Sunday, 29 January 2017

Firecrest, Purp Sands and showy Rails

Great days birding in Dorset. 13 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Turnstone & 1 male Black Redstart this morning on the Cobb at Lyme Regis. 

On route back to Sherborne, stopped off at Dorchester where had brief but nice views of the 1st winter Rose-coloured Starling on Maria Rd & 8 Windsor Rd visiting garden feeders. After several attempts to see this bird, the Rosy Starling proved very elusive and wary in heavy rain moving between several gardens with Starling flock. Last seen on rooftop on House 8 Windsor Road before dropping down to another garden out of view.

A short visit to the Sewage works at Dorchester was very productive with 2 "Tristis"  Siberian Chiffchaff and 12+ Colybita Chiffchaff, 2 Water Rail (including very showy bird), 2 Reed Bunting, 4 Grey Wagtail and 15 Meadow Pipits at the Sewage Works.

Back on patch afterwards carrying out the Big Garden Birdwatch produced 3 Firecrest on patch giving outstanding close up views in the willow scrub.  Garden Birdwatch total 29 species seen including Firecrest, Bullfinch, Fieldfare, Redwing, Green Woodpecker, Grt sp Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, Collared Dove, Chiffchaff, Lsr Redpoll and Greenfinch been most noteworthy species of the count.

Firecrest giving amazing views

Firecrest-One of three on patch today

Purple Sandpiper

Purple Sandpiper

Purple Sandpiper-Lyme Regis

Turnstone-Lyme Regis

Water Rail- Dorchester Sewage Works

Water Rail

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Devon Birding 28th Jan 2017

Day trip in South Devon started off nicely with my 2nd sighting of the DESERT WHEATEAR on Leas Foot Beach, Thurlestone showing well down to a few feet. A stunning bird full of character. Also present on the beach included 1 Black Redstart, 5 Rock Pipit and a "Scandinavian" type Rock Pipit feeding on insects on the washed up seaweed.

Onwards to Broad Sands and Torbay  produced 12 Cirl Buntings giving excellent views near the Beach Huts/Car Park, several Reed Buntings, Chaffinch and Greenfinch in the hedgerows.
Seawatch off the headland produced 5 Velvet Scoter, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 1 Slavonian Grebe and 150+ Great Crested Grebe.

Quick look off Man Sands produced the 1st year male Surf Scoter with the large Common Scoter flock. Little else of note apart from 2 Kittiwake and 1 Fulmar offshore.

On route back to Dorset we stopped off near Stover Country Park where we located several Waxwings in a housing estate near British Ceramic Tile Factory. The flock flew to the A38 and joined more Waxwings feeding on Rosehips on the Central Reservation of the Dual Carriageway. We watched 15 Waxwing giving great views for an hour before calling into Stover Park where we had Crossbill and 2 Marsh Tit.

Superb birds, superb locations and bonus of 15 Waxwings to finish off a fantastic day trip through Devon.

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Cirl Bunting

Female Cirl Bunting

Reed Bunting


Sunday, 22 January 2017

Ringing 22nd Jan 2017

Mornings ringing session 08.30-10.00am on patch produced good numbers of birds including Bullfinch, 2 Chaffinch, 1 Greenfinch, 1 Grt sp Woodpecker, 5 Robin, 1 Dunnock, 4 Blue Tit, 7 Great Tit and Coal Tits.

Interesting Controls and Retraps:

Control Coal Tit Z712565 ringed 14th November on site, retrapped 26th November and 22nd Jan 2017.

Control Blue Tit Z712536 ringed 14th Nov 2016 and controlled today 22nd Jan 2017.

Control Great Tit Z712575 ringed 26th Nov 2016 and controlled today 22nd Jan 2017

Robin S772910 Ringed 26th November 2016 and retrapped today 22nd Jan 2017

Other sightings of note on patch included flock of 30+ Lesser Redpolls feeding in nearby alder trees. Green Woodpecker, 3 Water Rail, Chiffchaff, 100+ Redwing, 50+ Fieldfare, 2 Moorhen on site this morning.


6 Male Chaffinch



Great Tit

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Cattle Egret at Litton Cheney

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.

Slimbridge 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

American Wigeon

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.