoon and some time off work so I headed south and made a flying visit to Radipole RPSB in Weymouth. I parked at the tennis courts along Radipole Park Drive and pretty much the first bird I clapped my eyes on was the first-winter Bonaparte's Gull! Result! It showed really well, down to just a few metres at times, as it was fly-catching above the water.
I didn't really have time to linger here so with the target bird safely "ticked off" it was back to Dorchester and a visit to Maiden Castle. I'd not been to this site for a couple of years and it was good to pop back for a walk around. Typical farmland habitat and within minutes of being on site I was surrounded by the song of Skylarks and the calls of Goldfinches and Linnets. A Raven passed overhead and a couple of Stock Doves flew through (my first of the year!). However, I was really here to see a male Snow Bunting which had been around for a few days, and luck was with me again today as I soon found it feeding along the cycle path and drinking from a puddle. As with the gull I got some brilliant close views...however, the battery in my phone died so none of my quality photos!
I also found four Wheatears as I scanned the fields and another quality bird with a Corn Bunting flying over before pitching in a small tree. All in all very enjoyable afternoon out.
UK list for 2015 now at 130 species.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Sutton Bingham - Sat 14 Mar

The wintery feel continued this afternoon, with more chilly weather. A mixed flock of eight Redwing and three Fieldfares were milling around the fields between the car park and the Canoe Club. A single Coot was also in the vicinity of the Canoe Club, and is only my second record of a Coot at Sutton Bingham this year. A pair of Mandarin Duck were again seen, flying north over the reservoir and the only other bird of note was a Kingfisher.

Sutton Bingham - Wed 11 Mar

A trip to the reservoir this afternoon was anything but Spring-like! Somewhat overcast and distinctly chilly the birds on show also had a wintery feel! A flock of twenty-two Wigeon were still present off the dam and the field directly below the dam hosted a pair of Mistle Thrushes and a Grey Wagtail. Three Meadow Pipits passed over heading north, but the pick of the bunch was a year tick in the form of a pair of Mandarin Ducks that flew north over the car park!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Sutton Bingham - Sun 8 Mar

I'd had little to no time to do any birding at all over the past few weeks, and the only trip out this weekend was an hour long visit to Sutton Bingham, which turned out to be rather pleasant after dodgy a couple of brief showers.
The car park has opened up again after being closed for the weekend, and within ten minutes of being on site I had to kindly tell a couple that the site was strictly no dogs as they walked towards on earth you can walk past a total of seven "No Dogs" signs and not realise I don't know!
Anyway, despite it being a real Spring day, there as a distinct feel of winter with regard to the birds present today. A dozen Wigeon and four Teal were present on the far bank opposite the site of the hide and six Fieldfares and eight Redwings fly north, obviously moving back to breeding grounds. Three Meadow Pipits were in the field near the Canoe Club and a single Snipe was flushed nearby.
A Raven was sat atop one of the pylons for a while and a Kingfisher did a typically brief flyby. A male Reed Bunting was also seen, and just to prove Spring is indeed on the way a couple of Long-tailed Tits were seen gathering nesting material.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Sutton Bingham - Sun 1 Mar

I managed about an hour on the patch this morning and started off by exploring the area around Cotton Bridge at the south of the reservoir. It was really quiet, with very little in the way of birdlife. On the water a few wildfowl were still lingering with twenty Teal and fourteen Wigeon, and a drake Tufted Duck was on West Pool along with a pair of Mute Swans.
A Raven flew over and a Little Grebe was seen, with possibly a second heard calling.
The only other bird of note was an adult Mediterranean Gull off the northern causeway, nice to see one a bit closer than my usual views of them amongst the gull roost in the middle of the reservoir!
A couple of flying visits during the last few days of February produced a couple of Mediterranean Gulls amongst the roost on a couple of evenings.