Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Swarm innit

Yes it is, but anyway I discovered this stray swarm of Honey Bees while out walking the Dog this morning.

Gayhurst Pits - Tuesday

A walk round late afternoon showed up my first 'autumn' Common Sandpiper of the year on Fishing Pit.
Young birds were everywhere with noisy Kingfishers on Motorway Pit and even noisier Green Woodpeckers around the wood. The Common Terns on the main island seem to have disappeared but at least 8 pairs with young of all sizes are  still on the flat island.
 The young Swans are interesting,- the pair on motorway pit have 4 young, 3 being the normal grey and one being pure white. - the pair on the Reedy Pit have 4 grey cygnets and also one pure white.
 One juvenile Grey Wagtail was by the weir and up at Quarryhall 4 male Yellow Wagtails were looking after several juveniles. I presume the females are on a second clutch

 An interesting sighting was a Signal Crayfish that was walking along the bottom of the river

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                                          female Banded Damoiselle


                                               Large Skipper

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Back Garden Partridge

This male Grey Partridge was calling just yards from my back garden gate the other night.





Anglesey

Part of the large Sandwich Tern colony at Cemlyn Lagoons
Meadow Pipit

Mediterranean Gull at Bedmanarch


Black headed Gull



Herring Gull




Choughs at South Stack





Whitethroat






South Stack Guillemots and Razorbills







Shag near Puffin Island








I have just got back from four superb days in Anglesey and North Wales with the Bedford RSPB group.
I will fill in the details later, but highlights were: Black Guillemots, Puffins, Choughs, Manx Shearwaters, Mediterranean Gulls and Twites

Sunday, 20 June 2010

B.W.T.

Blue-winged Teal (Photo by kind permission of Paul Moon)

No not Bacon, Wettuce and Tomato, but a cracking male Blue winged Teal.
Paul, Nik and I decided to undertake an evening twitch to Berry Fen in Cambridgeshire to try and see this bird-a lifer for Paul and I.
On arriving at this superb site it was teeming with water birds and it was obviously going to be quite a job picking out our target.There. were plenty of Mallard, a few Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, several Tufteds, a single Shelduck, a moulting drake Garganey and a couple of Little Grebe. Redshanks were everywhere with one on practically every fence post, also some Ringed and Little ringed Plovers, Lapwings and a lone Little Egret. A Barn Owl hunted over the far meadow and a male Marsh Harrier flew across.
Eventually Paul picked out the Teal in the company of 5 Eurasian Teal and we enjoyed good views until we left the site. An Oystercatcher that flew up the river was our final bird.

Friday, 18 June 2010

A visit to Summer Leys

It looks like it's a good year for Orchids this year. I think this is a Southern Marsh Orchid, one of many that are growing around the Summer Leys Nature Reserve in Northamptonshire. Lots of birds here today.
From the first hide many Black-headed Gulls were feeding young on the island, Common Terns likewise on the raft. On the far shoreline a couple of Redshank a few Lapwings and 2 Black-tailed Godwits were paddling in the water.
From the hide overlooking the scrape 5 0r 6 Ringed Plovers, a pair of Oystercatchers, a Teal and a Garganey were seen.
The Standing Hide gave views of around 200 Lesser-black backed Gulls most of which were juveniles and a small flock of Gadwall.
Next on to the feeding station where several Tree Sparrows along with a good number of their fledglings fed alongside,Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Blue and Great Tits and several Brown Rats.

Over the road on Mary's Lake, another Garganey fed just off of the island, where more Common terns were nesting.
Continuing round the reserve, a walk along the Railway line where Sparrowhawk, Kingfisher,Cetti's Sedge and Reed Warblers, Bullfinch and Little Egret were encountered.
An unusual sight back at the car-park was a fly-over flock of 11 Mistle Thrushes that landed in one of the Oak trees.


Later in the day I stopped off at a site near Sherington where this Bee Orchid was growing.



Monday, 14 June 2010

Meet the Kids

These are some of the young birds that I encountered on a walk around Tongwell Lake today Pied Wagtail with it's Daddy

Carrion Crows waiting for lunch

Mute Swans (part of a brood of 7)

I spotted this Orchid growing on the side of the lake. Think it's a Common Spotted




Sunday, 13 June 2010

Back to the Patch

An early morning visit to Gayhurst Quarry today.
First 'special' bird was a Marsh Tit by the side of the wood, that was very upset by my prescence, so suspect it was breeding nearby.
Then a good look over the Fishing Pit showed there to be a few waders around. Namely 15 Lapwings, a Little ringed Plover and most surprisingly a summer plumaged Dunlin - a late spring or an early autumn migrant ?
The summering drake Wigeon was still around as well as 2 or 3 pairs of Great-crested Grebes.

On Spinney Pit was a pair of Little Grebe and a Little Egret.





Motorway Pit was still home to the pair of Oystercatchers and about 12 pairs of Common Tern. The pair of Mute Swans have 4 cygnets, while the pair on the Reedy Pit have 5.

Across at the weir on the second river a pair of Grey Wagtail were collecting huge beakfulls of insects for their young which must be fairly close by. Grey Wagtail

Walking across the cornfield to Quarryhall, I was harassed by no less than 3 pairs of Yellow Wagtails, all carry food so presumably these all have young too. Skylarks were everywhere and up at the Quarry itself 3 Stock Doves, a couple of Yellowhammers and a single Tree Sparrow were seen.
Yellow Wagtail

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The New Forest

Our latest RSPB trip was a visit to the New Forest.

I didn't get any bird photos, but we were loving this young foal.

First stop was Bealieau Road station, where singing Crossbills and Goldcrest in the Pines gave us hope that today was going to be a good birding day.
It did turn out that way but not through the amount of birds seen.
Walking across the Heath, two or three Hobbies flew around and we found several Stonechat, one of the group saw a Dartford Warbler, but it wasn't me.
Following a tip-off we made our way into the woods in search of a Wood Warbler, and en-route discovered a fantastic pair of Redstart that were feeding young.
The tip-off proved correct and we soon heard the un-mistakeable sound of a singing male Wood Warbler. He was calling constantly and finally we were rewarded with excellent views of this cracking bird. A first in Britain for me.

In the afternoon we moved on to Acres Down. In all probability a bit late in the day, as we heard that we had missed a fly-over Honey Buzzard by 15 minutes and a perched Goshawk by 30 minutes.
Common Buzzards were the best we could muster, and walking around the Gorse more Stonechats, Meadow Pipits and a pair of Bullfinch were seen.

All in all not a great variety of birds seen today, but great to finally catch up with a Wood Warbler.