Monday, 30 December 2019
30 Dec - The seemingly endless low cloud and murk of the last few days cleared to stunning low winter sunshine, too nice to be indoors ........an afternoon trip to the Cotswolds, very good numbers of Fieldfares and Redwings en route. Up to 6 Short-eared Owls seen hunting in the afternoon sun, with some quite close views at times, birds also seen perched. Always charismatic birds to watch (and photograph), I never tire of them. A quick stop off at CWP in the morning produced a flock of 9 Pintail at Eysey alongside good numbers of Teal, and ones and twos of Goosander on various pits. No Smew yet though, it's not been cold enough.
Saturday, 28 December 2019
28 Dec - Farmoor reservoir has an excellent track record when it comes to rare Grebes, and I’ve seen the five regular Grebe species there. However, I’ve only seen one Slavonian Grebe there, which is probably rarest of the five inland. So a Farmoor beckoned as a winter-plumage Slavonian is currently in residence at Farmoor. I visited on a cloudy, fairly calm day, incidentally quite good conditions for this bird in its monochrome winter plumage. The bird was fairly close in on F2 but was keeping close to the floating bales giving a difficult background for photography. The ubiquitous Great Crested and Little Grebes present as always, also an Aythya hybrid which has features of both Greater and Lesser Scaup.
Friday, 27 December 2019
23-27 Dec - A seasonal family visit to South Devon, with superb coastal views from the accommodation. Slapton Ley to the north and Start Point stretching away to the south with rolling yet dramatic coastal scenery. Highlights included the long-staying winter plumaged Black-necked Grebe on the Ley, with flyby Gannets along the tide edge. Waders were few and far between due to walkers and dogs but at high tide there was a flighty group of Dunlin and Grey Plover. The only real oddity was a Razorbill in the surf after a windy spell. Stonechats were fairly numerous in cliff-side scrub. Slightly further afield, a visit to Broadsands gave some views of half a dozen or so Cirl Buntings (a species restricted to Devon and Cornwall) with 2 males, one a 1st-year, and the rest females. They were fairly elusive in breezy conditions with intermittent sun, but allowed a few photographic opportunities. Also a couple of Great Northern Divers here, fairly close in.
Sunday, 22 December 2019
22 Dec - My first visit to Shorncote for a while. Water level very high in places. Good numbers of Water Rails calling with 2 seen, and 6 Little Egrets feeding in flooded fields. A confiding pair of Stonechats along the hedgeline. Good numbers of Duck, especially dabbling ducks, present, Cetti’s Warblers and Chiffchaffs calling, and numbers of Fieldfares and Redwings dropping in at dusk to feed. At dusk, a Tawny Owl and then a Barn Owl seen in flight.
Tuesday, 17 December 2019
Monday, 16 December 2019
Friday, 13 December 2019
12 Dec - A reality check with nature required after staying up most of the night for the election results...... Good views of a Water Rail from the Willow hide, and then massed waders from Hogarth, especially Knot and Black-tailed Godwits. Finally a few Bewick's Swans flying in to the Rushy at dusk. Very therapeutic in the winter afternoon sunshine.