Monday, 31 August 2015

Sutton Bingham - Mon 31 Aug

A morning visit was rained off but I was able to get out to Cotton bridge in the afternoon in the hope of finally adding Marsh Tit to the year list (a pair had been seen the previous day), but I failed miserably...though a Spotted Flycatcher was a nice find.
To add insult to injury, just as I pulled up at home I got a text saying an Osprey was over the southern end of the reservoir. If I'd stopped at the "hide" on the way home I would've seen it but by the time I got back to the patch it had vanished! That's two Ospreys at Sutton Bingham that I've missed in less than a week!

Sutton Bingham - Sat 29 Aug

An early morning visit and I was able to spend a fair amount of time on patch this morning. Starting at the dam I had a good view of a male Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail was also present. A Common Sandpiper was feeding on the bank to the north of the dam.
Driving round to the northern causeway I located two Whinchats on the fence that runs along the southern boundary of West Pool.
The southern end of the reservoir was not very productive, but a Little Grebe was worth a mention. I've not seen evidence of breeding here this year, but it was a juvenile bird!

Sutton Bingham - Fri 28 Aug

A morning visit was not that productive, and I didn't have time to do anything other than a quick scan form the northern causeway. A juvenile Peregrine was a nice surprise as it drifted over West Pool and headed north. I'd like to know how far from his nest he was. A single Common Sandpiper was on West Pool and a Raven was seen in flight.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Sutton Bingham - Thu 27 Aug

The almost usual flying visit prior to work paid off this morning with five Black-tailed Godwits present on the northern causeway. A real surprise and a very welcome one at that. I even managed to grab a couple of half decent photos of them.
A Common Sandpiper was feeding on the edge of West Pool and seemed to be the only other bird of note.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Sutton Bingham - Tue 25 Aug

A quick stop off at the reservoir on my way home from a day away attending a training course provided very little of interest until I scanned West Pool. I picked out a small wader preening, but it was only a Common Sandpiper. However, I then scanned the fence that runs along the field to the south of West Pool and found a Whinchat. I was hoping to find one as it was this time last year when the first Whinchat passed fact a year and a day to be precise!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Meare Heath NR - Tue 18 Aug

A decision to take the day off and a pleasant afternoon to boot so this afternoon I popped up to the Avalon Marshes and a visit to Meare Heath. I made straight for the drained lagoon to try and connect with the Wood Sandpiper that had been present for a day or two, but despite plenty of searching I simply failed to locate it. I did see three Knot, four Green Sandpipers, a Dunlin and a Ringed Plover alongside good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwing. A single Snipe was the only other wader seen. A juvenile Peregrine flew through and put some of the waders up, but I couldn't see anything unusual amongst the Lapwings. I also managed to pick out a Garganey amongst the assembled duck.
Whilst checking the lagoon a cyclist passed by and said he had seen an Osprey at Noah's Lake, so off I went and was lucky enough to get to the hide in time to see three fishing attempts, the final one a success and the Osprey flew to a dead tree to enjoy his mid-afternoon snack.
Another check of the lagoon on the way back to the car again failed to deliver the much wanted Wood Sandpiper, but a Great White Egret was seen in flight.
UK list for 2015 now at 184 species.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Sutton Bingham - Sun 16 Aug

A late afternoon stroll from the car park south along the water's edge and back was pleasant if somewhat lacking in birds. That being said three Common Sandpipers were on the far bank and two Mandarin were at the extreme southern end of the reservoir. The only other birds of interest were a couple of Kingfishers, which seem to be a permanent fixture recently.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Black Hole Marsh - Sat 15 Aug

News of a probable Baird's Sandpiper near Seaton in Devon broke just after lunch, so I made the decision to go and check it out. Baird's Sandpiper is on my UK list but has always been one of those species that I wanted to see again just to underline it, and having dipped the last two I'd gone to see this was really too good an opportunity to miss.
At around 2.30pm I arrived at Black Hole Marsh and walked out to the Island Hide where a very kind birder let me view the bird through his 'scope. Excellent stuff, a cracking little wader! I then got my own 'scope set up and enjoyed some great views for the next ten minutes or so. Initially I was a little concerned with the boldness of the supercilium and the wing projection past the tail, but comparing photos with my various field guides when I got home, as well as talking to a couple of exceptional birders on site left me happy that it was a indeed an adult Baird's Sandpiper.
As you will see from the photos above, there was a deposit on the legs of the bird. Presumably this was salt from a salt pan that the Baird's Sandpiper had previously been feeding on. With these being numerous in the Canary Islands and south-west Mediterranean it is possible the bird headed north from a location in the southern Western Palearctic...though I guess no-one will ever really know!
I didn't really check out much else whilst on site, but a single Ruff was seen as well as a couple of Common Sandpipers and good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank. It's been a while since I was last down this way, and I must say I am really impressed with the facilities down at Seaton. All in all a very good afternoon out.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 15 Aug

It was rather late in the morning by the time I got to the reservoir today, but a quick look around before too much human activity produced a Common Sandpiper on West Pool. A walk along the water's edge to the Canoe Club and back was not that beneficial, though I did find a Common Tern hawking over the water.
A quick drive round to the Water Treatment Works and a second Common Sandpiper was in the outflow stream, as was a Kingfisher. So not much brought in overnight, but still the odd bird to keep one interested!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Sutton Bingham - Fri 14 Aug

Heavy overnight rain did not let up when dawn broke and it looked like a complete washout for the entire day, however, I was not to be put off and headed out to the reservoir for an hour just after breakfast. Arriving at about 8.20am I scanned the water from the northern causeway but failed to locate anything other than the "usual" species. After about ten minutes I noticed a flock of eleven birds arriving from the north-east over the dam and then above the reservoir and it soon became apparent that this was a flock of terns, but what kind? Some careful scrutiny over the next 15 minutes helped by relocating to the now open car park enabled me to confirm the identity as Arctic Terns, excellent stuff and probably not that surprising given the time of year and conditions. Just as the terns passed over me again I noticed a straggler and a quick count confirmed there were now twelve birds, and this new tern was smaller and darker...a Black Tern! Within a couple of minutes of the Black Tern joining the group of Arctic Terns the entire flock headed south in and was lost to view, so with the rain now hammering it down I decided to head home for a well deserved cup of coffee!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

West Bexington - Wed 12 Aug

Late on Saturday afternoon news broke of an immature Black Stork around Arne RSPB and Middlebeare, the bird was still present on Sunday morning but family commitments meant I had no chance to try and see the bird until the Sunday afternoon, by which time the bird had flown and was not relocated until Tuesday lunchtime when it was over Portland. Again I was unable to do anything about it and again the bird vanished until the early evening when it turned up at West Bexington.
So when I woke up this morning I kept a close eye on Twitter and the pager and as soon as news came out that the Black Stork had been relocated in a stubble field west of West Bexington village I set off for the coast. Forty minutes later I pulled off the road overlooking the village to scan the area, and there it was! Still in the stubble field I 'scoped the bird distantly from the road knowing it would be a real trudge from the car park in the village along Chesil Beach and up to the adjoining fields. As it happened I made the right decision as the Black Stork took to the air at around 8.40am and after circling a few times it drifted off and was lost to view just before 9.00am.
Now I just want to state that there are some great pictures of the bird taken at West Bexington this morning, but the following do not fall in to that category...these were phone-scoped about half a mile away as the red arrow shows on the bottom picture!
I had tried and failed to see Black Stork in the UK on a few occasions, so it was great to finally remove the species from my dip list and ink it on to my UK list.
A walk around Abbotsbury village afterwards produced at least four Painted Ladies, a couple of Commas and Red Admirals and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth.

Sutton Bingham - Tue 11 Aug

More of the same today with a Little Egret on West Pool again and a single Common Sandpiper noted. A total of four Kingfishers were seen, I am pretty confident that they bred at the reservoir this year.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 8 Aug

A quick visit and the flying ants that had been noted yesterday were again present today, only this time they had attracted a flock of twenty-two Common Terns, this is the highest single count I've ever had at the reservoir and contained at least three juvenile birds.

Sutton Bingham - Fri 7 Aug

The third-summer Great Black-backed Gull was again noted today, and a Little Egret was on West Pool. The only other bird of note was a single Common Sandpiper.

Sutton Bingham - Wed 5 Aug

Another quiet day, but a juvenile Mediterranean Gull was a decent sighting for the time of year.

Sutton Bingham - Tue 4 Aug

The only thing to report today, a flock of twelve Mistle Thrushes passing over. An exceptional count for the reservoir.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Sutton Bingham - Sun 2 Aug

I made an early morning visit to the reservoir today, knowing that it was bound to get a little busy as the day wore on with sailors, canoeists and anglers all due to take advantage of the forecasted good weather. A good look around the dam failed to produce that much though, with a couple of Little Egrets and a brace of Kingfishers being seen.
The trees around the Fishing Lodge hosted a bit of variety, with a couple of juvenile Linnets being the pick of the bunch, and an indication that there was successful breeding on the patch this year.
From the northern causeway I saw another Kingfisher, this one on West Pool and a third Little Egret was also notes as one flew over heading north. A single Common Sandpiper was to be the only wader seen today.
On then to the southern end of the reservoir where five Mandarin were seen and a Raven was atop one of the pylons. More encouraging news with the sighting of three juvenile Kestrels, so evidence of another species breeding on patch which I didn't know about.
Away from the birds there were a few butterflies on the wing, with Gatekeeper and Meadow Browns being the most obvious, though I also saw a few Small Skippers and a single Common Blue.
Finally, I noted a single Banded Demoiselle and loads of Common Blue Damselflies.
All in all a good morning out.