Tuesday, May 21, 2019

North Kent

An interesting day surveying an area on the North Kent coast.  The weather brought kindness in abundance, the strong May sun tempered slightly by a gentle  breeze.  It was great making tracks around the survey lines that covered eight miles in total.

Bird of the day went to a Nightingale that sang briefly within a large hawthorn and was always out of view.  A couple of Cuckoo were calling within the vicinity with one later seen flying low along the old sea wall.

There were plenty of vocal Warblers including a couple of Lesser Whitethroat, with Common Whitethroat and Reed Warbler plentiful.  Just one Sedge Warbler was noted during the course of the day.

The was a bit of interest on the receded tide.  A single Avocet looked forlorn in one of the bays, where a Common Sandpiper flicked low along the shoreline.  A stunning adult summer Grey Plover was accompanied by two not so dapper individuals with a Whimbrel and two Turnstone in the same area.

A constant sound during the day were the distant 'mewings' of Mediterranean Gull with around 20 sparkling adults seen flying over towards the estuary.

At least three different Marsh Harrier were quartering the area along with a minimum of six Common Buzzard soaring on thermals as the day warmed up.

A minimum count of five Yellow Wagtail were all flyovers.

There was some Butterfly interest with nine species seen including at least a dozen Wall Brown, five Orange-tip, a Small Copper, and two Small Heath.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Portland & Lodmoor

A really nice day with enough sunshine to make things feel comfortable, but a complete dearth of migrants on land and sea.

Stopping off at Ferrybridge first, at least 16 Little Tern were occupying the concrete buoys out in the bay.  Two Whimbrel were barely the only waders on the exposed mud.

On the Bill we gorged ourselves on food from the cafe, made tracks around the southern half of the island, indulged in cream tea, and sat lamenting our self-indulgence.  A perfect Saturday.

Watching seabirds off the east cliffs had me enraptured for a while.

The cliffs were busy with Guillemot, Razorbill, Shag, and a couple of Fulmar soaring to and from the cliff-face.

Moving onto Lodmoor later on in the afternoon provided a little more interest.

A sole 1st summer Little Gull roosted on the edge of a scrape amongst the raucous Common Tern and Black-headed Gull.

Waders were hardly plentiful but at least 30 summer plumaged Dunlin were present, four Bar-tailed Godwit including one in brick-red finery, and 15 Black-tailed Godwit.

Elsewhere, a few vocal Bearded Tit were zipping around the top of the reeds.

A sub-adult male Marsh Harrier was marauding the eastern fringes of the reserve.

A lone drake Pintail was present within the pools.  A female Bullfinch flew into cover along the southern path.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Staines Reservoir

A quick dash over to the reservoir this evening to get my mind off work and settle myself down with some bird therapy.

The south basin yielded the continuing 11 Black Tern that had been present for much of the day.  Two adult summer Dunlin were trotting along the causeway.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Borth to Aberystwyth

The five mile walk along the cliff-top from Borth to Aberystwyth is highly recommended with stunning views out over the Irish Sea and a heart-pumping undulating hike over to the fine town of 'Aber'.

Also make sure you visit 'The Sands' cafe in the quaint town of Borth for great food and coffee.

A highlight for me will always be the Red-billed Chough where a group of three birds passed overhead.

A freshly emerged Small Copper was present close to Constitution Hill.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

RSPB Gwenffrwd-Dinas

There are some places in the UK that for me are are just pure magic.  Wales in one of them, and specifically mid-to-north Wales.  For the second year running, a visit was made to the fabulous RSPB Gwenffrwd-Dinas reserve around ten miles from Tregaron.

It was spectacular, and much like last year, the sun was shining against a crisp blue sky.

It started with a showy Garden Warbler singing freely near the top of a willow.  At least two Willow Warbler were in song in the vicinity.  The boardwalk enters the woodland where a subtle sounds of the Welsh woodland specialties draw in the senses.

Wood Warbler are particularly vocal, the trills echoing through the sun mottled woodland, with a couple of males seen displaying and at least six males heard around the reserve.

Pied Flycatcher are seen all around the reserve as are Common Redstart.  At one point, a male of each species were within ten metres of each other, while Tree Pipit and Wood Warbler provided a beautiful melodic soundscape.

The walk takes around two hours and should not be rushed.  The river held a couple of active Dipper and a Grey Wagtail.  The backdrop provided by a glowing hillside.

The woodland was carpeted with bluebells.

I cannot speak more highly of this place.

The drive to Tregaron is equally as picturesque as the road winds through the Twyi forest.

En route, a Whinchat flew past the car and perched up on a fern by the roadside.

A single Common Sandpiper fed along a mountain lake.  Red Kite and Common Buzzard soared through the valleys.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

London WWT

Another stunning morning, that seem a little sporadic at the moment as Spring attempts to spurt and splutter into life.

The first and immediate sighting were of 18 Common Swift over the visitor centre prior to opening. 

There was a bit of wader interest with a fly-through Oystercatcher, and two Little Ringed Plover on exposed islands on the main lake.  A single Common Sandpiper was present there too.  On the grazing marsh, three Common Redshank and a single Common Snipe were seen present there.

A single Wigeon remained on the small pool by the sluice.

A bright Yellow Wagtail was feeding out on the marsh.

My first Common Tern for the site, a small group of three were typically vocal as they flew round the reserve.

A Little Egret plodded around the wader scrape.

Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler are now regular singers around the reserve.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Richmond Park

A brief visit to Richmond Park on what was a glorious warm evening.  The views across the park are fantastic particularly during the final couple of daylight hours.

Just routine stuff today, with around a dozen Sand Martin dashing around Pen Ponds in the company of four Swallow.  Two boisterous Common Tern were flying energetic circuits with a few Tufted Duck, and Common Pochard on the water flanked by the exotic Mandarin and Red-crested Pochard.

Three Stonechat were on the bracken behind the ponds.