Tuesday, November 30
Better do some more swatting up on 'Mealys' v 'Lessers'!
I then had a quick look along Wedgewood Avenue for yesterdays Waxwings but no joy.
Monday, November 29
First up another try for Short-eared Owls along Swans Way. No owls seen from my car but two Kestrels suggests the food chain is still active. I did get an email beep on my phone, which I didn't read at first, I then received a text from Simon a few minutes later to advise that 25 Waxwings were in a tree a couple of miles away at Blakelands, but I decided time was tight and stuck it out hoping for some owls.
Also the female Smew was still reported from Caldecotte.
We then left Mike and headed onto Wilstone Reservoir. We were both amazed how low the water was. Also large parts of water were frozen. A Kingfisher, Redshank, 14 Golden Plover and drake Goldeneye were the highlights, but we couldn't locate the over wintering Water Pipit. We also meet another birder in a short sleeve t-shirt and jeans! When asked 'aren't you cold' his reply was 'it's a long story' - you Herts boys are nutters :-)
With time short (so we couldn't listen to this chaps story) we thought we'd have to check out Caldecotte Lake on the way home as Keith had text with a possible rare grebe earlier in the morning. Again large parts of the north lake were frozen. We found a female Goldeneye, a Little Grebe with the Great Crested and then I spotted a female 'red head' Smew near the Cormorant Island. A quick phone call to Keith who was still on site and we confirmed it was the Smew he had found earlier. So Slavonian Grebe still evades my Bucks list.
Check out Keith's excellent blog for a picture of the sawbill - http://caldecottelake.blogspot.com/
Few pictures from south of the beacon.
Saturday, November 27
On a positive note all 11 of my bat boxes were still hanging and intact.
I took a few pictures of the new development surrounding the wood.
This facing south towards Westcroft -
These new drainage ditches were completely frozen. Two pipits flew towards the 'old peoples home' development (1st picture). I bet these water courses would be good for passing migrants if you can get there before the dog walkers.
Facing south -
I also took a stock count of the number of 'wood pecker' holes around the wood. If 70 plus Noctule Bats can take up residence in an thin Ash tree - who knows what other bat species can be found next spring!
Friday, November 26
Thursday, November 25
Tuesday, November 23
Saturday, November 20
The Bearded Tits were also reported from Walton Balancing Lake today.
Thursday, November 18
2 male and 11 female Goldeneye, 70+ Tufted Duck, 15+ Pochard, 100+ Coot, 2 Gadwall, only 2 Mallard seemed low? 2 Kingfishers flew through the scope followed by a small all white? wader? no idea what it was. 1 Grey Heron, 1 Herring Gull and 2 Common Gull along with a few Black-headed Gulls.
Tuesday, November 9
Monday, November 8
We continued to Cley and parked at the beach. Still no reports of the American Golden Plover - was it here or at Blakeney? Cley proved good as always with 3 Grey Phalaropes from North Hide, a Red Throated Diver drifted off shore along with lots of Common Scoter and a few Kittiwake. An Adult Arctic Tern feeding along the shore was a very late bird. Locals had said it had been around for quite some time, even landing on the beach to rest.
We then visited Holkham Gap to follow up a report of 60+ Lapland Buntings yesterday. Again no joy. Still no news of the American Golden Plover and the light fading we headed off to Titchwell. Lots of birds here with 100+ Golden Plover (which yesterday held a juvenile Dotterel). We did see a dozen Twite on the bank towards the new hides. Then on the beach finally had some brief flight views of 11 Shorelark that had been in the area all day. At least 1 adult Yellow-legged Gull was in the roost on the freshmarsh along with 20 Little Egrets before flying off east to roost. Last bird of the day was a Woodcock flying out of the car park in the near dark.
For the mammal list - still no Common Seal ! But for the 'Dead List' I did add a probable dead Otter, a freshly killed Weasel, more Rabbits and Hedgehogs.
A good day but alas dipped on all possible lifers. Annoyingly the American Golden Plover was reported from Blakeney late in the afternoon as we munch our curry in the early evening.
Now back to the DIY ;-)
Friday, November 5
Female Bearded Tit at Walton Balancing Lake 05/11/2010 13:31 – Car Park SP879369
Speaking with Nik about the news he said “what did you go there for !?!!?” – Well, Linford was dead yesterday, Walton’s closer to work and I still needed Bittern for my Bucks year list – came my reply.
As I started down the boardwalk from the small car park I flushed something small from the boardwalk edge which moved off into the reeds, but I could still hear it moving around? Don’t think it was a bird as it didn’t give any contact call as it was flushed? So had my hopes up it could have been a mammal....a Water Vole? or perhaps a Mink :-( ? Anyway I couldn’t relocate it so started off further along the board walk and to the viewing platform. From here, I could again something moving to my left through the reeds (but this animal/bird was the same as the previous – it would have had to have crossed the footpath leading off to the 2nd hide. I now started to track the twitching reeds as the creature moved around my left and closer to me. I then realised it was a bird as it started giving ‘CHA - ing’ calls, with heart beat raised I started to think it didn’t sound quite right for Bearded Tit – a shorter “ping” from memory? The reeds kept moving and I could track this as it moved across my position and away from me. Panicking that the bird was not going to show itself and the movement now going away from me I started ‘pishing’ the bird. Again it still kept moving away to about 10 metre. I noticed the reed stems getting shaken more and more, I could still hear some “Cha–hing” calls as it went. So I finally used my bins as I’d been keeping them covered out of the rain, and started to track up the shaking reeds to finally see a female BEARDED TIT pop out on top of the Reed Mace between some greener leaved shrubs. This then moved off away from me, but at this point I’m sure I heard a ‘second’ contact call coming to the right of where that bird was (about 4 metres away). Then gone. No more views. (I then thought I heard 2 calls off to the right by the time Martin K and Rob N had arrived but they didn’t).
UPDATE 14:39 Rob N’s still on site and called to say he’s heard two Bearded Tits calling and briefly seen one at distance moving amongst the reeds.
The platform seems the best location – But please be very quiet once on site. Boardwalk SP880370
What a sweet Bucks county tick!
Thursday, November 4
I'm struggling to spend the time, effort or petrol on visiting Linford recently and with no reports coming I thought the strong south westerly might produce something good.
5 Lapwings flew straight through and they were the only waders I could find.
A Sparrowhawk flew over the hide whilst being chased by 2 Goldfinchs giving alarm calls.
7 Common Gulls amongst the 50 plus Black-headed.
Lots of Tufted Duck, few Wigeon, 4 Gadwall and the odd drake Pochard. No Little Egrets and no Geese at all? Lots of Cormorant though.
Tuesday, November 2
We stopped off to twitch the Lesser Yellowlegs at Port Meadow on route. After my only previous visit, to twitch the Pectoral Sandpipers, the site looked amazing, with the flood showing over a massive area. Even in a howling wind it didn't take long to track down the Yellowlegs near the main footpath next to 1 Ruff. Brilliant views and the legs showed really bright through the scope. With the wind blowing the life out of the girls we headed off sharply. Only my second Yellowlegs after the Berry Fen one a few years back with Rob N.
We then headed down to Weston and twice dipped Purple Sandpipers on the rocks near Birnbeck Pier, either we were a fraction too early for one of the high tides or they just weren't in yet? Hopefully get another chance at Christmas to add this species to my year list.
I quick walk around Knightstone Island produced over 40+ Oystercatchers, 15+ Shelduck and 1 Curlew amongst the Gulls on the mud around the island.
On Sunday I made a quick stop off at Cheddar Reservoir. I have to admit I was shocked how low this was, large stretches of exposed mud/ground/bottom. Massive numbers of Coot and ducks. After about 5 scans and checking every Great Crested Grebe, I couldn't locate the long staying 1st winter Red-necked Grebe. Then a young lad with birding gear came and asked if I'd seen it, I advised not, then as soon as he walked off out of ear shot, I found the grebe in the middle of the reservoir drifting away towards the Coot flock. With the girls not coming back a Halloween party in Wookey Hole I continue scan the lake and re found the 2 Whopper Swans but no sign of another year tick I was after - the Red-breasted Merganser and actually a Somerset tick. No joy. Then received a Bird Guides text later that evening and is was still being reported!
A good trip and nice to catch up with the family.