Thursday, May 24, 2018

Poland

This has now become annual.  Visits to Poland are always rewarding, the countryside that in the most-part remains wild, with pine and deciduous forests that spread far and wide.  There is so much wildlife here.

The destination was the small village of Mar√≥zek, around 20km from the nearest town of Olstynek.  It is a lovely place, set within a pine forest on one side and a freshwater lake on the other.


The forest was alive with birds.  Fieldfare were in display mode, a common bird here.  


A total of three Goshawk were seen on this trip, this one cruised high over the woodland.  The sighting in the Ilawa Forest about an hour away was spectacular - a rampant male that burst through the trees in pursuit of a Red Squirrel.


These House Martin were nesting around the village.  Small groups collected mud around the puddles formed after the heavy rains on Saturday.  Swallow and Swift were also present here.



A woodland walk around 5km up the road yielded a couple of male Red-backed Shrike, one of which was in full song.


It was great to just sit and listen to the birdsong.  Common Redstart were in good supply and their song could be heard throughout the woodland with a couple seen perching on telegraph wires.


They were in the good company of Wood Warbler, Tree Pipit, Serin, Chaffinch and Black Redstart.  The latter were breeders in the house garden.



The rich flutey tones of Golden Oriole were heard on a few occasions.  A Cuckoo added soft accompaniment from the woodland beyond the lake with one seen floating over the house.

Tree Sparrow were present in the village.

Lesser Whitethroat were garden birds.  This one was rattling its lungs out.


With a Pied Flycatcher seen in the Ilawa Forest, this Spotted Flycatcher bred close to the house as it darted around in its successful pursuit of insects.



There wasn't much activity on the lake.  Around a dozen Great Crested Grebe were present, a couple of female Goosander seen along the lake edge, and this female Goldeneye tending to her young family.


A really nice surprise to see this confiding Hedgehog that appeared at dusk plodding lazily across a woodland track close to the house.


The views across the lake were magical.  Within the reeds around three male Great Reed Warbler cronked and croaked their bizarre call, at times sitting up in the overhanging willows.


There was little raptor activity during the time here.  A sub-adult White-tailed Eagle was seen distantly fishing on the far side of the lake before heading off toward the woodland.

Two Lesser Spotted Eagle were soaring around the local area, one being harrassed by a Hobby.

A surprise sighting was a female Montagu's Harrier that cruised low over the lake toward the forest late one evening.










Sunday, May 20, 2018

Dungeness

Three midnight finishes at work this week including yesterday, a Saturday where the sun was blazing and the only thought was of being far and away from corporate purgatory.

So today, a dash down to Dungeness was all too brief, but the weather wasn't as good as forecast.  A bit of a surprise was the report of a male Kentish Plover that showed well but distantly from the Dennis Hide.  Also from there were four summer plumaged Dunlin, a smart Sanderling, and a Common Sandpiper.


It felt rare this morning, the low cloud finally cleared, but the breeze was keen.  There was a Hoopoe in town, and a half hour search along the Dengemarsh Road finally ended in success.  The bird was seen distantly across fields to the edge of MoD land.  It was actively feeding before being chased by a Magpie giving better flight views.  A really great bird to see in the UK.

A Hobby was feeding over Denge Marsh.

A couple of Yellow Wagtail were present by the road edge, but it was best to head back to spend a great afternoon in Richmond.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Portland Bill

A dash down to Portland to escape the rain forecast for London today proved to be a great decision as it didn't rain all day.

First stop was Ferrybridge where Two Sandwich Tern and four Little Tern rested on the buoys on a receded tide.

Portland Bill was disappointingly quiet birdwise with only a couple of Northern Wheatear, two Common Whitethroat, Raven, Peregrine, and Stonechat seen on a two and half hour hike around the isle.


The sea held the most of the interest, the highlights being two Arctic Skua, and two Whimbrel high over with a steady flow of Manx Shearwater and Gannet.  Three Kittiwake passed by and Guillemot, Razorbill, Fulmar, and Shag provided the supporting cast.





There were some lovely wild flowers in bloom.



Tuesday, May 8, 2018

WWT Barnes - Temminck's Stint

Headed back from Wales as the warm weather threatened to turn into something more typically Welsh.  The sun was still beating down in London town, and a Temminck's Stint was a real draw at the Wetlands Centre in Barnes, now just a short bus ride from home.




Momentarily disappearing, this small locally rare wader made a return and showed well in front of the WWF hide as it accompanied a couple of Little Ringed Plover.

The rest of the afternoon was spent lazing around, looking skyward to see a Hobby race through, and two Buzzard soar high over.


A Peregrine flew past the Peacock Tower hide.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Gwesty Minffordd

Another beautiful part of North Wales close to the Mach Loop but being a Bank Holiday, there was no military aircraft action today.

Taking the Minffordd path up to the lake, it was as close to heaven as I could possibly get.  Beautiful warm weather with the sun glistening off the mountain lake.

There were a few Northern Wheatear around, as the 'cronking' calls of Raven echoed off the surrounding mountains.










RSPB Ynys-Hir / Dyfi Osprey Centre

A morning walk round Ynys-hir.  Another gorgeous day with plenty going on.  A reeling Grasshopper Warbler was the first sighting of the day, taking the 'red' route out into the open area.  It then flew around a couple of times being harassed by a Sedge Warbler.

Another spectacular reserve, the route produced a singing Common Redstart perched on the very top of a pine.  A really special sight.  A Tree Pipit sang from within the woodland as did a Wood Warbler.  There were at least three singing male Pied Flycatcher here.

Also of note were plenty of Siskin on the feeders, and at least four Redpoll flew over.




Then onto the Dyfi Osprey Project where the pair were in-situ, the male Osprey gorging on a juicy red mullet.




Sunday, May 6, 2018

RSPB Gwenffrwd-dinas

A first visit to this RSPB reserve in Camarthenshire and it blew my mind.  Set in the glorious valleys of Central Wales, the circular walk route through breathtaking scenery, beguiling woodland, alongside a pristine mountain stream that looked perfect for Dipper.

It was a decent drive from Llan-Mill after an enjoyable late luncheon stop at Narberth.

There were quality birds everywhere, at least six singing male Pied Flycatcher, the same number of Wood Warbler in full cascading 'spinning top' melody, at least one superb male Common Redstart in the treetops, and a single Tree Pipit deep within the woodland.  These were accompanied by the more common species, Nuthatch and Treecreeper also seen there.









No sign of Dipper unfortunately but just taking in the immaculate backdrop was enough for me.