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.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 17 Sep

A stop at the northern causeway on the way in to work produced three Common Sandpipers and a Little Grebe on West Pool. A single Little Egret was also noted and five Mistle Thrushes were in the horse paddock to the south of West Pool.
An afternoon visit failed to yield anything other than eleven Meadow Pipits which flew over heading north-west.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Sutton Bingham - Thu 15 Sep

A very quick stop at the dam on my way back from a long day in Southampton produced the first two Wigeon of the "winter" and a couple of Little Egrets. The Linnet flock was still present with a few Goldfinch mixed in. At least two White Wagtails were present with the large numbers of Pied Wagtails but there was no sign of yesterday's Blue-headed Wagtail.

Sutton Bingham - Wed 14 Sep

I spent best part of an hour at the reservoir this afternoon, starting at the southern end where two Common Sandpipers were still present as well as half a dozen Teal. Back to the northern causeway and three Lapwing were on West Pool...slightly closer than the single bird present last month.
Three Little Egrets were noted at the northern end but again that was about it so I made for the dam to see if anything interesting was present there.
A large flock of Linnet, around thirty or so birds, were feeding in the horse paddock and on the dam wall and another two Common Sandpipers were seen. The first Meadow Pipit of the autumn was also noted and a Raven flew over. I then scanned the horse paddock again and found an interesting looking wagtail. This individual had a bold white supercilium (no yellowish tones at all), a greyish head and white throat, and the wing bars were very prominent. My initial thoughts were Blue-headed Wagtail and the general consensus from other individuals who saw my poor photos tended to agree. A nice addition to the patch list, albeit just a sub-species.
From the photos above you can see how distinct the bird was.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Sutton Bingham - Tue 13 Sep

A quick stop off at the northern causeway on the way to work produced two Snipe in flight over West Pool, and these were the first of the autumn. Also on West Pool, two Common Sandpipers and a Kingfisher. A Little Egret was feeding on the shoreline near the Sailing Club and the, dare I say it, resident Shelduck was still present.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Shapwick Heath NNR - Sun 11 Sep

Somewhere different this afternoon and a trip up on to the Somerset Levels and for the first time this year I took a walk out to Shapwick Heath NNR. I made straight for the new hide, though it's been open for a few months now, and scanned the second lagoon checking the various waders present. I counted 232 Black-tailed Godwit, 91 Lapwing, 12 Snipe, 9 Ruff, 2 Greenshank and 2 Green not bad for waders really! There were also two Great White Egrets present and a good number of wildfowl.
On then to Noah's Hide and a scan from there produced another two Great White Egrets and a distant perched Hobby. A female Marsh Harrier was over the back of the lake.
I then headed back to the car and just as I re-joined the main path a Glossy Ibis flew over my head going towards Noah's Lake, a great end to a lovely afternoon out.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 11 Sep

An hour at the reservoir late morning failed to produce much in the way of variety. Four Common Sandpipers and a female Tufted Duck were at the southern end. A couple of Little Egrets were still present and the Shelduck was still hanging around the northern causeway. A Yellow Wagtail was seen briefly on the dam and another two Common Sandpipers were noted. A small flock of half a dozen Linnet were also seen.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 10 Sep

An afternoon stroll from the car park to the Canoe Club and back produced my first patch Wheatear for four years, with a female-type bird showing really well on a fence post, though annoyingly I had left my scope in the car so wasn't able to get a photo.
The only other thing of note was a Clouded Yellow.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Sutton Bingham - Fri 9 Sep

A quick visit before work so time restraints meant I could manage a few minutes from the northern causeway and that was it! A Whinchat was feeding on the edge of West Pool (there was also one present yesterday morning), and it is possible that a second bird was also present. West Pool also hosted a Common Sandpiper and a Little Egret but that was all I could find before having to head off.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Sutton Bingham - Wed 7 Sep

I'd not had much opportunity to visit the reservoir over the past couple of days, but I did have an hour available this afternoon so made straight for the southern end of the reservoir to see if the mud patch had attracted any waders. Unfortunately, it hadn't brought anything exciting in, but there were still six Common Sandpipers present as well as a couple of Teal and a Little Egret.
I then drove up to the northern causeway and located a Whinchat on the fence line just to the south of West Pool.
Another Little Egret was on West Pool and a Raven flew over. The Shelduck was still present also.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Sutton Bingham - Sun 4 Sep

It was back to normal so to speak this morning, with the Green Sandpiper still at the southern end of the reservoir along with a total of nine Common Sandpipers (a tenth bird was on West Pool). Three Mandarin were also noted at the southern end and a Reed Warbler was still knocking around.
Little Egret numbers had gone up to four birds, with one on West Pool, one near the Sailing Club and two near the Canoe Club. The Shelduck was still around the northern causeway and a flock of twenty Linnets were feeding on the lawn in front of the Fishing Lodge.
A return visit later in the day did offer more interest though with a Whinchat present in vegetation on the edge of West Pool.
So I ended the weekend with another patch year tick.
Sutton Bingham year list 2016 now at 110 species.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 3 Sep

A late morning visit on the way back from grocery shopping in Yeovil turned out to be an inspired decision. Due to the presence of sailors at the northern end I made straight for the southern end thinking that the growing patch of mud may be worth checking, and it certainly was. There were a few waders knocking around including a Green Sandpiper and seven Common Sandpipers. I also located a single Dunlin before finding a slightly larger wader that piqued my interest immediately. Despite the distance of the bird I was soon able to pick out the key features, a bill that was slightly decurved, a noticeable supercilium, pale underside but a dark breast...with a very distinct border between the two, it could only be a Pectoral Sandpiper! It was distant but I still tried to get some sort of record shot, this was the best I could manage:
I watched it for about half an hour during which it spent prolonged periods out of view feeding, which it seemed to be doing constantly. By midday the rain was starting to fall more heavily and I was getting soaked, so I headed off. A few birders looked for it later in the day, but unfortunately it was not seen again so I can only presume the rain pushed it on.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Sutton Bingham - Fri 2 Sep

I was late in to work today due to some family commitments but I still managed a visit to the reservoir late morning. As I set off from the car park heading south I saw a flock of waders fly south, annoyingly I was walking through the only patch of trees so a quick sprint in to the open meant I was just able to confirm a flock of fifteen Black-tailed Godwits! Unfortunately, they kept heading south and didn't land but even so it was great to see and this was my highest single count of Black-tailed Godwit at Sutton Bingham.
Also this morning, a couple of Little Egrets were still about and three Common Sandpipers were seen. Despite Wessex Water clearing all the scrub from the northern causeway the Shelduck was un-phased and was still present.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Sutton Bingham - Thu 1 Sep

Another day and a few more bits and pieces of interest during a quick stop prior to work today. Scanning the mud at the southern end it was pretty much the same as yesterday with seven Common Sandpipers and a single Green Sandpiper present and a single Mandarin was also noted.
Just before 8.00am the Osprey flew in from the south again, at exactly the same time of day as it had yesterday morning. I even managed a typically excellent record shot!
A sub-adult Great Black-backed Gull also flew in from the south. A couple of Little Egrets were still present, as was the ling-staying Shelduck. The final bit of excitement was a flock a fifteen Raven that flew over, a patch record count for me by a long way.