Wednesday 23 April 2014

CWP Tour 20-04-2014

Today we visited The Cotswold Waterpark with a total spices list of 57.

Our client today was Fumia a lady from Japan. Today I realised how much we take our common everyday birds for granted with Fumias comments about how colourful that Blue tit is and look at the colours on that Chaffinch, It made me stand and think how lucky we are to be able to see these birds everyday in our back gardens.

Some of the other highlights of the tour were the four Little ringed plovers flying around and showing off the broken wing display, we also picked up two Yellow wagtails sat on the waste ground amongst the vegetation, a couple of Snipe, 6 Lapwings and two Skylarks.

We then moved to a different area and found three Oystercatchers displaying their piping calls and strutting around after each other. We also managed to hear a Nightingale and saw a Red kite drift over head.

On a different note the wild flower meadows are now starting to look at their best with fields full of Cowslips and Snakes head fritillaries all in flow bloom. DT

Tuesday 22 April 2014

21st April - Durlston Country Park

A trip down to Durlston Country Park to check everything is as we remembered it ready to lead tours there later in the year.

We worked our way west along the lower coastal path where we bumped into this chap:

We carried on and found a number of orchids, including early spider:

There were also very good numbers of green-winged and early purple orchids. Other plants in flower included chalk milkwort and fields of cowslips - brilliant!

Perhaps the most interesting thing we saw was a chalkhill blue caterpillar with its bodyguard of ants. In exchange sugars and proteins exuded by the caterpillar, the ants protect the caterpillar, nature is amazing!!


After checking the cafe was still producing bacon rolls and tea of a high standard we checked out the seabirds and managed to see a nice selection including guillemot, razorbill, gannet, fulmar, shag and kittiwake:

So all is well at Durlston, a wide variety of wildlife seen and heard. NA/DT

Saturday 19 April 2014

Somerset Levels tour

On Thursday just gone we had a tour to Somerset Levels. The target species for the day was bittern, Sue had wanted to see one for a long time and her husband Peter asked us to help.

Fortunately for the leader's nerves we soon had great views of bittern flying across a pool at Haw Wall, we then saw another fly across, bash into a second bittern in the edge of the reeds and both then stood on the edge of the reeds - brilliant stuff! 

We also managed to hear the amazing 'booming' call on several occasions. Other species seen on the walk included up to eight garganey, including seven splendid males, a 1st winter little gull, common tern, whitethroat (first on the sites this year), many blackcap, cetti's warbler, marsh frogs were heard and a good selection of butterflies including orange tip.

Perhaps my favourite sighting was a pair of marsh harriers, displaying and then dropping onto the track in front of us to mate - you don't see that every day! A great day with over 60 species of bird seen - thanks Sue for making it such a joy to be out and about with nature! NA

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Spring is in the air...

Yesterday saw a walk around a different area of Wiltshire chalk. There has definitely been a switch in mindset for the resident birds towards breeding. Some are already well on their way with blackbirds collecting worms to feed their chicks, others are still getting themselves sorted, like in this picture:

Now I've heard of kung-fu pandas, I wasn't aware there was such a thing as kung-fu pheasants... Other sightings of note included lapwing displaying and nesting, lots of corn bunting and yellowhammer singing and more skylarks than you could shake a stick at, the Wiltshire chalk is truly a special place.NA

Saturday 12 April 2014

A couple of hours on the Ridgeway

A walk on the Ridgeway today in windy and unsettled conditions produced the following sightings: 2 Ring Ouzels found hiding in the trees for cover also 6+ Wheatears on the slopes, several Corn Buntings, Skylarks and Meadow pipits singing. A few small groups of Goldfinches and Linnets moving from tree to tree with small groups of Swallows flying fast just above the ground. On the way back a single Fieldfare and Yellowhammer with a couple of Buzzard and a Kestrel soaring on the wind and the star bird a fantastic Peregrine Falcon drifted overhead giving superb views. DT