Saturday, 18 May 2019

Farmoor Reservoir

Today we visited Farmoor Reservoir.

A bright sunny morning greated us at this large body of inland water.

First birds seen flying over were a small group of Swift and House martins along with a few Swallows.

Checking the edges of the reservoir we found a few waders which included a Redshank, Common sandpiper, Dunlin and Oystercatcher.

Scanning over the water we found several common tern then we spotted three smaller darker birds with them these were black tern so nice to see them hawking over the reservoir, we had great views of the black terns all day has we wondered around the site.

Scanning the water several groups of Cormorant, Great crested Grebes were found all diving and fishing in the sunshine.

Walking along the middle of the two basins several Pied wagtails were found along with a couple of Grey Wagtails and three Yellow Wagtail great to see three different types all close together showing their different plumages.

A little further on two Meadow Pipits were found.

Around the small nature reserve at the end of the reservoir several Long tailed Tits were calling along with both Blue and Great Tits. Also seen or heard here were Goldcrest, Green Woodpecker, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Bunting, Linnet,Wren, Robin along with Grey Heron, Moorhen and Coot.

Moving onto another area several warbler speices were found with Reed, Sedge, Cetti's, Garden, along with Whitethroat and Blackcap.

After taking lunch at the car we headed back along the middle of the reservoir picking up several Buzzards riding the thermals along with two Red Kites, out on the water were several groups of Mallard a few Greylag Geese, and we counted 80 Great Crested Grebes resting on the water an impressive sight.

Heading back to the car park we heard a Cuckoo calling so heading in its direction and soon saw it flying out of a near by tree. We also spotted a Peregrine flying over in the distance.

Scanning the small gull flock we found Black headed, Herring, Lesser Black Backed and a single Great Black Backed gull.

A very enjoyable day in the warm sunshine. DT.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Durlston Country Park

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, also a couple of Gannets flew past.

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.

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.

Further on both Chiffchaff and Willow warbler were calling enabling us to remember the different calls they have.

Sitting in one of the many fields we watched a Skylark rise up calling as it went until it was just a tiny dot in the clear blue sky.

Most of the field have a few orchids pushing up but the buttercups were the stars today make the fields stand out bright yellow in the sunshine.

Several butterflies seen today also with a stunning view of an Adonis blue sat out in the open giving very close views.

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

A long day but some good quality birds seen at very close range. DT

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

April in The Cotswold Water Park

April 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.

A good number of Sand martins arrived early in the month along with a few Swallows and House Martins in toe.

Lots of common birds around with Blackbirds, Blue tit, Great tit, Long tailed tit along with song thrush, Mistle thrush, we still had a few winter visitors with us up to 10 Goldeneye still out on the lake and a few Brambling seen in the treetops.

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 and a single Green Hairstreak.

Out in the field large numbers of Snakes head fritillary are in flower along with the yellow Cowslips and a few Orchids are starting to shot up.

A great time to be out looking for wildlife. DT

Friday, 22 February 2019

Somerset Levels

Early spring visit to the Somerset Levels

Today saw us at the RSPB Ham Wall reserve.

After a little early fog the sun came through to provide us with some wonderful wildlife.

Kingfisher and Great white Egret were among the first birds seen along the path to our first stop.

Several duck species are still around with Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Tufted duck all seen.

Both little and Great Crested Grebes were seen with the little Grebes being very vocal all day.

Several sightings of Marsh Harrier hunting out over the reedbeds with Buzzards soaring on the thermals. We had some very brief views of Water rail as they move between the reedbeds always hard to see these birds.

Before leaving our view point we had a fly by Bittern which gave very good views as it flew over the reedbeds. On our way back to the car park for lunch we saw several Lapwing and a small group of Golden Plover along with 80+ Snipe flying around.

After lunch a quick look around the feeders found Reed Bunting, Chaffinch a single Chiffchaff and several blue and great tits.

Returning to watch the Starlings coming into roost we saw a Sparrowhawk fly across and as the large groups of Starlings arrived a Peregrine falcon could be seen chasing them around.

On our walk back to the car park a single ringtail Hen Harrier flew past and a Tawny owl hooted from the wood.

All in all a good day to be out and about with Bittern starting to boom spring is on the way.DT

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Cotswold Water Park

Today saw us in the Cotswold Water Park for a half day visit.

At our first stop we found several Goosander out on the water along with a group of Red Crested Pochard and a couple of Great Crested Grebes.

Before we moved off we had an all to brief view of a Kingfisher as it flew across the water.

Searching the tree tops we found 4 Siskin feeding on the Alder cones along with Blue tit,Great tit and a single Coal tit.

Heading towards our second lake through a tree lined area Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Chiffchaff were all seen along with a Great spotted Woodpecker.

Out on the lake several female Goldeneye could be seen diving under the surface with both Pochard and Tufted ducks were seen here.

On our return journey we saw a good selection of birds Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Redwing, Fieldfare, Grey Heron, Reed Bunting, Song Thrush, Buzzard, Kestrel and a lovely single Dunnock just sat in the tree above us.

Later in the day a pair of Pintail were seen along with both male and female Peregrines chasing each other around the sky.

Only half a day but some nice birds Sen.DT

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Otmoor RSPB

Today we visited Oxfordshire and the RSPB Reserve of Otmoor.

Weather conditions at the start of the day wonderful sunshine.

A walk to the first hide produced Coal tit, Great spotted woodpecker and a Green woodpecker flew from the tree tops ahead of us. Plenty of Fieldfare were sat in the trees and a few Redwing flew over.

Heading out towards big Otmoor we saw several large groups of Lapwing and Golden plover, as we watched them we saw all the Lapwing and plovers take to the air and soon found out why as a fantastic male Hen harrier heading towards them, we watched the bird move through them as it heading away out over the surrounding countryside.  A magical sight to see on this lovely winters morning.

At the hide around 200 small birds were feeding on the grain that is being put out for the birds over the winter months these included 30 Reed buntings, 130 Linnets, 10 Goldfich, 25 Chaffinch, 1 Yellowhammer along with 3 Bullfinch 2 Greenfinch and a Water rail all feeding on the ground great to see so many birds taking advantage of the food.

Moving off to the first screen we had close views of Teal, Wigeon, Pochard and Tufted duck out on the water along with several Moorhen.

Here we had our first view of Marsh harrier along with a single Kestrel sat on the telephone wires with several Red kites drifting around.

With dark clouds looming we decided to stay in the hide which turned out to be a good  move as heavy snow showers moved in and we had a complete white out, what a change from the early morning sunshine!!

Out side the hide a Muntjack deer gave a close view as it walk right passed the window.

On our way back to the car park we saw a group of 20 Fieldfare feeding on the ground just in front of us taking advantage of the wet conditions.

Both Peregrine and Buzzard were seen briefly out over the reserve.

Another good day out in the field with some wonderful birds seen in some interesting weather conditions.DT