Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A late flurry before the end of 2014!

How quickly has 2014 flown by! I have finally managed to 'catch up' on my blog before I am off out and partying the night away. ;-)

A first visit to RSPB Middleton Lakes was enjoyed in August...yes August...I am soooo late with posts....a New Years resolution will be to keep up to date with posts!
Nothing spectacular seen at Middleton Lakes though in August I was not expecting to see too much anyway! The Reserve is super and I hope to visit again a few times in 2015.

September arrived and a holiday was enjoyed immensely in Hayle, Cornwall. The RSPB have several reserves in the Hayle area and all were visited several times during the week. A pair of Choughs were a real treat of a find at Porthgwarra. Porthgwarra has some stunning cliff and sea views! A Pectoral Sandpiper was also a treat to see at Marazion Marsh RSPB reserve, good to be in the right place at the right time! A great week's holiday and some stunning areas visited.

October and in to November, an Algarve holiday was a tonic in glorious sunshine! The Little Owls were seen daily from the Villa accommodation, also seen on most days were Black Redstart, Stonechat (m&f), Red-legged Partridge, Cattle Egret, Kestrel and Hoopoe! My only Painted Lady butterfly of 2014 was seen in the Algarve, it would be nice to see at least one in the UK in 2015!

December arrived and a long weekend in Lancashire was thoroughly enjoyed! A first ever visit to RSPB Leighton Moss and what a treat it was to see my first ever 'wild' Otter, viewed from the Public Hide also a Bittern and Water Rail from the same hide, a triple whammy!!! The Morecambe Bay area was an eye-opener, I did not realise that the sandflats and saltmarshes covered such a vast area! It was a joy to see so many Lapwings and Golden Plovers at Hest Bank. Oystercatchers, Dunlins, Redshanks and a couple of Little Egrets also being  highlights at Hest Bank! I hope to return to this part of Lancashire sometime in 2015.

WWT Slimbridge was again visited on the 'Shortest Day'!
 Golden Plover numbers built through the day numbering c800 before departing for the Cotswolds in the afternoon, flocks were viewed departing whilst waiting for the 'Wildbird Feed' to start. 84 Bewick's Swans were on sight and what a delight they were to see as they drifted in as dusk and feeding time neared. It was super seeing Wigeon, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Teal, Tufted Duck and Pochard in large numbers and a Water Rail posed nicely for a photo to end what has been a good year in many ways.

A Happy New Year 2015 to all!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Nene and Natterjack!....18th-19th August 2014.

A couple of days were enjoyed at and around Slimbridge with our eldest Grandson (5) who enjoyed his first visit to the Wetlands Reserve and also testing out his new RSPB binoculars. We were very lucky weather wise having to only run for cover once and even then we enjoyed viewing the Greater Flamingos whilst sitting inside the new sunken observatory! A great addition to the reserve.

A few grateful recipients of the bird seed purchased from the Visitor centre.
Little and Large. :-)
Moorhens aplenty around the reserve.

The Bewick's Swan is one of I believe 6 Bewick's that are now resident and as such part of the Collection now, due I believe to their inability to return to their breeding grounds.
I was just a little surprised when our Grandson asked what the different Swan was called, though I shouldn't have been too surprised as he has for a long time now had a great interest in nature and is always asking questions. As he had been seeing Mute Swans regularly at a local pool we frequent he knew the Bewick's were different. His observation skills are good.

Nene Geese,  Greylag Geese and Jackdaws were seen numerous times throughout the day. I felt that there didn't seem as many 'Captive' species seen as we walked around, though maybe they were in hiding with so much vegetation to secret themselves away in.
An interesting talk about salamanders, exotic frogs and newts was given in Toad Hall and afterwards children and adults were invited to hold a Salamander and Natterjack Toad. It would have been rude to refuse the invitation! Great fun!

 Pond Dipping
We found Damselfly Larvae, Water snails, Sticklebacks and Water Boatmen!
A good variety of homes for insects.

Views from the Sloane Severn View Observation tower.

Gloucester-Sharpness Canal.
A great couple of days was enjoyed at WWT Slimbridge seeing captive and wild birds, having fun in Welly boot land and the play area, seeing the Otters and learning about them. So many highlights, roll on the next visit!