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.