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Wildlife in and around the city of Bristol

www.landcaretrees.co.uk

The birds of

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January

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2013

December

  Brixham Broadsands 29th

  Portland 27th

  Severn Beach Slimbridge 14th

  Science Park 3rd

  Somerset Levels 2nd

November

  Chew 18th

  Slimbridge 10th

  Newport Wetlands 9th

  Westonbirt 7th

October

  Berkeley Blagdon Chew 7th

Bay of Biscay

September

  Blagdon 28th

  Devon 14th

  Dorset 2nd

August 2

  Slimbridge and Pensile Hill

  Hawk Conservancy 22nd

Bird Fair

August 1

  Slimbridge 11th

  Fontell and Alners Gorse 10th

July 2

  West Yatton Down 28th

  Heddon Valley 21st

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  Inglestone 13th

July 1

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  Forest of Dean 1st

Skomer June

June

  Daneway Banks 30th

  Slimbridge 29th

  Aylesbeare Common 8th

  Slimbridge 3rd

Scotland

April

  Chew & Salisbury 23rd

  Slimbridge 20th

  Somerset Levels 15th

  Slimbridge 7th

  Forest of Dean 6th

March 3

  Blagdon Lake 31st

  Marshfield 30th

March 2

  Blagdon Lake

  Slimbridge

March 1

  Garden Birds

  Portishead 18th

  Slimbridge 11th

  Portishead 4th

  Quedgeley, CWP 3rd

  Forest of Dean 2nd

Dorset

February

  Aust 27th

  Cheltenham Diver 10th

  RSPB Criuse, Exe 9th

Norfolk

January 2

  Slimbridge 26th & 27th

  Garden 21st

  Slimbridge 21st

  Yate/Waxwings 19th

  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

September 24th -26th 2013

We boarded the Brittany Ferry ‘Pont Aven’ in Portsmouth and set off to Santander, passing the famous ships ‘Victory’ and ‘Warrior’, and the Spinnaker Tower.  After we had settled into our cabin, we went to a presentation given by ORCA with special guest Chris Packham about the Whales and Dolphins that we might see in the Bay of Biscay. We had an early night, as we wanted to be up quite early the next morning.

Journey to Santander 25th September 2013

It had been difficult to sleep with the movement of the ship, but we managed a few hours. Having travelled through the hours of darkness, we woke up early in the Bay of Biscay. The first Dolphins we came across were Short - beaked Common Dolphins. We also saw some Pilot Whales of an unknown species. Another Whale we saw was a Cuvier's Beaked Whale with a goose-like face which we saw well when it surfaced briefly. It had scratch marks on its back which is caused by the males fighting each other with their small tusks. Further on we saw a pod of Striped Dolphins leaping out of the water and after we passed, they were playing in the wake.  The next Whale species to encounter was the Fin Whale, which is the 2nd largest Whale on earth. It is a close relative to the Humpback and Blue Whales.  We also saw some more Striped Dolphins jumping around. The Striped Dolphins are a common sight in the Bay of Biscay.  Another Large Whale was spotted which was thought to be another Fin Whale at first, but later it was confirmed to be a Northern Bottlenose Whale. Lots of Gannets were flying past the ferry as well as some Bonxies, (Great Skuas).  We also saw another Cuvier's Beaked Whale except this one didn't show it's face. We did see another Fin Whale swimming in the Bay. There was a strange sight of a large group of fish, probably mackerel, swimming away as if they were fleeing from a very large shadow. Was it a Sperm Whale? We'll never know as it kept itself underwater.Then the highlight of the day - a rare sighting of three Orcas also known as Killer Whales. Despite their name, they are not really related to Whales. They are in fact black and white Dolphins. This was the first time this year that they had been seen and it caused great excitement.

Cruise to Bay of Biscay 24th-26th Sept 2013

We got in to Santander at quarter past five in the evening. We had a drink in a little cafe by the quay and while we were having our drinks, we saw some moths hovering over flowers. I went to  have a closer look and they were Hummingbird Hawk Moths.

We boarded the ferry again back to Plymouth at 20:15PM (British Time). The journey overnight was across the Bay of Biscay and we wondered what cetaceans we were passing.

Journey from Santander to Plymouth 26th September

The next morning we got up to see what we missed. We did miss some Sooty and Cory's Shearwaters flying past the ferry, but Mum spotted a couple of Sootys later. Great Skuas were regularly flying past. Another member of the Skua family was trailing at the end of a line of Gannets. This was an Arctic Skua which also breeds in Northern Scotland. There were lots of plumage variation of the Gannets, from the brownish juveniles to white wing adults. A marvellous highlight we saw was a Balearic Shearwater, which was a lifer for me.  This wasn't the only Shearwater that was new for me. Great Shearwaters were also cruising past the Ferry. There were also a lot of Ocean Sunfish which seem to wave their fin as we pass. There were some more Short - beaked Common Dolphins, including a juvenile, leaping towards the ferry and about 5 Sabine Gulls flew up from the water. We were hoping to see lots more seabirds as we pass the Molene Islands, unfortunately a thick bank of fog descended and we could only just make out the lighthouses on them. It was a shame as Chris Packham said that they are quite spectacular. We arrived at Plymouth Quay at 16:15PM and the end of our excellent trip. Many thanks to all the guides from ORCA, Chris Packham and Brittany Ferries.

Striped Dolphins

Spinnaker Tower,  Portsmouth

Warrior in Portsmouth Harbour

Brittany Ferry leaving Portsmouth

Pilot Whale

Fin Whale

Fin Whale

Striped Dolphin

Northern Bottlenose Whale

Dolphin

Cuvier’s beaked Whale

Killer Whale

Sightings map

Great Skua

Gannet

Short - beaked Common Dolphins

Common Dolphin with Juvenile

Common Dolphins

Meeting Chris Packham

Brittany Ferry at Plymouth Quay  

Chris Packham with the ORCA Team   

The Final Score

Fin Whale