Saturday 30th March 2013

   Sand Point today for Ring Ouzels. they were being reported there this morning, and at Crook Peak too. Nows the chance to get some photos. After some debating which to go for, i decided to walk up Sand Point to Middle Hope. Glad i did too. The ploughed field at the top of Middle hope held a flock of Finches and Thrushes. It included Fieldfare, Redwing, Chaffinch, Brambling, Meadow Pipit and also Wheatears. In total i must have seen up to 100 Wheatears in the field, it was hopping!!!! Blackbird, Song Thrush, Stonechat and Robins were there too. Then a Ring Ouzel flew across the field, then another... in the end i saw probably 7, at least 5 males and 2 females. They finally showed well enough for photos after a bit of a wait.

Ring Ouzel
Ring Ouzel


   At last photos of one of my bogey birds.................brilliant.

Friday 29th March 2013

   Blagdon Ospreys were still showing well at the dam end, so took a trip out there again after work. One had actually been rescued from the fish ponds below the dam, earlier in the day!!!! They showed really well at times too.........


    On the way around the lake, we had an unusual sight, at least 12 Common Buzzards, in and around a field which was being ploughed! On the way back from the Ospreys at the dam, we bumped into some birders who said the Black-necked Grebe was showing, and its in full summer kit too. I got some shots, but not good enough for here. Will try again soon.......

Tuesday 26th March 2013

     Finished work a bit earlier today, so went to Chew.

    Another Osprey(or one of the Blagdon birds) was at Herriotts pool. There were also a few Sand Martins there too. So Spring is here??? Joking, still bloody freezing..............

Sand Martin

Sunday 24th March 2013

   Ospreys today. There had been one or two reported today at Blagdon, so there we went...

   They both showed, first of the year, but not well enough for good photos. We did have the first Wheatear of the year there though. But the weather was still bloody freezing, even for me!!!!

   We had about 4 Chiffchaff at Herriotts pool Chew, feeding along the edge of the water.


   Too cold.. hometime!!!

Saturday 23rd March 2013

Barn Owl
    First stop, Aust Warth, fairly early to beat all the other Owl hunters! Proved to be a good idea too. Barn Owl showed really well. Short-eared Owl (3), Twite (2) and a Raven were all seen too. Nice start.

Long-eared Owl
   2 Owl species was just the start though! I got a call to say a Long-eared Owl had been found at Portbury Wharf. So, i picked up Mum, Dad and my niece Jordan, and we were on our way over the bridge. Only one person there, and they had not seen the bird. Luckily after about 10 minutes my niece found it in the Hawthorn hedge. Sadly it was fairly well covered by branches and leaves to get a clear shot, but i tried anyway!! My niece and Dad also had a Swallow flyover, which i missed, first of the year!!! After a while the bird flew along the hedge, between the 2 rows of Hawthorns. It didnt seem to go far though. I walked along the to the middle hide. Sadly the bird saw me before i saw it, and was off again! This time it flew to the fenced off area on the other side of the rhyne.

   Next stop was Portishead, Battery point and the boating lake. No sign of the Purple Sandpipers, but it wasnt high tide and they are not easy, other than at high tide! The drake Greater Scaup was still showing well on the boating lake though.

Greater Scaup

   We had to drop Jordan off to go to work. So we decided after to pop over the other bridge, to try and finally find Willow Tit for Dad. sadly we didnt get them, and it was now snowing too. So we came back. There was a female-type Merlin at Aust Warth, and then as the light started to go, the dreaded message came through!!! Stone Curlew near the flash at Northwick Warth.........
Luckily for me i had seen one there a few years ago, and by the time i would have got there it would have been dark! so didnt bother......
   Instead i went home and messed about with the Long-eared Owl pic, untilit actually looked like an Owl....what do you think????

Long-eared Owl

Sunday 17th March 2013

   As my luck changed with the Grebe yesterday, i thought i would try my luck at getting the Bean Goose at Slimbridge!!
Tundra Bean Goose

   After sitting in the Robbie Garnett hide for a while, i looked up the pool and saw some Geese there! I didnt hear or see them come in!!! So i walked up to the next hide, and they were showing well. This time the juvenile Tundra Bean Goose was with them, and close enough to photograph too!

   It was with about 20 European White-fronted Geese. There were still a few Bewicks Swans(including some juveniles) around, some Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Wigeon and Pintail. All to be gone very soon!!!!

White-fronted Goose

Bewicks Swan
    Right then, luck holding, whats next on the hit list..................?

Saturday 16th March 2013

   Third attempt for the Grebe today, at least the weather looked a bit more promising.

   Got to the viewing platform at Ham Walls RSPB in lovely sunshine, bit cold, but nothing like the last two visits. At least the 3 Bitterns were booming again, one flight view as well. Quite a few ducks around too. Then the call i had heard last time, which i had now checked and it was the Pied-billed Grebe, couldnt find it though. Kept looking for a while. It called a few more times, still nothing. A Twitter message said the Tundra Bean Goose was showing very well at Slimbridge, what a pain in the arse, and another message said there was also a Kingfisher showing, too close for the photographers. I was begining to think someone was taking the mickey....Then one more call, and i found it with a Coot in the reed bed. At last!!! It disappeared again soon after though. Then came the rain, quite a few brief showers later, some quite heavy ones, and the Grebe came back out. It caught a big Roach (well big for such a small bird anyway), then disappeared again in the reeds. I walked back to nearer the reed bed, and luckily it continued to call and gave itself up. It was hidden in the reeds at the bottom of a small tree. Myself and 2 other photographers waited there, hoping it would swim across the open bit of water in front of us. It did eventually, and i finally got my shots, closer would have been better, but not gonna complain this time..........

Pied-billed Grebe
   While i was waiting, before the first rain showers, i also found a new, for me, Fungi, called Scarlet Elf Cup (Sarcoscypha). Just had to photograph it..nice colour, huh?

Scarlet Elf Cup

Friday 15th March 2013

   Reports during the last two days (in the sunshine), had said that the Tundra Bean Goose, had been showing really well from the Holden Tower and other hides nearby, at Slimbridge WWT. So after work i decided to go there and see for myself. The weather turned naff again, and no sign of any Geese, even the wardens hadnt seen them! Oh well probably on their way North to the Tundra!

Greylag Goose

   Now even the Geese were laughing at me!!!!

Sunday 10th March 2013

   Second attempt today for the Pied-billed Grebe at Ham Walls. Had to meet some friends who were coming down from Warwickshire. The weather was crap again, even colder and duller than last time!!! Didnt think that was possible!

   We had the same luck as my last visit though, no sign of the Grebe, although we all heard a call, which could have been it(and was, i found out later)! We also heard Bitterns booming, probably at least three. It now started to rain too. What a shite day!!!! Sorry for the language, but cant think of anything else to call it.
   From there we decided to go to Catcott, sit in the hide out of the rain. The only thing of note there was a Water Pipit, showing right in front of the hide. Not seen one here before!

Water Pipit

Saturday 9th March 2013

   Somerset Levels or Forest of Dean, which one? Chose the Forest, as i had pencilled in to meet some mates on the Levels tomorrow already. We went to Brierley first to try and find Willow Tit. Nothing...except a flyover Sparrowhawk.

   Next stop was Parkend Church, which turned out to be a good decision. As i drove up the lane to the Church, i noticed a party of birders walking up from the houses below. When they got to the car park, one of them told me they had about 12 Hawfinches and 40+ Bramblings, near the houses. So i walked down, sure enough after a while the Bramblings showed, they were coming down to feeders in a back garden. Then i noticed a bigger bird fly over the house, it landed in a nearby tree. A Hawfinch, in the end there were probably 4 birds seen, not quite the 12 i was told about, but good anyway. There was also a female Bullfinch around the feeders as well as the usual Tits & some Siskins.

Stock Dove
  We then decided to try the log in the Speech House car park. The last couple of times it had been very quiet, due to the lack of food on it. This time someone had put feed down. there were loads of birds around. The obvious Tits again, Nuthatches, Great Spotted Woodpecker, a couple of Jays, up to 6 Stock Doves and a Wood Mouse!

Wood Mouse

Friday 8th March 2013

    Dipper again, and 3 Grey Wagtails today on the River Frome near work.

    Just a quick visit to Portishead boating lake after work. To see a drake Greater Scaup, moulting from 1st winter to summer, which had taken up residence there. Sadly the weather turned crappy, so the light was not good. Showed well though. There were also Tufted Duck, Mallard, canada Goose, Greylag Goose and Black-headed Gulls there.

Greater Scaup

Thursday 7th March 2013

  A lunch time walk around near work. The Dipper showed well on the River Frome.

Tuesday 5th March 2013

   The forecast for a couple of nice sunny days, meant i could go somewhere after work for a change. I decided to go to Slimbridge WWT as the Common Cranes (from the Great Crane Project) & Geese had been showing quite well. On my way there i had my first butterfly of the year, a Small Tortoiseshell near Iron Acton.

   Got there and began taking some photos of the ducks etc. The Cranes were right at the back of the Tack Piece, so i got some very distant pix of them too. They then flew into the Maize field again to feed sadly.


Common Crane
   Later, when everybody else had left, the Cranes came back! This time they flew to the stream which runs through the Tack Piece, to drink. I moved to the Martin Smith hide to be closer, and also so i didnt get locked into the hide, along the Holden Tower trail. They showed really well....

Common Cranes

Sunday 3rd March 2013

    After last nights session i have to decide what to do today? I decided to go back to Arundel to see if i can get closer. They were gone!!!! So do i bird Sussex, the New Forest or go back towards home and maybe the Somerset Levels, for the Pied-billed Grebe which had been around.

    Sadly, i decided to do the Levels, it was bleeding freezing, dull and crappy. And the bird didnt show at all.....................

Saturday 2nd March 2013

   A trip to Worthing today for a mates stag do, meant i could do some birding on the way down. I stopped off at Walpole lake, Gosport, Portsmouth to see if the regular Ring-billed Gull was around. It was.

Ring-billed Gull
  I tried to see an adult Iceland Gull which was in the area too. Sadly i could not find it, may have another look tomorrow though.

  Then with my last bit of time, i had a quick look for 2 adult Tundra Bean Geese that had been seen at Arundel WWT. They were showing in a field with a flock of Greylag Geese, as usual though too far for photos.

   Off to Worthing........

Friday 1st March 2013

   Another after work visit to Aust Warth for the Twite. Got probably my favourite pix of the birds today. As i said before they just dont look right up trees!!!!!