Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Blakehill

22 May - A quick evening walk was unsuccessful in hearing any calling Quail, but a Cuckoo was singing to the west of the fields, and Grey Heron and Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over. Highlight was really good views of 3 brown Hares, one of which hopped to within 7-8 m of me as I was upwind and keeping still. Also 4 Roe Deer feeding.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

''Tis the season for Hobbies........

21 May - A lunchtime visit to Somerford Keynes area of CWP which at this time of year attracts feeding flocks of Hobbies in fine weather - no less than 10 birds circling high feeding on hatching insects alongside Common Terns, Swifts and hirundines. A further 4 birds were over adjacent pits 42/44. Also a Cuckoo singing.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Scottish odds and ends

17-20 May - A few birds logged during 3 days Munroing in overall fairly decent weather, perhaps not as many as I would expect in May but including a distant Golden Eagle, obliging Ptarmigan, Red Grouse, displaying Golden Plover and several Wheatears - also Dipper and Common Sandpipers - Wood Warbler, Redpoll and many Siskins in the woodlands with quite a few singing Cuckoos.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Waterhay

10 May - Another fine evening and spectacular sunset. On a late evening visit to pit 68 Waterhay I finally heard the Grasshopper Warbler singing - my first ever in the Wilts section of CWP. Also a Cuckoo calling, and Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers. Plenty of Swifts back now, including the local birds screaming around in the evenings - they're only here for 3 months of the year, so I never take then for granted. A Red Kite over central Swindon, Old Town this morning.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Bank holiday birding

1 May - a showery day and an east wind, good for spring birding. I headed for Frampton where Black terns had been seen on the sailing lake, and had good views of one bird together with several Common Terns. Distinctive smaller size, dark plumage and dainty flight. Always good birds to see on their spring migration. Another was performing well in front of the hides on South Lake at Slimbridge, where numbers of the waders present were moulting into their breeding plumage - male Ruffs with their head and neck finery, and smart chestnut Black-tailed Godwits. A first-year Spoonbill was present on the Tack Piece, and the summer walkway out to Mid Point resulted in views of a very showy singing Grasshopper Warbler, exceptional for this normally skulking species. Summer-plumaged Grey Plovers also present on the river. Finally, a check at Shorncote revealed the Greenshank still to be present, always elegant and one of my favourite waders - accompanied by 2 Common Sandpipers and 2 LRPs. In addition, a Hobby appeared and circled at close range, and a male Yellow Wagtail perched up obligingly. Other birds today - Cuckoo, Nightingale, nesting Avocets. A very productive session and home for a late lunch......

Friday, 28 April 2017

Odds and Ends

28 April - it's difficult to resist picking up the binoculars this time of year, so a trip to Shorncote produced a good variety as ever, including a nice little party of summer-plumaged Dunlin accompanied by 2 Common Sandpipers and a LRP. Plenty of Warblers including Lesser Whitethroats and Garden W, as well as A cacophony of Reed and Sedge Warblers in the main Reedbed. A quick evening stop at Blakehill was well worth it with 2 male Whinchats and a line up of 7 Wheatears on the fence posts.