Wednesday 26 March 2014

Migration check...

Today saw a check of the edge of the Marlborough Downs to see if there are any birds migrating. Very interesting it was too. There were fieldfare and redwing heading north east back to the Continent to their breeding grounds, as well as meadow pipits and linnets heading south west. Now this did initially surprise me as I would have been expecting them to move north, but I think its because these are birds that breed on Salisbury Plain, so a sort of mini-migration. Interesting stuff!

Perhaps the highlight though was a splendid immature red kite that drifted north below me. NA

Sunday 23 March 2014

A weekend of recces

Today was a long walk around the Compton Bassett area, besides a full list of weather including thunder and lightning the wildlife was keen to make the most of the gaps between the showers. Perhaps my favourite was a singing mistle thrush, one of their names is 'storm cock' - perhaps due to them singing in March as they nest early, but certainly seemed spot on today! Other highlights included three roe beer bucks feeding quietly along a hedge taking no notice of me and a pair of bullfinch taking advantage of the sunny periods on top of a hazel bush.

The primroses are still in full flower, along with dog's mercury a woodland specialist that is always nice to find. The bluebell eaves were well out in a number of the woods I passed, so not long before the flowers are carpeting the woodland floor.

Saturday saw a walk on the downs above Calne to see if the wheatear had arrived. No luck on that front but there were many yellowhammer singing and squabbling over territories. The last of the fieldfare were heading north east back to their breeding grounds on the Continent.

In the afternoon I fitted in a quick walk along the river avon looking for kingfisher and grey wagtail, a cracking male kingfisher was the definite highlight sat quietly in a bush overhanging the river. A raven flew over with its crop and beak full of food, off to feed its young which will be a week or so old already. NA

Saturday 22 March 2014

Cotswold Water Park Tour

A Full day in the Cotswold Water Park on a windy but sunny day produced the following birds. 2 Redshank, 12 Black Tailed Godwits, 1 Oystercatcher, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Pintail, Shoveller, Goosander Male and Female, Goldeneye, Grey Heron, Buzzard, Shelduck, Cetti’s Warbler, Red Crested Pochard, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Jay, Lapwing, Little Egret, Green Woodpecker,Skylark, Sand Martins(300+) All the common birds where in song, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Long Tailed Tit, Wren, Robin,Dunnock, Blackcap(Singing), and a several Chiffchaffs calling. A total of 44 species. DT

Sunday 16 March 2014

Cotswold Water Park Walk

A Short Afternoon walk at the Cotswold Water Park. A single Male Smew still around on lake 30 with Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers calling in the Trees. Birds seen on lake 74: Pintail 45, Shoveller 100+, Teal 400+, Little egret 6, Redshank 2, Dunlin 1, Oystercatcher 2 Goldeneye 1 Male 3 Females, a wondurfull sight when something disturbed them and they all took flight for a few minutes. DT

A day trip on the Somerset Levels 15-03-2014

An early start today arriving on site at 06.30, greeted by several Booming Bitterns and several Squealing Water rail. Early views of Kingfisher with a Sparrowhawk flashing over the pathway also two Roe Deer feeding on the lush grass at the side of the track. Singing from the top of a large tree was a Song Thrush. Searching the first section of open water 2 superb Male Garganey were found dabbling around in the shallows. At our first stop excellent views of both Male and Female Marsh Harrier at close range also several Buzzard taking advantage of the thermals, between here and our next stop a couple of very obliging Cettis Warblers rattled out their song from the top of the bushes giving great views. At our second stop we could see the ground nesting Grey Herons constantly bringing in fresh sticks to build up their nests. (they must feel safe here nesting in the reeds). Other birds of interest included: Great White Egrets 4-5, Peregrine Falcon 2, Black Tailed Godwit 1, Snipe 8, Little Egret 7, Little Grebe 6, Lapwing 20+, Shoveller, Wigeon, Pochard and Teal, Coal Tit 1, and a few Reed Buntings. Still some winter visitors around with Redwing and Fieldfare flying over and also a group of summer migrant arriving with small groups of Sand Martins overhead. Small numbers of Butterflies around with Small tortoiseshell and Peacock seen also a couple of Dragonflies darting around. All in all a great day with 60 bird species seen. DT

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Marlborough Downs recce

A walk today around a three hour circuit on the downs to check out the terrain and species present. Stars of the show were three fantastic male corn bunting sat on bushes singing away. Several yellowhammer and skylark were also staking claims to territories as well as good numbers of chaffinch, stock dove and lapwing. Several flocks of fieldfare and redwing were busily feeding to get in condition to migrate east again. On the route was a really nice piece of grassland, that included some juniper bushes and a very large badger sett, a site to definitely return to on a Marlborough Downs walk in the summer. NA

Cotswold Water Park Walk

Recent walk around the Cotswold Water Park produced the following birds. 2 Dunlin, 2 Redshank, 16 Curlew, 1 Oystercatcher, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Pintail, Shoveler, Buzzard, Shelduck, Cetti’s Warbler, Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Lapwing, Little Egret, Green Woodpecker, Bittern. All the common birds where in song, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Wren, Robin and a few Chiffchaffs calling.