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Wildlife in and around the city of Bristol

www.landcaretrees.co.uk

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Bristol and Avon Bird

Sightings

Wildlife in the Forest of Dean

Bob Bushell’s Wildlife
Photography

Scotland 19th-28th May


Friday 19th May 2017.

We headed up the M5 & M6 towards Carnforth in Lancashire. We got to Leighton Moss RSPB in the late afternoon and went straight to the Causeway Hide. We were hoping that an Otter would be swimming around 2:30 to 3:00 as it had been seen on previous afternoons. We saw a couple of Greylag Geese with red neck tags, Mute Swans, Moorhens, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Marsh Harriers and a pair of Great Black-backed Gulls, but no Otter sadly. It was even quieter on Lillan’s Pool with just a few Black-tailed Godwits, Grey Heron & Little Egret. We then made our way to the Grizedale Hide where we saw a big number of Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Avocets flying towards Morecambe Bay. There were 4 Little Egrets chasing each other around the pools. A few Gadwall and a pair of Shovelers were also seen from the hide. After having a tip off about the Red Deer Stags showing well from the next hide, we headed to the Tim Jackson Hide. The Stags were still present feeding on the bank behind the pools. They were getting hissed at by both Canada and Greylag Geese for getting too close to their goslings. Afterwards we made our way back to the visitors car park via the woods which is good for Marsh Tit and Treecreeper. Back at the Visitor Centre a Female Great Spotted Woodpecker was feeding on peanuts until it was flushed by a pair of Mallards quacking. Our final port of call for the day was exploring the Morecambe Bay part of the reserve. Me & Dad went to see what was about. A couple of Sedge Warblers showed well by the main path. From the Eric Morecambe Hide we saw Oystercatchers, Little Egret, Black-headed Gulls and a Spoonbill. This Immature was first seen feeding behind the Gull Colony, swaying the bill from side to side. I managed to see it from Allen Hide before the Black-headed Gulls chased it off. Afterwards we went to get some chips in Canforth and ate them at Warton Crag. We saw the Peregrine Falcon sitting on the cliff edge. We then headed to the George Washington Hotel in Warton Village for the night.

Robin [Juveniles]

Cormorant [Adult]

Moorhen [Adult]

Great Crested Grebe [Summer]

Marsh Tit

Little Egrets

Great Spotted Woodpecker [Male]

Red Deer [Male]

Spoonbill & Black-headed Gull

Saturday 20th May 2017

We headed off from Lancashire up into Scotland. We spent most of the time travelling up, just as well because it was raining on & off all day. It was a very slow journey on the outskirts of Glasgow & over the Erskine Bridge. Eventually we made it to Oban. We stopped off to see the Black Guillemots that nest in the seawall. We saw a pair resting on the slipway. Both birds were disturbed by the appearance of a Hooded Crow, which started foraging in the seaweed. Another pair of Black Guillemots swam into view. Eventually both birds returned to rest on the slipway & another one flew out to sea. There was a bird peeking out of the harbour wall. Afterwards we made our way to the ferry terminal, but we got there too early! We were told come back after 5:00 as the other ferry bound for Mull was setting off at 17:00 and was fully booked. We drove along to a carpark at the south western end of Oban where we had something to eat and good views of a pair of Hooded Crows on the shoreline. Afterwards we headed back to the ferry terminal to get ready for boarding. We set off at ten past six in the evening. We saw a few Gannets & Eiders, also a pair of Black Guillemots on leaving Oban. We soon arrived at Craignure after 7:00PM and we drove on the main road for a short while before heading to our cottage near Grasspoint. The cottage is set a few metres away from Loch Don which is a great place for Short-eared Owls, Otters and Hen Harriers.

Black Guillemot [Summer]

Black Guillemot [Summer]

Hooded Crows

Hooded Crow


Sunday 21st May 2017

We headed off early to catch the Mull Charters boat at Ulva. On the way, Dad spotted a Common Snipe perched on a fence post, it flew a couple of metres further along the road. We managed to locate the Common Snipe again before it dropped down. It was the first time we had seen a Common Snipe on a fence post. We arrived at Ulva in time to catch the boat. The boat was called ‘Lady Jayne’ and the weather was getting pretty grim. We boarded the boat and headed along Loch Tuath and it wasn’t long before we saw our first White-tailed Eagles this year, sitting in the dead tree. After the fish was thrown into the water, we waited for the Eagles to start fishing. At first, it was mainly the Herring Gulls gathering around the boat. After a while, one of the Adults flew down and picked up the fish from the water, then headed back to the tree. We saw 3 Great Northern Divers on Loch Tuath, 2 in stunning Summer plumage and 1 immature. After watching the Eagles fish a few more times, we headed back to Ulva pier. On the way back, we saw the breeding plumage Great Northern Divers feeding on the water. It was a wonderful cruise along the loch and we managed to see the White-tailed Eagles, despite the rainy conditions during most of the morning. The weather got brighter during the afternoon and we headed towards Dervaig. A few miles from Ulva pier we stopped for lunch, overlooking the loch. We saw Oystercatchers, Shelduck, Greylag Geese & Great Northern Diver. Near the new Eagle watch site, we managed to see one perched in the tree as a Buzzard flew past. At Dervaig we stopped to see what was about. We saw Common Gulls, Common Sandpiper and a few Dunlin. We then decided to go back over the top for Hen Harriers, but sadly we didn’t see any. A few Northern Wheatears and 2 Kestrels were the only birds seen. We saw a herd of Red Deer feeding & resting in the fields. Back near Ulva pier, I spotted a pair of Common Sandpipers foraging on the shore & mating. We headed back along the shore of Loch Na Keal, but the weather got worse, in the end we made our way back. We stopped & looked over the bridge near Lochdon for Otters. We haven’t seen any this holiday yet. In the evening Me and Dad walked down the road from the cottage. We saw a few Red Deer, Tree Pipit & 2 Short-eared Owls.

Common Snipe

Common Seals

White-tailed Eagle

Great Northern Diver [Summer]

Shag

Herring Gull [Summer]

Barn Swallow [Adult]

Common Sandpiper [Pair]

Red Deer [Herd]


Monday 22nd May 2017

We headed down towards Pennyghael, where we stayed last time. The weather was dull & wet, which meant the Eagles weren’t hunting this time. At Bunessan we saw a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers & another bird was seen flying out to sea. We headed up to Kintra to see if there was any Mountain Hares around, but sadly none. At Fidden we saw Twite, Lesser Redpoll, Hooded Crows, Raven, Lapwings, Oystercatchers & Whimbrel. We headed back up towards to Bunessan where we spotted an Immature Great Northern Diver swimming. We stopped for lunch at Ardtun and the weather was even more rainy. We saw Stonechat, Skylarks & Meadow Pipit. A Great Northern Diver in full Summer Plumage was swimming & fishing on Loch Scridain. We parked up in Pennyghael, near Katrine Cottage where stayed two years ago. Me & Dad walked down along the shoreline to search for Otters. We eventually saw one swimming around & climbing onto the rocks briefly, before heading back into the water. A pair of Oystercatchers were resting on the other rocks. We started to make our way along the other side of the loch. There were Hooded Crows, Rock Pipits & Mistle Thrush. We pulled into a car park for a cup of coffee,but not only had been raining on & off all day, but also created a swarm of biting Midges. We then started to make our way back to Loch Don, when suddenly we spotted another Otter on the rocks & rolling over. It headed back into the water & was temporarily lost to view. We managed to relocate the Otter, swimming far out in the loch & away from us towards the other side. After a while the weather got a little bit brighter, when we started head back to Loch Don, it started raining. Flipping weather & flipping Midges!!

Twite [above] & Lesser Redpoll [below]

Whimbrel

Red-breasted Merganser [Eclipse Male]

Oystercatcher [Summer]

Grey Heron [Adult]

Hooded Crow

Rock Pipit


Tuesday 23rd May 2017

From the bedroom window this morning a Cuckoo was perched in the tree being mobbed. We headed back down towards Pennyghael & along the northern edge of Loch Scridain. We headed along the other side of Loch Na Keal in search for any Otters. The first bird we saw was a Willow Warbler singing from a small tree. Quite a few Northern Wheatears along the bank of the loch, including 1 pair nesting by the road. Also a few Meadow Pipits and Common Sandpipers. A couple of Common Gulls were flying, perching and calling by the loch. A few miles down the road a couple of White-tailed Eagles were perched on the island. We watched for a couple of minutes as ‘Lady Jayne’ came along the loch. After they threw some fish in, the Gulls appeared and the White-tailed Eagles flew away. After a while with no Eagles in sight, the Mull Charters boat moved on. We parked in the car park and looked over the loch. The Female White-tailed Eagle was perched in the tree at Killiechronan, unfortunately the Male of this pair sadly died in a fight with another Eagle. His remains were found in the loch, so the Female was all by herself. On the other side of the road was a pair of Golden Eagles that showed really well against the dark sky, also a Female Hen Harrier was flying alongside them, mobbing them. The road to Salen was closed due to bridge repairs, which meant having to head back along the same route. On our way back we saw the 2 White-tailed Eagles perched on the same island, which by that time was getting covered by the incoming tide. Both the Adult & 1st Summer birds flew on to another island, next to a Seal colony. We saw an Otter running across the island briefly, before being lost to view. We made our way along Loch Na Keal looking for any more Otters, but they weren’t any. Saw a few more Northern Wheatears, couple of Great Northern Divers and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers. We also saw Red-breasted Mergansers on Loch Scridain. We didn’t see any Otters there this time. From the Lochdon bridge a Female Goosander swam past. Along the track back towards the cottage were a couple of Bullfinches. In the evening the Cuckoo was seen again perched on the telegraph pole and wire, still being mobbed. Also a reported sighting of a Male Hen Harrier flying past right to left of the cottage. The weather today started dry with a few sunny spells, but followed by a slight drizzle and then heavy rain from 13:40 onwards throughout the evening. We did most of our birdwatching from the car today. This evening a herd of Red Deer came down and starting feeding in the fields in front of the cottage. It was lovely to see them, but it was too dark to take any photos of them.


Common Sandpiper

Willow Warbler

Common Sandpiper

Northern Wheatear [Male]

Northern Wheatear [Female]

Rock Pipit

Common Gull [Summer]

Golden Eagles

Northern Wheatear [Female]

White-tailed Eagle [Adult & Juvenile]

Red-breasted Merganser [Eclipse Male]

Red-breasted Merganser [Female]

Eider Ducks

Wednesday 24th May

 

We headed to Iona to look for Corncakes. After arriving on the island, we explored near the fire station. Then we looked in the meadow where Mum & Dad saw one briefly in 2015. We didn’t hear any at all even by the abbey. We asked permission from the owner to look for Corncrakes near the hostel. Again we didn’t hear any there, let alone see one. After we had lunch there we made our back towards the ferry port. The birds that were on show today included Barn Swallows, Meadow Pipit, Song Thrush, House Sparrows & Starlings. We eventually heard two Corncrakes calling from the meadows, which were behind the bungalows. A Sedge Warbler was singing in the reed beds & a small bush. I finally managed to see one Corncrake very briefly as it did a flutter, before it disappeared in the long grass. Sadly we didn’t get much more of a view than that, this proves to a very difficult species to see. There is a strong population in North Uist, which seems the best place to see them. We might possibly think about going there for our next holiday. Iona for comparison has half of the British population & it’s declared a national rare bird. After catching the ferry back to Finnphort, we made our back towards Pennyghael & looking for Otters on Loch Scridain. We didn’t have any luck at all, but we did see Common Eiders, Great Northern Diver & Red-breasted Mergansers. Afterwards we headed back to the cottage near Lochdon. We saw a Short-eared Owl out hunting over the rough grassland from the cottage this evening.



Starling [Summer]

Common Seal

Sedge Warbler [Male]

Pied Wagtail [Male]

House Sparrow [Male]

Barn Swallow [Pair]

Highland Cattle

Friday 26th May


Our last full day on the Isle of Mull began once again on the banks of Loch Spelve. We didn’t see any Otters, but we saw Common Gulls, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Northern Wheatears & a pair of Red-throated Divers. Afterwards we headed to Tobermory via Glen Aros for Hen Harriers. We had a brief stop near Craignure to look for the White-tailed Eagles, but didn't see any. I saw a very interesting Beetle, which I later confirmed as a Rhagium bifasciatum, also known as the Two-banded Longhorn Beetle. We saw an Eagle perched on a distant hill, which we think was a White-tailed judging by the size. We had lunch in Tobermory before heading back over the top towards Ulva. We went into the carpark at Loch Na Keal, where we had a brief sighting of an Otter before being lost to view. A pair of Oystercatchers were calling nearby. In the conifers, the Female White-tailed Eagle was perched, while being mobbed by a Common Buzzard. Eventually the Eagle took off & soared very high overhead, before flying over the distant hills. We continued our journey along the loch towards Salen. We had another look for Otters in Aros Bay, no luck again. We had superb views of a Red-breasted Mergansers. We had drive along to Gorton, by Loch Don for Otters. We didn’t see anything as the light was appalling. Our final port of call was Grasspoint. We didn’t see anything at the point itself, but we saw a few Red Deer on the way to/from the point & an excellent view of Lismore Lighthouse. The Peacocks where walking about in the road on the way back. In the evening from the cottage, at last, our best sighting of the day. A Male Hen Harrier was hunting over the fields near the loch, before it landed out of sight. Also a Short-eared Owl was perched on the grass. Despite the very wet start of the week, it’s not been a bad holiday. The main part of it was, I managed to see my Chequred Skipper which I had longed to see.

Red-throated Diver [Pair]

Red-throated Diver [Summer]

Skylark

Barn Swallow [Adult]

Peacock

Rhagium bifasciatum

Oystercatchers

White-tailed Eagle [Female]

Curlew

Red-breasted Merganser [Male]

Red-breasted Merganser [Female]

Red Deers

Thursday 25th May 2017

We started the day with a visit to Loch Spelve to look for Otters. We saw Oystercatchers, Lapwings, Seals & Greylag Geese. We managed to see an Otter swimming in the loch, before it came ashore. It rolled about in the seaweed and showed well at times, with it’s head peeking out. It then went to feed on a small rock, before heading back into the water. After booking up the ferry for Oban the previous day, we made our way to Craignure to catch the 11:00 ferry. We saw a Hooded Crow foraging along the seaweed. Before leaving Craignure we had a minute silence in remembrance of the Manchester bombing. We then set sail for Oban and during the crossing we saw Gannets, Common & Black Guillemots. After arriving in Oban, we dropped Mum by the harbour where the Guillemots hung out. Me & Dad headed off to Glasdrum Wood, which is a national nature reserve & the best place in Argyllshire for Chequered Skippers. We saw our first Chequered Skipper with it’s wings fully opened. As the morning sun continued, the Butterflies became restless. I managed to see the underside of the Chequered Skippers easily because, when the sun is at it’s hottest, the Butterflies have to keep their wings closed. Even the Pearl-boarded Fritillaries were very fast & restless, only perching very briefly. The flight period for Chequered Skippers is from Late May-Early June, although they were on the wing from the 10th. The weather forecast for Saturday is not great, so we’re not sure what’s gonna happen to the Butterflies. Nevertheless, after a successful mission we headed back to Oban to see the Black Guillemots in the harbour. We rejoined Mum by the harbour & a few Black Guillemots were present. There were about 10 birds altogether, but most of them flew into the outer harbour & few flew back up to the nest site. Afterwards we made our way to the Ferry Terminal to catch the 5:00PM back to Craignure. When we arrived back on Mull, we headed back down to Loch Spelve to have another look for Otters. We had no luck this time round, but saw Lapwings, Oystercatchers, Northern Wheatear, Common Gulls, Lesser Redpolls & Twite. Near Loch Buie was a group of Fallow Deer and 2 Red Deer Stags. Finally back near the cottage, a Male Common Cuckoo was singing on a wire briefly before flying of & over a distant hill. This had been the first nice day we’ve had weatherwise and we sat in the garden for a while. We saw a Short-eared Owl over the grassland and later Dad spotted a Male Hen Harrier flying around, but we missed it.



Eurasian Otter

Hooded Crow

Chequered Skippers

Black Guillemots [Summer]

Lapwing

Curlew

Common Cuckoo [Male]

Lesser Redpoll [Female]

Fallow Deer [Female]

Lesser Redpoll [Female]

Red Deer [Male]

Chequered Skipper

Black Guillemot [Summer]

Red Deer [Male]

The Birds of Guernsey

A Guernsey bird book that lists all 322 species seen in Guernsey and Herm in the last 150 years.
A5 paperback, 204 pages with 175 colour photos.

By

Tony Bisson, Roy Carré, Mike Cunningham

All enquires to Mike. Email maajmc@me.com

(Please note: this is not a field guide on where to see birds
in Guernsey)


Sunday 28th May 2017

After staying the night at Lockerbie, we headed for the nature reserve at Eskrigg, which we had visited with the Bristol Ornithological Club on our trip to Solway with them last November. This is a good site for Red Squirrels. We saw a Tawny Owl roosting in a tree and it seemed to have an eye missing. This was the first time we’ve saw a Tawny Owl in Scotland during the day. Around the feeders were Blue Tit,Great Tit, Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Common Pheasant, Juvenile Robin and of course Red Squirrels. Some of the Squirrels had a pale tail & others had a dark tail. We had a most enjoyable time watching the Squirrels feeding & chasing each other in the trees. We went back to see the Tawny Owl which was still roosting in the tree and this time in good sunlight. Other creatures we saw included a Chimney Sweeper Moth, Common Lizard, Stump Puffball & a unusual Fungi. Somebody showed us the Drey where the Red Squirrel had young and had left about a week ago. On leaving the reserve, a Female Green-veined White was nectaring on a Dandlion. Our final sighting of our holiday was a pair of Hen Harriers hunting over the moor. It was a great way to finish!




Tawny Owl

Red Squirrels

Coal Tit

Nuthatch

Robin [Juvenile]

Jay

Great Spotted Woodpecker [Male]

Jay

Wren

Common Lizard

Red Squirrel

Hen Harrier [Female]

Hen Harrier [Male]

Red Squirrels

Saturday 27th May


Before leaving Lochdon, we said goodbye to some birders that stayed in the cottage next to ours. The two guys were called Roy & Mike, who have just written a book called ‘The birds of Guernsey’. Mum bought a copy for me from them. It’s a great book. Full of photos that they had taken of all the birds that have been seen on Guernsey, where they live. As we had a few hours to wait before our ferry came, we headed down the road a bit to the other end of Loch Spelve. We saw Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Red-breasted Mergansers & Mallards. We also had a brief look around Gorton for Hen Harriers, but nothing.

Black Guillemot [Pair]

Greylag Goose & goslings

We headed to Craignure to catch the 11:00 ferry to Oban. After lunch Me & Dad went to if there were any Black Guillemots in the harbour. We saw 2 on the water, but not in the actual harbour as the tide was not high enough. We then made our way southwards to Lockerbie for the night. It was pouring down with rain most of the day, so we didn’t stop anywhere and continued our journey to Lockerbie.

Mull