Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 24 Jan

Despite feeling pretty awful I dragged myself out for an hour over lunchtime and took a walk around the southern end of the reservoir and Cotton Bridge. I failed again to flush any Jack Snipe, though four Snipe were put up. There were good numbers of duck around with over sixty Teal and at least seventy-eight Wigeon and another year tick in the form of a female Gadwall. A Little Grebe was also present.
Overhead a Raven was seen and three Meadow Pipits were also noted.
Finally, a flock of thirteen Tufted Duck were on West Pool.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2016 now at 64 species.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 23 Jan

Having spent the morning painting the stairs and landing as well as coming down with a beastly cold I thought a bit of fresh air might help so popped up to the reservoir for an hour late afternoon.
I managed to add Mute Swan to the patch year list, with three birds present at the southern end of the reservoir and the flock of eighty-three Wigeon were still present. A walk from the "hide" up to the Canoe Club and back flushed three Snipe from the water's edge but that was it.
Back then to the northern causeway and a check of the gulls, and a single adult Mediterranean Gull was amongst the masses, of which the majority were Herring Gulls with over a thousand present.

Sutton Bingham - Fri 22 Jan

A stop off on the way home tonight produced a pair of Shoveler new in at the southern end of  the reservoir, though they didn't hang around when they saw me and took flight and headed north. As a result I drove round to the dam thinking they may have relocated but I failed to find them amongst the flock of eighty-three Wigeon. Two Ravens flew over but there was little else of note. Back then to the northern causeway to check the gulls, which was rather unrewarding!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Sutton Bingham - Thu 21 Jan

Now don't ask me why, but for some reason I felt I just had to pop along to the reservoir during my lunch hour today...and it turned out to be an inspired decision. Stopping at the northern causeway first of all I found six Tufted Duck on West Pool and then scanning the main reservoir I picked out a flock of eight Pintail and three Shelduck...result! They were all rather distant, and asleep!
A quick drive round to the dam to get a better look and a further four Tufted Duck and eighty-one Wigeon were also present.
There were loads of small birds around the Fishing Lodge and entrance road, but time was against me so I had no chance to check them all out thoroughly, but never mind, I had added another two ticks to the year list.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2016 now at 62 species.

Sutton Bingham - Wed 20 Jan

I managed about seven minutes on the northern causeway on my way home from work this lunchtime and I added Canada Goose to the patch year list, with a flock of eighty birds new in. Five Tufted Duck were off the dam whilst West Pool played host to a Little Grebe. At least four Snipe were seen in flight around West Pool, which was covered in large parts by a sheet of ice...just goes to show how cold it has been over the past day or two.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 17 Jan

I'd had a text message on Thursday morning telling me of a Jack Snipe flushed at the southern end of the reservoir, but a thirty minute visit on Saturday lunchtime after work failed to relocate it, though I did have ten or so Snipe...that was it as I wanted to get home for the Spurs match!
Sunday afternoon was a bit more relaxed and I spent an hour at the reservoir before dark. It was not a good evening for gulls despite there being a few hundred milling about they were not settling tonight and instead there was a steady stream of birds flying south and in amongst them I located four adult Mediterranean Gulls, ghostly white in the evening light.
The field between the car park and Canoe Club produced the wintering Stonechat and two Meadow Pipits as well as my first Fieldfare of the year.
The southern end of the reservoir was again quite quiet with eight Wigeon and seven Teal all that I could find, there is a distinct lack of wildfowl at Sutton Bingham at present, presumably due to the amount of flood water across the region and the dispersion of birds.
I ended my visit at the dam, but there's nothing to say about that!
Sutton Bingham year list for 2016 now at 59 species.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 10 Jan

My first proper trip to the reservoir for a week (a couple of flying visits on the way to work had not produced anything of note) and it turned out to be a good ninety minutes on site mid-afternoon.
I started off at the southern end of the reservoir and took a walk around Cotton Bridge, well I say walk, it was more like a slog through mud and water! I flushed ten Snipe from the marshy area south of Cotton Bridge and managed to see a Marsh Tit (it took me over eight months in 2015!). A male Bullfinch was another addition to the patch year list whilst on the water I counted around forty Wigeon and fifty Teal plus a single Little Grebe and a pair of Tufted Duck. Overhead I saw three Raven and a Pheasant was heard.
A quick visit to the car park area was worth while as a small flock of eight Siskin were seen.
On then to the dam and there were loads of small birds present, especially around the feeders the warden had put up and I had soon added Great Spotted Woodpecker and Greenfinch to the year list, and with Collared Dove and House Sparrow seen nearby it was becoming a pretty good start to the year.
With time against me, I wanted to be home for the 4pm kick off as Spurs were playing, I called it a day just as the gulls were starting to arrive.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2016 now at 57 species.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 3 Jan

Bit of a result today in the form of a Lesser Redpoll seen in the car park, loosely associating with a small flock of Goldfinch. I've not seen a Lesser Redpoll on the patch for a couple of years, so nice to get one early in the year. Nearby the Stonechat was again present near the Canoe Club.
The southern end of the reservoir produced a couple of Raven on one of the pylons, a small flock of twenty-seven Wigeon and a flooded field hosted a total of fifteen Pied Wagtails, despite trying I failed to find anything amongst them!
A pair of Tufted Duck and a Coot were on West Pool and the trip was rounded off with both Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail at the dam.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2016 now at 42 species.

Exmouth & Yeovil Open Space - Sat 2 Jan

Before long we were parked up at Exmouth and we walked round to the marina and area known as Shell Beach. A Black Redstart was seen on top of one of the apartment blocks, but it didn't hang around long. Scanning the gull I picked out an adult Little Gull and two Slavonian Grebes were also found (but we could not locate the Bonaparte's Gull).
With only ninety minutes of daylight remaining we decided to cut our losses and head back to Yeovil with the intention of seeing one of the wintering Yellow-browed Warblers. We arrived at Yeovil Open Space just as the light was failing, so I played a call and immediately a Yellow-browed Warbler flew in to a tree above us...result and a brilliant end to the day.
I ended up with a day list total of 82 species...not bad at all.

Exminster Marshes RSPB & Bowling Green Marsh RSPB - Sat 2 Jan

A stop at Exminster Marshes was not as profitable as we had hoped as the entire site was flooded out meaning there was no access. Scoping from the one area of the road that was not under water did produce the expected wildfowl but nothing of note. We popped along to a nearby site where we got lucky when I found a pair of Cirl Buntings. Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting and Skylark were also added to the day list.
Round then to the other side of the River Exe and as we failed to find anywhere to park in Topsham we left the car at Darts Farm and walked round to Bowling Green Marsh. There were good numbers of waders present, the most numerous being Avocet but several Bar-tailed Godwits and Black-tailed Godwits were also noted. Highlight was a single Spotted Redshank. After returning to the car news came out of the Bonaparte's Gull at Exmouth...so off we went!

Dawlish Warren & Cockwood - Sat 2 Jan

A day out in Devon with some birding friends today and we started off at Dawlish Warren, arriving at around 8:15am and making straight for the sea front and a sea watch. The offshore winds meant for some pretty big waves, so it was very difficult to pick out anything on the water due to the swell, that being said I did fins three Great Crested Grebes and a Razorbill. A Great Northern Diver did a nice fly past and their were a couple of rather distant Gannets. Add to this a Rock Pipits...on the rocks and a small flock of Turnstone that flew through and it made for a nice start to the day. We decided against a walk out to The Bight and instead drove round to Cockwood.
From the railway crossing we were able to scan the more sheltered area of the estuary and soon picked out a couple of Goldeneye and several Red-breasted Mergansers. Flocks of Ringed Plover and Dunlin were seen in flight but with the tide in we decided to head off in search of birds elsewhere.

Sutton Bingham - Fri 1 Jan

A trip up to Ham Wall RSPB in the morning had been very unproductive, and I had missed every one of the speciality species as well as the long-staying rarities. So it was back to the patch this afternoon and it started off pretty well with a drake Shoveler and drake Tufted Duck in with the Wigeon (of which there were 132) off the dam.
A Kestrel was seen resting at the Water Treatment Works and one of the wintering Stonechats was still present in the field between the car park and Canoe Club. Three Stock Doves flew over and a single Little Grebe was at the southern end of the reservoir. So not a bad start to the year.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2016 now at 32 species.