Sunday, December 29, 2019

Broom GPs

A final visit of the year to Broom that started off well with plenty of movement overhead. The plan was to spend a little longer here today to check the waterbodies for winter wildfowl.  It was a lovely morning, not too cold, and with high cloud pierced by the low winter sun.

The Goosander from yesterday had disappeared so we were back to normal for wildfowl counts albeit with the usual fluctuations in numbers.  Across the lakes  68 Wigeon, 13 Shoveler, 14 Gadwall, 13 Teal, 13 Tufted Duck, 10 Great Crested Grebe, and a single Pochard represented reasonable mid-winter numbers.  A total of 157 Coot were present on the main lake.  112 Black headed Gull, 33 Common Gull, and 2 brief adult Herring Gull were congregated on GLE.

A Peregrine shot through over GLE sending everything skyward before disappearing off to the east.

The real surprise came in the form of an adult winter Little Gull that was associating with the Black headed Gull on the main lake. It didn't appear to hang around for too long but was a good December record nonetheless.

Other noteworthy sightings were a pair of Stonechat on the North side, around 30 Linnet, 14 Skylark, 20 Redwing, five Grey Partridge, and singles of Grey Wagtail and Yellowhammer.

A decent group of Lapwing swirled around with a total count of 255.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Broom East GPs

A while since I'd visited Broom that was rewarded with a surprise drake Goosander that drifted along the length of GLE.

Other than the sawbill, it was pretty routine with counts of 48 Wigeon, 13 Gadwall, eight Teal.

Overhead, a paltry seven Lapwing moved through with a decent number of Fieldfare commuting over the pits.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Whipsnade Zoo - Black-throated Thrush

Sadly no photos of the Black-throated Thrush but grateful that I got to see it as unfortunately it failed to reappear after around midday.  Feeding on a cotoneaster bush with Redwing, Blackbird and a single Fieldfare, the contrast of its black neck and white underparts made it a surprisingly striking bird.

A strange setting for a new species but it made for a good day roaming around the enclosures and the warm and humid biomes of the Butterfly House.

Lunch at the River Cottage Kitchen is highly recommended providing lovely views over the Chilterns.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Broom GPs

A dull and dreary day with the status quo well and truly set now for the winter.  Hopefully there will be a few oddities over the season but today was a case of as you were sir.

Totals from an hour this morning;

41  Gadwall
52 Wigeon
10 Teal
1f Pochard
4 Great Crested Grebe
200+ Golden Plover
3 Common Snipe
3 Common Gull
6 Lesser Black-backed Gull
12 Cormorant
2 Goldcrest
2 Mistle Thrush
8 Fieldfare

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Pennington Marshes - Semipalmated Sandpiper

When the alarm rang at 5am, I was in no mind to head out on a cold drizzly morning.  I stayed in bed and deliberated for an hour.  The thought of enduring a tedious drive down to the south coast was not very appealing.  Time was not on my side as kick-off was at 3pm and I had to be back well before then.  Should I stay or should I go.

At 6am I bolted, got myself ready and was out of the door. 

It was a great decision.  Arriving at Pennington Marshes, the leaden grey clouds filled the sky, but it had stopped raining.  The landscape with good visibility was a sight and sound to behold.  The flooded fields and lagoons held good numbers of wildfowl and waders.

The coast path meanders towards the estuary and there was plenty to see en route to Oxey Marshes. 

On the flooded fields, large groups of Lapwing were being shared with good numbers of Golden Plover, Common Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Teal.  A single Ruff was feeding on the pools and two Spotted Redshank flew over.

There was activity was everywhere.  Groups of Dark-bellied Brent Goose were constantly on the move as were Pintail with many flying over.

There were Avocet, Dunlin, Turnstone, and Ringed Plover on both sides of the path.  A juvenile Long-tailed Duck was present on one of the lagoons. 

Four waders were present on arrival at Oxey Marshes.  Singles of Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, and the Semipalmated Sandpiper that showed really well as it scampered energentically along the fringes of the marsh.  A lovely little wader with its dumpy bull-necked profile - was really thrilled to have got great views of it.

On the sea, half a dozen Red-breasted Merganser were loafing about and three drake Eider flew past.

A couple of hours here was not enough, two hours at the match was two hours too many.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Broom GPs

A respite today from the persistent run of showers and prolonged spells of rain that have blighted parts of the country.  It was a bit grey but perfectly still.

Notable sightings from today from around Broom Gravel Pits;

Gypsy Lane East (GLE)
Gypsy Lane West (GLW) 

48 Gadwall (GLE)
44 Wigeon (GLE)
26 Teal (GLE)
7 Pochard (on GLW)
23 Tufted Duck (22 on Main Lake)
8 Great Crested Grebe (1 on GLE, 3 GLW, 4 Main Lake)
125 Lapwing (55 on GLE)
5 Common Snipe (GLE)
1 Red Kite (by Main Lake)
2 Common Buzzard
1 Peregrine
1 Kingfisher
c60 Skylark
25 Fieldfare
1 Grey Wagtail
1 Lesser Redpoll (over GLE)
1 Siskin (over GLW)
4 Yellowhammer

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Walberswick Marshes - Eastern Yellow Wagtail

A gentle amble across to the beautiful Suffolk coast on a lovely crisp clear morning.

Having parked in the Walberswick car park, I headed south along the beach.  It was glorious.  With the sea to the left and the marsh on the right, there was plenty to see on the lagoons illuminated by the low late autumn sun.  Four Spotted Redshank were present on the lagoons with around 20 Ringed Plover, 15 Dunlin and plenty of Redshank.

A Great Egret rose up from the reedbed and languidly flew towards one of the pools. 

One of my favourite winter birds, the Snow Bunting.  A group of eight were busily feeding on the shingle.

The 20 minute walk down to Corporation Marshes was a real cardio workout.  The Eastern Yellow Wagtail showed well shortly after, scurrying around a small pool and then popping out along the edge of the shingle.  The call was diasgnostic - much harsher than Yellow Wagtail of which one was present but wasn't as vocal.  The two birds together were quite flighty, but always returned back to the same location. 

Minsmere is such a wonderful reserve.  It was relatively quiet but always feels like something interesting could be lurking round the corner.

The East Scrape was full of Great Black Backed Gulls, well over 200 there.  Three Bewick Swan were roosting on a small island.  Only six Black-tailed Godwit were present with around 25 Avocet on South Scrape.  A Dartford Warbler appeared briefly on top of the bushes along the beach before flicking away.

Bewick Swan