Friday, 19 February 2016

A Kestrel encounter!.... 18/02/2016

A walk in the sunshine was a must after the previous days weather which consisted of leaden grey skies and rain literally all day long! A slight wind kept the temperatures down but no matter it was more importantly dry and sunny! I decided a walk along the track between fields at Whittington might be productive and I am so glad I did.

I was well pleased to see a Kestrel land along a tree lined hedgerow! I watched her as she flew to and from the trees and the field where Sheep and their Lambs were grazing. She promptly found a few worms to enjoy! I have never had such good and lengthy views of a Kestrel on the ground before. I kept my distance and managed a few images and video in between good binocular views of her.

What a fabulous bird!
A male Stonechat was also a delight to see on my walk. He continually flew from post to wire and wire to they do! A little smasher!

Fieldfares, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock. Skylark (heard only), Woodpigeons and the usual Corvids were also seen regularly.
As the light began to fade a Starling murmuration was great to see.....well ok maybe only 140+ Starlings but still a murmuration.;-)
This little cutie with it's Mum was my first Lamb sighting of the year.
I do feel for Common Buzzards, they seem to be forever being mobbed by Corvids! This one was quietly perched minding it's own business!
The Cows were noisily on the move up the hill! The noise they were making reminded me of the TV programme Rawhide..well I can just about remember the programme.;-)
I thought this was a nice reflection as I looked back at the end of my walk.
I was in fact looking back at the long and winding track!
This had been one of my best walks of the Winter. Not a great number of species seen but those I had seen were pretty special.
That to me is what Bird and Nature watching is all about.

A surprise garden visitor! 18/02/2016

I was surprised and delighted to see a female Siskin in my garden! I just about managed a photo before a Coal Tit chased it off!

My last record of them was in March 2014. I do a weekly BTO Garden Birdwatch which helps the BTO and myself to keep a track of what is present in my garden and locally.

A Sparrowhawk visit shortly afterwards did not go unnoticed by me as I watched it fly swiftly in to the garden and promptly perch in an apple tree! A female Bullfinch on a feeder was oblivious as she stayed feeding whilst the male Bullfinch fled in to conifer trees and was well hidden! The Sparrowhawk soon left the garden without prey!
I have this Winter missed seeing a Blackcap in my garden. Up until now this is the first Winter without a record of  them. There is still time I suppose.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Return of the Finches!

A pair each of Greenfinch and Bullfinch have been a pleasure to see once again on the feeders in my garden! I had been hearing the male Bullfinches piping call at times when I was outdoors so I knew it wasn't far away and that before long it would come to feed.

Local walk...13/02/2016
Literally hundreds of Gulls (mainly Black-headed, a few Herring and a lone Lesser-black Backed ) in flight were making their way towards a sheep field as I drove the lane to the destination for my walk . Gulls in great numbers are in my eyes an impressive sight. I was to see several flocks of mobile Gulls during my early morning walk, something was apparently making them quite jittery or they just needed a change of scenery perhaps.;-)
A few pics taken on my walk.
What a hoot!

Big Brother is watching.;-)

RSPB Sandwell Valley. 14/02/2016
It was a bitterly cold day but an enjoyable one nonetheless.
Reed Buntings were to be the only addition to my species list for 2016, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, nesting Oystercatchers, Tufted Ducks, Gadwall, Wigeon and a cute little Pied Wagtail being the highlights.

Swan Pool
What a great idea for a viewing screen! Educational as well as having plenty of peep holes!


Sunday, 7 February 2016

If at first you don't succeed.... Forest of Dean....29th-31st January 2016.

try, try again! Well I did try and finally had views of a Goshawk though distant, very distant! To be honest it could have been a Common Buzzard that I was viewing but a friendly birder next to us at New Fancy View confirmed it really was a 'very distant Goshawk'! I think (without checking) this was our 4th visit to New fancy View in the Forest of Dean in search of Goshawks that a lot of folk seem to see more easily and at the right time of year displaying no less! The rooting up of grassy areas were testament to the presence of Wild Boar in the area. Some affected areas on our last visit seemed to have recovered well, so all is not lost with the presence of the Wild Boar though I would not like to meet one face to face!!

I am glad Wild Boar are not in my garden!


It was a most enjoyable couple of days away, staying in Symonds Yat (East) with great views from the Guest House of the Symonds Yat Rapids a man-made feature on the River Wye. A pity the sun was not shining when I took the pics.

Cannop Ponds was on the agenda for a walk and thankfully welly boots had been packed as they certainly were needed after the rains of recent weeks. A couple of pairs of Mandarins, several Little Grebes who were ducking and diving too much for me to get a more accurate count, Tufted Duck and Cormorant were the remaining highlights here. At the feeding station were numerous Blue and Great Tits, Dunnocks, Robins (having a tussle occasionally), Blackbirds and a Nuthatch made up the numbers.



A tasty fish!
Going down!
Enjoying the sunshine or drying off...the latter methinks!
Just passing!

Parkend was where the distant Hawfinch was seen once only despite a couple of lengthy visits. Again Blue and Great Tits were to be seen in good numbers also Chaffinches! Wren, Song Thrush, Greenfinch, Dunnock and Nuthatch were also in much evidence as were the Sheep that were grazing freely, no wonder the Hawfinches were

On arrival at Yat Rock the pair of Peregrines that nest there were both perched on what is I believe a favoured tree, although one was obscured by the branches to see clearly. We had good views from the viewpoint of Raven, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Cormorant.
Seed had been left in various places including a hole in one of the trees close to the viewpoint. Nuthatch, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Robin, Chaffinch and again in good numbers were Great and Blue Tits were the species enjoying the seed offerings.


Peregrine pair perched...honestly. lol

I reckon another visit in Spring will be needed to have better views of a Goshawk or two!