Wednesday, 13 June 2018


13 June - A spur-of-the-moment trip to Dorset as another fine calm day. A quick stop at Martin Down gave good views of a bonus Turtle Dove. A walk at Coombe Heath at Arne was fairly quiet being the middle of the day, but a Dartford Warbler sang briefly and another was furtively carrying food to the nest. Meadow Pipits and Linnets were in evidence, and a Cuckoo singing. Silver-studded Blue butterflies on the wing in good numbers. The main objective was the coastal Tern colonies at Poole Harbour, and I had good views of the noisy cacophany as the adults brought food in to their young, both Sandwich and Common Terns. Waders are thin on the ground this time of year, as they are mostly breeding in northern climes, but a few Black-tailed Godwits were feeding, as well as a solitary Avocet and Redshank, plus the usual resident Oystercatchers. A stop at the Winterbourne Downs reserve on the way home was well worthwhile as a pair of Stone Curlews with 3 chicks was viewable distantly from the screen, amazing birds as always with their large eyes and cryptic but beautiful plumage.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

WWT summer

9 June - A morning visit, the first for a few weeks, and the highlight was very close views of the non-breeding Black-tailed Godwit flock on South Lake, including some birds in smart summer plumage. Avocet pairs active on the lagoons and aggressively defending their nests, and a smart pair of full adult summer Med Gulls also on South Lake, with a second-summer bird on the Rushy, still sporting a few black primary tips.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Odds and Ends, North of the Border........

5-6 June - A short Munro trip, and a few birds logged - a Golden Eagle soaring briefly, to the north of the Dalmally peaks, and Wheatears and Meadow Pipits widespread here, also a Sand Martin colony on the hillside above Loch Awe. Meall Dearg at Aonach Eagach held a singing Ring Ouzel and a couple of Stonechats. Grey Wagtails logged at both areas, and a Spotted Flycatcher calling by Loch Leven. Quite a quiet time of the year, the breeding season in full swing.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Pit 74

4 June - A quick check on pit 74 from the gate gave a brief view of the long-staying Marsh Harrier, hunting over the scrape and being mobbed by a couple of Common Terns. Little Egrets flying into the colony, and a Red Kite over the Spine Road.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Local raptors

3 June - nearby silaging meant that a Red Kite and 3-4 Buzzards were circling overhead on and off during the afternoon.
On 2nd, a Green Woodpecker yaffled and perched on a fence post near the house and a dash for the camera allowed for a couple of photos before it flew off. Swallows, House Martins and Swifts all over the garden on another fine evening.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Upland Sweden 23-30 May 2018

A fantastic trip with Naturetrek, Daniel Green and Tim Melling. Blue skies the whole week, with little wind, led to unseasonably high temperatures and a recent rapid snowmelt. The fine weather meant a very successful trip from the ornithological point of view - many highlights - 7 Owls including a family of Hawk Owls and an incubating Great Grey Owl, also a Tengmalm's Owl peeping from a treehole and an obliging Pygmy Owl - 2 confiding parties of Siberian Jays - and displaying waders on the tundra in southern Lapland, always a highlight for British birders who normally see these birds in subdued mode, on passage or in winter. Long-tailed Skuas were also patrolling the tundra having recently arrived. Raptors included a Golden Eagle Rough-legged Buzzard on the nest, and newly-arrived Honey Buzzards, and passerines included many singing Bramblings, and Lapland Buntings in summer plumage - as well as Pied Flycatchers everywhere taking advantage of the abundant insect life. Not forgetting singing Bluethroats and lekking Great Snipe in the mountains! All set against a beautiful forested landscape, a mixture of conifers and freshly-leafed birches, and the wonderful long evening twilight at these northern latitudes (we reached as far as 62,30' north). A brilliant week.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Black Terns.......

21 May - A bit of a Black Tern influx in the south today - and I found 6 on pit 74. A classic late spring drift migrant and always exciting to see them drop in, feeding as a group low over the pit. Also Hobby feeding, and Cuckoo and Nightingale in song. Also Hobby feeding over Lower Moor, with Whitethroat and Garden Warbler among the songsters.