Tuesday 30th April 2013

  I decided to go home via Aust Warth. Sadly there was some sort of Police operation going on at the bridge end. So i drove past and went to the other end, where i bumped into a birder who said there had been a Grasshopper Warbler about. So i stopped and waited about. The bird sang from in the bush. Three Short-eared Owls showed and 3 Yellow Wagtails flew over. Gradually the Grasshopper Warbler got braver, and started to show, and show well too. Only a little, brown job i know, but brill aint they?

Grasshopper Warbler
Grasshopper Warbler

Grasshopper Warbler

Sunday 28th April 2013

   Quiet day today on the Levels.  

  Catcott was really quiet, just a male Marsh Harrier of note.

  Ham Wall was a bit better. A Red Kite there again, Reed Warblers singing and the my Swifts of the year.

  Chew was alive with hirundines, including the first House Martins of the year.

  So worth going out, but nothing too special.

Saturday 27th April 2013

Common Toad
   Back for the Shrike today. There were too many people there, and getting too close!!!! WE saw the bird and left. We had 2 Common Sandpipers at Herriotts, before i decided to go to Cheddar Reservoir to see if the Terns and Gulls were still about.

   We had about 20 Arctic Terns there and eventually i found the Little Gull too. Too far out for photos and into the sun too. Did manage some photos though, of a Toad which was not looking too healthy, and being battered against the side of the reservoir!!!

Common Toad
  I then heard that there was a summer plumaged Bonapartes Gull at Chew. Sadly it was right in the middle from Moreton hide, but we managed to see it. It was a first for Chew and for Avon!!! So a special, long awaited bird.

Friday 26th April 2013

   After a tip off, i decided to go and try to photograph some juvenile Dippers. After a short search they showed well, an adult and probably 4 juveniles.

Dipper (Adult & Juvenile)

Dipper (Juvenile)

Dipper (Juvenile)
  I had wanted to photograph juvenile Dipper for a while, so was quite happy with these shots.

Monday 22nd April 2013

   Yes, was the answer to yesterdays question! The (1st summer female) Woodchat Shrike was still there. So an after work visit to Widcombe, a small village behind Herriotts pool, Chew. I got there and there were only 3 other people there. They were taking photos, and had got to a decent distance too. So, i waited at a distance so not to disturb the bird. They said i could come closer the bird didnt seem too worried. But i waited until they had finished, the light wasnt too good anyway. I was now on my own with the bird. I got a bit closer, they were right the bird didnt seem worried at all. My luck changed too, as the sun came out for about 1/2 an hour! I got some shots, then other birders started to arrive, so i backed off and allowed them to get some shots. Quite happy with mine anyway....

Woodchat Shrike

Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike

Sunday 21st April 2013

   Lets go see if there are any migrant breeders in at the Forest of Dean!!!!????

   We started at Nagshead RSPB. We walked only about 50 yards and a male Pied Flycatcher flew in front of us and landed on the track, it then flew up into the trees and fed around the field. We were told that there were some Redstarts by the Lower hide, so we walked towards it. Another male Pied Flycatcher, and a Redstart calling, but i didnt get to see it!

  After the time spent at Nagshead, we decided to head for Cannop ponds, where the Garganey had still been showing really well. Still 3 of the 4 anyway. 2 Drakes and the Duck, this time the light was a bit better for photos.




    I returned to the car, only to find a Tree Pipit singing in the plantation on the other side of the road. Didnt manage any photos though.

   Only disappointment today was the discovery of a Woodchat Shrike near Chew. Which obviously i couldnt get to.... will it be there tomorrow???

Saturday 20th April 2013

Pied-billed Grebe
  A trip to Ham Wall RSPB on the Levels again today. After quite a long search we finally saw the Pied-billed Grebe, which was frustrating us by calling regularly, but not showing. Got a couple of shots through the reeds, best i could do im afraid. Other birds seen there, while waiting were, 2 Great White Egrets, 3 Garganey (2 Drakes), Marsh Harrier, 2 Whitethroats, Hobby, Red Kite, Cuckoo, Bitterns booming and Willow Warbler. All that and the sun was out, amazing!!!!

  We decided to head for Chew on the way back. We stopped at the shops, and i was told by a birder, of a Wood Warbler at the Lodge at Blagdon. So that was the next stop instead. Got to the car park, no-one there, strange as its not a common bird in these parts anymore! But there it was singing in the trees around the Lodge car park. I eventually got some shots in the sun, best shots i have of Wood Warbler by quite a way! Not a bad day after all.

Wood Warbler

Friday 19th April 2013

Canada Goose & possible Todd's Canada Goose
   Back to New Passage and Northwick Warth tonight after work. Repaid again by the Arctic Terns on the Pilning Wetlands. Also there with a small flock of Canada Geese, was a slightly smaller, dusky one, which some were saying could be a Todd's!? Maybe, but where had it come from? Got some shots anyway. Its the bird on the right!!! At least 5 Arctic Terns were there. A flock of Wagtails contained mainly Pied & Whites, but there were at least 3 Yellow Wagtails too. Also a male Common Whitethroat, first of the year.

Arctic Tern
Arctic Tern

Thursday 18th April 2013

   A decent Tern passage was happening today, so i went down to New Passage to have a look. I wasnt disappointed. There were quite a few Arctic Terns flying around near the Pill mouth. Then i noticed a smaller Tern, so i walked down to the shore, it turned out to be a Little Tern. So, i put the camera to work, and then told a few birders about it. sadly it didnt ever really come close enough for decent photos. It then decided to land, time to get closer maybe, but it landed the other side of the Pill. Got some record shots though.

Little Tern
   The birds started to disappear as the tide went out. But some of the Arctic Terns flew towards the new Pilning Wetlands reserve, and began to feed over the pools. The light was going sadly, so i left, nice afternoon though.

Sunday 14th April 2013

   After 2 weddings in the last 2 days, and the driving, from Bristol to Worthing, then Worthing to Syderstone, Norfolk, i finally managed some birding!!!

Spotted Redshank
   Thought Titchwell was as good a place as any. The sun was out too?? I saw a familiar van in the car park, and so spent a bit of time with three of the Bumbling Bears, who were having a day out in Norfolk too. The best of the birds was a summer plumaged Spotted Redshank. The usual other birds were around the reserve. While there my plans were about to change. The plan was to try and photograph the Otters in Thetford! But, a pager message to say there was a Red-flanked Bluetail at Horsey Gap had me thinking. Do i want to drive that far, it is further away from home, which is where i need to go later???
  I left it as long as i could, but the message came out again, just as i was leaving Titchwell. Got to go!

   The drive turned out to be longer than i thought, but there again was that van!! Parked and walked until i found the Bears again! The bird had been showing on & off, but kept to the back (from where we were anyway) of the bushes. But, it did give its self up in the end. Glad i went now!!! Lovely little bird.

Red-flanked Bluetail

Tuesday 9th April 2013

   A report of 2 summer plumaged Slavonian Grebes at Barrow Gurney reservoirs, saw me get my camera gear and drive there after work. Shame about the weather though, cold, grey and rainy!!! The pair showed reasonably well (scope views), but never really came close enough for good photos, as you can see below!

Slavonian Grebes
  The walk around to the hide for the Grebes was quite productive, with at least 20 Chiffchaffs and 50+ Meadow Pipits though!!!

Sunday 7th April 2013

   After an email conversation with a man in Wales, who had Willow Tit locally, we decided to go look.

  We got to the woodland/park near Nelson, Gwent. We found the bridge/feeding station that he had been using too. Lots of birds about, including Blue, Great, Coal, Marsh & Long-tailed Tits, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robins, Chaffinches & Treecreepers were seen in the nearly 2 hour wait, before our quarry was finally seen. Sadly, i only got 2 photos, but my Dad saw the bird which had been his bogey bird for a while now!!!

Willow Tit
   A drake Lesser Scaup on the way back, at Bryn Bach lake, proved good value, but was photographed into the sun a bit. Then decided to go back out towards the middle of the lake. The bird had been around for a little while, and had been showing well.

Lesser Scaup

Saturday 6th April 2013

  After having 4 different Bluethroats already, i thought it was about time to visit Portland, where one was still hanging around at Chesil Cove. The usual 'you should have been here 5 minutes ago' came out, before we actually managed to get decent views of the Bluethroat, a nice White-spotted male too.

White-spotted Bluethroat
   While waiting, for the Bluethroat to show, we also got a Black Redstart and my first Sandwich Terns of the year. Also a flyover Red Kite, 2 Red Admirals and 2 Small Tortoiseshell helped the wait feel a bit shorter.

   At the Bill there were migrant Pied & White Wagtails, Wheatears and again Black Redstarts.

Hooded Merganser
  There were a few dark-bellied Brents still at Ferrybridge along with some Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Turnstones. The drake Hooded Merganser was also still showing well at Radipole, as you can see below!!!

   Then a last return to Reap Lane to see if the Ring Ouzels were still there, but no sign as there were people in the horse field, looking after the horses. But as i drove out of Reap Lane there were some Thrushes in the field opposite. After a short while out popped a male Ring Ouzel, and showed quite well for a while too.

Ring Ouzel

Friday 5th April 2013

   A quick visit to a couple of sites on my way home, proved to be worth it. A pool formed by all the rain we have had, near the Western Distribution Approach Park, near Severn Beach held a few good birds. Swallows and sand martins flying around, 2 Little Egrets, Pied, White & 6 Yellow Wagtails. Best was a count of 12+ Little Ringed Plovers though.

   There were also still quite a few Redwings about on the way out of the park.


Tuesday 2nd April 2013

    An after work return to Blagdon for the Black-necked Grebe and Ospreys. This time i concentrated a bit more on the Grebe. I eventual found it with the Tufted Ducks as usual, but in a different bay. After being flushed out towards the middle of the bay, by a man walking around the lake (and then back the other way, pain). It eventually showed reasonably well.

Black-necked Grebe
Daubentons Bat
   While stood on the dam waiting for the Ospreys to show properly, i was told that a Daubentons bat had landed on the wall near the metal gates. Not seen one so lets have a look i thought. It was tucked away between the wall and the gate post. But showing quite well.

   A last drive around the lake, back towards Chew and home for tea, or so i thought. As i drove around one bend of the lake, i saw a lump of something that i didnt think had been there earlier? I was right as i got a bit closer the lump turned out to be a Badger, in broad daylight!!!!
  WOW! What a good day.


Monday 1st April 2013

   Forest of Dean today.

   We did the usual spots, near New Fancy View, someone had put some food out. It attracted a good selection of Tits, Finches, Thrushes, Nuthatches, Pied Wagtails, Squirrels, a Sparrowhawk, a flyover Raven and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Best though was a unusually showy Treecreeper.


   Next stop Speech House. Again the usual suspects, and 12+ Redwings in the field by the Hotel and a few Jays knocking about too.

  At the Cannop pond feeders, again the usual assortment there too, this time including a Marsh Tit too. The main interest though, for a change was on the pond itself. The usual Mandarins, and the unusual 4 Garganey!!! 3 Drakes trying to get the attention of the one Duck, calling and displaying and not caring that i was stood within 10 feet of them!!!!

Garganey (Duck)

Garganey (Drake)


   Last stop Parkend Church, sadly no Hawfinches this time, but still a decent sized Brambling flock, coming to the feeders in the gardens.