Saturday, 10 March 2018

Flooded Shorncote

10 Mar - A morning visit to Shorncote on a damp morning - Water Rails and Cetti's Warblers calling - good to know that they survived the cold snap. Otherwise fairly quiet - I missed a flyover Great White Egret. 25 Shoveler and 40 Teal present, also singing Reed Buntings - spring is round the corner. Earlier, no Short-eared Owls seen on a brief stop at Blakehill, after the wet night - good views of Roe Deer, and quite a few winter thrushes moving.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

The Forest etc ..........

8 Mar - The forecast was for a dry morning then rain later, so I decided on 1 more visit to Parkend for one of my favourite birds, the Hawfinch. Amazingly, on arrival , I was the only one parked up apart from 2 mountain bikers in bright clothing ...... despite this, Hawfinches were much in evidence around the yew trees, both dropping to the ground and in flight, and on 4 occasions 1 or 2 Hawfinches dropped to the ground, very close - amazing to see them fixing me with a beady eye while hopping on the ground and warily feeding on sunflower seeds - unfortunately they fly at the slightest disturbance, but superb views (approx 10 birds in the area) especially of the amazing silvery bill and the chestnut plumage. Also Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch and Coal Tit around. I dropped into Ashleworth Ham then Slimbridge on the way home. At Ashleworth, I located the distinctive drake Green-winged Teal among the large dabbling duck flock on the fairly extensive floods. A bonus was a drake Garganey at Saul flashes, Frampton, thanks to Mike King aka Gloster Birder. Slimbridge itself was fairly quiet, but 7 Avocets were on the pools and the Water Rail in the open from Willow hide. Strangely subdued on the Rushy without the recently-departed Bewick's Swans........ overall a good morning.

Sunday, 4 March 2018


4 Mar - An amazing change in the weather, sun and melting snow and ice. Very good views of the (hungry) Water Rails from willow hide, emerging regularly from the reeds to feed in the open. Also very confiding Teal here. Otherwise, the pools largely frozen - Bewick's Swans on the Tack Piece and on the River Severn - they may well migrate soon if the wind stays in the southwest. Also a mass of waders including Lapwing, Golden Plover and Dunlin around the melting pools on the Dumbles plus probing Snipe, 2 Brent Geese among the feral Barnacles and a perched Peregrine. Nice to see green grass again.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Owls in the Snow part 2........

3 Mar - Some thaw of lying snow and the temperature above freezing .... but the Shorncote Barn Owls were both out hunting before 5pm so must be hungry. Good views especially in silent hunting flight low over the field and reedbed. Also 1 Cetti's Warbler at least must have survived the freeze and was calling, and 2 Little Egrets in flight.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Owls in the Snow

2 Mar - A late afternoon visit to a wintry Blakehill, transformed by the "Beast from the East" into a white landscape of drifting snow. As I expected, after the persistent snow of the previous 24h there were 2 active Short-eared Owls hunting both the plateau and the surrounding fields, and one bird perched on the main fence for a while and fixed me with an irritated stare for daring to intrude on its hunting forays as it sought food in the wintry wilderness. As I left about 5pm snowing was once again being blown horizontally in the wind.

Thursday, 1 March 2018


1 Mar - After a few days of easterly winds, I had a look around CWP for Smew late morning - however, just the solitary redhead still present. An influx of Goosander in the cold weather, with a total of 31 birds seen, including 13 birds on pit 28. Several passerines struggling to find food in the freeze-up including a Goldcrest at Lower Mill, and Chiffchaffs and Grey Wagtails at Shorncote. Lets hope spring arrives soon.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Shrikes and Owls ........

26 Feb - On two short visits over the weekend, nice views of a wintering Great Grey Shrike in the Cotswolds, and, on the second time of asking, brief views of several Short-eared Owls hunting in reasonable light over the setaside. Always an exciting bird to see, especially in late afternoon sun as they float on slow wingbeats. Also flyover Red Kite and Sparrowhawk.