Sunday 26th January 2014

   Another trip trying to miss the rain again today, this time to Chew.

   The only birds of note were 2 juvenile/1st winter Med Gulls, seen late on at Herriotts pool.

   Rain, bloody cold and dull. Although there was some sun earlier in the day.

Common Gull

Saturday 25th January 2014

   Another, this time just an afternoon, trip to the Forest of Dean. Try to photograph the Two-barred Crossbills and Hawfinches.


   There were about 10 Hawfinches at Parkend still, and also had 12 Common Crossbills and 20+ Siskins at Brierley, but NO photos today, before the rain......lets hope its stops soon!

Sunday 19th January 2014

   After being told, by about 3 different birders, of a place which was really good for Kingfisher shots, a place called Forest Farm, near Cardiff. I decided to go see.............

Kingfisher (Female)
   When we got to the first hide, it was rather full with birders and photographers, but we went in anyway. I had already seen 2/3 Kingfishers before i went in, so it was living up to its reputation. I spent a couple of hours in the hide, but the birds, sadly, didn't use the nearest perches, which had been set up for them. But, again i did manage to get some Male & Female shots.

Kingfisher (Female)

Kingfisher (Male)


   I will defo go back again, as i found out later, i used the wrong hide! Well according to a few birders i have spoken to since!

  As we got back to the car parks, i heard a fairly familiar call....Bullfinch. There above us in the trees were 2 Males, stunning birds, and I'm afraid my photo doesn't really do them justice!

Bullfinch (Male)

    After here, and as it was not far, we decided to go to the Willow Tit site again. This time the light was better, but the birds didn't show as well. I did see one at least 6 times, but again failed to get any shots. Becoming a habit sadly, one day though........

Saturday 18th January 2014

   Crap, dull and rain again, theres a surprise!!!! Had a late start and decided to go look to see if the Hawfinches were still showing in the Forest of Dean.

   As it happens they were along with a few Greenfinches. We had probably a dozen Hawfinches, but only knew how many when they all flew off. I did manage a couple of shots of one, when it showed briefly this time. Not my best ever shot, but considering how brief the view was, and the conditions, i was quite pleased! While there i had about 15 Common Crossbills fly over towards Parkend Church. Hope i can get another chance before they disappear.

   Sadly as the rain got heavier, we saw nothing else of note, I'm afraid.

Sunday 12th January 2014

   Crap weather again, sadly, becoming a feature of this Winter. What to do??????

   Decided to go and check out last years Willow Tit site, in South Wales. At the bridge/feeding station there were Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Nuthatch, Dunnock and Blackbird. Then i heard it.....a Willow Tit, then another. Although i didn't manage any photos today, because of the weather etc., this was definitely my best ever Willow Tit day, at least 3 birds, but probably more like 6, were seen and heard for most of the time we were there, not all at once obviously!!!! A flock of Redwings went over, then ones and twos, went over ever 5 minutes or so after that. 2 male Bullfinches were seen in the area too.

   Will defo be going back there, have another site nearby now too for Kingfisher, so will be quite soon too!

Saturday 11th January 2014

Black Guillemot
Black Guillemot

   A return trip to Brixham Harbour today, as the sun was out, to see if i could improve on some of the photos i had? Sadly when we arrived we were told that the rarer birds had disappeared!! The White-billed Diver had been seen yesterday off Berry Head, but this would be more distant than last time, the juvenile Iceland Gull, had been seen in the morning, then flew out to sea!!! But, just about the first bird we saw was, as it turns out, the one i wanted to photograph, Black Guillemot. It stayed just out of decent range, but i did get some shots, which is more than i have done before, with a Winter/1st Winter plumaged bird.

Purple Sandpiper

   Actually in the harbour, there were a couple of Common Guillemots, and a Black-throated Diver. So a lot less than last time, probably because of the slightly more settled weather we have had, not the really windy stuff anyway!!!!! The other side of the Breakwater (the sea side), there were again a lot of Great Northern Divers, probably 10+, Black-throated Divers, Common Guillemot, 2 Razorbills, a Slavonian Grebe and on the Breakwater itself Turnstones, Rock Pipits and Purple Sandpipers. The latter i had counted 19 of, on the jetty at the end, but there were more on the Breakwater too, so 20+ were there.

Siberian Chiffchaff
  A quick visit to Broadsands, found us surrounded by people and dogs!!!! Not a lot of birds gonna be close today there then? In the bay i did see 2 Great Northern Divers, but couldn't find any Grebes, which is unusual there! A look in the closed car park produced 6+ Cirl Buntings, Robin, Dunnock and 4+ Reed Buntings. Then i took a look along the tree line, and the stream between the car parks. This held some Chiffchaffs, a closer look and there seemed to me to be 3 different races there. At least 2 of our usual race collybita, but then there was a really brown looking individual, probably abietinus. Plus 2 Siberian Chiffchaff types, tristis. So hard to photograph though, they never stopped moving around.

   We then returned to Brixham Harbour to see if anything was any closer, sadly nothing was!!! Lovely sunny day though, and always a nice place to be anyway.

Saturday 4th January 2014

    After being ill all over the New Year, this was my first trip out of the house. So, it called for a fairly easy one, Forest of Dean it was. Not to search for the Two-barred Crossbills this time, as that was too much like hard work, and i wasn't really feeling up to it!!!

   Sadly, as with my last visit, the usual places seemed a bit quiet, the car parks and feeders, either side of Speech House, Nagshead car park area, and Parkend churchyard were all empty! I then remembered a report of some Hawfinches from earlier in the week, now to try and remember where they were? The report said in the trees, around the triangle of grass, between Lydney Road and Coleford Road. As it was, they should have said the trees near the cricket pitch!!!! When we arrived, there were lots, probably 50 Greenfinches in the Yew trees, then i picked out a Hawfinch, then another and another. Then something disturbed them, and about a dozen Hawfinches flew out, with 20+ Greenfinches. I still found another Hawfinch, more still here then. A bit later the rest of the Greenfinches flew out, and another 10 Hawfinches. Amazing!!!!!! Light was really crap, so NO photos though!

   Oh well, Cannop ponds is usually pretty good for close views on the feeders. Last couple of times Marsh Tits there were few and far between. This time the first bird on the table was a Marsh Tit!! Good omen hopefully. At least 2 Marsh Tits showed on and off, very regularly, shame the light was so bad. But, i did manage some shots!!

Blue Tit
Marsh Tit

Great Tit

Marsh Tit
Marsh Tit