Monday, 30 January 2012

Garden Birdwatch

The garden Birdwatch was not as good as expected. The weather was grim and so not many birds turned up. The full list included
Coal Tits-2
Blue Tits-2
It was nice to see these birds but they were within the first 20 minutes or so of doing it.

Oldbury Power Station 28.1.12

I got to the Oldbury power station car park and things got off to a great start, seeing a green Woodpecker flying off into the tree’s. As I walked to the hide overlooking Lagoon 3 I saw a Blue Tit fly over and into a tree as I got my binoculars on to the bird it suddenly flew upwards and it had flown up to a lamppost and at the end the Blue Tit was cling on to it. I was not surprised to see this because having been there before in the summer I had witnessed a Blue Tit family nesting in the lamppost. As I moved closer to the hide I heard a Song Thrush singing. I looked up to the tallest tree and at the top was the singing bird. I then went to the hide and in there was Peter Hazelwood who updates a website called Oldbury Power Station ( After greeting him I looked at the 100 or so Lapwing, about 300 Dunlin and around 50 Gulls I also saw three small birds about the size of sparrows. 2 or 3 minutes later Peter Hazelwood said, “Did you come here looking for the Twite?”
I said, “I had heard about them. Why?
“They are over there.” He replied. I was very excited. The birds I thought were sparrows were actually Twite. After Peter Hazelwood left we saw a lonely Curlew which appear to have just woken up. After that hide I walked long the stretch of the walkway past the River Severn. The only birds about were Mallards, in fact I must of seen at least 30 mallards all chasing each other about. I then reached Lagoon 2 where there was a sense of business about. The brambles were alive with the sound of bird song. Unfortunately not much could actually be seen. I did see a flock of about 7 goldfinches and also a Bullfinch. I walked around to the orchard and stopped to take photos of the many Tits which were there. I sat down onto a bench there for a rest but I could hear this strange squawking sound. I just thought it was a Magpie but on closer inspection it turned out to a couple of Fieldfares another species of which I had never seen. The trip turned out to be a good one and I really enjoyed it!!!     

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Slimbridge visit (21.1.12)

I arrived at 9:30 on the dot and walked straight through using my membership card. I, as usual, went to the Rushy first where Bewick Swans, Pintails, Shelducks, Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Woodpigeons and Shoveler ducks all sat quietly without too much commotion but then about ten Canada Geese flew in and disturbed the peace. I was keen to move on to the Robbie Garlett Hide as I’d heard there was a great view of the Female Lesser Scaup. Having failed twice before to see it I was frustrated when I couldn’t find it. There were so many Tufted Ducks that it was hard to see it. Also there were hundreds of Wigeon, about 30 Pintails, about 30 Tufted Ducks, 20 or so Mallards, Canada Geese, at least 1000 Lapwings and mixed in with the Lapwings were Ruff, Golden Plover and Sandpipers. Golden Plovers and Ruff being a new species for me!! Redshanks appeared to be feeding from the edge of a pool. There were about 15 redshanks around the pool. After I moved on to the Holden tower where I saw more Lapwings, Wigeon, Canada Geese. I saw the White Fronted Geese and the two Egyptian Geese these two types of geese also being a new species to me. By this time I was very excited!! I went from the windswept Holden Tower to the quite Stephen Kirk Hide or so we thought, within 2 minutes of getting inside the Lapwings and other Waders all took off and did the most amazing displays thousands of birds flying over the top of us. I half ran from the Stephen Kirk hide to the Robbie Garnett hide where we got a better view of the displaying birds. After checking out the “displayers” I looked down onto the Tack piece where about 100 barnacle geese stood with ten Swans. Then a bird flew in. I had no idea what type of bird it was but after looking in my Collins Bird Guide, I came to the conclusion that it was a Snow Goose!! It was amazing but after asking Warden James Lees I was slightly disappointed that in fact it was Canada Goose with a pigment problem!! The day slowed down after that excitement but I paid a visit to the Zeiss Hide. On the way to the Hide there was a Bullfinch perched in the tree. It was very beautiful. Lots of waders stood around not really doing much. No sign of the Bittern as it was only 11am. As I walked back I could see the Lapwings flying around again so I decided to go back to the Robbie Garnett hide were amazingly the Lesser Scaup was swimming very close to the hide. I was very happy to finally see it.

Best Hide
The best was the Robbie Garlett Hide due to its amazing Lapwings and Lesser Scaup. The Holden Tower was better than usual offering more birds such as White Fronted Geese.

Best Moment
The best moment was seeing the Lesser Scaup because I was searching every female Tufted Duck to see if it had a tuft and finally I came across one that didn’t have tuft.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Blue Tits Nesting!?

Hello Again,
Finally after three years of having a bird box, 2 Blue tits have moved in!! A little early but its looking good. Seen them entering the box with grass!!! They seemed to be a bit tentative on going in but seem to be getting used to it. Other sightings this week include 2 collared Doves, 2 Wood Pigeons, A wren, plenty of Robins, Wagtails at school.

SlimBridge Visit 14.1.12

SlimBridge Visit 14.1.12

I was really eager to get in but the trip got off to a slow start with a long queue holding me up. I started with the Rushy where a surprisingly low amount of birds quietly sat on the water. Most of these birds were Tufted Ducks(Tuftys) and Shelducks, Pintails, Teals, Wigeon and Pochard. There were about 20 or so Bewick Swans and some Mallards. After looking at a robin outside of the Rushy hide I moved on to the Martin Smith Hide where we saw our most exciting sighting. 4 Common Snipe!! We had great views as they were about 3 metres from us. The markings of the bird were spectacular making it hard to see when you took your eye off it. When one flew off it appeared to be much smaller than a Common Snipe so I asked Slimbridge warden James Lees which type it was. He said,There has been around 5 Common Snipes consistently from that hide all winter. So far no jack snipes seen from there”. Also in the large expanse beyond the smaller pond where the Common Snipe were there was a gathering of around 200 Wigeon some Pintails and some Pochard. 50 or so Lapwings were scattered around the paddock and right at the back there were some waders including Dunlin and Common Sandpipers. The Robbie Garlett hide looked out onto the same paddock as the Martin Smith hide but only looked out onto a few Mute Swans and a couple of Shelducks, 3 Teal were also mulling around in the pool. After walking through all the captive bird enclosures we came to the Zeiss Hide which was very crowded due to the Bittern in the reeds. I saw it through a man’s telescope but having seen 10 at the Somerset levels, I wasn’t as excited as I should have been. After walking back to the main complex I decided to go back to the Martin Smith where I added a heron to the sightings list.

Best Hide
The best hide has to be the Martin Smith hide as it had the Common Snipes and thousands of other birds in the background. The Zeiss hide was good with the Bittern but lacked other birds. The Rushy was disappointing as the amount of birds was less than expected.

Best Moment
Easily the best moment was seeing the four Common Snipe!! I always see a species of bird I have never seen before, every time I go to Slimbridge. The bittern was also very good as they can be very rare and elusive!