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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

January 2015-1

Slimbridge WWT  2nd January 2015

We went to see the female wild Ferruginous Duck at Slimbridge which had been present for a few days. When we arrived it was swimming up a channel in the Asian Pen, so we went to the Kingfisher Hide to see if the Bittern was still about. However, it was very elusive in the reedbeds to the right of the hide. Mum saw the back of it walking through the reeds, but sadly I didn't. There were some Goldfinchs, Chaffinchs, Blue & Great  Tits feeding on the feeders but nothing else.  While Mum continued on to the Holden Tower, Dad and I went back to the Asian Pen where we saw the Ferruginous Duck swimming with the collection birds including a pair of Baers Pochards. Unfortunately the light was awful, so we had to wait for it to change slightly. Near the Martin Smith bridge was a Juvenile Grey Heron. We went to the Willow Hide where the Water Rail was still showing well, this time in good sunlight. This is the third time I photographed a Water Rail in brilliant sunlight. Along the Holden Walkway we saw at least 3 Bank Voles using the holes on the slope on the embankment. At the Martin Smith Hide we saw a massive flock of birds taking off from the Tack Piece but we coludn't see the culprit. We saw other birds such as Pintails, Shelduck, Mallards, Wigeon, Teal & Greylag Geese. We left Mum there and went back again to the Asian Pen and the light was slightly better for taking photos of the Ferruginous Duck which was still hanging out with a pair of Baers Pochards. We then popped to South Lake where we saw Cormorants & Great Crested Grebe. Also saw a Male Teal swimming in front of the observatory. On our way back to Holden Tower we saw a Goldfinch feeding on a teasel in the grounds. Back beside the Holden Walkway the Bank Voles were still showing well at their hole entrances. From the Martin Smith we eventually managed to see the long staying Pink- footed Goose with a flock of White-fronted Geese thanks to the help of Dave Paynter, Head Warden at Slimbridge. A Marsh Harrier appeared and flew towards the estuary. We hadn’t seen the Whooper Swan at all & were told that you need to look out of the Sloane Tower towards the fields for a glimpse of it. We finished the day at the Peng Observatory for the foodlight feed on the Rushy Pen and hoped that the Whooper Swan would come into roost with the Bewick's Swans. Sadly it didn't. It must have come in well after dark, but it was lovely to watch all the Bewick Swan families flying in after spending the day feeding in the surounding fields. The interaction and calling was lovely to see. It was a great day and the weather was good as well. A very nice way to begin my 2015 bird list!

Ferruginous Duck [Female]

Bank Voles

Water Rail

Water Rail

Goldfinch

Wigeon [Flock]

Eurasian Teal [Male]  

Wigeon [Male]

Pintail [Male]

Bewick’s Swan

Bewick’s Swan

Water Rail

Shelduck [Male]

Eurasian Teal [Male]

Ferruginous Duck [Female]

Slimbridge WWT 16th January 2015

As my birthday was approaching Mum and I thought we would start the celebrations off by going to Slimbridge WWT on the Friday. Dad dropped us off before he went to work. We got there early at 8am in the hope of seeing the Whooper Swan in the Rushy Pen before it leaves to feed in the surrounding fields. Not didn’t see it. We went to the Willow Hide to see if the Water Rail was there but no sign. (Not a good start!) A Female Reed Bunting was feeding on the feeder with Blue & Great Tits, Robin, Long - tailed Tits & Greenfinch. A Wren was foraging in the reeds behind. Then the Rooks & Jackdaws came to hog some of the feeders. There were lots of birds on the Tack Piece. The 5 Common Cranes from the Great Crane Project were present on site. The waders included Curlews, Black - tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Ruff & Lapwings, also groups of Bewick's Swans which was viewable from the Robbie Garnett. Back at the Willow Hide we saw a few Brown Rats including one swimming across. We had a quick look in the Knott Hide where there was a flock of Wigeon in front of the hide. They quickly returned to the water. We went to the Holden Tower and looked out on the Dumbles where a flock of Barnacle Geese were and a Sparrowhawk, which flew past the hide quite close and I had the camera on the wrong setting, aargh! There was not much else. Back along the Holden walkway we saw the Bank Voles in their usual holes. We went to have a look in Martin Smith but there was no Snipe still. One of the Mallards had finished bathing in front of the hide. Two of the Cranes flew over the Rushy Pen. Along the boardwalk we had a friendly Wood Pigeon who was happy enough to be hand fed. We popped down to the Kingfisher Hide to see what was there. On the feeders were the usual birds - the Chaffinches, Great & Blue Tits & Brown Rats. We had another new tick for the year which were 4 Avocets present on Bottom New Piece. On the way back we saw a Common Buzzard soaring over the grounds. The only wader we saw in the Rushy Pen was a Male Lapwing which was right in front of the hide. The Bank Voles were still showing well along the Holden walkway when we went back to look for the Water Rail but there was still no sign. There was a few birds still feeding on the feeders including the Long - tailed Tits. Back on the Tack Peice we saw the Cranes again and the other birds which were spooked by the appearance of a Peregrine Falcon. The Peregrine then turned it's attention to a solitary Pintail and was right on it's tail and flashed past the hide really close. We thought it was a goner, Mum couldn’t watch, as it looked like it was going to get caught. Fortunately, (for the duck), the Pintail got away, but we don't know how. Possibly, it dived into the water or perhaps the Peregrine just gave up. We didn’t see what happened. Then the Peregrine just sat at the back of the Tack Piece for about 15 minutes before taking off and starting to hunt over the Dumbles. Outside the Willow Hide there was a Female Great Tit calling.  We went up to the Sloane Tower to look for the Whooper Swan as Dave Paynter, the head warden told us where to look for it. Mum had the scope and we saw a flock of Swans two fields away from the centre but still too far to identify. Finally we ended the day back at the Rushy Pen in the warm heated Peng Observatory for the afternoon swan feed in the hope that the Whooper Swan would come in, but only the Bewick's Swans and lots of other ducks & Geese flew in to take advantage of the free meal of grain from the wardens. A good day, but very cold. Lucky there is a cafe and restaurant there, so we were able to warm up during the day.


Bewick’s Swans, other  Wildfowl  & Waders

Reed Bunting [Female]

Jackdaw

Wigeon [Female]

Wigeon [Male]

Bank Vole

Bank Voles

Mallard [Male]

Pintail [Male]

Shoveler [Male]

Lapwing [Male]

Black tailed Godwits

Common Cranes

Long - tailed Tit

House Sparrow [Female]

Bewick’s Swan

Common Crane & Wildfowl

........................................................

Chew Valley Lake 17th January 2015

We went to Chew Valley Lake to look for the Great White Egret & Great Northern Diver. We started at Woodford Lodge to look for the Diver. The Juvenile Great Northern Diver that had been here since the 16th Nov 2014 was near the dam, so quite a far away. We had a very nice Male Goldeneye swimming past Woodford bank though. We then went along to Heron's Green Bay which had nothing out of the ordinary except for a nice a Female Pochard close to the bank. We popped in to have a look at Moreton Hide. We saw a Little Egret in front of the hide briefly flying into cover. A pair of Goldeneye and Goosanders swam past the hide. A Great Crested Grebe was doing a bit of fishing as well. On the way back along Moreton Lane were a pair of Roe Deer. At Herriott's Bridge there was another Great Crested Grebe and a Cormorant  fishing in the channel along with a Female Tufted Duck. We saw a Kingfisher perched in the willow tree at the end of the channel and a Chiffchaff in the reedbed. We quickly popped into Stratford Hide where a Cormorant of the Sinesis race was stretching it's wings on a post. There was a pair of Great Crested Grebes practising their courtship display although they have got another month to go yet before their full display.  A Little Grebe or Dabchick swam past the hide twice. Also a Grey Heron flew past the hide and from the hide was pair of Goldeneye. We finished the day with a quick look around Nunnery Point where there were more Goosanders and a Grey Heron. Driving back down the road we spotted the elusive Great White Egret by Villice Bay and flew off towards Moreton Bay.

Goosander [Female]

Goosander [Male[

Goldeneye [Male]

Pochard [Female]

Little Egret [Winter]

Great Crested Grebe [Winter]

Cormorant

Chiffchaff

Great Crested Grebe [Winter]

........................................................

Frampton on Severn & Cheltenham 11th January 2015

We went to Frampton on Severn to see the Tawny Owl which was roosting in a tall tree in Court Field. We also looked for the Female Greater Scaup and Goldeneye but weren't successful. We then continued to Pittville Park in Cheltenham to see the Dartford Warbler on it's 26th day in the county. As I didn't have a proper look last time through my bins, I didn't take any pictures except of the local Male Stonechat.


Tawny Owl

Mute Swans

Stonechat [Male]

........................................................