Monday, 31 December 2012

Forest of Dean.... 27th-30th December 2012.

My first visit to the Forest of Dean was most enjoyable apart from the dreadful weather. The floods seen in fields etc were an eyeopener, I pity those who are still suffering the effects of the rains this year.

This image of my wellies sets the scene of the weather conditions!

The first area visited was the viewpoint at New Fancy, amazing views though unfortunately no Goshawks today but two Ravens were still a pleasing sight and sound.

It was evident were the Wild Boar had been foraging! What a mess they make of grassy areas. The grassed verges alongside roads, parkland and reserves in fact almost anywhere there was grass had been foraged by Wild Boars, to say it looked an eyesore is an understatement. A pity this has happened in such a beautiful area!

Parkend was visited twice in search of Hawfinch that frequent the area but to no avail. No Hawfinch to be seen but a Green Woodpecker, c 20 Long-tailed Tits, Great and blue Tits, Robin and a Jay were a delight to see in the area of Parkend Church.

Cannop Ponds in the rain was still good! Highlight species seen were Siskin, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin, Nuthatch, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Mandarins, Little Grebe, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck and Raven! A super area and popular judging by the amount of people seen on two visits.

RSPB Nagshead was visited twice though sadly it was very quiet of birds due no doubt again to the wet weather! Highlight species seen were Nuthatch, Robin, Blackbird and Buzzard x2, in fact these were the only birds seen! I hope to visit again sometime in the New Year when the reserve like many others will be bursting with Flora and Fauna.

The views of the River Wye and surrounding areas from Symonds Yat Rock viewpoint were spectacular and I am sure on a clearer day would have been even more spectacular! A perched Peregrine, Blackbird and Carrion Crow were the only birds to be seen and lovely they were too!

A short visit to WWT Slimbridge was made on the return journey home. The Bewick's Swans were a delight to see even though there was just a handful in the Rushy Pen at the time of our visit. The view from the Holden Tower is what I had been waiting to see and I was not disappointed! The sightings list for the morning had Lapwing 3200, Golden Plover 2060, Dunlin 100 and Curlew 97 from the Holden Tower and what a sight the Waders were when they took flight especially so the Golden Plovers! A pity the sun did not shine! Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, Whitefronted Geese and Black-tailed Godwit were also seen in impressive numbers! It was a short visit to Slimbridge and a great one!
This is my last post of 2012. I wish those who follow my Blog or those who happen to chance upon it a Healthy and Happy New Year 2013!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Eve catch-up!

 15/12/12....Norton Covert Bridleway, Iverley Park Farm and Sugar Loaf Lane.

A good walk was enjoyed this morning in the company of my Daughter Emma! We started the walk at Norton Covert where we saw and heard Blue & Great Tit and Robin along with distant Fieldfares and Redwings! The pathway alongside Iverley Park Farm was at times very muddy after the once again recent rains, nevertheless we decided to walk a circular walk and carry on to Sugar Loaf Lane  and then on to Norton Covert were we had begun the walk. Highlight birds were Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Yellowhammer, Green Woodpecker, Buzzard, Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Bullfinch (3), Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Wren, Blackbird and Dunnock. Woodpigeon and Black-headed Gulls were in abundance in and around the fields. It was heavy going in the muddy conditions but we enjoyed our walk and were pleased that we took the long and not the short route!

An afternoon visit to Arley was a delight and the musical accompaniment made for a good atmosphere! The music was emanating from the Severn Valley Railway as they were running their Santa Specials! It was nice sitting outside at the Cafe and listening to the band playing Christmas songs and Carols whilst watching the world go by. Apart from the usual Mallards on the slipway waiting to be fed the River was quiet but running well.
Highlight birds seen on the walk in order of appearance were Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Little Grebe, Robin, Kestrel, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Moorhen, Long-tailed Tits, Pied Wagtail, Mistle Thrush with Siskin and Nuthatch heard only.

Well the world did not end at 11.11am so a ride to Eyemore Wood and Trimpley Reservoir was partaken in the afternoon. Not a lot of birds to be seen in all honestly apart from a Song Thrush, Greenfinch, Buzzard, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Coot, Tufted Duck, Grey Heron and Cormorant, all lovely to see but the icing on the Christmas cake were the 9 Goosander on the lower Reservoir and the 11 Mandarin Ducks on the River! Eyemore Wood was very quiet with just a couple of Coal Tits seen. On the way home a short visit to Bodenham Arboretum was made and a cuppa and slice of Coffee & Walnut cake was most enjoyable and ended a productive afternoon!

I have finally done all of my shopping, wrapping and preparing for the big day which will more than likely be over in the blink of an eye!.lol!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, enjoy!

A Reindeer for Christmas

Dear Santa, this Christmas my list is quite small.
In fact, I need practically nothing at all.
My list is so short and so easy to read
because there's just one thing I actually need.
A reindeer for Christmas is all I require;
a reindeer, of course, who's an excellent flier.
I really don't care if it's Dasher or Dancer.
I'm okay with Cupid or Comet or Prancer.
Please don't think I'm greedy; I only want one.
You won't even miss him, and I'll have such fun.
I promise I'll feed him and treat him just right,
and take him out flying around every night.
You see, I'm not selfish. So, for my surprise this Christmas,
please bring me a reindeer that flies.
But if my request is a bit much for you,
I guess that an iPod will just have to do.

--Kenn Nesbitt

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Waxwings...3 will do me fine!....08/12/2012

It was a cold, misty and frosty start to Saturday, I pondered where to go for my 'Saturday Solitude' walk. Bunkers Hill seemed appropriate as the walk up the hills would be good exercise and help to keep me warm! The sun eventually broke through the clouds and shone through the trees, the views were very atmospheric as I looked back down the hill!
Highlight birds on the walk were Goldcrest, Jay, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Redwing, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers having a bit of a to-do, a single Sparrowhawk and single Raven.

On my way home I drove to Sandy Lane/Roman Way to check the berry trees for Waxwings, as I had done a few times recently without luck, today was no exception. I then checked out (again) berry trees by a local (ish) Co-op store where Waxwings had been reported the week previous...woohoo...3 flew to the top of a tree as I sat in my car trying not to look too conspicous with my camera and bins! They did not stay for long as a couple of Mistle thrushes spooked them, I have since been told that the Mistle Thrush are regularly in that area so defending their territory or berry crop I suppose! I waited to see if the Waxwings returned but the need for a cuppa got the better of me so I returned home!

I am happy with the sighting of the 3 Waxwings so I doubt I will go searching again for them, I may be lucky to see a few more on any future Winter walks.
A lone Redwing was feeding alongside Blackbirds in my garden when I returned home.
I was well pleased with the bird sightings I had had today.

Distant but a delight to see!
The sun shone brightly 10 minutes after the Waxwings had departed. The Blackbirds looked a treat as they ate their treats!
My first Redwing in the garden this Winter!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Brrrrrrr....a cold start to December!....1/12/2012

A sharp frost this morning so a trip to feed the ducks at Brake Mill Pool was my destination. The surrounding fields and hedgerows looked a treat in the early morning light before the sun appeared and melted the frost. The Ducks, Gulls and Swans did not take long to reach the edge of the pool and soon devoured the bread (wholemeal I might add) I had taken for them. The Gulls were mainly Black-headed Gulls which made the two Lesser-black Backed Gulls stand out! Three Little Grebes were a nice sight to see here, it had been a while since a sighting of them here. Coots, Moorhen and a Grey Heron where also in and around the pool.

Long-tailed Tit, Blue & Great Tit, Robin, Blackbird and Dunnock were seen as I walked to a wooded area which was fortunately devoid of frost. It was like walking into another world after seeing the fields white over with frost.

A Raven was a good sighting as I made my way back to the pool and I could hear a flock of Canada Geese arriving and goodness me had they arrived in good numbers! I was surprised to see so many on and around the pool, there was easily 150+, the most I have ever seen here. My walk started with the sight and feel of the cold frost and ended still feeling very cold but with a shower of rain! Fickle weather!
What a poser!!

Squelching around WWT Brandon Marsh NR....25/11/2012

With the heavy and persistent rain over the previous days it was not surprising to learn that the tracks to the hides were inaccessible albeit to one of the hides the Wright Hide. This was not a problem as it is always good to walk the outermost areas of the reserve alongside the grassland and scrub areas.

I was told that 4 Waxwings had an hour previously been seen eating the Gilder Rose berries and perching in the Poplar trees. I had several visits to the area but no luck with the Waxwings.

Willow Island in the East Marsh Pool was a shadow of it's former self with the water level being so high, it was hardly visible especially so as it was almost completely covered in resting Greylag Geese and Gulls!

 Highlight species seen today were Nuthatch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue & Great Tit, Wigeon, Tufted duck, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Cormorants aplenty and 2 pairs of Mute Swans. I just wish I could have added Waxwings, maybe I will be lucky locally.;-)

A good sighting was 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers perched in one tree, I have never seen three so close together before. They were feeding from a peanut feeder that had been erected in the grounds of the Concrete Plant adjacent to the overflow carpark. I had walked around the carpark looking for Waxwings and found three delightful Woodpeckers instead, I was happy with that!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A misty morning at Wassell Grove Fisheries....24/11/2012

The mist and fog was decidedly denser as I approached the Fisheries, the sun had threatened to appear but it was not to be this morning. Highlight species were Blackbirds, Great & Blue Tits, a lone Fieldfare, Wren, a very vocal fly-over Raven, a great Spotted Woodpecker, Corvids were plentiful and noticeably Magpies were in abundance! Only a short visit this morning as it was such a damp and chilly morning!

"How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow."

  - Elsie N. Brady.