Saturday, 31 December 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sat 31 Dec

Decided to make one final visit to the reservoir this year and parked up at the northern causeway and started scanning the main reservoir. A drake Tufted Duck caught my attention and then I noticed a small grebe and my heart started pounding, Quickly setting up my 'scope I got on the bird and new it was a winter-plumaged Black-necked Grebe...and a quick flap of the wings showed the distinctive upper wing pattern to go along with the head shape and general plumage. As the bird was rather distant I jumped back in the car and drove round to the Fishing Lodge in the hope of getting better views. Fortunately the warden was present so I was able to view the reservoir safely and before long the Black-necked Grebe showed itself very well and after a couple of distant record shots I was lucky enough to get some closer pictures as it spent some time sleeping right in front of me.
After the excitement of a patch tick I was happy to scan the remaining birds on the reservoir counting a hundred Wigeon and then my second patch year tick of the day as a female Pochard popped up. Having missed a Pochard on patch in the summer I thought 2016 was going to be the first year I'd not logged a Pochard at the reservoir, so a real bonus.
What a perfect end to a great year of patch birding!
Sutton Bingham year list 2016 now at 123 species.

Sutton Bingham - Wed 28 Dec

An afternoon visit to the reservoir today after the Christmas break. I started off by checking the northern end where a hundred Wigeon and a drake Tufted Duck were off the dam. Zooming down to the southern end the only bird of note was a drake Mandarin, so back to the northern end again! -There were ninety-two Cormorant roosting this evening and thirty Common Gulls were among the gathering gull roost. A Kingfisher was noted and the single Coot was still on West Pool and four Mute Swans flew in.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Sutton Bingham - Wed 21 Dec

A quick pre-work visit produced six Goosander that flew south but failed to stop. A single Snipe was flushed from the water's edge whilst around the car park a small flock of nine Lesser Redpoll were present.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Sutton Bingham - Tue 20 Dec

I brief visit over my lunch hour today and I started at the southern end of the reservoir where a Peregrine was again present. Over head a flock of thirty-six Common Gulls passed by with two adult Mediterranean Gulls amongst them, all heading south.
I then headed back to the northern causeway for a quick check of the main reservoir and West Pool. The latter hosted two Tufted Ducks whilst another two Mediterranean Gulls (again both adults) were on the main reservoir off the Sailing Club with another five Common Gulls and several Black-headed Gulls.
Overhead a couple of Raven were noted and then it was time to head back to the office.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Sutton Bingham - Mon 19 Dec

A few quick visits to the reservoir over the last week have not produced anything of note, hence the lack of blog postings, however, this morning I spent about half an hour working an area that over the past few weeks seemed to be attracting a few birds. After locating a Long-tailed Tit flock I carefully followed their feeding route checking the birds carefully and keeping an eye open for anything different. A couple of Treecreepers were noted and at least four Goldcrest, plus a couple of Blue Tits, and then a surprise...a small bird with an eye stripe, and before long I was treated to some cracking close views of a Firecrest! This was my fist ever Firecrest at Sutton Bingham so I was obviously extremely pleased to have found it.
The only other birds of note this morning were a fly-over Raven and Meadow Pipit plus a Mistle Thrush and calling Bullfinch. It was too misty to see if there was anything on the water.
Sutton Bingham year list 2016 now at 121 species.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Ham Wall RSPB - Sun 11 Dec

This afternoon I popped up to Ham Wall RSPB reserve for a pleasant afternoon stroll. Not much in the way of birds surprisingly, but good to see at least two Great White Egrets, including one perched in a tree!
A female-type Marsh Harrier was quartering the reeds and a few Water Rail were heard. From the second viewing platform I saw a Chiffchaff but other than the expected wildfowl I'd say it was pretty quiet. As we were leaving several thousands of Starling were starting to arrive.
Highlight of the day was a Woodcock which flew over the A303 near Podimore as I made my way home.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 11 Dec

A quick morning visit produced a "new" Tufted Duck, with a drake at the southern end. Also a single Snipe plus a few Teal and Wigeon.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 10 Dec

A check of the gull roost this evening before the light got too bad and I found an adult winter-plumaged Mediterranean Gull, the first of the winter.
Also tonight at least 1200 Black-headed Gulls and well over a thousand Herring Gulls. A single Common Gull was picked out also. A few Snipe flew from West Pool in the fading light and ninety-two Wigeon were off the dam.

Sutton Bingham - Wed 7 Dec

A bit more action during this afternoon's visit. I started off at the Fishing Lodge and dam where a total of eighty Wigeon were present, but I was unable to find anything else around this area so made a quick stop at the outflow stream where three Chiffchaff were noted.
Round then to the northern causeway where an unseasonal Great Black-backed Gull was present. Was really not expecting one of those this afternoon.
Also on West Pool, another bird I'd not expected to see in December, a Little Egret (incidentally, I saw both the Little Egret and Great Black-backed Gull flying south less than an hour after they were on West Pool). On the main reservoir, nine Common Gulls were present.
Off then to the southern end of the reservoir and my first walk around Cotton Bridge for several months. It didn't really yield much though a did flush three Snipe. A sub-adult Peregrine was on one of the pylons.
Also in the area at least six feeding Goldcrests, most of which were associating with feeding flocks of Long-tailed Tits. Some hundred and twenty Teal were still present and a single Little Grebe was seen. Finally, the only other bird worth mentioning was a single Coot (there are so few at Sutton Bingham nowadays I feel they are worth a mention).

Monday, 5 December 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 4 Dec

A late afternoon walk along the western edge of the reservoir produced a few bits and pieces. A quick count of the duck produced just twenty Teal (though I am sure many more were out of site at the southern end), eighty-six Wigeon and around thirty Mallard. A single Little Grebe was nice to see and overhead a Raven passed by. Near the Canoe Club a couple of Meadow Pipits were seen and near the site of the hide there were three Collared Dove, a bird not often seen at this end of the reservoir. A single Stock Dove was also noted. A brief stop at the northern causeway failed to produce anything unexpected amongst the gathering gull flock but a total of 102 Canada Geese were grazing on the lawn outside the Fishing Lodge.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 3 Dec

A quick stop at the dam on my way home from work and there was a flock of 114 Wigeon present (plus a single drake Teal). Two Meadow Pipit were also noted.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Sutton Bingham - Fri 2 Dec

A quick lunchtime visit today and there were two Coot off the northern causeway, the highest count on patch for months! A pair of Tufted Duck were new in at the southern end where there was also a single Wigeon and well over a hundred Teal.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Sutton Bingham - Wed 30 Nov

After a couple of days of clear skies and freezing temperatures I was relieved that rain hadn't come in this afternoon and I was able to enjoy a couple of hours in the sun at Sutton Bingham (though the cold eventually got to my toes by the end of my visit).
I started off at the Fishing Lodge and dam where a flock of fifty-eight Wigeon and amongst them a single drake Gadwall and a single drake Shoveler.
Also from the Fishing Lodge a single Meadow Pipit and a good number of "garden" birds around the feeders. On the lawn in front of the Fishing Lodge a single Redwing was feeding, and it looked darker than the "normal" Redwings but nowhere near dark enough to be of the Icelandic race, and the undertail coverts certainly didn't appear dark enough! Nevertheless, a very smart little thrush.
I then drove down to the southern end of the reservoir where there were good numbers of Teal present, I counted at least 127 birds, but there were surely more tucked up in the vegetation along the water's edge. A further eleven Wigeon were also present and Mallard numbered at least forty birds. Another Meadow Pipit flew over and a Peregrine was perched atop a pylon tucking in to something.
I stopped quickly at the northern end as I left the patch, a couple of Common Gulls amongst the gathering masses were the only things of note though.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Sutton Bingham - Mon 28 Nov

On a whim I popped up to the reservoir during my lunch break, mainly because a pair of Egyptian Geese had been seen flying in the general direction of the reservoir earlier in the day...anyway, they never showed up at Sutton Bingham!
That being said I did find a drake Goosander which looked pretty settled near the Canoe Club. I didn't have time to get any closer so had to make do with distant 'scope views.
This was my third Goosander of the autumn, not bad considering this a bird that is not guaranteed annually.
Also present today a pair of Shoveler opposite the "hide", though both were fast asleep. The extreme southern end hosted thirteen Teal and eight Wigeon, before a further thirty-six Wigeon flew in from the north and joined them. Three first-winter Mute Swans were also new in. At the northern end of the reservoir a first-winter Common Gull was the only bird of note. There was no sign of the Coot that was on West Pool late yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Sutton Bingham - Wed 23 Nov

A fleeting visit on Sunday was uneventful with the only bird of note being the Barnacle Goose. Returning 48 hours later for an equally brief visit on Tuesday afternoon and the water levels had risen dramatically, a testament to the amount of rain that had fallen! A pair of Mandrain were at the southern end but all the Teal and Wigeon had left.
On Wednesday afternoon I spent a couple of hours on patch and it was painfully quiet. Other than a Mute Swan there was nothing on the water. A Stonechat was halfway down the southern arm, and showed well.
Other than the Stonechat, the only birds of note this afternoon were two Skylarks that flew over heading north, a total of four Meadow Pipits, including three in the field north of the Canoe Club, and a single Redwing.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 13 Nov

A pre-breakfast visit this morning turned out to be pretty productive (though nothing new added to the patch year list). I started off at the northern causeway and there was a load of activity along the railway embankment with a couple of hundred Redwing (and a few Fieldfare) feeding in the various berry bushes. At least three Chiffchaff were also noted along side a small party of Long-tailed Tits and a Goldcrest. Two Reed Buntings were also present on the edge of West pool along with a Grey Wagtail.
Off then to the southern end of the reservoir where the Teal flock had grown to 198 birds, though Wigeon numbers were down to just twenty-six and these were off the dam, none at the southern end at all this morning. Over head four Meadow Pipits flew through.
Round to the Fishing Lodge and the only things added here were a couple of Mistle Thrushes and a Kingfisher.
I ended the morning in the car park, where despite finding another flock of tits, there was nothing scarcer amongst them, though a Treecreeper was a nice sight. A quick count of the Cormorants gathered produced a personal patch record count with 114 birds noted. Finally, a Peregrine flew through heading west.
A return visit later in the afternoon was a little less productive though the southern end of the reservoir now held seventy-six Mallard and Wigeon kept dropping in until I had counted 134 birds. Teal numbers were about the same, but I didn't spend long totalling them up. A (maybe this morning's) Peregrine was on one of the pylons and as I walked back to the car a large flock of around 120 Jackdaw flew over.
A large number of gulls were gathering off the Fishing Lodge as the light started to fade, but I was unable to get round to that side of the reservoir to check them out.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Sutton Bingham - Wed 9 Nov

After being at a conference all morning I had some time to myself this afternoon so put in a shift at the reservoir. A quick stop at the northern causeway to check what was about produced the Barnacle Goose as it flew over my head with a flock of Canada Geese and headed south, a really great bird to watch in flight. Numbers of Wigeon had increased with 120 birds off the Sailing Club.
I then popped down to the southern end where I was surprised to find a redhead Goosander. Less than a fortnight since the fly-through drake this particular bird was slightly more obliging!
Unfortunately, it didn't hang around that long and flew off to the north soon after I arrived. The Teal flock numbered some 138 birds, an increase on recent visits. Before heading back round to the dam and Fishing Lodge, I noticed a Little Grebe and a fly-past Kingfisher.
From the Fishing Lodge I checked the Wigeon flock again, but nothing more unusual amongst them however I did notice three duck together on the water. Quickly setting up my 'scope I was rewarded with good views of a first-winter drake Gadwall and two Pintail (a female and a first-winter male). As I was checking out these duck a drake Mallard flew by in the company of a female Shoveler, so a really good assortment of wildfowl at the reservoir this afternoon.
There were plenty of gulls dropping in as I left, but I didn't have time to check them out.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 6 Nov

A late morning visit to the patch today and I headed straight for the southern end of the reservoir in the hope that something may have dropped in overnight. There were plenty of duck about today with counts of 150 Teal, 75 Wigeon and 60 Mallard. Amongst these a single female Pintail (presumably the bird that has been seen on and off over the past few weeks).
I then headed off for the northern end and after a quick scan of West Pool, where a Stonechat was still present, I made for the dam. A drake Tufted Duck was new in and amongst the Canada Goose flock the Barnacle Goose was still present.
Other than three Kingfishers there was not much else around today, though a late afternoon visit did produce a flock of around thirty Fieldfare.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sat 5 Nov

A quick stop at the reservoir before work this morning and it was terribly quiet, nothing of note at all from the northern causeway so, despite time restrictions, I pegged it down to the southern end just in case. Whilst counting the Teal, of which there were around sixty-five, a small party of Mallard flew from the bottom corner and headed north right past me, and they were in the company of a female Goldeneye! This is only my second ever record of Goldeneye at Sutton Bingham, the first being a male bird back in 2010. I certainly wasn't expecting that this morning!
A quick stop on my way home from work at lunchtime, provided another flurry of excitement but a higher measure of frustration as a small grey and white wader flew north over the top of the reservoir, unfortunately it was too distant and moving too quickly for me to identify. So after the highs of the morning, a little bit of disappointment this afternoon with one that got away!
Sutton Bingham year list 2016 now at 120 species.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Roseland Peninsula - Wed 2 Nov

The final day of the holiday, and it was another warm and sunny day. Spending a couple of hours in the garden I notched up nearly forty species of bird, with highlight being a couple of Cirl Buntings, one of which showed really well (even if it did have it's back to me most f the time). 
A large flock of around forty Redwing flew over, a Great Spotted Woodpecker dropped in, an adult Mediterranean Gull drifted over and three Bullfinch put in an appearance.
After packing the car we decided to make one last stop at Carne Beach and coffee at the Nare Hotel before walking across the sand to Pendower Beach. I relocated what was presumably the same Firecrest I had found a couple of days earlier behind the car park as well as a couple of Chiffchaff.
Leaving the beaches behind us we took a leisurely drive back home after a great few days away!

Roseland Peninsula - Tue 1 Nov

There was a lot of movement this morning over our cottage, with a flock of over fifty Fieldfares passing south and well over three hundred Woodpigeons moving through. In the garden I found a Firecrest which showed really well and a very late Swallow flew over.
After breakfast we set off and took the King Harry Ferry across the River Fal to visit Trelissick, a National Trust house and gardens. First though we had time to pop down to Loe Beach at Feock where a scan of Carrock Roads produced a very distant Red-necked Grebe, four Common Scoters, a couple of Little Grebes and a very nice Red-throated Diver.
As we walked around Trelissick I noted half a dozen Mediterranean Gulls overhead with a single Common Gull. The gardens were wonderful, though I didn't see much in the way of birds, however a Siskin was seen and I heard a Treecreeper.
After returning to our accommodation for a rather late lunch we set off for St Anthony's Head, whilst it was a pretty spectacular view there was not much else to do so we went back to Pendower Beach for the last couple of hours of sunlight. I found a Black-throated Diver offshore and three Common Scoter.

Roseland Peninsula - Mon 31 Oct

A quick check of the garden and field before breakfast was worth while with three Cirl Buntings being seen as well as a single fly-over Redwing and a Grey Wagtail. We then set off for Carne Beach where we enjoyed an almost deserted beach and a coffee and the Nare Hotel overlooking Gerrans Bay. A counted a total of four Great Northern Divers, including a wonderful bird in full summer plumage.
Leaving Carne Beach we popped along to Pendower Beach where a late Willow Warbler was unexpected alongside two Chiffchaffs.
After lunch, which we had back at "home" we set off to St Mawes and a wander around this small and typically Cornish town. I then returned to Pendower late in the day to see if I could find anything else of interest, but other than a single Great Northern Diver out in the bay it was really quiet, though a pair of Stonechats were nice to see.

Roseland Peninsula - Sun 30 Oct

An extended weekend away with the family and we spent five lovely days on the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall.
 The Saturday was spent travelling, though with hindsight we should have set off earlier, but we had things to do at home before we left, so the Sunday was our first real day away and after breakfast I spent a little time checking the birds in and around the garden, with a real surprise in the form of a male Cirl Bunting! I was not expecting that, but this smashing bird has been reintroduced to Cornwall within the last decade and by pure coincidence we happened to be in the right area to see them.
There were also good numbers of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits in the field behind the garden as well as lots of Goldfinches and Linnets.
We then popped down to Porthcurnick Beach for a morning stroll, enjoying a coffee and cake (well I had a pasty) at The Hidden Hut café. On the bird front I located a Red-necked Grebe and Great Northern Diver offshore, and several Gannets were in the bay.
After lunch back at our accommodation we set off to visit the church at St Just in Roseland. It was a wonderful setting and we enjoyed a nice walk around the village. I stumbled upon a nice feeding flock of tits, but couldn't find anything our of the ordinary amongst them.
Our final stop of the day was a trip to Pendower Beach which produced a fair bit of interest around the car park as another feeding flock of birds held a Firecrest and half a dozen Chiffchaffs, a nice end to the first full day away.

Sutton Bingham - Fri 28 Oct

A real surprise this evening, I failed to failed anything of note though the Teal flock had reached more than 120 birds. In fact I was feeling a little fed up and thinking how the best of the year had probably been and gone, when from the north a drake Goosander flew in and headed straight on south! This was my first patch Goosander for three years, and the last few have all been redheads, so great to get in on the year list.
Driving back I stopped briefly at the northern causeway where sixty-four Wigeon were grazing on the bank near the Sailing Club with a the Canada Geese and a single Barnacle Goose (presumably the bird that was present on Wednesday).

Sutton Bingham - Thu 27 Oct

A quick check of the southern end of the reservoir produced a flock of one hundred Teal and over a hundred Mallard. Other birds of note included a Peregrine on one of the pylons, a fly-over Skylark and two Stonechats.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Sutton Bingham - Wed 26 Oct

A brief early morning visit was very productive, with some obvious visible migration in the form of eight Skylark, eleven Fieldfare (my first of the autumn at the reservoir) and fourteen Meadow Pipits through. A Stonechat was still around the fringes of West Pool where a very late Common Sandpiper was feeding. A single Snipe was also noted on West Pool alongside a Grey Wagtail.
Returning later in the day I had a bit of time to spare so started at the southern end where a Little Grebe was present and Teal numbers had increased to 131 birds (no Wigeon seen today).
I then drove round to the Fishing Lodge and checked out the geese (something I often do...just in case!) and today it paid off with a first-winter type Eurasian White-fronted Goose present amongst the Canada Geese. Amazingly I then found a single Barnacle Goose which was another new arrival. So two quality patch year ticks in the space of a couple of minutes. Unfortunately both geese kept their distance and the Eurasian White-fronted Goose in particular was rather mobile with the Canada Goose flock, I eventually managed to get a little closer as the flock moved to the southern end of the reservoir, but my pictures, taken in fading light, do not do it justice.
Obviously the top photo its the very distant Barnacle Goose, and the bottom three the Eurasian White-fronted Goose hanging around with the Canada Geese. Did I mention it was distant and the light was poor?
Sutton Bingham year list 2016 now at 118 species.

Sutton Bingham - Tue 25 Oct

A quick check of the southern end of the reservoir on the way home produced just fifty Teal and two Wigeon, a real drop in numbers, but the female Pintail (presumably the same one) was back after going AWOL for several days. A Snipe flew over heading south and a Peregrine was atop one of the pylons.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 23 Oct

A quick check of the car park produced a Marsh Tit, a bird I'd not seen in this area of the reservoir before. The Stonechat was still at West Pool.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 22 Oct

A late afternoon visit produced a bit of variety. I concentrated on the southern end of the reservoir where 134 Teal and forty Wigeon were present, though nothing more unusual was amongst them. A pair of Mute Swans were new in and two first-winter Mediterranean Gulls and a Common Gull flew through heading south. A couple of Kingfishers were noted and a Stonechat was still hanging around West Pool.

Sutton Bingham - Fri 21 Oct

A female type Mandarin was seen in flight over the southern end of the reservoir late afternoon, the only other birds of note were three Kingfishers and fourteen fly-through Meadow Pipits.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Sutton Bingham - Wed 19 Oct

More of the same during this afternoon's trip to the reservoir. Starting at the southern end a quick count of the wildfowl produced forty-seven Wigeon and ninety Teal plus three Little Grebes that were also present.
Two Stonechats were still midway between the "hide" and Canoe Club with a third individual at West Pool. A single Kingfisher was the only other bird of note, though a little group of four Treecreepers were near the car park with a Goldcrest and Chiffchaff. Finally, my first patch Sparrowhawk for several months was soaring overhead with a couple of Buzzards.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 16 Oct

Well today I managed two visits to the reservoir, one pre-breakfast and another late in the afternoon.
I started the day at West Pool where there were several birds present, somewhat bucking the recent trend on patch! A Stonechat and at least six Meadow Pipits were feeding on the southern edge of West Pool where six Snipe were roosting. West Pool also held two Teal and a pair of Wigeon. Overhead a Raven was heard and the main reservoir produced a fly-by Kingfisher. The sallows in the corner of West Pool contained a couple of Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest, but nothing scarcer.
I then drove down to the southern end of the reservoir. The long-staying Pintail had moved on at last but there were still fifty-three Teal and thirty-two Wigeon. Four Skylark flew over, as did a single Meadow Pipit.
Finally this morning, I stopped off at the church, but other than a handful of Redwing couldn't find anything of note.
Returning to the reservoir late afternoon, I made straight for the dam where a Little Grebe was feeding just off the tower. Then a real surprise as I heard a Red-legged Partridge calling, only the third time I've recorded this species at Sutton Bingham and a real bonus patch year tick. It called a few times but I was unable to pin it down. A flock of twenty-five Linnet was also noted at the top of the entrance to the Fishing Lodge.
Back then to the northern causeway and a check of the gulls that were starting to drop in. Three sub-adult Common Gulls were the pick.
Black-headed Gulls numbered well over a hundred and at least three hundred larger gulls were present.
Sutton Bingham year list 2016 now at 116 species.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 15 Oct

An afternoon walk resulted in my getting absolutely soaked! The heaven's opened as I was about as far from the car as I possibly could have been...but was it worth it I hear you ask? Well, not really.
I checked out the southern end of the reservoir where around thirty Wigeon and sixty Teal were present, a pair of Tufted Duck were new arrivals, and the female Pintail was still about. A single Stonechat was seen and it looked rather sorry for itself in the rain, but there was little else on show.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Sutton Bingham - Fri 14 Oct

A quick visit on the way home from work turned up a real surprise in the form of a Siberian Chiffchaff seen skulking in sallows in the north-eastern corner of West Pool and heard calling on a few occasions. A single Common Sandpiper was also seen this evening.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Sutton Bingham - Wed 12 Oct

Some time to spare at the reservoir this afternoon and during the couple of hours I was present I covered a fair amount of ground but failed to find anything out of the ordinary...what made things worse was the fact a Red Kite had been seen over the southern end of the reservoir mid-morning!
A check of the southern end produced a good number of wildfowl, with seventy-four Teal, thirty Wigeon and the female Pintail still.
A check around the church and car park only managed to provide four Redwing, with hardly any small birds on offer. So West Pool and the northern causeway then? A Stonechat was on the fence line south of West Pool and a Common Sandpiper was still feeding on the water's edge. That was it so round to the dam.
Bearing in mind the area around the Fishing Lodge was packed with birds at the weekend I arrived feeling positive. After a fair amount of searching the paddocks, hedges, etc. it seems my faith was ill-placed as there was hardly anything about. A Little Egret was on the dam and a Little Grebe was seen. A couple of Meadow Pipits were noted and a small flock of fourteen Linnets was flying around. The only other bird of note during the duration of my visit was a single Kingfisher. Seems that Sutton Bingham is missing out on all the quality scarcities dotted across the UK at present...suppose I'd better just keep looking.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 9 Oct

A morning trip to the reservoir was pretty pointless, with just a Common Sandpiper on West Pool and my first autumn Redwing being all I had to show for just under an hour on site.
A brief stop at the dam late afternoon was much more productive and yielded the first Common Gull of the winter (a nice adult bird) and three first-winter Mediterranean Gulls. The horse paddock was packed with birds but time was against me so I couldn't spend as much time scanning through everything as I would have liked. However, I did locate a Reed Bunting and there were a few White Wagtails and Meadow Pipits about. A single Linnet was on the dam wall.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sat 7 Oct

A Redshank was present at the southern end of the reservoir on Friday evening, but I did not have time to check the area during a flying visit before work this morning. A stop on the northern causeway produced a Common Sandpiper on West Pool and a single Chiffchaff feeding in the sallows in the corner of West Pool. A couple of Meadow Pipits flew over and a Kingfisher was noted. The long-staying Shelduck was still hanging about.
A return visit later in the day yielded two Common Sandpipers from the northern causeway whilst at the southern end of the reservoir nineteen Wigeon and two Teal were present and two Stonechat were still present along the edge of the reservoir south of the Canoe Club. Finally, a couple of Kingfishers were also noted.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Sutton Bingham - Wed 5 Oct

A little over an hour spent at the reservoir this afternoon with the intention of finding a Yellow-browed Warbler...but I failed miserably. It was a pretty windy afternoon so I saw very little in the way of small birds, with just a couple of Chiffchaffs noted around West Pool and the car park.
The area around the dam hosted at least three White Wagtails as well as four Meadow Pipits and a single Little Egret was on the dam. A couple of Nuthatches were feeding on the peanuts that the warden had put out and two Linnets were also noted.
I then set off for the southern end of the reservoir where a single Green Sandpiper was still present.
A Common Sandpiper was also seen and duck numbers had remained pretty constant. The female/first-winter Pintail was still in with the Mallard flock and twenty-eight Teal plus twenty Wigeon were counted.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 2 Oct

As I was home slightly earlier than I was planning I took the opportunity to pop up to the reservoir for a quick look, stopping to check out the southern end before returning home via a quick stop at West Pool. This proved to be fairly productive with a first-winter Pintail present amongst the Mallard. A single Common Sandpiper was still present and a "new" Stonechat, this time a nice male, was at West Pool.

Rodden Hive - Sun 2 Oct

After a short drive we arrived at Langton Herring and walked out to Rodden Hive. Again we noted loads of Meadow Pipits as we walked along and as we neared The Fleet a ploughed field produced at least thirty Mediterranean Gulls in with a number of Black-headed Gulls. The hedgerow produced a Wheatear and two Stonechat as several Red Admiral butterflies. As we scanned the water it didn't take me too long to locate the Black-necked Grebe which showed really well, if a bit distant. There was not much in the way of variety on the water so we headed back to the car with the target bird safely ticked off. After a good amount of birding we decided to call it a day and headed back home.

Radipole RSPB - Sun 2 Oct

After leaving Portland we stopped off at Radipole RSPB for a visit, spending a little under two hours wandering around the reserve. From the visitor centre we noted a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits and a single Black-tailed Godwit as well as five Bearded Tits and the resident Hooded Merganser. We then walked out to the viewpoint on the buddleia loop where I found the juvenile male Garganey tucked up in the reeds. More Bearded Tits were noted and a male Marsh Harrier was seen over the reeds. A Clouded Yellow as seen on the wing near the concrete bridge and as we returned to the car for our lunch a couple of adult Mediterranean Gulls were in flight over the car park. As we were getting ready to leave news broke of a Black-necked Grebe at Rodden Hive, so guess were we went next?

Portland Bill - Sun 2 Oct

A bit of birding with two old friends today (John and Steve) and we set off to Portland, arriving around 8.30am with cloudless skies overhead. It was pretty evident that there was some visible migration going on and the most abundant bird was Meadow Pipit, with literally hundreds seen over the course of the day. Whist at the Bill we noted several dozen Meadow Pipits fly out to sea heading south. There were also several Wheatear around the Bill, including a couple of the Greenland race...though this bird was of the nominate form.
Leaving the Bill we headed up to the Obs Quarry and within a couple of minutes Steve managed to locate the Wryneck that had been present for a few days. We were lucky enough to get some cracking views of the bird.
Wandering back to the car we noticed more Meadow Pipits and a few Skylarks passing over, plus a Peregrine trying its best to pick up a passerine snack and a couple of fly-over Raven. There was little out to sea apart from a distant Sandwich Tern, so we didn't;t linger for a sea watch and instead headed off for Radipole.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 1 Oct

A mid-afternoon walk along the edge of the reservoir whilst dodging some quite heavy showers actually turned up a few birds. A total of twelve Meadow Pipits and three Swallows passed through and there were two Stonechat present near the sleeper bridge. The southern end still played host to a single Common Sandpiper with twenty Teal and fifteen Wigeon present also.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Sutton Bingham - Wed 28 Sep

A lovely afternoon spent at the reservoir today, with the sun shining and a few birds around too. I started at the Fishing Lodge where a quick check produced five Meadow Pipits and three Wigeon but not much else, so I drove round to check out West Pool. A single Common Sandpiper was still present as well as a couple of Little Egrets and three Snipe. The Shelduck was still loitering around the northern causeway.
Parking in the car park I could hear a Chiffchaff in full song, somewhat of a surprise given the time of year. I then walked along the reservoir right to the southern end and back. There was plenty to keep me occupied with a Stonechat being a new arrival. It showed well but always with the sun behind it. 
There were a small number of Meadow Pipits passing through, with at least six seen/heard heading north. The exposed mud at the southern end produced two Green Sandpipers and another two Common Sandpipers. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was also noted and duck numbers were continuing to increase with fourteen Wigeon, twenty-three Teal and a single female Tufted Duck.
I also came across this beast of a dragonfly this afternoon, which I have been reliably informed is a Southern Hawker.
So a pretty productive visit today with some nice birds seen, though nothing new for the patch year list.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 25 Sep

Another short visit to the patch today with around forty minutes spent at the reservoir mid-morning. The southern end of the reservoir held thirteen Wigeon and a dozen Teal plus three Meadow Pipits which flew over heading north. A late Whitethroat was near the southern causeway and it was then back to West Pool.
Two Common Sandpipers were still present on West Pool, and the long-staying Shelduck was still on the northern causeway. I had just enough time to whizz round to the dam. but failed to fee anything of note other than a single Little Egret and a steady trickle of Swallows passing through heading south.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 24 Sep

Not much time for birding on patch today, but a Whinchat was present on the fence line south of West Pool, and despite showing really well I couldn't get anything like a semi-decent photo due to strong winds.
A single Common Sandpiper and seven Snipe were also on West Pool.

Sutton Bingham - Fri 23 Sep

I managed about ten minutes or so at the reservoir after work this evening and made straight for the southern end where a single Lapwing was a new arrival. Two Green Sandpipers (presumably the same birds that were present mid-week) and a couple of Snipe were also present along with seven Teal and nine Wigeon.
Back to West Pool where a Little Egret and a Little Grebe were present and a Common Sandpiper was heard, but I could not get my eyes on it. Finally, four more Snipe were present on the far edge of West Pool So all in all, not bad for a quick stop.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Sutton Bingham - Wed 21 Sep

Was hoping for a bit of quality time at the reservoir this afternoon, but in the end I managed less than an hour so had to rush around the site. Starting at the southern end two Green Sandpipers were present feeding on the mud.
Back to the northern causeway, no time to check out the area around the car park or Canoe Club unfortunately, but West Pool hosted a Common Sandpiper and three Little Egrets (a fourth was present off the dam).
Round then to the Fishing Lodge where there was still a fair amount of action. A total of three Spotted Flycatchers were present which made me wonder whether this was a family group that had bred nearby and escaped my attention during the summer. The Linnet flock numbered at least thirty birds but didn't contain anything more unusual amongst their numbers. At least three White Wagtails were present and a single Meadow Pipit flew over.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Sutton Bingham - Mon 19 Sep

About two minutes on patch this morning and a single Snipe was feeding on the far shore on West Pool and three Common Sandpipers were still about. A Little Grebe was also on West Pool while a Little Egret was near the Sailing Club and the long-staying Shelduck was still on the northern causeway.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 18 Sep

A mid-morning trip to the reservoir and what were presumably the same three Common Sandpipers were still present on West Pool, with a fourth bird being seen at the southern end of the reservoir. A total of four Little Egrets were noted on site and fly-over birds included two Meadow Pipits, a Raven and two Stock Dove. Duck numbers have started to increase, with eleven each of Teal and Wigeon at the southern end. At least three Clouded Yellows were on the wing.
A return visit mid-afternoon concentrated on the area around the north-east corner and I focused my efforts on the dam and Fishing Lodge. The Linnet flock was still present with at least thirty birds counted. Pied Wagtails numbered well over twenty with a few White Wagtails present also.
I then had a mad few minutes as I noticed a Spotted Flycatcher in one of the fir trees, it eventually relocated to the roof of the Fishing Lodge and was joined by a second bird.
It is always good to find a Spotted Flycatcher on the patch and I never consider them a definite on the year list. As I was watching the Spotted Flycatchers I managed my second patch year tick of the day as a Garden Warbler suddenly appeared in a tree in front of me, put on a show for a short while and then vanished. This was my first Garden Warbler on patch for several years and a real unexpected bonus. It rounded off a great hour at the reservoir.
Sutton Bingham year list 2016 now at 114 species.