Saturday, 30 July 2016

Black Hole Marsh, Seaton - Sat 30 Jul

A trip out this afternoon to Devon and a wander around Black Hole Marsh, part of Seaton Wetlands. A few decent waders had been seen over recent days, so I thought I'd pop down and take a look in the hope of getting a couple of year ticks...not that I'm year listing of course!
On arrival I scanned the marsh and immediately picked out a good number of Dunlin (including some very nice summer plumages birds), several Black-tailed Godwits, and loads of Redshank. A single Curlew and at least ten Common Sandpipers were also noted. But the birds I was after took just a little more work and I made for the Island Hide to maximise my chances of seeing them, and that paid off as first I had some smashing views of a Wood Sandpiper.
I then got on three juveniles and a single adult Little Ringed Plover. Other bits and pieces seen included a rather showy, if somewhat distant, Water Rail and a couple of Ringed Plover.
On the gull front I failed to pick out anything out of the ordinary, but I did not check the estuary. All in all it was a lovely afternoon out and made for quite a nice change from birding at Sutton Bingham!

Friday, 29 July 2016

Sutton Bingham - Fri 29 Jul

A quick mid-morning visit failed to produce anything other that what was presumably a family party of four Raven over the Canoe Club.
However, that all changed when I got a phone call at 1:45pm from Sherborne birder Brendan Sheils telling me that a Black-tailed Godwit had just dropped in after a heavy shower. So I pegged it over and was lucky enough to see the bird before it flew off soon after 2:00pm! My fourth patch year tick in four days and I was glad to finally connect with Black-tailed Godwit after missing two earlier in the year.
Also present at lunchtime, singles of Great Black-backed Gull, Little Egret and Common Sandpiper on West Pool.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Sutton Bingham - Thu 28 Jul

I popped out before breakfast and made straight for the dam where a Redshank was heard and then seen as it flew over the reservoir and headed south. I then set about scanning the dam wall for anything other than wagtails and was surprised with what I found. A juvenile/female-type Black Redstart! That was certainly unexpected. I managed to get some wonderful views as it worked its way along the horse paddock and back towards the Fishing Lodge before it was lost to view. Unfortunately, it was far too mobile for me to be able to get any sort of record shot, but what a cracking bird and a patch tick!
Other bits seen this morning included three Common Sandpipers and two Mandarin. Overhead a Hobby passed by carrying a small bird which it was busy plucking whilst on the wing.
Sutton Bingham year list 2016 now at 102 species.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Sutton Bingham - Wed 27 Jul

No early morning visit today but I did manage a brief stop mid-morning but could only find a Great Black-backed Gull and Little Egret on West Pool. I then had to pop in to East Coker and just as I was getting back in to the car after carrying out some chores I heard a wader call, having a pretty good idea what it was I quickly headed back to the reservoir just in case it has dropped in, and sure enough, when I got to the northern causeway an Oystercatcher was waiting for me! Unfortunately it was flushed by a passing cyclist within a couple of minutes of my arrival and it flew south and was lost to view. A real lucky patch year tick!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Sutton Bingham - Tue 26 Jul

No sign yesterday or today of the Wheatear that was present on Sunday and in fact I was getting a little fed up during this mornings early visit as all I could manage from the dam were a couple of Kingfishers and three Little Egrets.
A Raven was calling from the top of a tree near the outfall stream and a juvenile Black-headed Gull was present with eight adults on the buoys.
Off to the northern causeway where another Kingfisher was seen and then I could hear a warbler singing from the edge of West Pool. I was pretty sure it was a Sedge Warbler and after a quick hunt I managed to confirm my thoughts and got some smashing views of the bird. The first one at Sutton Bingham this year and the hundredth species of bird that I have seen on the patch in 2016!
I then popped down to the Canoe Club for a quick look around seeing another Little Egret and a third calendar year Yellow-legged Gull which showed really well on a buoy, a nice bird to round off the pre-breakfast visit.
Sutton Bingham year list 2016 now at 100 species.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 24 Jul

It was disappointingly quiet on the patch this morning. Starting at the dam I counted a total of five Little Egrets and two Common Sandpipers. A single Raven flew over and that was about it so I drove round to the northern causeway. Nothing of note, on to the Canoe Club where two more Ravens were seen as well as a couple of Kingfishers. A check of the muddy fringes along the edge of the reservoir produced another Common Sandpiper.
On the way back I made another quick stop at the northern causeway where I saw a single juvenile type Mandarin acting rather brave for this usually shy species (or at least they are on patch), and a Great Black-backed Gull was on West Pool.
A return visit later in the day didn't yield a thing but I later found out a Wheatear had been seen near the Fishing Lodge later in the I missed that one then!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sat 23 Jul

Well I suppose I've been quite lucky this month in so far as I've managed to spend some time at the reservoir pretty much every day. So I popped in again this morning to see if anything had dropped in overnight, but initial scans indicated that this was probably not the case!
Four Little Egret were again present from the dam as well as a Kingfisher, but it was really quiet so round to the northern causeway where single Great Black-backed Gull was on West Pool and seven Stock Doves were feeding in the newly mown field alongside the pool.
A Coot was seen off the Sailing Club, something of a rarity on the patch nowadays, and I don't think they have bred this year for the first time since I've been birding here.
I then popped down to the Canoe Club to check the southern end of the reservoir. A Peregrine was atop one of the pylons and a further two Kingfishers were seen.
Back then towards home and a quick stop at the northern causeway en route proved to be an inspired decision as firstly a Common Sandpiper flew in and landed on the causeway and then at pretty much the stroke of 8am two Common Terns arrived from nowhere and flew south!

Sutton Bingham - Fri 22 Jul

Yes, you guessed it, I managed another pre-breakfast visit to the reservoir today and whilst I didn't actually add anything to the patch year list there were a few birds around. I started off at the dam where four Little Egrets and three Common Sandpipers were noted as well as a small flock of six Linnets. Three Mistle Thrushes were also seen from the dam before I drove round to the northern causeway and West Pool.
It was pretty quiet until a load of Swallows suddenly went ballistic and the presence of a Hobby whizzing through explained why! A quick stop at the a Canoe Club and another, or possibly the same, Hobby flew south.
Returning to the reservoir in my way home from work I found a Green Sandpiper on West Pool! Result, a patch year tick and really good views to boot after some lean years with regard to this species. Two Great Black-backed Gulls were again present.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Sutton Bingham - Thu 21 Jul

There were five Little Egrets present from the dam early morning, and a small wader was seen very briefly in flight but was, unfortunately, not relocated. Two juvenile type Mandarin were also noted, I have my suspicions that two pairs have nested at Sutton Bingham this year, one pair at the southern end and the other at the northern end.
A Great Black-backed Gull was on a buoy on West Pool after a few days of going AWOL. The most exciting bird of the morning was a Greenshank that despite calling constantly could not be pinned down as it flew over the northern causeway before setting off south.

Sutton Bingham - Wed 20 Jul

A brief morning visit produced nothing more than a couple of Little Egrets, but a stop on the way home form work provided a little more interest with a third-summer Yellow-legged Gull sat on a buoy just off the Canoe Club. Stupidly I had left my phone in the car and by the time I returned it had flown, so I'm afraid I've not managed to post one of my top quality photos!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Ham Wall RSPB - Tue 19 Jul

A day off work so I headed up to Ham Wall RSPB for the morning, and boy was it hot! On the bird front it was pretty productive, as one would expect at this reserve nowadays. A brief stop at the first viewing platform was worthwhile as a Bittern flew in and settled in the reeds affording some brilliant views. At least three Marsh Harriers were seen quartering the reed beds and a good number of Little Egrets were also present.
On then to the second viewing platform where the long-staying Glossy Ibis was seen and a Great White Egret was noted (my only one of the visit!). A single Green Sandpiper was amongst the more numerous Lapwing and a few Snipe were seen.
On returning to the car a single Hobby was in flight over the adjacent field and this rounded off a nice morning out.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 17 Jul

Another pre-breakfast visit and today it paid off as I found a Greenshank off the dam. The bird was typically vocal and extremely flighty, barely settling and eventually I lost it to view at around 6.45am and could not relocate it. The only other birds of note today were five Little Egrets and two Raven.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2016 now at 98 species.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 16 Jul

An early morning visit produced some quality birds but no year ticks. Two Hobbies were seen over the southern end of the reservoir and appeared to be an adult and juvenile bird, so I guess they have bred locally, but I have no idea where! Also at the southern end a total of four Mandarin, two Raven and a mixed party of adult and young Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings were a nice sight.
Two Great Black-backed Gulls were still present off the Sailing Club and a single Little Egret and three Common Sandpipers were seen from the dam.
I popped back to the reservoir in the evening and saw pretty much the same as I had earlier in the day, a single Hobby was seen from the Canoe Club chasing off a Buzzard! Two Little Egrets were noted and a handful of Linnets were near the Fishing Lodge. A Kingfisher added a splash of colour.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Sutton Bingham - Fri 15 Jul

Another early morning visit as I arrived on patch just after 6am. I started at the dam where a juvenile Redshank was a new arrival, unfortunately it was not viewable from public rights of way. The Little Egret was still present and three Common Sandpipers also seen plus a Raven was heard.
A quick stop at the northern causeway produced nothing on either the main reservoir or West Pool so I made for the southern causeway where another five Common Sandpipers were noted.
My final stop was at the Canoe Club where one of the recent Great Black-backed Gulls was still present sat on a buoy and Common Sandpiper number nine of the morning was seen. A couple of Kingfishers whizzed by and a pair of Stock Doves flew over. Not a bad hour or so out before breakfast.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Sutton Bingham - Thu 14 Jul

A visit before 7am failed to produce yesterday's Sandwich Tern and it was pretty much more of the same with the Little Egret still present on the dam, three Great Black-backed Gulls off the Sailing Club and a total of five Common Sandpipers milling around.
I managed a return visit early afternoon, but the other than a singing Reed Warbler, three juvenile Bullfinches in the car park were the only birds of note.

Sutton Bingham - Wed 13 Jul

A stop at the dam before work produced four Common Sandpipers and a Little Egret. Nothing much else about so I was in shock when at midday I got a text telling me an adult Sandwich Tern was present. What followed was a long wait until I could get away from work, and luckily I finished at lunchtime.
However, when I arrived there was no sign of the bird! I bumped in to the finder, Oli Mockridge, and after a quick chat I set off to the Canoe Club to check the southern end...nothing. I headed back to the northern causeway and spotted it on a buoy, then realised Oli had text me to say he'd relocated it. He also mentioned that whilst I'd been searching for the Sandwich Tern a Black-tailed Godwit had flown through...the second one I've missed on patch this year. Oh well, you win some you lose some and I was more than happy with seeing the Sandwich Tern as my only other record at Sutton Bingham was back in May 2001!
I popped back to the reservoir late afternoon and there were three juvenile Lesser Whitethroats in the car park, good to have proof of successful breeding. The Sandwich Tern was still present off the dam.
Also this afternoon, three Great Black-backed Gulls were off the Sailing Club.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Ham Wall RSPB - Tue 12 Jul

Well I finally succumbed to a trip up to Ham Wall to see Somerset's first Collared Pratincole! An early dinner and a drive up to the Somerset Levels and after a fair walk out to the second viewing platform at the RSPB's Ham Wall reserve I got lucky as a fellow birder had the bird in his scope, allowing me to see it on the deck as soon as I arrived...job done!
Now although the bird had been present since Sunday night I had not rushed up to see it as I had already seen a Collared Pratincole in the UK, but the fact it was local and the Norfolk bird I saw was back in 2005 ended up being too much of a temptation. After a minute or two the bird took to the air and I spent ten minutes or so watching it hawk insects before I headed off to try and get a bonus tick!
Another hundred yards or so down the track I came across a few more birders staking out the reedbed favoured by one of this years Little Bitterns. Within a few minutes I could hear it barking away and thought I'd give in while to see if it appeared...and it did! It popped up in the reeds right in front of us and showed really well in the evening sunlight for a few minutes before taking flight, an absolute stunner and yes, I did get a photo!
So with Little Bittern ticked off as well I returned to the car, pausing at the second viewpoint again to watch the Collared Pratincole hawking insects for a few minutes.
As well as the two target birds there was a supporting cast of three Great White Egrets, a Hobby, and a male and female Marsh Harrier. Not bad for an evening out and a change from Sutton Bingham.

Sutton Bingham - Tue 12 Jul

A stop at the dam before work produced singles of Little Egret and Common Sandpiper whilst a Mandarin was in the company of the small flock of Canada Geese, the latter having successfully raised two goslings to fledging this year.
A couple of Kingfishers were also noted and seem to be a bit more obvious over the past few weeks. A pair of Linnet were on the dam and an amazing flock of seventeen Mistle Thrushes flew in and fed on the dam for a few minutes before gradually drifting off.
A return visit later in the day yielded a Great Black-backed Gull on West Pool and a couple of Common Sandpipers near the Sailing Club.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Sutton Bingham - Mon 11 Jul

Back on patch after a weekend away and starting at the northern causeway there were three adult Great Black-backed Gulls present on the pontoons off the Sailing Club. A quick scan of the southern end of the reservoir from the Canoe Club was not that beneficial, though two Mandarin were seen.
Round then to the dam and a couple of Little Egrets and three Common Sandpipers were noted before I found a summer plumaged Dunlin feeding in the far corner at the northern end of the dam. Result! A patch year tick in July.
A patch lifer today also in the form of a Fulvous Whistling Duck! Obviously an escapee it was nevertheless an enjoyable bird though always distant and rather flighty!

Sutton Bingham - Fri 8 Jul

A quick morning visit before going away for a long weekend and all I could manage was a Little Egret, two Common Sandpipers and a family of Linnets.

Sutton Bingham - Thu 7 Jul

A couple of bits and pieces this morning with a juvenile Little Grebe off the northern causeway and a single Common Sandpiper. A return visit late afternoon produced three juvenile/female type Mandarin, so more successful breeding at the reservoir, and a Peregrine which flew through south. The Peregrine had several missing primaries on its left wing which looked distinctly like shotgun damage, but fortunately it did not appear to hamper the bird's flight too much.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Sutton Bingham - Wed 6 Jul

I managed about quarter of an hour on site before work this morning and the Great Black-backed Gull was again on West Pool and a single Common Sandpiper was on the northern causeway. A quick drive round to the Fishing Lodge and I heard a Redshank (my second record of the year) calling and soon picked it up as it flew across the reservoir with a Common Sandpiper. A Little Egret was feeding on the dam and a bit more excitement when a Shelduck flew over, did a circuit and then headed south. So some quality birds in a very short period of time this morning...shame none of them were additions to the patch year list.

Sutton Bingham - Mon 4 Jul

Another two Common Sandpipers were present on the northern causeway in the morning, and an adult Great Black-backed Gull was on West Pool. A return visit on the way home from work and the Great Black-backed Gull was still on the same buoy on West Pool (I guess it must have moved at some point during the day!), and a second individual was on the main reservoir.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 2 Jul

A visit to the reservoir mid-morning produced two Common Sandpipers, a Little Egret on West Pool and another two Little Egrets from the dam. A very heavy rain shower failed to bring anything in.