Monday, 22 February 2016

Ham Wall RSPB & Westhay - Sun 21 Feb

An afternoon out today and I ventured up to the Somerset Levels, or Avalon Marshes as they seem to be called nowadays, and enjoyed a pleasant stroll at ham Wall RSPB. A walk out to the second viewing platform and back produced the expected wintering duck and a pair of Marsh Harriers.
As I returned to the car I took a diversion to the new "island" hide where I jammed in by seeing the Glossy Ibis which has been over-wintering in the area. A real stroke of luck as I know the bird has been elusive. I had good views of the Glossy Ibis on the deck, though partially obscured by reeds, before it took flight, passed in front of the hide and was lost to view. Excellent stuff!
I took a detour on the way home, going via Westhay and it didn't take me too long to find the field of egrets that had been attracting local birders. Amongst the many Little Egrets (a conservative count of at least forty birds) I found a Great White Egret and with a little help from another birder also connected with the Cattle Egret that had been in the area for a while. A good end to a great afternoon out.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 20 Feb

A mid-afternoon visit was limited to the southern end of the reservoir around Cotton Bridge due to sailing and angling activities at the northern end. A good walk around produced a few duck on the water, though they were easily spooked by my presence...despite my best attempts at stealth! At least forty Teal and thirty Wigeon were still present and a single drake Tufted Duck. I also saw a drake Mandarin, another year tick for the patch. This was shortly followed by a second patch year tick as a Skylark was seen over the fields behind the reservoir. As I ended my visit and walked back to the car a flock of Black-headed Gulls passed south with nine Mediterranean Gulls amongst them.
NB: A brief visit on Sunday morning yielded nothing of note other than my first Green Woodpecker of the year.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2016 now at 72 species.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Sutton Bingham - Fri 19 Feb

An early morning visit to the reservoir today before work and the weather was brilliant, clear skies and good light, if a little cold. Stopping off at the northern causeway first of all a single Lesser Redpoll was still present and showed well on the fence before flying off.
I then drove down to the southern end where it was very quiet, two Little Grebes and four Wigeon were about the only birds of note. A pair of Bullfinches were in the tree line by the road. Giving up I drove back up to the car park and had a wander around. Three Siskin were feeding in the alders in the car park and another two Bullfinches were seen (both females this time).
I finished my visit with a walk along the edge of West Pool (NB: there is no public access to this part of the reservoir). A Reed Bunting was singing away and a further three were seen and another two Little Grebes were on the water. As I got to a markedly reedy area I started putting up Snipe, with at least thirty birds being flushed. I started back to the car (time to get to work!) and from under my foot another bird took flight, a Jack Snipe! It flew a short distance before dropping back in to cover, and having made note of where it landed I set off after it. As I neared the location it took flight again and I had brilliant views of the bird as it flew across West Pool and dropped in to cover on the far bank, and a couple of Snipe followed suite showing a real comparison of species. What a great way to round of my visit, this was only my second ever Jack Snipe at Sutton Bingham.
NB: A quick visit late afternoon produced three adult Mediterranean Gulls.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Sutton Bingham - Tue 16 Feb

I had time to spare before work this morning so was able to spend about forty minutes at the reservoir in temperatures of minus four degrees Celsius! Despite the chill in the air it was a lovely morning and there were a few birds about as well. Nine Tufted Duck were off the dam, with a further nine at the southern end of the reservoir.
Two Lesser Redpolls were feeding on weeds on the northern causeway and a pair of Little Grebes were on West Pool. Another patch year tick today with two male Reed Buntings jostling for position on the edges of West Pool.
The southern end of the reservoir produced more duck than of late with Wigeon numbers having increased slightly to around seventy birds and half a dozen Teal were also noted.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2016 now at 68 species.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Sutton Bingham - Mon 15 Feb

I've made a few brief visits to the reservoir over the last week, but I have to say it has been somewhat disappointing...hence the lack of blog postings. Wigeon and Teal numbers seem to have dropped markedly but seven Tufted Duck were seen on 11 February (with six present the following day but just one the day after that).
A quick morning visit today though did produce a very smart Lesser Redpoll feeding on the northern causeway and the edge of West Pool.
But the main reason for today's post? Well a patch year tick of course! A flock of around forty Golden Plover were seen in flight passing north over the fields behind West Pool. Been several years since I've seen any Golden Plover on the patch, so was pretty thrilled to see this morning's birds.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 7 Feb

I managed my first "proper" visit of the month to Sutton Bingham this morning and it was surprisingly quiet on the water, with a pair of Teal the only wild duck I saw, though I am sure there were probably a few more tucked away at the extreme southern end of the reservoir.
I started off at the dam, but that turned out to be a waste of time with nothing of note seen, so round to the northern causeway and an equally bird-less West Pool. Finally a bit of action in the car park where I heard a Nuthatch calling, my first of the year on patch, and the alders held a flock of seven Lesser Redpoll and six Siskin which put on a good show. The wintering Stonechat was again present between the car park and the Canoe Club and a single Snipe was flushed.
Despite a good search around a few other areas of the reservoir I failed to see much more until a check of the pylons produced a Peregrine, my second patch year tick of the day and a good way to end the visit.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2016 now at 66 species.