Sunday, 19 March 2017

Odds and Ends

19 Mar - A Peregrine flew N over Cirencester Abbey Grounds this afternoon, and 5 Sand Martins over pit 65 this evening. Cool and blustery today.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Garganey on cue

18 Mar - A quick trip and views of the fairly elusive Garganeys on the South lake - also close looks at Curlew and Redshank, together with Avocet and Black-tailed Godwits. A flight view of a Kingfisher, but smaller birds generally elusive in the strong breeze. Still waiting for my first Wheatear and Sand Martin of the year......

Friday, 17 March 2017

Savernake and south......

16 Mar - A weather forecast of a fine sunny start, deteriorating for the afternoon. I arrived soon after sunrise at Savernake, and a good selection of woodland birds in the early morning stillness of the woodland - several Roe deer and a Muntjac testimony to the lack of disturbance. The main target, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, was heard drumming distantly but not seen - however 8 Great Spotteds heard/seen, together with 3 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Treecreepers, c15 Nuthatches, 2 Marsh Tits, 4 Jays, and a Raven. I then progressed to the oyster beds at Hayling, where the Oyster beds hold the spectacle each spring of a pre-breeding gathering of Mediterranean Gulls - no less than 440 seen here last week! The sun was gradually filtered out by high cloud, a the breeze picked up, good conditions for the noisy gathering of Med Gulls in stunning breeding plumage mixed with the more numerous Black-headed Gulls. A cacophany of displaying and squabbling birds, on the shingle and in the air. Plenty of photographic opportunities. Also a few waders seen - Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank and Godwits. Home lunchtime before the strong winds arrived.

Sunday, 12 March 2017


12 Mar - A quick look in the morning in improving weather, from cloudy to bright - the highlight was the second-year Mediterranean Gull on South Lake, distinguished from the adjacent Black-headeds by the developing black hood extending down the nape, together with the red bill, larger size and smaller amount of black in the wingtips. Small numbers of Meds pass through every spring, and maybe one year they will colonise? Also c40 Avocets - now arrived to breed - 120+ Black-tailed Godwits, Oystercatcher and Ruff. On the Tack Piece, very close views of the White-front flock that will probably shortly depart on migration to Russia, together with various duck species in full breeding plumage.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Stop in the Cotswolds

11 Mar - A quick late afternoon stop at Hawling and fairly distant views of the Great Grey Shrike currently present - also a hunting Barn Owl, but fairly poor light as a cloudy evening. No SEOs.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Mountain Hares!

10 Mar - My birthday present to myself - a day photographing Mountain Hares in the Peak District with wildlife photo professional Tesni Ward - and a great day it was. Early fog on Bleaklow cleared to cloudy but bright conditions, ideal for the white coats of the Hares as against full sun. Some animals were quite approachable, others very wary, and their colouration varied from fawn/brown to mainly white - when they stood out against the (non-snowy) landscape. Some reasonable images obtained, in a variety of settings, and Tes is a fun and enthusiastic guide Also Golden Plover and Red Grouse on the moors. A very worthwhile day.

Thursday, 9 March 2017


9 Mar - A beautiful morning, warm and sunny for March. A couple of hours at Otmoor - several views of the male Marsh Harrier, including in display - also Red Kites and Buzzards. A spectacular large flock of Golden Plovers performing aerobatics in the sunlight and calling, with their mournful note that always evokes the northern wilds where they breed. Redshank and Curlew also on the floods alongside numerous Lapwings, preparing for the breeding season, a Grey Heron nestbuilding in the reedbed, and Reed Buntings and Cetti's Warblers singing and establishing territory. The water level high at present after the recent rains.