Sunday, January 27, 2019

Farlington Marshes

A rasping day, typical winter fare, a firece northerly blow, birding was challenging.  Nothing really of note, winter waders, stacks of Dark-bellied Brent Goose, and a marauding Peregrine.



Saturday, January 26, 2019

London WWT

Dipped into the Wetland Centre again without my camera - pretty daft in hindsight after a third winter Iceland Gull appeared in front of the WWT hide. 

The Bittern was also showing well from the reedbed.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Helsinki

A day-trip to Helsinki appears to be a standard trip from Tallinn presenting an opportunity to capture two capital cities in a weekend.

While lacking the character of Tallinn, it is a pleasant city to wander around, notwithstanding the temperature that reached a modest -9C today.

The cathedral in the centre of the city appeared luminous against the crisp blue sky and the low winter sun.











Saturday, January 19, 2019

Tallinn

A truly stunning city.  It was cold, very cold, but the falling snow had transformed Tallinn into a winter wonderland.

The Christmas season had passed, tourists were thin on the ground, a few hardy souls occupying the cafes and pubs around town.  It was a pleasure to explore the streets of this quaint city.  The Old Town square is the focal point, bordered on each side with pastel coloured buildings, architecture full of character, carrying imprints from a Soviet past.












The Seaplane Lennusadam Museum is highly recommended providing a fasinating insight to the maritime history of Estonia featuring the Suur Toll, an ice-breaking vessel that served the Soviet navy during the first world war. 


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Seawick

Grateful for a bit of survey work in challenging conditions.  A decent site with a good selection of wintering common waders.


Oddities included a Red-throated Diver, Guillemot, and a female Marsh Harrier.

The real stars were the seven Snow Bunting that were typically confiding, feeding along the beach opposite the Martello Towers.



Saturday, January 12, 2019

Blashford Lakes

Chose to head down to Blashford Lakes that always provides variety with a range of habitat.  The Black-necked Grebe was picked up immediately from the Tern Hide with a couple of drake Goosander and a few Pintail.

Heading through the woodland toward the South Ivy hide where the search started for the Yellow-browed Warbler.  It took a while but was relocated where it showed really well.

Typical woodland species around the feeders attracted plenty of Siskin, Coal Tit, Reed Bunting, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.  A couple of Treecreeper were present, and four Bullfinch flew in that included three gaudy males.

Making the most of the light, a wander through heathland close to where the White-tailed Eagle had been sighted over recent days produced very little apart from groups of 'wheezing' Brambling heading off to roost.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Denham Quarry

Dipping into Denham Quarry where Goosander were present in really good numbers.  My biggest count within the London recording area of 14 that included seven drake and seven female.  A Kingfisher flew low over the water.



There was plenty of activity in the woodland, Nutchatch, Treecreeper, and at least 120 Siskin present here.  A few Common Gull were loafing around the pits.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

London WWT

 A quick visit to the London Wetlands Centre making the most of a sunny morning.  It does get busy here at weekends but I always find it a pleasant place to visit, and only a short bus ride from home.




Today's highlights included a Bittern showing nicely in the reeds on the far side from the Dulverton Hide, half a dozen drake Pintail, and a Water Pipit, and Jack Snipe from the Peacock Tower hide.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Welney WWT & Frampton Marsh

Starting the year off at Welney WWT where the array of wildfowl as viewed from the main observatory is always an impressive sight.  Along with plenty of our common wintering species of duck was a roosting adult drake Ring-necked Duck.  

There were good numbers of Bewick Swan, Whooper Swan, and a scattering of Pintail.  At least a thousand Black-tailed Godwit were congregated on the exposed mud. 



Heading further north to Frampton Marsh and despite being unable to located the long-staying Long-billed Dowitcher, a sparkling adult male Hen Harrier and a quartering Short-eared Owl were present on the marsh.

A juvenile male Merlin was causing havoc among decent numbers of Starling, Lapwing, and Golden Plover dashing its way over the floods before settling on a post by the farmhouse.



The fields were rammed full with wildlife particularly Wigeon and Dark-bellied Brent Goose.