Tuesday 27th December 2011

   Back to Slimbridge today for the Bitterns, lot colder and duller than last trip! Which turned into a bit of a blessing as there were a lot less people in the Zeiss hide.

   I got to the hide, put down my bag and tripod. By the time i had got my camera off the tripod, a movement in the reeds revealed a Bittern, which flew up and landed in the open area between the reedbeds. Took some shots, camera on wrong settings, BUGGER! "There are 2" someone said. Looked, but couldnt see the second one. But, kept an eye on the area anyway, which paid off, when another movement put me onto the other Bittern. This one then continued through the reedbed towards the hide. After about a minute of trying to hide behind a fence post, it walked out into the open and out onto the grass. It stood in the open for probably 3 minutes, before walking, out in the open, along the fenceline. Then flew along in front of us and down into the reedbed again. Sadly, neither showed again for the next 2 hours! So i went to the Rushy Pen hide to look for the, probable returning, female Lesser Scaup. She was sat on an island asleep! So, no photos, but got the Bitterns anyway, so happy.

Great Bittern

Sunday 25th December 2011

   Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all my blog readers

Sunday 24th December 2011

   A short visit to Catcott Lows saw some good birds even with the crap weather. We arrived in the car park and immediately saw a female Marsh Harrier in the air with a Pergrine! Not bad. Walked int o the hide and someone said "We have had Peregrine, Marsh Harrier and Hen Harrier in the air together". I asked where the Hen Harrier had gone, and was told it was flying along the tree line to the left of the hide. Saw it and rushed outside to try to get some shots, only to see it disappear behind the trees! Still decnt start, but then nothing happened, as the Peregrine decided to sit on the ground, for most of the rest of the time we were there. The Marsh Harrier went out towards the Canada farm reedbed.

Sunday 18th December 2011

   Another trip to the Forest of Dean, to look for Crossbills, hopefully. Again nothing at the normal good spots, New Fancy View and Speech House, and the usual Tits, etc at Cannop. So, last chance, Parkend Church. We got lucky as a female Crossbill landed at the top a large tree, had a preen and flew down towards the ground, a couple of minutes later the female and a male flew to the line of larches at the back of the Cemetery, before flying off. No Hawfinches yet though.

Sunday 11th December 2011

    An afternoon trip to Chew had acouple of different birds to go with the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. Really frustrating this bird, just when you think it may come closer to the hide, something flushes it or the Dunlin its with, pain in the butt! The different birds came in the form of a Black Swan, rather odd! Four Red-crested Pochard were good even if fairly regular now.

Saturday 10th December 2011

  Bitterns at Slimbridge was the aim today. So went straight to the Zeiss hide and waited. We saw 2 of the 3 Bitterns which have been seen there. Sadly they were either very well hidden or too far away for me to photograph. Oh well maybe next time, seem to be saying that a lot recently!!!!!!

Sunday 4th December 2011

    Decided to take a look at the Forest of Dean today. Sadly NOT brilliant! New Fancy View, no feeders this year, so not too many birds around. Speech House, the usual log had no food on it, and so no birds again. Brierley, not a lot going on there either! So stopped off at Cannop ponds, near the feeding station. A lot of activity there, but other than a pair of Marsh Tits showing on & off, nothing really special. I mentioned that we had not seen a Sparrowhawk here, which you would think would be regular with the feeders around. Ten minutes or so later the birds went mad as a female Sparrowhawk went through the feeding station, it missed!

Blue Tit
Coal Tit

Long-tailed Tit
Marsh Tit

Saturday 3rd December 2011

   Quick trip out to Chew today. Not much different from the last few trips. Sharp-tailed & Spotted Sandpipers still showing. The Water Rails still in the channel at Herriotts. Got some very distant shots of the Sharp-tailed, not what i would have liked, but will have to do sadly!

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (centre), with Dunlin & Lapwings