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Wildlife in and around the city of Bristol

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The birds of

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2013

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  Brixham Broadsands 29th

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Bay of Biscay

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  Hawk Conservancy 22nd

Bird Fair

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Skomer June

June

  Daneway Banks 30th

  Slimbridge 29th

  Aylesbeare Common 8th

  Slimbridge 3rd

Scotland

April

  Chew & Salisbury 23rd

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  Blagdon Lake

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March 1

  Garden Birds

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Dorset

February

  Aust 27th

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Norfolk

January 2

  Slimbridge 26th & 27th

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  Slimbridge 21st

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  Garden 18th

January 1

  Garden Sparrowhawk 8th

  Portishead & Chew 7th

  Slimbridge 2nd

  Cheltenham & Highnam 1st


Bristol and Avon Bird

Sightings

Wildlife in the Forest of Dean

Bob Bushell’s Wildlife
Photography

June  2013

There were also some Common Spotted Orchids out. We were just driving out of the car park when we saw a Wall Brown Butterfly. We stopped to look, but it flew over the hedge and disappeared. We then went for a walk around another nearby heath but there was nothing much about until we saw a bird of prey. At first we thought was a Cuckoo, but it didn’t fly like one and it didn’t have pointed wing tips. Next thought was Buzzard, but it had a very long tail so we think it could have been a Honey Buzzard!

On the way back to car park we saw a Willow Warbler calling with a beakful of food for the youngsters in the nest and as they're ground nesters we had to quickly move on in case it was nearby.  We were dismayed to see that all the dog walkers we passed had their dogs off the lead, even though the sign asks people to keep them on leads during the breeding season.

We went back to Aylesbeare for a walk around the other part of the heathland. We saw some more Orchids which looked like Heath Spotted. There were two Buzzards flying around and one was mobbing the other one then it was mobbed  by a Crow. On the way to the car park we saw another Green Tiger Beetle very briefly. The heathland is a perfect habitat for this species of Beetle. We went for another look for the Dartford Warbler for the last time today. We saw a family party of Stonechats with the recently fledged Juveniles being fed by both parents. We heard the stratchy song of the Dartford Warbler before we saw it perched against the bright sky. This was a Male with a grey head and a dark throat. We were looking right into the sun, so it was not the best conditions to take a photo, but I did a few record shots. A couple of times it landed on a dead twig but after a while it vanished. Then we saw why. The Kestrel was back hovering over the heathland and then two Hobbies flew over our heads and gave a spectacular flying display. These raptors are Summer visitors from Africa and they were not only flying and catching Dragonflies but were also swooping up and down across the heath and we were slightly worried because that was where the Stonechats were. I don’t think they caught any of the youngsters and after a while they stopped and went back to hunting Dragonflies. It was lovely to see the Hobbies, but we never saw the Dartford Warbler again afterwards. We sat on a seat and listened to the evening chorus, including a nice male Yellowhammer singing in a tree above our heads. One of the Hobbies flew past low over the heath again, hoping to catch any unwary birds. We stayed until the sun set and waited for nocturnal bird of the heath to appear. The Nightjar is also a Summer Visitor from Africa. We heard one churring and so walked along a track and I saw it fly out of the trees and over the path with its white wing patches showing clearly. Unfortunately, Mum missed it! We walked along another track as we could hear Nightjars calling all around us. We stopped when we saw three birds in flight. It was wonderful, they were flying all around us and we heard three calls: male churring, flight call and wing clapping. We’ve never heard so many different calls.  It’s a fantastic experience to listen to Nightjar calling even though you can’t see them clearly. All you see is just the silhouettes against the night sky. We hated leaving, but it was nearly 11 o’clock and still had to get back to Bristol so we left them to their displaying. It was a splendid ending to a splendid day.


On our way back from the South Finger we spotted a pair of Oystercatchers chasing off some Jackdaws. The reason for that was the pair were protecting their three chicks which emerged from the vegation. We stood by an old tree to watch them. We heard a noise coming from the tree, so we moved away and one of the Jackdaws flew into a hole and we could hear they had chicks in there. That’s probably why they were by the Oystercatchers. On the Rushy Pen we saw 3 pairs of Avocets incubating on nests so fingers crossed that they'll hatch in a few weeks time.  The pair of Cranes that nested at the back of the Rushy Pen had unfortunately lost their chick but hopefully Monty and Chris will try again next year. We saw both of them fly over the pen, so they are still around. On one of the islands two out of three of the Black - headed Gull chicks had hatched and the adult was foraging for food. The resident Greylag Geese family have successfully managed to protect all their 5 Goslings since we last saw them when they were like little balls of fluff. We went to the Holden Tower but on the way near the Martin Smith, another dramatic escape for the Mallard Duck and her brood of ducklings as they came under attack from one of the males. I wonder if it was the same female who lost all of her ten chicks from last time. Perhaps it was the male that killed them. He was attacking the last brood when we were there before.


We went to Aylesbeare Common to look for Dartford Warblers which is one of the resident Warblers. We were also looking for Sliver - studded Blue Butterflies. The first Butterfly we saw was a Small Heath. Further down the track we saw a Kestrel flying over the heath. Our next Butterfly we saw was a Green Hairstreak which perched on a small tree. We did see a few Dartford Warblers with a beakfuls of food but very brief views. We went  to look at the Dragonfly pond where a big dragonfly possibly an Emperor cruised up and down. There was a pair of Small Red Damselfly egg laying in the pond. In and on the pond were Pond Skaters, Water Boatman and Palmate Newts. It was a nice day also for the Green Tiger Beetle to do a bit of foraging  which was very good to see. We saw another Green Hairstreak perched on a fern and it flew onto a Bluebell, which was still in flower. We also saw a female Brimstone which is whiter than the male and can be confused with a Large White.

Small Heath on Buttercup

Green Hairstreak

Palmate Newt underwater

Green Hairstreak on Bluebell

Brimstone [Female] on Bluebell

Common Spotted Orchids

Willow Warbler feeding chicks

Stonechat [Male]

Dartford Warbler [Male]

Dartford Warbler [Male]

Hobby hunting over common

Hobby

Yellowhammer at Sunset

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Hobby

Crane pair [Chris and Monty] in flight

Grey Heron, Ziess Hide

Sedge Warbler singing in front of hide

Water Vole at Dragonfly Pond

Oystercatchers [Adult and Chick]

Slimbridge 3rd June 2013

We went to Slimbridge to see the Red - necked Phalarope at the Ziess Hide so we went straight there. The view was very distant and there also a few Avocets feeding and some Cranes in the buttercup field. A Grey Heron landed in the front of the hide and walked behind the reeds. A pair of Buzzards were also about the reserve and chased off a third bird. We went down to the South Finger to see if the Kingsfishers were visible but nothing. It looks like the nest failed for some reason. There was one Sedge Warbler showing well on a small tree close to the hide and singing. In the dragonfly pool we saw two Water Voles: first a juvenile then the adult swimming into the bank. We went into Van De Bovenkamp hide where we had good views of the Cranes displaying.  

2 of 3 Oystercatcher Chicks

Avocet pair on the Rushy Pen

Black - headed Gull with Chicks, Rushy

Coots [Adult and Juvenile] on pond

Moorhen [Juvenile] Entrance Pond  

At the Holden Tower we saw a Little Grebe feeding a chick on the Knott Pool. Walking back down the path, Mum saw a Robin who had a nest nearby as she could hear the chicks being fed. At least it was further back in the undergrowth this year. Last year it was a bit in the open, but we did have a good view of the chicks. Around the grounds there was quite a lot of Ragged Robin in flower. We had a quick look at the House Martins, but there were not many around so they might be on eggs.

Cranes displaying

Green Tiger Beetle

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Daneway Banks 30th June 2013

We went to Daneway  Banks to see the Large Blue Butterfly. We did see one flying around the meadow with Marbled White and Small Heath. We saw a Large Blue perched in the grass but it wasn't flying great probably because it had only just emerged. I don't know the real reason why it wasn't flying well, but I just hope it survives.

Large Blue Butterfly

Slimbridge 29th June 2013

We went to Slimbridge to see the newly hatched Avocets. We went first to the Rushy Pen where the chicks were foraging for food under the watchful eye of the Adults. Two Moorhens were fighting each other in the pen as part of defending their territory. We went to Robbie Garnett where there were 5 Green Sandpipers wading in the water and one came right in front of the hide. There were lots of fledged Juvenile Rooks and Jackdaws being fed by the parents. We also checked the House Martin nests to see if there were any chicks but could not see any yet. The adults kept flying up to the nests so perhaps they are feeding young.

On the South Lake we saw three Common Terns, one on the post near the hide and two nesting on a raft right next to a Black - headed Gull nest. A Cormorant was hanging it's wings out to dry on the perch. There was even a Avocet here with Redshank and Black - tailed Godwit. A Tufted Duck still had a brood of 5 Ducklings. One of the Black - tailed Godwits was sitting down resting. It was the first time I've seen one resting on the ground, normally they are wading in the water but it has to rest sometime I suppose.

Avocet Chicks, Rushy Pen

Avocet landing on the Rushy

Moorhens fighting

Juvenile Jackdaws on fence

Green Sandpiper in front of Robbie Garnett Hide

House Martin flying from nest

Tufted Duck with brood of ducklings

Cormorant  perched at South Lake

Common Terns nesting  on a raft with Black -  headed Gull

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Aylesbeare Common 8th June 2013