Tuesday 27th March 2012

   An after work trip to Chew, to look for the Richardsons Canada Goose. Searched Herriotts pool for an hour or so, looking at all the Canadas there. They all gradually disappeared, 2 or 3 at a time until there were only about 2 pairs left. Then out of the blue a birder friend said "Whats that?", looked up to see the Richardsons flying in. It landed at the back of the pool near a Shelduck. Amazingly it is about the same size!!! About ten minutes later it was gone again, flying off around the back of the pool.

Sunday 25th March 2012

Common Yellowthroat (1st Winter Male)
    Third time lucky for some photos of the Yellowthroat???

    Yes, not quite what i would have liked, but at least i finally managed a shot, which looks like a bird
(possibly, see what you think).

   Onto the Forest of Dean after, but rather quiet. Did manage Goshawk again from New Fancy view though.

Saturday 24th March 2012

   An afternoon visit to Chew today. The Spotted & Green Sandpipers were both at Herriotts pool still. Heard a report of some Little Gulls in the middle of the lake, so went to Stratford hide. There was a drake Greater Scaup there, fooling a few birders into thinking it was the Lesser. Sadly, even though all the duck seemed to be in the Stratford bay area, there was no sign of the Lesser Scaup. There were a pair of Ruddy Ducks there. Maybe i should not mention that, as they will only get shot! Could see the Little Gulls, but still distant.
   Went around to Woodford and got better/closer views of them from there. There were 6 in total, all adults.

Sunday 18th March 2012

Spotted Sandpiper
    Chew again today, to try to at last catch up with the 4 Pink-footed Geese, which have been about for quite a while, at Chew and Blagdon. First decent bird seen was a Barn Owl flying around the back of Herons Green pool, it ended up going back to the nesting box and disappeared inside.

   Drove around to Herriotts pool, and spoke to a birding friend who told me the Geese were at Woodford earlier. The Spotted Sandpiper was in its usual place along the edge of the pool, managed one distant shot. Not one of my best.

   So onto Woodford for the Geese. No sign where i was told. Then i picked them up swimming near to Nunnery point. So Nunnery it is then! Got there only for them to fly back towards Woodford. From Nunnery managed my first Sand Martins of the year though, with about 25-30 flying between Nunnery and Woodford. Back to Herriotts, but the Spotted Sandpiper was still too far for pix, there was a Green Sandpiper there too now.
Pink-footed Geese

  At least i have seen the Geese at last, lets see if i can get some photos now. Woodford again and this time i got some!

   Right while my lucks in lets try to see the Long-tailed Duck as well. Went to the No.1 Picnic site, could not see much as i was looking straight into the sun. I drove to the other end of the dam. Looking over the wall i could see the bird, and it was close to the shoreline at Whalley Bank. As luck would have it the gate was open, so i walked slowly along the verge. Took a few shots, then closer, a few more. Finally i was stood on the shoreline and the bird was pretty close too.
Long-tailed Duck (1st Winter Duck)

    The last hour or so of light was spent at Herriotts pool, just to see what happens. Usually a good time and place to see Sand Martins and the first Swallows on migration, but there were none. Did manage the shot opposite of a male Sparrowhawk as it flew by though.

   What a good day it turned out to be, and a good weekend too.

Saturday 17th March 2012

Red Kite (Juvenile)
   Just a quick hour or so to spare this morning, as i have a close friends childrens Baptism this afternoon. Went down to Aust Warth to try and get some shots of the Short-eared Owls there, or maybe the Merlin if i was lucky! As it turned out i was lucky, but not for that reason. A juvenile Red Kite was flying around, it flew out towards Chepstow, i thought that was the end of it, then it flew back over the Aust services area, and back over the Aust Road. Almost right over my head. Got the news out and quite a few people managed to get a view of it.

  Off home and out for a few beers, good start to the day though.

Friday 16th March 2012

Great Grey Shrike
   Thought about going to Chew after work, but the light was not the best. So i thought it would be no good at all for photos by the time i got there! So, i decided to go and look for the Great Grey Shrike, which had been refound at Queens Charlton near Keynsham. The bird had been found earlier in the winter of 2011, but had not been seen for quite a while, so it was nice to know it was still around. Got there to find that the birders there had lost it, after it had showed "very well"! I waited around for nearly an hour before deciding to start walking back to the car. I heard a quiet call, which sounded a bit like a Shrike. I stopped and looked, thinking i may as well give it one last shot! Looking through the hedge, there it was, probably been sat there all the time i had been there. I managed to get a shot through the hedge, then moved to try to get closer and it disappeared!! Found it again a bit later, but it was always distant after that.

Tuesday 13th March 2012

   Went back to Aust again. The weather was nowhere near as good today, but the Owls were there again. At least 3. I decided to take a walk along the seawall towards Northwick Warth. There were lots of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. A distant Merlin, probably the female, was sat on a log. A Short-eared Owl was also staying just out of reach of the camera. The Owl eventually flushed the Merlin, which disappeared sadly. But, i was able to get the other side of the Owl and it then allowed a closer approach. Shame about the light!

Short-eared Owl

Monday 12th March 2012

   Took a detour to Aust Warth on the way home from work this afternoon. Really bright sunshine and the Short-eared Owls showing nice and close. There were probably 6, but i saw 5 for sure. Sadly, whenever they came close enough for photos, they were always into the sun! They would then fly into the sun at distance, as though they were taking the...........

Sunday 11th March 2012

    Trip to Devon today in search of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. No sign im afraid, but did hear one calling in the deep of the wood. Good morning though. A Dipper flew along the stream and there were Grey Wagtails there too. No sign of Goshawks sadly, i have seen there on my last 2 visits. At least one Marsh Tit was seen and heard. Another late Redwing today as well.
    Also there i had the first multiple Butterfly sightings of the year. Brimstone (3), Peacock (3), Comma and a Holly Blue. The Holly Blue, i am told, is the equal earliest sighting of the species this year!

   What to do now was the next question, Exminster Marshes was the decision. Tried looking for the American Wigeon that had been around for a while there. Sadly the light was not from the best direction, we were looking straight into it all the time. On the way out of the reserve, i decided to take a quick look at the area where there had been a Long-eared Owl roosting a while back. We had gone down especially for it with no joy. To my surprise it was back! Showing well, but never quite well enough, always had branches or such in the way.

Long-eared Owl

   Then onto Bowling Green Marshes RSPB to take a look from the hide. Nothing out of the ordinary there, but always nice there. Back to Exminster hoping the Owl had moved into a better position, but it hadn't.

Saturday 10th March 2012

   Trip to the Forest of Dean today.

   From New Fancy View i had up to 3 Goshawks, plenty of Buzzards, Ravens and at least one Sparrowhawk. Lots of Siskins in the area too. There was a family party of Wild Boar in the clearing below the viewpoint, but they kept hidden most of the time. A late Redwing was seen, and a Peacock butterfly, first of the year for me i think!
   Also an Adder along the path in one of their usual spots.

Saturday 3rd March 2012

   Nice weather today, so decided on another trip to South Wales for the Yellowthroat! The bird again showed well, but again NO photos, a real pain.

   Decided again to move on and maybe come back later. Drove to Cosmeston lakes near Penarth. Had a walk around the area before finding the drake Lesser Scaup, with Tufted Ducks, but could not get close enough to the area it was in for photos. But, did manage some shots of the adult Whooper Swan there. A small compensation i suppose.

Whooper Swan