Monday, 18 June 2018

Early summer on the Levels

Somerset Levels tour.

A little overcast for our tour today but still packed full of wonderful wildlife.

A single Cuckoo flying at the back of the reedbed the adults will soon be heading back to Africa leaving their young to find their own way there.

Lots of Herons out today with Little, Great white Egret, Grey heron and several Bitterns flying around, see images below.


A few Hobby seen catching dragonflies along with Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Buzzard and several Marsh Harries both male and females all seen well.

Not many small birds around today maybe just a bit to windy for them but we did find a nice male Blackcap sitting out in the open, also Whitethroat and several Cetti's Warblers blasting out their calls.

See below images all taken buy our client today paul (Great white Egret, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, a very interesting day at my favourite Somerset reserve.DT.











Monday, 21 May 2018

Somerset Levels in early May

We did so many trips to the Somerset Levels in early May it seemed easier to do an edited highlight post rather than loads of individual posts!

Bittern were booming it seemed the whole time, we had varying views of them on most tours, although we did set a new CBC record for the most bittern seen at one time - five!

five bittern chasing around
These are most likely two females with three males in pursuit. Great white egret are the most common heron on the sites we visit at present. Its relatively straightforward to see over ten on any visit, amazing!

Warbler numbers have been relatively low this year, with adverse weather holding them up on their northern migration, so it was pleasing to hear ever increasing numbers of a variety of species including garden warbler, blackcap, willow warbler, chiffchaff, reed warbler, sedge warbler and whitethroat.

Birds of prey were evident with perhaps 50 hobby present on one visit, hawking low over the water and reeds, what a site! The marsh harrier have also been busily building their nests ready for the breeding season ahead.

Lots of duck around on the water and we were lucky enough to see garganey on two visits. Here's a male from Avalon Hide on Ham Wall RSPB reserve.
Male garganey
Perhaps my favourite sighting was a female great crested grebe carrying one of her chicks on her back.

Extra large photo so you can see the chick!
An osprey was seen hovering before plunging into the water on one visit. Cuckoo were seen on most visits also.

There's always something great to see on the Somerset Levels and its a great place to practise your birdwatching skills, so if you have not been there on one of our tours - get in touch and book one! (NA)

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Monday, 14 May 2018

Durlstone Tour



Today saw us on the Dorset coast looking for migrants and sea birds.

Several Razorbills and Guillemots out on the water giving some close views for comparison.

Along the path a Raven flew past with a few Fulmars riding the wind, sat out on the rooks were Great black-backed gulls along with Herring gulls. Out over the sea several Shags flew low over the water with a couple of Sandwich terns and a small group of Manx shearwaters going past.

Further down the path a Peregrine flew low past us as it went off  looking for breakfast, the bird performed well for us throughout the day with one missed hunting attempt on a pigeon and a stunning view has it sat out on the cliff ledge.

Resting Peregrine Falcon


Small birds were found in the scrubby areas which included Whitethroat, Lesser whitethroat, Blackcap, Linnet, Mistle thrush, Meadow pipits, along with several Stonechats perched on top of the bushes.

Other birds seen as we moved on down the path were  Rock pipits, Skylarks, Dunnocks and Wrens.

Later in the day we decided to look for Puffin and where lucky enough to find two birds sat out on the sea before flying into the undercliffs and out of sight. 
A long day but some good quality birds seen at very close range. DT



Sunday, 13 May 2018

Somerset Levels


Over the last week we have run four tours on the Somersetlevels with some fantastic wildlife highlights.
A total of 60+ Hobbies giving some very close views from just outside the hide, also an Osprey drifted over.
Marsh harries flying around along with several Bitterns 5 in one shot at the same time (magical to see)
Cuckoo’s  calling from within the reserve, Garganey on the marshes along with Shoverler and Wigeon.
Tufted duck, Pochard, Little and Great crested Grebe all on the water along with Coot and Moorhen.
The woodland being alive with several warbler species all in good voice. Great white egrets can be seen on nest along with Grey heron and several little egrets moving around.

A few butterflies around with small amount of Damselflies starting to emergeDT/NA

Comma Butterfly

Small Blue Butterfly

Dingy Skipper Butterfly

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Cotswold Water Park


May has turned out to be full of fine weather enabling us to run several tours around The Cotswold Water Park. 
Several warblers are with us for the summer which have included Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Cettis warbler, Reed warbler, Sedge warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, and Lesser whitethroat.

Lots of common birds around with Blackbirds, Blue tit, Great tit, Long tailed tit along with song thrush, Mistle thrush.

Some of the less common birds seen have included Nightingale, Cuckoo, Marsh Harrier, Hobby along with Green woodpecker and Great spotted woodpeckers.

Several butterflies are now on the wing seen so far are Brimstone, Orange tip, Speckled wood, Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Small White and Large white, Holy blue.
A great time to be out watching spring move through. DT

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Spring on the Levels


We started on Ham Wall RSPB reserve with the last of the showers passing overhead.  

Before we had even left the car park we were listening to, blue tit, chiffchaff, robin and blackcap.
As we started down the track, we were finding new species and soon added  willow warbler and  Cetti’s warbler

A quick look at the first reed bed gave us our first view of great white egret this chap was stood behind some mute swan and looked every bit as big.  

We reached our first cover and were soon seeing a nice selection of waterfowl, including great crested grebe, as well as lesser black-backed gull, coot, cormorant, shoveler, moorhen, mallard, tufted duck, gadwall, teal, grey heron and little grebe

Great Crested Grebe


A  kingfisher was nice enough to pitch on the reeds opposite us so we could get a reasonable look at it. Perhaps my favourite bird of the day was the long-tailed tit who was a metre or so from us and completely oblivious to us watching – brilliant!

A few swallow, and sand martin were feeding over the lakes and our heads.  

As we worked our way along the footpath, we continued to pick up new species including great tit, blackbird, wren, dunnock, reed warbler, song thrush, chaffinch, goldfinch, lesser redpoll and brambling.

Male teal


At the second viewing point we had great views of a male marsh harrier and a pair of bittern flying around and around like a couple of WW1 fighters in a dogfight!

On our way back to the car park we heard a distant tawny owl hooting and picked up great spotted woodpecker for our every growing list. We were also able to compare the great white egret to the much smaller little egret.

After lunch we worked our way around Shapwick Heath where we saw a few extra birds from Noah’s Hide such as  wigeon as well as snipe, herring gull, Canada Goose, greylag goose and black-headed gull.

At the last little hide we had fantastic views of another male marsh harrier, as well as one of his females and a male reed bunting singing from a willow.

The last bird of the day was an elusive Treecreeper in the wet woodland.

All-in-all a great day! (NA)