Saturday 18 June 2016

Warblers at the Water Park

With the trees in full leaf the birds are becoming a little harder to spot, so today we concentrated on finding them by their calls.

Several Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers were found along with both Common and Lesser Whitethroats.

In the reed beds both Sedge warbler and Reed warbler were heard and then seen along with the explosive Cetti's warblers.

In the trees both Blackcap and Garden warblers could be heard and after a few minutes searching we could see them, further along the path we heard a few brief notes from the Nightingale always nice to hear but a bit late in the year now to hear them in full song mode.

Wren, Robin and Dunnock could all be heard calling from inside the shrub.

All along our walk we had been hearing a Cuckoo calling and on our way back had a very close view as it flew overhead.

A most rewarding day showing that you do not have to see the birds to be able to find them.

Our guest went away with some new found knowledge and the belief that with a little more practise would be able to identify some of the calls when out on their own.DT

Saturday 11 June 2016

Summer at Pagham Harbour

Today saw us at Pagham Harbour nature reserve in West Sussex.

A quick check on the ferry pool produced 2 Avocet 2 Shelduck 1 Redshank and a Lapwing.

Moving on down towards the estuary several Reed and Sedge Warblers showed well giving great comparison views as the flew in and out of the reed beds on feeding flights.

Both Reed Buntings and Linnets showed well sitting out on top of the small bushes.

On the small pools both Little and Great Crested Grebes were seen with the latter having two small chicks in attendance which kept jumping up onto the adults back showing off their stripy heads, other birds on the pool included Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Gadwall and a pair of Tufted duck.

A distant Cuckoo called and was then spotted flying across the estuary.

Further down the track the landscape opens out to look across farmland and here we saw and heard Skylark giving fantastic views through the telescope. Also out in the middle of a field an Oystercatcher sat tight on her nest with the male bird in close attendance.

Both Common and Lesser Whitethroat were seen along with a couple of Stock Doves and a fine female Roe Deer moved across a gap in the hedge line.

We decided to stop for lunch and sat out on the shingle watching the waders out on the mud, we could see Curlew, Ringed Plover, Little Egret, Turnstone and a small group of Dunlin.

After lunch we headed towards the shingle beach and sat looking out to sea watching Little, Common and Sandwick Tern fishing just off shore, some of them very close plunge diving for fish.

A walk along the shingle beach produced a good range of coastal plants including Sea Kale, Yellow Horned Poppy, Sea Campion and the lovely pink Thrift.

With time fast moving on we headed back to the car park finding a few more of the common birds species on the way, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbid all seen.

Our final experience was photographing the Bee Orchid that was growing just by the pathway.

A very pleasant and relaxing day with a total of 60+ species of birds seen. DT.

Sunday 5 June 2016

Somerset Levels-Bitterns Everywhere

Today can only be described as Bittern day.

Everywhere we stopped we saw or heard them. At one view point we saw three birds chasing each other around two large male birds pursuing the smaller female.

Several food flights are now underway this being the females as the male birds play no part in rearing the young.

At one particular point there is a male bird that seems to call all day long and if you stand there you can feel the ground shaking with the tremendous noise coming from the bird this is known as booming.

Support cast came from the Marsh Harriers again showing very close to our viewing point, in total around eight birds were seen thoughout the day a splendid sight.

There are still a few warblers singing with Reed warbler, Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat and the ever present Cetti's warblers all heard and seen.

After a fantastic morning we headed back for lunch.

Birds seen in the afternoon included both Little and Great White Egrets also Grey Heron along with four Hobbys catching the many dragon and damselflies that are now starting to emerge.

Further along the path we could hear two distant Cockoos calling with a brief sighting of one of them.

Out on the water pool we found several Black tailed Godwits some in their fine summer plumage of red chests, checking through the duck we found a single male Gargany and a female Pochard with six ducklings along with Tufted duck, Shoveller and  several Gadwall.

On our way back to the car park our guest found a female Adder basking out on a log a great find to finish off our tour.

Birds seen later in the day included a Barn Owl sat outside its nest box in the late afternoon sunshine, also Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting and Buzzard.

The RSPB have done a great job here in creating the correct habitats for the animals it always produces great days out.DT

Wednesday 1 June 2016

Wildlife trip at Cotswold Water Park

As soon as we started our walk we were listening to garden warbler, whitethroat and chiffchaff singing. 

A brief stop in the hide provided views of a pair of mute swan with their cygnets, greylag goose and a great crested grebe. On the feeders there were lots of blue tit and great tit, including the pair of blue tit nesting in the box right by the entrance to the hide.

As we headed along the walkway we saw a dragonfly exuviae which I think was from a downy emerald. We soon saw a number of damselflies including red-eyed, azure, large red and common blue.

Large Red damselfly

As we continued along the lake edge, we started to find more warbler species, with blackcap, cetti’s warbler and willow warbler all being heard but not always seen. Other birds singing included dunnock, wren, robin, bullfinch and song thrush.

After some more damselfly watching we found a showy whitethroat and a skulking reed warbler by the roundhouse-shaped cowshed.

Next we arrived in Clattinger farm – what a special place!

Marsh valerian

Finally, we saw a dapper reed bunting singing and heard a lesser whitethroat chuntering from the hedge!

A brilliant few hours watching and enjoying a variety of wildlife.