Sunday 24th February 2013

    Forest of Dean today. All the usual stuff was seen, before the light got o bad, it was time to go home. The best of the stuff seen were 3 Goosanders, a drake, a duck and a 1st winter bird. We also found 2 Hawfinches under a Holly tree near the Speech House Hotel.

Goosander (Drake)
Goosander (Duck)
Goosander (1st Winter)

Saturday 23rd February 2013

   Visit to Devon today. First stop was Steps Bridge to look for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. as i got out of the car i thought i heard one calling fairly close to the road, but sadly could not locate it. A walk along the stream there and we found a Dipper. Some Siskins, a Treecreeper and Nuthatch were in the Alders along the bank. 2 Ravens and a Buzzard were also seen flying over, no sign of any Goshawk, which i have seen here before.

Little Egret
   Next, after a drive across part of Dartmoor, we headed for Torpoint, which is just across the border in Cornwall. There has been a Green-winged Teal around for a while. When we arrived the tide was on its way in, so i was hopeful the bird would be pushed towards us. While waiting we had quite a few Ducks, including Teal, Wigeon and Shelducks. Waders there were Redshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew, a Greenshank and a Grey Plover. The Green-winged Teal finally showed, but too distant for photos. So i took some of a close Little Egret instead!

  We then decided to try and get to Bowling Green Marshes RSPB, near Topsham, before we lost the light. We got close and the pager said that the American Wigeon was at Darts Farm, with Eurasian Wigeon. We got there and drove to the car park, walked to the hide, but sadly the American Wigeon was about as far away as it could be. There was also still a flock of Dark-bellied Brent Geese there.

Friday 22nd February 2013

   Another quick visit to Aust Warth. As i had seeded an area where the Twite had been seen. They didnt come down to the seed sadly, but were seen. Lots of Goldfinches in the area though. Coming to my seed too.


Thursday 21st February 2013

   Third day running, Twite time. This time i got some more pleasing, to me anyway, shots. I hope you agree?



Wednesday 20th February 2013

   As they are quite rare in this part of the country, i returned to Aust Warth to see the Twite after work. This time i had a wander around the reed beds where they seemed to be feeding. A couple of times they flew back into the trees, and then back down to feed again. Nice little brown jobs. they look better on the ground than in the trees too, more natural really.

Tuesday 19th February 2013

   During the day the Twite were refund at Aust Warth. But, this time they were at the 'Old' Severn Bridge end. A trip down after work saw them flying up into the trees around the houses there. Showing well and then flying to feed on the salt marsh.


Sunday 17th February 2013

Barn Owl
   Wow, the suns out!!!!!!! Visit to the levels planned for today, but a quick trip to Aust Warth first, turned out to be a good idea. A Barn Owl showed really well.

Barn Owl


   Now to see if my luck would hold. Catcott was the aim, a male Hen Harrier the bird. Redwings and Fieldfares were flying up in front of the car, as we drove along the track at Catcott Lows, towards the hide. Quite a few Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Pintail and the odd Tufted Duck were seen. A dozen or so Snipe were also counted. Raptors were also about, male & female Marsh Harrier and a few Buzzards. Then in flew the male Hen Harrier, such lovely looking birds these! Some better shots than last time too.

Hen Harrier (Male)
Hen Harrier (Male)
   After this, a quick drive across Tealham and Tadham Moors produced a Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Buzzard and a Barn Owl, along with thousands each of Lapwing and Starling. An amazing sight to end the day.

Saturday 16th February 2013

   A return trip to Slimbridge WWT, for the Geese again. There was also a female American Wigeon found here this morning. Will have a look.....

   Started looking around on the Tack Piece. Lots of Wigeon, Teal & Pintail again. But then i noticed what looked like a drake American Wigeon, it was... or so i thought, something not quite right, but what? I contacted the warden, James, who came and had a look. After a decent look at the bird we decided it was sadly a hybrid. Look very good, except for the grey back, which i was told, is a classic sign of a hybrid! But, still a new bird on site today.

American x Eurasian Wigeon (hybrid Drake)
   A Peregrine was sat in its normal tree at the back of the Tack Piece.

   Off to the Holden Tower to see if the Geese were about now. No sign again, but after not too long the flock flew in and landed. A quick scan through the White-fronts, and i found the juvenile Tundra Bean Goose. Then someone else said they had another! This time it was an adult, after another quick scan we found the second adult too. Not as close as i would have liked , but at least i could get some record shots.

Tundra Bean Goose (Juvenile)
Tundra Bean Goose (Adult)
Tundra Bean Goose (Adult)

    A return to the Martin Smith hide, and i refound the hybrid. Then i also found the 4 Common Cranes, which have been around the reserve for a while now. They are all ringed birds, and from the Great Crane release project, which is ongoing in Somerset. They flew over the Tack Piece and landed out of sight in the Maize field at the back.

Common Crane

Sunday 10th February 2013

   Hoping the weather would brighten up, i headed for Slimbridge WWT. As usual it didnt brighten up!

   The Tack Piece was completely flooded, i havent seen it like that ever before. There was a big flock of Ducks and Waders. The waders were mainly Dunlin, Lapwing and Redshanks. But, i did manage to find a few Ruff, 2 Oystercatchers and a Knot amongst them. Also a flock of Golden Plover.
   The main reason for going was the 3 Tundra Bean Geese that had been with the White-fronted Geese, sadly the only sign of these Geese was a flock flying towards the 100 Acre, and they didnt come back. The Ducks were mainly Wigeon and Teal, but there were lots of Pintail too.

Pintail (Drake)
Pintail (Duck)
Golden Plover

Saturday 9th February 2013

   Decided to go to the Cotswold Water Park today, for a couple of reason. One, not been there for quite some time, and two, Smew photos!! Sadly the weather took a turn for the worse before we got there, and was really dull and drizzly, but hey.....
   Pit 44 was the first stop, the Smew were being reported here fairly regularly. They were there, at least 6 birds, 2 pairs probably and 2 extra females. There were also a few pairs of Red-crested Pochard on the pit.


Rd-crested Pochard
   On the way back to the motorway we stopped off at Coate Water Park. I wanted to see if the Tawny Owl was still there. But, sadly not..! We did have a pair of Goosanders there though.

   Didnt get the photos i wanted, got a bit wet, but better than staying in i suppose.

Sunday 3rd February 2013

    Today found us in Cheltenham, Pittville Park to be exact. There was a Great Northern Diver there, which was moulting into Summer plumage. When we arrived it was sat in the middle of the widest area of the lake, but soon it swam along the lake to the narrow canal-like area, by the boat shed. As you can see below it showed well for a while, then swam back to its original place.

Great Northern Diver
Great Northern Diver
   Everyone was hoping this bird would stay a couple of weeks, and get its full summer coat on, sadly it flew off, just before it got fully there, real shame!

Saturday 2nd February 2013

   Levels time again.

   First stop Greylake RSPB. There were flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings in the fields near the car park, along with lots of Lapwings. A walk along the boardwalk to the hide produced zip! At the hide there were the usual ducks and a few Buzzards around. Then i picked out a Marsh Harrier at the back of the reserve. Then a Brambling was feeding with a Chaffinch right by the hide. I tried to get my cmaera ready, but someone opened one of the windows and they flew away, not completely, but far enough so i couldnt get photos, bugger! Got a couple of Pied Wagtail instead....

Pied Wagtail (Male)
Pied Wagtail (1st Winter)
  We then moved onto Catcott Lows, where a Hen Harrier had been reported recently. When we arrived there was a Great White and a Little Egret showing, with the usual suspects. Ducks, Snipe, Lapwing, a couple of Buzzards and a Kestrel. Two marsh Harriers were seen together at the back of the reserve, a Male and a Female. There was also a Whooper Swan there with the Mutes. Then at 4 o'clock a male Hen Harrier, probably a 3rd Winter bird, flew across the reserve from left to right, then back, and behind the hide. Light not good, but managed a couple of very poor, and distant 'record' shots.

Hen Harrier
Hen Harrier