Monday, 30 January 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sun 29 Jan

A quick visit prior to 8am today and it was actually pretty quiet, probably due partly to the milder weather and partly because of the recent rain which had raised the already high water levels. That being said there were still around fifty Wigeon on site and at least twenty Teal (though I am sure there were plenty of these tucked away out of site). A single Mute Swan was off the dam but most of the interest was around West Pool where two male Reed Bunting were seen and my first Kingfisher of the year put in a brief appearance. Finally three Meadow Pipits were feeding amongst a few Redwing in the field next to West Pool.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Sutton Bingham - Wed 25 Jan

After the recent run of cold weather much of the reservoir has become covered with ice, this meant that today most of the birds were located at the southern end in one place where there was open water. This made counting the gathered wildfowl slightly easier than normal and I ended up with totals of 193 Teal, 190 Canada Geese, seventy-seven Mallard and sixty-nine Wigeon. For a bit of variety I also found three Shoveler (a drake, duck and first-winter drake), and the Barnacle Goose also turned up again.
Finally on the duck front, two drake Tufted Duck were present off the dam. The only other sightings of note this afternoon were of two fly-over Meadow Pipits and ten Common Gulls resting on a frozen West Pool.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sun 22 Jan

A quick early morning visit before breakfast produced a female Goldeneye among a flock of twenty-one Tufted Duck off the dam. This is only my fourth ever record of Goldeneye at Sutton Bingham, and the second this month. Both birds have been female, so I suppose it is possible that it is the same bird.
Returning in the afternoon, there was nothing at the northern end of the reservoir, the sailing had moved everything to the southern end. Much of the ice that had covered the southern end of the reservoir had cleared over the course of the morning, and the Tufted Duck flock had moved down with an extra couple of birds bringing the total up to twenty-three, but no sign of this morning's Goldeneye. Wigeon numbered117 birds and 73 Teal ere counted along with forty Mallard, though no other duck species had turned up. Ten Meadow Pipits were seen near the Canoe Club and in failing light I found a Little Grebe on West Pool.
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 64 species.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 21 Jan

A decent couple of hours at the reservoir this morning with my main objective being to try and find Woodcock and Jack Snipe on the patch, I failed miserably with both despite a lot of hard work. Nevertheless it was a great morning out.
A nice large flock of twenty-nine Tufted Duck were off the dam and the Wigeon flock was grazing at the northern end too, with around eighty birds being present.
I walked down towards the southern end of the reservoir and counted two hundred Teal and over seventy Mallard. Not much of note in the way of smaller birds, though a few Redwing and a couple of Treecreepers were seen.
As I returned to the car a nice flock of 137 Canada Geese had gathered at the Sailing Club and the Barnacle Goose was back amongst them after going missing for several days. Finally, I added a bird to the 2017 year list, with a very smart Green Woodpecker being seen near the Fishing Lodge.

Sutton Bingham - Fri 20 Jan

A quick visit after work today, and I quickly checked out the southern end as I'd had a text telling me a Little Grebe was present...except it wasn't by the time I got there! There were lots of Teal, the vast majority of which were tucked up out of clear sight, so I could only count around thirty but could hear loads more. Also present this evening a flock of seventy-five Wigeon and forty Mallard whilst near the Canoe Club it was nice to see a group of ten Tufted Duck.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Sutton Bingham - Wed 18 Jan

Despite laving work late, getting stuck in traffic and having to nip home to do a few chores I still managed about ninety minutes at the reservoir this afternoon.
Starting at the northern causeway there was nothing of note so I popped on down to the southern end where I had a very brief glimpse of the Otter again as well as twenty Teal, but nothing else to pique my interest so I drove round to the Fishing Lodge.
Whilst chatting to the warden I scanned the geese grazing nearby and found an Egyptian Goose! This was great to see especially as I missed the last two records at Sutton Bingham, both of which were brief. I was able to watch this bird for quite some time as it fed with the Canada Geese and Wigeon. The only down side was I was viewing it straight in to the light, but the quality record photos are good enough to see what it is!
I then drove back round to the northern causeway again and checked out West Pool. I found a Stonechat which was pretty mobile and difficult to pin down. If it was the bird that was present around Christmas time it's done a good job of staying out of site so far this year. I also flushed thirteen Snipe and a Meadow Pipit flew over. A third-winter Yellow-legged Gull drifted in from the west and circled West Pool a couple of times and finally, the Egyptian Goose flew off to the west at around 3.15pm and to the best of my knowledge was not seen again.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sun 15 Jan

A nice surprise this afternoon when I found an Otter at the southern end of the reservoir. I was wondering why the Wigeon flock, of which there were sixty-four birds present today, was so jumpy, and when the Otter popped up that explained it. Unfortunately it was rather distant and only showed a couple of times. This is the fourth time I've seen at Otter at Sutton Bingham, it still remains an elusive species to see here.
On the bird front there was not much to report this weekend. A drake Tufted Duck was present at the southern end and four Meadow Pipits were near the Canoe Club. A nice count of over one hundred Common Gulls was pretty impressive, and a single Mediterranean Gull was also noted.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Sutton Bingham - Wed 11 Jan

A pleasant afternoon at the reservoir today and I started off with a quick check around the Fishing Lodge where it was pretty quiet, though forty Wigeon were noted as well as two drake Tufted Duck. With little else going on at this end of the reservoir I drove round to the southern end and took a bit of a stroll. Five Meadow Pipits were in the field north of the Canoe Club and two Stock Dove flew over. A pair of Siskin were near the car park and eight Common Gulls were on the water.
I finished the visit with a wander around the feeder stream and saw a further eight Siskin plus a Nuthatch. My first patch Fieldfares were also seen today in what turned out to be a nice relaxed birding session.
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 57 species.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sun 8 Jan

A quick visit on my way home from work on Saturday produced a male Reed Bunting on West Pool, but I didn't have time to spare but did manage a longer visit to the reservoir on Sunday morning.
I was going to make straight for the southern end, but as I was driving along the northern causeway something caught my eye, so a quick U-turn later and sure enough I was greeted by a female Goldeneye! My third Sutton Bingham Goldeneye, and second in two months following last November's bird.
After that bit of excitement I then parked up at the Canoe Club and had a wander around for an hour or so. A total of eighty-seven Wigeon flew south, presumably spooked by the sailors as their Sunday morning session got underway. A Raven flew over and four Meadow Pipits were noted. Around the car park my first Greenfinch of the year and four Bullfinch, including three males.
A quick stop at the southern end produced a female Tufted Duck and about thirty Teal.
It was then time to think about heading home for some lunch, but another stop at the northern causeway on the way through produced a first-winter drake Shoveler that seemed to have materialised from nowhere, and a sub-adult Peregrine was whizzing around over the dam trying (and succeeding) to avoid the attentions of a mobbing Carrion Crow.
My final stop was at the top of the hill by Hyde Farm where a quick scan produced the Barnacle Goose with a flock of Canada Geese in the north-west corner of the reservoir. All in all a great visit this morning.
Then, later in the day, I was enjoying a relaxing stroll with the family when I got a text message telling me that a drake Pochard had been found amongst the Wigeon at the southern end of the reservoir. With just fifteen minutes before Spurs kicked off in their FA Cup match, I pegged it back to Sutton Bingham and managed to see the Pochard. It took me 366 days to add Pochard to my 2016 SBR list, only 8 days this year! There were also two Snipe at West Pool and the Barnacle Goose was feeding on the lawn outside the Fishing Lodge with over a hundred Canada Geese. What a good end to the weekend.
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 53 species.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Sutton Bingham - Wed 4 Jan

I was able to spend a little over an hour at the reservoir this afternoon, starting at the Fishing Lodge where few birds were added to the patch year list, most notably Song Thrush and Grey Wagtail. The Wigeon flock numbered in the region n of eighty birds, so down a little compared to recent counts.
A quick stop at the outflow stream produced a wintering Chiffchaff and a large flock of Redwing, before I drove round to the northern causeway. Scanning the main reservoir I located two adult winter-plumaged Mediterranean Gulls but little else.
Onwards to the Canoe Club and a surprise find in the form of a Barnacle Goose present with a flock of eighty Canada Geese, all new in today. I presume this is the same Barnacle Goose that was present for a short period before Christmas, would be interested to know where it has been.
I ended the day with a quick wander around other areas but failed to add anything to the year list.
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 48 species.

Sutton Bingham - Tue 3 Jan

A quick afternoon visit produced a female Shoveler on West Pool, which then relocated to the main reservoir just off the dam where a drake Tufted Duck was also present. Despite there being somewhere in the region of two thousand Black-headed Gulls I could not find anything different among them. A couple of Long-tailed Tits and a Goldcrest were new additions to the year list as they fed in the railway embankment, but there was not much more to add.

South Dorset - Mon 2 Jan

A day out with friends today and after packing my passport we headed off to south Dorset, spending the day at Abbotsbury, Weymouth and Portland.
Our first port of call was in Dorchester where after a bit of a search we found the first-winter Rose-coloured Starling, a rather smart looking bird with the beginnings of it's colourful plumage starting to come through, but not wishing to hang around a housing estate in the early morning with binoculars we didn't linger too long and headed off to Abbotsbury.
A quick stop on the road overlooking the Swannery produced distant 'scope views of two Long-tailed Ducks and a few commoner wildfowl, but we failed to find any Scaup so headed off to Portland Harbour.
Starting at Sandsfoot before long we had added Goosander (a flock of twelve redheads), Eider (a first-winter male) and a single Razorbill. With not much else of note out in the harbour from this side we then stopped at Ferrybridge for a quick look and counted a total of twenty-eight Mediterranean Gulls.
Twenty-three Dark-bellied Brent Geese. A single Rock Pipit and three Turnstone were also present.
We then made a quick stop at Portland Castle, but could only find a single Great Northern Diver so headed on to Portland Bill.
The Little Owl eventually popped out to saw hello in the Observatory Quarry whilst a brief sea-watch produced two Brent Geese, five Oystercatcher, five Mediterranean Gulls, a Fulmer and hundreds of auks. As we returned to the car news broke of a Black-necked Grebe in Portland harbour, so we set off but failed to find it. The first-winter drake Eider did turn up and showed rather well.
We then decided to take a wander around Radipole RSPB. To be honest, it was pretty dire! We did see a single Bearded Tit flying across the reeds and heard a few others. A single Cetti's Warbler was heard calling and a male Marsh Harrier was seen. Another two Mediterranean Gulls were noted and the long-staying Hooded Merganser was added to the list but I left Radipole thinking that it is not really the site it used to be.
We decided to end the say back at Abbotsbury looking for the two wintering Richard's Pipits which had been reported earlier in the afternoon, but despite searching we drew a blank. That being said it was a great day out with friends and I clocked up a total of seventy-one species.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sun 1 Jan

First and foremost, Happy New Year to all my blog readers! I wish you all the best for 2017.

Now down to business and what a difference a day makes. A mid-morning visit to the reservoir and there seemed to have been a mass clear out overnight. No sigh of yesterday's Black-necked Grebe or much else from the Fishing Lodge, though Wigeon numbered 106 birds. A Raven was heard calling and a Mistle Thrush was noted, but that was about it.
Round then to the northern causeway but other than a fly-over Meadow Pipit and calling Great Spotted Woodpecker it was pretty devoid of birds, and then it started raining!
A quick stop at the southern end produced around fourteen Teal and one of the fields held a flock of some two hundred or so Redwing which rounded off a fairly unproductive forty-five minutes on patch.
A return visit at the end of the day turned up the single Coot on West Pool (which I had missed earlier in the day). I then checked out the gull roost in the hope of adding a few more species and found an adult Yellow-legged Gull among commoner fair, this was by far the highlight of the day. At least thirty Common Gull were also new for the day list and with the light failing, rain falling and temperature getting colder it was time to head back home after a slightly disappointing first day of the year.
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 38 species.