Monday, 9 October 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sun 8 Oct

Managed a fairly brief visit to the reservoir mid-afternoon, but it was still pretty quiet. The female Tufted Duck was still on West Pool (I noticed it yesterday on my way home from work) but that was pretty much it on the water. A Little Egret was noted in flight and four Raven passed overhead. Also flying through, a Skylark, Meadow Pipit and two Linnet.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Sutton Bingham - Thu 5 Oct

A very brief post-work stop produced two Stonechats on the fence line bordering West Pool, a male and female bird. Don't' see many at Sutton Bingham, so I thought they were worth a blog posting!

Sutton Bingham - Wed 4 Oct

Due to various commitments I wasn't able to spend much of my half day birding at Sutton Bingham today, but still managed about an hour. Highlight was without a doubt a Slow Worm! Not a bird, but a patch tick and the first I've seen since I was a boy in my parent's garden, probably some thirty years ago. It was a bit of a beast too, being around 18" or so in length.
On the bird front it was still pretty quiet, though a Peregrine put on a bit of a show with two Buzzards over the southern end of the reservoir. A trip round to the Fishing Lodge produced a small flock of seven Little Egrets together and five Wigeon. On the dam wall there were at least five Meadow Pipits and several Pied Wagtails.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sun 1 Oct

Well September went out with a whimper and October failed to dazzle on the first day of the month! That being said there were still a few birds around today and the southern end of the reservoir was the most productive with nine Mandarin and a couple of Teal in with a growing number of Mallard. A Peregrine did a brief fly by and one of the fields adjoining the reservoir held around thirty Meadow Pipits, a similar number of Pied Wagtails and a couple of White Wagtails.
The only other bits and pieces of note today were a calling Chiffchaff, a Kingfisher, three House Martins heading south, and four Wigeon.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sun 24 Sep

A quick stop at the reservoir on the way home from Arne was fairly profitable. I stopped off at the Fishing Lodge and 'scoped the reservoir from there. The Canada Goose flock had grown to 165 birds and they were joined by three Wigeon. A single Mute Swan was also present. A couple of Common Sandpipers put in an appearance and overhead a Meadow Pipit flew through. A Raven was calling away from the top of a tree and finally there were four Little Egrets still present. Not a bad selection during a 15 minute stop.

Arne RSPB - Sun 24 Sep

Somewhere different today and a trip down to Arne RSPB. I started with a  walk out to Combe Heath where just as I set up my 'scope all the birds went mental as an Osprey flew in, then dived in to the channel and caught a fish before passing overhead with a fish. What a great start to the visit.
There were an impressive forty-four Spoonbills in the channel, it was quite something to watch them all take to the air when the Osprey flew in, what a sight and by far my highest count of Spoonbills in the UK. Also in the channel a good number of waders, primarily Black-tailed Godwit and Avocet but a few Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank and a single Knot. To round off the walk around Combe Heath a Dartford Warbler put on a bit of a show in the company of two Stonechats. Overhead, there was a good movement of Meadow Pipits and Swallows.
After a quick bite to eat in the café I headed out to Shipstal Point where nine Sandwich Tern were feeding in the Poole Harbour. Other than a couple of Oystercatchers there was nothing else of note as I completed the walk back to the car park. All in all though a brilliant trip out and the weather was just ideal.

Sutton Bingham - Fri 22 Sep

A late afternoon visit produced a flock of nine Mandarin at the southern end of the reservoir, my highest single count of this enigmatic duck at Sutton Bingham, a shame this record shot doesn't do them justice.
Not a huge amount else around, with a single Teal and two Wigeon present plus an adult Great Black-backed Gull was seen again after no sightings for a little while. A total of five Little Egrets were noted and a single Kingfisher was seen. A couple of Linnet flew over and there were still several Swallows milling around.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sun 17 Sep

A very busy weekend meant that I only got to spend about an hour at the reservoir on Sunday afternoon over the course of the entire weekend. As I didn't have much time today it was pretty much a whirlwind visit with a single Kingfisher, two Common Sandpipers, seven Little Egrets and a Raven being the only birds of note other than a female Wigeon which was the first of the "winter"!
There were a few Swallows and House Martins still around, but not much else to report today.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Sutton Bingham - Wed 13 Sep

An afternoon visit to the patch rather than a mad rush down to Weymouth to twitch some rare sandpipers...wrong decision! A walk from the car park down to the southern end and back produced a couple of Common Sandpipers, four Little Egrets and a Kingfisher. There was a bit of excitement and frustration as I spent 45 minutes scrambling through vegetation trying to identify a skulking warbler, which eventually turned out to be a Sedge Warbler.
West Pool produced an adult Great Black-backed Gull but nothing else while another Common Sandpiper and three more Little Egrets were noted from the Fishing Lodge. All in all somewhat disappointing given the large numbers of storm-driven waifs that have been reported from other sites around the south-west, but if you don't look you won't find anything I guess.
To add to the frustration, the warden had a Redshank first thing in the sign of it this afternoon though!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Sutton Bingham - Mon 11 Sep

A quick visit during my lunch hour was not looking like a good idea as it absolutely chucked it down just as I arrived on site. Scanning the reservoir from the car was pointless, and there was hardly anything to see other than a Mute Swan on West Pool and a couple of Little Egrets.
But then the rain stopped so I got out and checked West Pool and the fence line just to the south where I noticed a few birds milling about. So out with the 'scope and I was soon able to pick up a few pipits, and after some close scrutiny it was obvious they were Tree Pipits, result! I've got Tree Pipit on my SBR list, but I've only had fly-over birds identified by their call, so to see grounded birds was a real bonus. Scanning the fence line further I noticed a Yellow Wagtail and then a Spotted Flycatcher! Two patch year ticks in the space of a few minutes, the only down side was that I needed to rush back to work.
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 108 species.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 10 Sep

I just about managed a hour at the reservoir early in the afternoon, but pretty much straightaway it started to rain, which steadily got worse until I gave up and headed off at around 3pm. That being said I still managed a few things of note today.
There were three Tufted Duck on West Pool and a Wheatear was on the fence line near the horse paddock just south of West Pool. A single Meadow Pipit flew over.
On then to the southern end of the reservoir where a Common Sandpiper was seen and three Teal were noted. Two Mute Swans were also new arrivals, this species didn't even attempt to breed at the reservoir this year. A Kingfisher added a splash of colour in worsening weather.
Back then to the Fishing Lodge where a Sand Martin was seen but not much else unfortunately. A total of six Little Egrets were counted around the reservoir this afternoon.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sat 9 Sep

A flying visit on the way to work produced the first Meadow Pipit of the autumn as a single bird flew over West Pool. To add another touch of autumn a female Teal was on West Pool and was typically jumpy. A couple of Raven flew over and there was a single Common Sandpiper present as well as a Little Egret.

Sutton Bingham - Wed 6 Sep

A couple of hours at the reservoir this afternoon and the weather was lovely for a change. Starting in the area around West Pool I found a flock of twenty-five Yellow Wagtails, my single highest count of this species at Sutton Bingham and a joy to watch. The photo below shows just some of them.
I then took a walk from the car park down to the far end of the reservoir, but failed to add much, though a couple of Common Sandpipers were noted and there were several Chiffchaffs and Swallows milling about.
Back then to the Fishing Lodge where I counted four Little Egrets, another Common Sandpiper and the adult Great Black-backed Gull was still present. Then a bit of a surprise as an adult Mediterranean Gull dropped in and started bathing. Before long it flew towards me and settled near the dam.
I certainly wasn't expecting to find a Mediterranean Gull this afternoon!

Sutton Bingham - Mon 4 Sep

A quick visit this morning produced a juvenile Tufted Duck off the Sailing Club. After careful scrutiny I couldn't make it in to anything else, and though it didn't look quite right for a Tufted Duck, it certainly wasn't anything more exciting (though whether there was a trace a Scaup somewhere in it's past or not will never be known).
Nothing else to report this morning though.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sun 3 Sep

It rained today, all day, without stopping. I still decided to take a look at the patch "just in case" with a late morning visit proving to be surprisingly productive despite the dismal weather. A sub-adult Common Tern was off the dam and was probably the pick of the birds (I'm still waiting for a Black Tern to drop in!).
A small flock of seven Yellow Wagtails were flushed from the dam wall and then flew south, an eighth bird flew south soon after. A Common Sandpiper was on West Pool with another two birds along the southern arm. A group of six Mandarin were at the southern end of the reservoir as were two Little Grebes. A total of five Little Egrets were seen and an adult Great Black-backed Gull was still present.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 2 Sep

Lots going on today but I did manage to spend around an hour at the reservoir at midday but it would be safe to say it was nowhere near as productive as yesterday. A Little Grebe and an adult Great Black-backed Gull were on West Pool. A couple of Common Sandpipers were noted and Little Egrets had increased to seven birds. A single Linnet was on the dam and the Canada Goose flock had grown to 105 birds.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Sutton Bingham - Fri 1 Sep

A pre-work visit turned out to be pretty worthwhile with three Wheatears seen, one near the railway embankment, a second near West Pool and a third below the dam, it certainly has been an unprecedented year for Wheatears at Sutton Bingham. A single Yellow Wagtail was also noted this morning. Three Common Sandpipers were present as were four Little Egrets. A Raven was in trees near the Fishing Lodge and there was a fair sized mustering of Swallows, with at least thirty juvenile birds amongst the adults.
Due to the migrants present this morning, I decided on a flying visit over my lunch hour today and this turned out to be inspired. A quick check of the southern end of the reservoir failed to produce anything, but checking the area south of West Pool was well worth while with a good number of birds gathered. The highlight (and a patch year tick) was a Whinchat, but there were also three Wheatears and eight Yellow Wagtails, with many of the later flying in whilst I was on site.
An absolutely brilliant visit, even though it was pushing it getting to the patch and back during my lunch hour.
I did take the opportunity to stop off for another look on the way home tonight. The Whinchat afforded much better views.
One of three Wheatears this evening also showed rather well.
Finally, a Hobby caused a bit of a stir as it passed over West Pool before heading off in a northerly direction. What a great day!
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 106 species.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Thu 31 Aug

A quick visit this morning failed to produce an end of August surprise, but a single Common Sandpiper was noted on the northern causeway. A stop at the Fishing Lodge produced a second Common Sandpiper and a Green Sandpiper whilst three Little Egrets and a Kingfisher were also noted.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Tue 29 Aug

A flying visit this morning on the way to work and a patch lifer! A Marbled Teal was on the northern causeway, and what a cracking little duck. Unfortunately it had a yellow ring on the left leg, so an obvious escapee but lovely to see none the less.
The only other birds of note this morning were a single Common Sandpiper and two Little Egrets.
A return visit on the way home from work produced another year tick, this time in the form of three Yellow Wagtails in and around the horse paddock south of West Pool.
With good numbers of Yellow Wagtails being reported from the south coast over the past few days, I was hopeful that one would drop in to the reservoir. Always a nice bird to add to the patch year list.
The Marbled Teal was still present in the far corner of West Pool.
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 105 species.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sun 27 Aug

A slightly earlier visit to the reservoir today as I arrived on site soon after 6.30am. Starting at the northern causeway I was treated to a couple of close views of two Kingfishers as they flew around. Two Common Sandpipers were also present but there was little else...until a flock of Mallard flew south from the north-east corner of the reservoir and in with them a medium sized wader. However, it was much too far away for me to have any chance of identifying it so what followed was a mad dash to the southern end of the reservoir in the unlikely hope it had found somewhere to settle, but it hadn't! One that got away and a rather frustrating start to the visit. However, a Sedge Warbler was a nice find and a Peregrine was on one of the pylons. Finally, a third Kingfisher was noted.
After a decent walk I drove back to the northern causeway to check the various fence lines, etc. for migrants (of which there were none) when I heard a tern calling, and then to my surprise two adult Sandwich Terns suddenly appeared and eventually settled on the northern causeway not far from the car.
After last year's adult bird it was a real treat to get this scarce Sutton Bingham visitor on the year list again so soon. The two Sandwich Terns were then joined by a Common Tern before all three were lost to view and I didn't see them again during my time on the patch.
NB: Both Sandwich Terns were ringed, but one (in heavier winter moult) bore a dark blue ring with EFS in white. I have logged this and it will be interesting to find out where the bird was from.
I then set off for the Fishing Lodge and a quick check of the dam where a further two Common Sandpipers were present. A Hobby then passed through heading east, my first at the reservoir since the early summer. One of the adult Great Black-backed Gulls was also seen this morning and a total of four Little Egrets were noted.
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 104 species.

Update: The Sandwich Tern with the colour ring EFS was ringed on 13 June 2013 as a chick at Forvie NNR on the Ythan Estuary in NE Scotland, some 715km from Sutton Bingham, as the tern flies!

Friday, 25 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Fri 25 Aug

After a very quiet visit yesterday morning, today was much better. Unbelievably I notched up the sixth Wheatear of the year, with a bird in fields behind the Canoe Club. Whilst watching the Wheatear, a Green Sandpiper flew over calling. So two decent patch birds in the space of a few minutes. There were still two Common Sandpipers around the northern causeway and West Pool, whilst a couple of Little Egrets were also noted. There was a good movement of hirundines with several Sand Martin mixed in with numerous Swallows. Finally, a Cormorant was having one mighty battle with a fish it caught.
I watched the contest for several minutes and it looked as if the bird gave up eventually, though whether the fish survived is anyone's guess.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Wed 23 Aug

A morning visit before work today and I concentrated on the northern causeway simply because there was a fair bit going on. A juvenile Common Tern was present on the causeway and showed really well at times. It spent most of the time on the causeway itself with occasional jaunts over the main reservoir. After about half an hour or so a second juvenile Common Tern suddenly appeared and after "collecting" the original bird, they flew over West Pool and were lost to sight.
Also this morning, the first four Teal of the "winter" were present on West Pool and a total of five Common Sandpipers were seen.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Tue 22 Aug

There's not been much happening at the reservoir over the past week, certainly nothing that warranted a blog posting. However, something a bit different today with a Green Sandpiper present on West Pool before it took to the air and flew off high to the west. A single Common Sandpiper was also on West Pool whilst three Little Egrets and a Kingfisher were seen on the main reservoir. There were also several Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers around this morning, though I couldn't find anything more unusual amidst them.
A check of the area around the dam on the way home from work this evening failed to produce much more than a few Linnet and a Common Sandpiper. However, driving round to the northern causeway I found a Wheatear just to the south of West Pool.
This is my fifth Wheatear of 2017, and the second bird this autumn. I think I have now seen more this year than in the last 15 years combined!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Wed 16 Aug

A bit more interest today with the highlight being a Sedge Warbler in vegetation along the water's edge near the Canoe Club, a much welcome addition to the patch year list. Sedge Warblers bred on the site as recently as 2014, but over the past couple of years have been noted solely as a passage migrant.
Also this morning, another Common Tern initially seen at the southern end of the reservoir before it flew north. A total of seven Common Sandpipers were also about today and three Little Egrets were noted. Finally, a couple of Kingfishers were seen.
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 103 species.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Tue 15 Aug

What a difference a day makes! Very quiet at Sutton Bingham this morning, especially when compared to the quality birds that were seen yesterday. Just three Common Sandpipers on West Pool during a morning visit and three Little Egrets on the main reservoir. Very little else to report, though I was able to get a photo of this female Emperor Dragonfly.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Mon 14 Aug

A pretty profitable visit before work today with a couple of quality patch birds, though no year ticks unfortunately. A quick stop at the northern causeway produced a couple of Common Sandpipers and a very flighty Little Ringed Plover.
A quick drive round to the Fishing Lodge and a further nine Common Sandpipers were present on the dam. The second quality bird of the day came in the form of a Wheatear on the dam before flying and being lost to view.
The supporting cast this morning consisted of a couple of Raven, two Little Egrets and a Kingfisher.
A quick stop on my way home from work this afternoon produced an adult Common Tern off the dam.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 13 Aug

I didn't get a chance to check out Sutton Bingham yesterday, but did pop in for a brief visit this morning. Not much change again this morning from recent visits but Common Sandpipers numbered four birds today. A total of three Kingfishers were seen, including one that was rather obliging.
Just a single Little Egret was seen today and one adult Great Black-backed Gull was still present. A Sand Martin was seen over the dam and a male Sparrowhawk caused a bit of a stir. Finally, a juvenile Bullfinch was seen near the Fishing Lodge.

Sutton Bingham - Fri 11 Aug

More of the same this morning, with two Common Sandpipers present around West Pool probably being the pick. A couple of Sand Martins were noted and two Kingfishers were also seen. Finally, there were still three Little Egrets around the northern end of the reservoir.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Tue 8 Aug

A quick pre-work visit today and there was not much happening. The Lapwing was still present on the northern causeway (I failed to locate it on Saturday, but it was present yesterday morning) along with two Common Sandpipers.

Arne RSPB - Mon 7 Aug

A day off work and a trip down to Arne RSPB reserve with the family today. We started off with a walk around Coombe Heath, which was not overly productive though seven Spoonbills were seen in the Middlebeare channel.
Waders were very think on the ground with just a few Black-tailed Godwits and Oystercatchers. A few Little Egrets and several Shelduck were the only other birds on the mud whilst a single Dartford Warbler was heard calling but not seen. Finally, two Common Tern were noted before we headed to the café for a much needed bite to eat.
After our lunch we walked out to Shipstal Point. To be perfectly honest, there was nothing much to be seen. Another couple of Common Terns and a single Sandwich Tern off the beach and several Oystercatcher plus a few Redshank and Curlew on the salt marsh was about it.
Doing the circular route back to the car there were several dragonflies milling around, I could only get a photo of one and it's a Common Darter.
So although it was an enjoyable day out there was not much to be seen on the bird front.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sat 5 Aug

A later than usual visit to the reservoir today as I arrived around 10am and as soon as I got out of the car it started raining...hard! A very white Herring Gull was present today, and after the rain cleared I managed a distant record shot of it. Obviously a Herring Gull and nothing rarer, it was none the less an interesting bird.
Also today, a single Common Sandpiper on West Pool whilst a year tick in the form of a Green Sandpiper was present in a private area of the reservoir. A couple of Little Egrets were the only other birds of note this morning, and a brief return visit mid-afternoon failed to add anything. There was no sign today of the Lapwing that had been present for nearly a week.
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 102 species.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Fri 4 Aug

The Lapwing still present off the northern causeway and a single Common Sandpiper on the dam during a brief visit this morning.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Thu 3 Aug

Present for its fifth day, the Lapwing was again off the northern causeway this morning. Two adult Great Black-backed Gulls were seen from the dam, as was a single Common Sandpiper. Just three Little Egrets were noted during this morning's quick visit.
The Lapwing was still present this afternoon, so decided I'd take a photo this time!
Not a bad looking bird, and you can see that it's a sub-adult from the above photo.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Wed 2 Aug

Unbelievably the Lapwing was again present this morning just off the northern causeway and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was on a buoy in the middle of West Pool. The rain was pretty constant so I didn't hang around for long, might pop back in later if it clears up!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Sutton Bingham - Tue 1 Aug

The Lapwing was again present today, for its third day, though this morning it was just off the northern causeway rather than between the car park and Canoe Club where it had been on the previous two mornings. Two Common Sandpipers were also noted during a quick visit and a Peregrine was atop one of the pylons at the southern end of the reservoir. Finally, there were still a handful of Little Egrets knocking around.
A quick stop in the afternoon produced a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and an adult Great Black-backed Gull.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Sutton Bingham - Mon 31 Jul

Yesterday's Lapwing was still present this morning but just a single Common Sandpiper today though there were still six Little Egrets about. Just one Mandarin this morning also.
I did come across the following sunning itself on the dam wall. I believe it is a Black-tailed Skimmer.
A return visit after work turned up a surprise find in the form of a very smart summer-plumaged Dunlin feeding just off the northern causeway near the small jetty. A less than annual visitor to Sutton Bingham it was a real bonus find.
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 101 species.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 30 Jul

I spent a little over an hour at Sutton Bingham this morning, where the highlight was a Lapwing, present on the water's edge between the car park and Canoe Club.
There were still half a dozen Little Egrets on site but I could only find two Common Sandpipers this morning. Two adult Great Black-backed Gulls were still present as were three Mandarin. There was also a bit of a patch rarity this morning, with a Feral Pigeon near the Canoe Club!

Sutton Bingham - Sat 29 Jul

A slightly longer than normal visit to the reservoir this morning, starting at the northern causeway where a juvenile Stonechat was an unexpected find on the wire fence to the south of West Pool. Too distant for anything like a decent photo, but I don't like to disappoint the readers so how's this?
A first-summer Great Black-backed Gull was present with two adults on the northern causeway.
Other bits and pieces this morning included a Sand Martin which flew over the northern causeway and headed in a general southerly direction. A flock of twenty-two Goldfinches consisted of juvenile birds with the exception of a single adult. Common Sandpipers numbered some five birds, spread along the length of the reservoir, and half a doze n Little Egrets were also present. A Kingfisher was seen and a Raven heard.
A quick return visit later in the day in pouring rain produced a total of 104 moulting Mallard in the north-east corner of the reservoir and two first-summer Great Black-backed Gulls.