On route back from Dorchester today, decided to take a visit to look for the reported Cattle Egret at Litton Cheney near Dorchester. Found the bird showing very well at Rowden's Farm on Cox's Lane at 15.00pm alongside 1 Little Egret & 8 Black-Headed Gull. A walk along the road there also produced a Siberian Chiffchaff (seen & heard calling) with 3+ Common Chiffchaff.
Sunday, 8 January 2017
Great day out at Slimbridge WWT. My 8th annual visit in a row now and still this amazing reserve never ceases to amaze me with its incredible numbers of waders and wildfowl. Highlights from today, great views of 6 Common Crane from Holden Tower, 2 Bittern, 3 Greenland White-fronted Geese & 1 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Goshawk, 1 Little Stint, 1 Ruff, 4 Water Rails and 100+ Bewick Swan. On wildfowl & wader front, non-frozen fields now attracted vast numbers of Wigeon (1,000's), Teal (1000's) Lapwing (500+) and Golden Plover (2-300+), and big numbers of Greylag Geese, Dunlin, Shelduck, Pintail, Gadwall, Shoveler throughout the wetlands. Few pics below from todays visit.
Sunday, 1 January 2017
A great start to 2017 with finding the Cattle Egret in the fields North of the A3052 near Colyton Village along the Axe River, present with Cattle showing distantly from the main road. We carried onwards back towards Bowling Green Marsh in the hope of seeing some nice waders & wildfowl to start up the 2017 Year List. Despite wet weather throughout the day, I located the 1st winter drake AMERICAN WIGEON with 1000+ Eurasian Wigeon on Matford's Pool near Countess Wear off the Matford Roundabout mid-morning. Also present on the pools included 3 Gadwall, 2 Little Egret, 1 Water Rail, Mistle Thrush and some Fieldfare in the neighbouring fields.
Onto Bowling Green Marsh afterward good views of the American Wigeon (See record shots below), from the hide & estuary counts produced 1 Spotted Redshank, 200+ Avocet, Greylag Goose, 1 Pintail, 100's of Teal, Wigeon, Brent Geese, Blackwit & Barwits. Large numbers of Knot, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Redshank and more Avocet out on the Exe Estuary near Topsham.
Further down the Estuary near Dawlish Warren produced 2 Slavonian Grebes from Star Cross, Curlew, Turnstone, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Great-black backed Gull, Buzzard & Kestrel.
A very wet walk out to the hide at Dawlish Warren and a 1hour seawatch off the dunes was very productive with 50+ Great crested Grebe, 15+ Gannet, 3 Little Grebe, singles of Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Guillemot, Razorbill, 4 Eider, 20+ Common Scoter and a drake Long-tailed Duck. The walk out to hide turned up Linnet, Greenfinch, Meadow Pipit and very unexpectantly a male Dartford Warbler, found by Hannah near visitor centre in gorse scrub!!!
From the hide produced mixed variety of waders including a wintering Common Sandpiper, 10 Red-breasted Merganser, 15 Grey Plover, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Knot, Redshank and the usual wildfowl, gulls and waders. No sign of the Bonaparte's Gull.
A fantastic start to the New Year with 95 species recorded and Cattle Egret & American Wigeon expectantly seen today. I'm certainly looking forward to this years birding.
Saturday, 31 December 2016
Final day of 2016, so Hannah & myself decided to take a day trip down into Devon to so some birding and see the Desert Wheatear which has been lingering for several weeks at Thurlestone. A superb day's birding with mega views of the 1st winter DESERT WHEATEAR showing down to a few feet on Leas Foot Beach alongside 1 Black Redstart, several Rock Pipit & Pied Wagtails. A stunning bird in a beautiful part of Devon. After watching the Wheatear for few hours we headed off back north towards Exeter stopping off at various locations on route.
Journey back towards Exeter, we stopped off a Broadsands to search for some Cirl Buntings near the car park & beach huts. Broadsands is a renowned hotspot for Cirl Buntings in winter. Upon arrival there was a flock of 20+ Buntings feeding quite close on some of the grain & seed provided during winter months for the birds. We had some stunning birds of at least 20 Cirl Buntings with 10+ more in nearby Hedgerows along the coast path. My best views ever of this very rare bunting in Britian. My first sightings were 10 birds at Shaldon in 2010. Other previous records I've seen include 2 at Wembury in 2012, 5+ at Wembury 2014, single male in 2015 and female this august at Dawlish Warren.
After Broadsands, a short stop off at Bowling Green Marsh RSPB along the Exe River produced 100+ Wigeon, 50+ Avocet, 100+ Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Greylag Geese, 3 Little Egret, 8 Snipe, 2 Water Rail, 1 Kingfisher and a Spotted Redshank on Goosemoor marsh from the viewing screens.
|Female Wigeon showing paler head pattern and overall pale plumage|
|Flock of Wigeon|
|Continental type Blackbird|
A fantastic day to finish off 2016!! Looking forward to 2017. Wishing all my friends & family, fellow birders and blog followers a very Happy New Year and all the best for a birding filled 2017!!
Friday, 30 December 2016
Took a trip down to Radipole Lake today. Highlight of the day in finding a nice flock of 20+ Bearded Reedling feeding close along the Buddleia Loop trail this afternoon. Managed a few nice shots despite very foggy weather. The Reedlings put on a fantastic performance for about 20mins before moving deeper into the reedbed. Also nice views of 50+ Mediterranean Gull, 2 Marsh Harrier, Water Rail, Kingfisher & Cetti's Warbler along the trail. Back towards the visitor centre was some nice showy Teal and more Mediterranean Gulls.
A quick look at Lodmoor produced distant views of 2 Water Pipit, 15 Snipe, 4 Black-tailed Godwit from the east car park at Overcombe from the viewing gate. Another large flock of 30+ Mediterranean Gull and 10 Common Gull present on the marsh. A fantastic afternoons birding and great to be back in the UK after few weeks home in Ireland for Christmas with Family & friends.
|Med Gull Adult|
|Group of Med Gulls taking a bath|
Sunday, 25 December 2016
Christmas morning walk down at Seapoint beach produced 35 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 50+ Sanderling, 20+ Turnstone, 10+ each of Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover & Knot on the strand.Large numbers of Great black-backed Gulls & Common Gulls present..
Saturday, 24 December 2016
Here's a collection of images looking back on a fantastic birding year 2016 has been. Full of exciting encounters with some amazing wildlife. From the Mega rare Siberian Accentor at Spurn to Firecrest's in my Garden,from Hoopoe's on Portland to White Storks on the Somerset Levels. 2016 has been a fantastic year for some new species seen, but also a fantastic year to witness some incredible wildlife moments from close up Foxes on the Isle of Wight to showy Spoonbills at Lodmoor. These images take a brief look back on some of my favourite birds seen this year & some of my highlights of 2016. A great year to look back on and can't wait now to see what 2017 has in store. Enjoy the pictures and Merry Christmas.
|Dusky Warbler-Ham Wall|
|Reed Bunting-Greylake RSPB|
|Black Redstart- Weymouth|
|Common Gull-Radipole Lake|
|Glossy Ibis-Seaton Marshes|
|Ring-necked Duck-Somerset Levels|
|Pallas's Warbler-Portesham, Dorset|
|Wigeon-Hole's Bay, Poole Harbour|
|Marsh Harrier-Ham Wall RSPB|
|Glaucous Gull-Plym Estuary|
|Marsh Tit-Stover Lake|
|Rock Pipit-Lulworth Cove|
|Hobby-Ham Wall RSPB|
|Corn Bunting-Maiden Castle|
|Lesser Whitethroat- Trent|
|Roe Deer-Black Park, Slough|
|White Stork-Somerset Levels|
|Great Crested Grebe-Langley Lake|
|Great Spotted Cuckoo-Portland|
|Bittern-Ham Wall RSPB|
|Grey Seal-Port Oriel, Clogherhead|
|Sparrowhawk-My Garden back home|
|Dartford Warbler-New Forest|
|Common Tern-Titchfield Haven|
|Reed Warbler- Hampshire|
|Water Vole, Titchfield Haven|
|Great Bustard-Salisbury Plain|
|Small Skipper-The Garden|
|Purple Hairstreak-Alner's Gorse|
|Collared Pratincole-Ham Wall RSPB|
|Black-tailed Godwit-Seaton Marsh|
|Little Egret-Black Hole Marsh|
|Wood Sandpiper, Seaton Marshes|
|Banded Demosielle- London|
|Brown Hawker- Wraysbury|
|Ruff-Black Hole Marsh|
|Yellow Wagtail- West Bexington|
|Foxes-Isle of Wight|
|Fox on Isle of Wight|
|Sanderling- The Fleet|
|Sandwich Tern- Weymouth|
|Avocet- Brownsea Lagoon|
|Red Squirrel-Brownsea Island|
|Spotted Redshank-Hole's Bay-Poole Harbour|
|Fieldfare- Spurn Bird Obs|
|Siberian Accentor-Easington, Spurn|
|Shore Lark-Spurn Point|
|Song Thrush-Spurn Bird Obs|
|Med Gull- Radipole|
|Black Redstart- Portland Castle|
|Pied Wagtail- Lyme Regis|
|Great Black Backed Gull-Clogherhead|
|Lapwing flock- Lurgangreen, Co.Louth|
|Yellow-legged Gull- Broad Lough|
|Great Northern Diver- Salterstown|
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR
ALL THE BEST FOR A FANTASTIC WILDLIFE-FILLED 2017!!