for tracking purposes only.
The birds of
Cheltenham Diver 10th
RSPB Criuse, Exe 9th
Slimbridge 26th & 27th
Garden Sparrowhawk 8th
Portishead & Chew 7th
Cheltenham & Highnam 1st
Due to space limitations I have had to archive the older blogs and leave out the photos.
We went to Battery Point to see the Purple Sandpiper and there were four present at not very low/high tide and also to note we had a very obliging Turnstone feeding on worms. We decided to go to Chew Lake. On the way there as we were going through Clevedon, we saw a Bittern fly over the road chased by gulls. It dropped into a small reed bed. We stopped to look for it, but it had vanished into the vegetation. At Chew we tried again for the Water Rail but no luck. Loads of wildfowl and Gulls on the lake though and at Herriotts Bridge there was another Bittern flying around. We drove around to Heron's Green to see if we could see any Barn Owls and two were quartering the field and there was a Little Egret in the water. No pictures, I'm afraid -
Forest of Dean
We went to the Forest of Dean for my birthday and to start off, a visit to New Fancy to see what birds were about. A few suspects like Robin, Blackbird, Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Magpie and a Grey Squirrel. Also a couple of Bramblings were among the Chaffinch group. We went to the viewpoint where we saw a Raven flying over the woodland. There were some Fallow Deer below and two Goshawks displaying in the distance. We went to Speech House to look once again for Hawfinch -
We went to Norfolk this weekend for my birthday. We had a brief stop at Lakenheath to have lunch. We didn’t have time today to walk around, which was a shame because it was a lovely sunny day. I was keen to try and see Golden Pheasant, so we went to the Wolferton Triangle, near Sandringham. We were looking at some Redwings, Fieldfare and a Mistle Thrush when two policemen in an unmarked Range Rover came over to us and asked us what we were doing. (What did they think we were doing?) I never saw my Pheasant as we thought we had better move on in case we got arrested. So we carried on to Snettisham where a massive flock of Pink -
We started at Cley marshes to look for Geese. Brent Geese breed in the High Arctic and are a common sight here. We had a good view of an American Wigeon in one of the dykes and it was a stunning male. We went to the beach car park at Salthouse and saw a flock of Snow Buntings and some Turnstones quite close. I had some great views of them. We parked at Holkham where there were hundreds of Geese, but decided not to walk to the Gap or woods because there were so many people around as the weather had got a bit better. (It was a good decision as we met some birders later and they said there was nothing about -
After breakfast we decided to go to Salthouse again to have a last look at the Snow Buntings. They were on the other side of the car park today. We didn’t walk round Cley as we wanted to get back to Titchwell. Which was a shame because somebody saw Shore Larks there. Never mind, we might have missed them anyway and if we had gone round Cley we would have missed the three Barn Owls we saw on our way. One was perched on a fence right by the roadside. We drove past a couple of times to have a good look at him. Further down the road we saw another Barn Owl quartering the fields. We pulled in at the gate and was able to watch him for quite a while. He flew over the road and started to hunt in another field, when we realised that there was an Owl already hunting in the field. We left them to it and carried on to Titchwell. It was getting near lunchtime now and the car park was full. We drove around a few times and then we saw somebody coming back to their car, so we waited for them to go. We didn’t walk down to the hides or beach today, but went around the meadow trail. No Bitterns or Bearded Tits as it was very windy. We did see some Siskins and a very obliging Water Rail. I had a good view of it and it made up for me keep missing it at Chew.We went to Thornham Marsh for a quick look and saw a Spotted Redshank but not much else and then another cruise around Wolferton, just in case the Golden Pheasants were around. Nothing! But at least the Police were gone. We even had a little drive around Sandringham. Still nothing! We gave up, they would have to wait for another day as we had to start to make our way home now. We decided not to go home via the M25 and M4, but through Cambridgeshire and down the M6 and M5. That way we could have a look at Welney Wildfowl Trust as I have never been there. The water level was really high and the Observation Hides were the only ones open. We were just in time for the Swan Feed. There was not many here, most of them were still in the fields. But we did see some Mute and Whooper Swans, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Greylag and a single Pink-
Forest of Dean
We went to the forest again to see if the Hawfinch was going to be there, but no luck. We took a peanut feeder to put up for Blue, Coal and Great Tits. It didn’t take them long to find it, even the the Nuthatch found it easily. We had a bit of a walk around Speech House area trying to locate Crossbills and Hawfinches, but nothing.
We went to Slimbridge for a few hours and walked down to the Holden Feeders and a Reed Bunting was on one of the them and a Brown Rat was helping himself to the seed which was on the ground. We stayed for the floodlit feed and saw the two first winter male Greater Scaup and first winter female Lesser Scaup moving through the mixture of other Widfowl.
We went to Radipole to see a duck which has been there since 2008 and I saw in 2009. It was the Hooded Merganser feeding amongst the other duck right by the visitor centre. There was a lot more Brown Rats around the reserve on the paths which is not going to good for nesting birds. In the hide there was not much, apart from Teal, Gadwall, Mallard and Shoveler briefly. Little Egret and Grey Herons were also in front of the hide. Back at the Visitor Centre there were 3 Mediterranean Gull [ See Oct 09 blog for picture of one in the car park] in front of building. We went to Lodmoor to look for a rare wader which had been there for some time. After seeing some Black -
We went to a local common on a quest for Jack Snipe. We checked out both ponds but were unsuccessful and we gave up. After my dentist appointment we headed out to a site outside Pucklechurch to see the Tawny Owl in its nesthole. When we got there, we saw two, but the other one went in before I took my photo.
We went back to Slimbridge to see the Lesser Scaup and the two Greater Scaups on the Rushy again. We stayed to watch the feed. We had good views of them before they started feeding, and then they disappeared amongst the other wildfowl in the frenzy. Over the weekend, a Spoonbill turned up, but I never got a chance to go and see it because I had to get ready to go back to college.
A week later and we're back again. I came home for the weekend to see the Spoonbill, which is a size of a Grey Heron except with a spatula bill. The last time we tried to see Spoonbill here, we came a day after it had gone and we had to go to Brownsea Island[SEE ARCHIVE] where there was a group with one juvenile. This bird has been here all week and we saw it at the Lathby Hide. It has started moulting into breeding plumage with a bushy crest and yellow tip to the bill, all it needs now is the yellow on the chest. It flew further down, so we went to the Ziess Hide, but it wasn’t so close. We then went down to the Kingfisher Hide and there was a little Wren rignt in front under the feeders. We also saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker and lots of small birds including a Brambling. The Lesser Scaup was on the Robbie Garnett Lake with a first winter female Greater Scaup and it was certainly good comparing them both and with Pochard and Tufted Ducks. We went to Tutshill to look for Black Redstart but we couldn’t find it at all. We did find some good places to explore more fully in the summer.
We went up to Scotland for a weeks holiday and our first port of call was Carnforth. We started at Leighton Moss to see what was about. Lillian’s Hide was full of Black -
In the morning we saw some Linnets out of the window of the B&B, including this magnificent male. (see above) The Swallows were still zooming around. On our way up to the highlands we popped in to Loch of the Lowes and surprisingly Lady or Marge had made it all the back from Africa after the worrying illness last year and the Laird is also back as well. On the feeders were Siskins, Greenfinches and Yellowhammers. A Great Spotted Woodpecker kept appearing from behind a tree. There were also the usual Mallards and Pheasants. We went to the hide to have a look at the Loch and the nest to see if we could see the Laird. On the other side of loch there were some Fallow Deer, including a white one. They had a drink and after a while they all disappeared into the forest. It was quite a wet journey after all the nice weather we have been having, but by the time we got to Nethybridge it had started to get better.
We thought we would go to see the Osprey first. We were on our way to Loch Garten when we stopped in a lay-
For the first time this year we saw Red Squirrels in the garden. We went to Strathdearn in the Findhorn Valley and saw quite a number of Wheatears. We were driving down the road when we stopped on the left hand side where there was not one nor two or three but four Brown Hares chasing each other and stopping and even a bit of boxing but not much. On the hill the Wild Goats were roaming free on the tops until some people came down sent them running, also on the tops of the mountains were Red Deer. We went over the moor where there were loads of Wheatears and Red Grouse in view and the car that was in front of us flushed out
a Mountain Hare! Only Dad saw it. We got to Loch Ruthven just after 2pm and we had great views of Willow Warbler and a Reed Bunting and the stars of the show -
We went to the Caper watch early this morning. When we were down by the loch we heard some Black Grouse and we didn’t know which to do. We decided to carry on with the Caper watch. There was a beautiful sunrise over he Osprey nest, but no Capers. There was a couple of Bank Voles outside the window under the feeders. We went on to Tulloch Moor to look for the Black Grouse. There is a watchpoint there with screening, so the Grouse are not disturbed. On the way we saw some Red Deer on the moor. Black Grouse were there fighting in amongst the heather and also a Whinchat was perched on a bush. After breakfast, I decided I wanted to walk to Rynettin. We saw some Crested Tits briefly [except for Mum sadly]. We also saw a Tree Pipit singing on a wire and in song flight. All along the path there were loads of Green Hairstreaks flying past. At Rynettin we looked in the woods for any Redstarts but none. A Wheatear was perched on two piles of stones. Back at Broomhill the Dipper was still showing well on the other side of the river. Two Common Sandpipers gave us some close views. We went to Lochindorb and we saw a Golden Plover and more Wheatears and Red Grouse. It is even a regular fishing ground for Ospreys, we saw two Osprey flying around. There was a pair of Black -
The weather was still good. Wednesday and still sunny. We started at Broomhill and Strathsprey Railway the loco in service is 828 which returned to steam in the summer 2010. At fisherman’s crossing we saw 828 on the return journey to Aviemore. We went to Loch Insh to see the Ospreys there and they were flying around. We saw the leg ring on the male and it said Green DY. We also saw some Goldeneye on the loch. We stopped at Inshriach Garden Centre for a cup of tea and to watch the Squirrels and Birds on the feeders outside the window. It was such a nice day, that most people were sitting in the gardens for their tea. We went to see if we could see ant Red-
We were now sure what to do today. We started once again at Broomhill to see if 46512 was in service but it fell down to 828 again -
We started off by going to Loch Garten to see the Ospreys and also Red Squirrel and Bank Voles. We went for a walk by Loch Morlich in the hope of seeing a Red-
and we could stay on longer if we wanted. We all would have liked to have stayed all week, but after thinking it over, we realised that I did not have enough medicine for the week, so could only stay an extra couple of days. As we did not have to pack that night after all, we went to Loch Mallachie for a walk. Not much there, except for a couple of Roe Deer. But, on the way home, we caught sight of a female Capercaillie in the headlights. We stopped and watched her for a couple of minutes. We saw her call and then she wandered back into the forest.
The Strathsprey Railway again today, this time to Boat of Garten, the station gets it’s name from a chain operating ferry on the River Spey but now replaced by a road bridge. Unfortunately it was flipping 828 again! They never seem to give her a minute’s rest. We return to Strathdearn and on an estate was a herd of Red Deer. Wild or not wild? That is the question. Well to be honest I really don’t know. Further down the valley a lot more Deer on the hills. We went for a walk along the valley as its something that we never really do. Dad and I went a little way down one year when we saw the Mountain Hare, but Mum has never been down there. The weather was glorious. An unexpected visitor to these parts was an Osprey that flew up the valley. Although we have seen them there occasionally. There were quite a lot of Ring Ouzels in the valley amongst the boulders. Mum heard one from the car as we drove down the road, but we never saw that one. But we certainly saw a lot on our walk. Mum and Dad went on a bit further than me and saw Golden Eagle and Peregrine. On the way back to the car we spotted a Hare but if was a Brown Hare not Mountain. There was also a Ring Ouzel flying around and it landed in the garden of one of the houses there. I wish I could get that as a garden tick. Up on the hills were herds of Wild Goats and lots more Red Deer. We drove back through Lochindorb, but it was very busy. There were lots of people camping as it was a Bank Holiday weekend and with the weather being so good. No wildlife at all. As we came back through the village at Nethybridge, we followed some pipers. We stopped in the village for a while to listen to them.
It’s Mayday and the Stathsprey Railway Clansman is approaching once again with 828. A last look at Loch Garten and then we popped up to Grantown on Spey where Janet had a stall at the Farmers Market selling her Harris Tweed handicrafts. We had a look around the market before taking a drive over to Deeside. We stopped at Glenshee. Dad and I went for a walk up to look for Mountain Hare and we saw at least 13 of them up in the hills. There were Red Grouse calling all around the heather moorland. Driving back though Deeside we saw more Red Deer near the road. There were lots of people camping around here as well, but they didn’t seem to worry the Deer. Nearby a pair of Common Gulls were nesting on a island in the middle of the stream. A pleasant drive back over the moor in the sunshine, but not much wildlife.
On the way back to Lancashire we popped in again to Loch of the Lowes near Dunkeld to see the Lady and The Laird -
The last day includes one RSPB and one WWT Nature Reserve. We begin the last day here at Leighton Moss. We went down to Lillian’s Hide to look for Med Gull again but no sign and the light was awful. Next to Grisedale Hide for the Garganey. The male is a handsome duck with brown head, sliver scapulars on the feathers and big white line above the eye and when it flew off again blue and slivery grey upper wing. Outside the hide the Sedge Warbler that we saw on our down to the hide was still visible and still singing. After we went to the Public Hide to if we can see any Black Tern which had been seen the previous day, but there wasn’t any today. Two Marsh Harriers flew over and soared very high in the sky. We saw another summer migrant just arrived from Africa, the Swift, which definately sums up that Summer is here. We travelled on to Martin Mere and the Swallows are nesting in their usual place under the roof of the visitor centre. In the Observation Hide where the Swans are seen in the winter was a solitary Redshank and quite a number of Avocets. Further along the path to the Kingfisher Hide were flocks of Tree Sparrows, one of the only two major strongholds in the country and all were using nest boxes. Now to the Ron Barker Hide. There were three Stock Doves on the island along with Avocets and Godwits and one odd bird. Amongst the flock of Black-
We went to the RSPB Dinas reserve today to see Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts and Wood Warbler for this year as that we didn't see any in Scotland. Our first pair of Pied Flycatchers was in the usual nest box by the car park that they used last year. One Foxglove was in full flower and one needs a few more days to be fully flowered. There was another nest box which had a pair of Pied Flycatchers feeding their chick with insects. The female was there quite often and even posed nicely on a branch. The male, on the other hand didn't hang about for long periods. A pair of Redstarts were nesting in a hole at the top a dead tree. The male was very busy here because we saw him going in and out a few times. I was able to see the female Redstart this time which I didn't get to see last year, and she sat on a branch for me to take a photo of her. We went down by the river to see if there were any Dippers but none today. There was a juvenile Pied Wagtail being fed by the adult and then another juvenile came along. A male Redstart flew in and perched on the fence next to some overhanging sheep wool. When he went a female came and perched quite near to where he had been. We could hear Ravens calling over the hills but we were surprised that we did not see any Red Kites. We walked further along and there was a juvenile Redstart up in the tree [which mum and dad didn't see] and then we realised the adults are nearby feeding the chicks, which must be almost fledged, but a few still on the ground which is not safe because of ground predators. This was my first Juvenile Redstart I've seen in my life. We heard at least three Wood Warblers and boy were they tricky for me to see this year. Most of the time I had to look through the video camera but I did see one eventually. A Tree Pipit was also to be found in the same place quite near to where the Wood Warbler was singing which is a series of repeated sweet accending trilling like a coin spinning to rest on a table. On our way back to the car the Redstarts were still hanging around, both male and female. It looked like the nest might have been in a log on the ground. They kept going in with food and it looked like the male removed a foetal sac. There was a female Pied Flycatcher sat out very nicely in the late afternoon sun and a Spotted Flycatcher also appeared on the top of one of the branches for a quick comparison before taking off. Dad took a few pictures of Pied Flycatchers near the car park and I've checked all the pictures he took and they were all bleached out because he had the setting wrong. Finally we popped along to Llyn Brianne where we saw House Martins collecting mud for their nests. There were also Sand Martins and Swallows and one Wheatear. Not sure where the Swallows or Martins were nesting. Not many buildings there. Perhaps they
were building them on the cliff, which they must have done before there were houses. On our way home we saw a few Red Kites as we were driving through the Brecon Beacons. I still think its odd that there were none at Dinas. It used to be the only place to see them a few years ago. We went over Blorenge near Abergavenny, but it was getting late so we didn’t have much time to look at anything. We saw
Yellowhammers and Linnets, but no Grouse or Dartford Warbler. But it is a place that we should look at in more detail another time.
Elan Valley and Gigrin Farm
We went to Wales just for the day through the Elan Valley where we stopped and had lunch at the Visitor Centre. We saw a Grey and Pied Wagtail on the river and heard a Wood Warbler singing in the woods on the other side and a Pied Flycatcher [female] perched on a wire no pictures sorry. A Red Kite flew over with along with a Buzzard a few mintues before. After we got back on the coach and we
started to drive through the valley I spotted a Badger in broad daylight foraging on a roadside verge! We arrived at Gigrin in time for the 3PM feed there were lots of Kites flying about waiting and as soon the food was chucked on the ground they went straight down for it, briefly at the beginning of the feed some perched in the nearby trees. We eventually saw the White or Leucistic Red Kite but this one was whiter than normal! A Raven was perched calling in the tree. There was also Jackdaws, Rooks and of course Buzzards.
We went to Exmoor to search for Heath Fritillary so we started at Webber's Post to look for it but nothing except Speckled Wood and Green -
forth feeding the chicks in the nest amongst the bracken. We went to the Coombe to look for the Fritillary as it was the best place to see them. One of the Linnets we saw was redder than the normal birds, but on looking at the photos at home decided it must have been a Redpoll. There were no Heath Fritillaries at all but the Redstarts were lovely to see again [first in Somerset for me]. We also saw the first Small Heath of the year. On the moor we located some Stonechats perched on the gorse bushes and Large Skipper in the long grass. For the first time on Exmoor we saw some Red Deer running across the moor and grunting as they went up the hill.
Having read on the new Twitter page that Martin Mcgill and James Lees write, that a Red Necked Phalarope was at theZiess Hide at 11.50. I wanted to at least see it for myself. I located the Phalarope on the far side of the Tack Piece too distance for picture. A Spoonbill that was present at South Lake flew into the front of the Lathbury Hide. It is now in complete breeding plumage with the crest,the yellow tipped bill and the yellow on the chest that it didn't have four months ago. The Ruddy Shelduck pair were showing also in front of the hide. The feral population of Barnacle Geese arrived this afternoon from the Holden Tower. The two Shelduck Hybrids that we saw at the end of last month had come back having been to Chew yesterday. The First -
We went to Wales for a weeks holiday and we stayed in a Cottage outside Machynlleth. On the way up, we called in to Gilfach Farm where we saw three Lesser Redpolls feeding on the feeders -
The weather had taken a turn for the worse. So what better for a wet day than a journey on the Talyllyn Railway. We started our journey at Abergynolwyn. The first train we boarded was no 4 Edward Thomas on the return journey from Nant Gwernol to Tywyn. The second major station is here at the Dolgoch Falls where there are spectacular waterfalls and the railway crosses the ravine on a high impressive viaduct. The next stop on our journey is Rhydyronen which was a request stop. In the shed at Pendre was No 7 Tom Rolt, who was in service last time. Also in the shed was No 3 Sir Hayden, outside in light steam was No 1 Talyllyn. We arrived at the Wharf station where we disembarked and watched Edward Thomas refuel ready for the next working. Another of the line’s stalwarts arrives with no 2 Dolgoch. We boarded Dolgoch for the journey to Nant Gwernol.
We went to Dyfi Osprey Centre to see how the Ospreys were, the chicks were hunkered down in the nest and the female sat out the downpours. We went to Ynis Hir, but this time it is famous for BBC Springwatch where it was presented from this year and will be for the next two years. The feeders were busy with birds like Chaffinches to the big Grey Squirrel. We called in at Capel Bangor outside Aberystwyth and while we were waiting for the train we watched a flock of Sand Martins perched on the wire which you don’t often see. Well after the wait, I was rather disappointed to see Llewellyn once again taking sole charge heading to the Devil’s Bridge. We went to the Red Kite feeding station at Nant -
We on our way to Anglesey when we broke down at Indigo Jones and after popping in to the exhaust place at Bangor, we eventually arrived at South Stack. We saw a juvenile Meadow Pipit perched on the gorse not long having fledged, I think it might have left today. At Ellins Tower a Gannet flew past the cliff. Kittiwakes were nesting on the with Herring Gulls by the edge. The Great Black -
We started off today at Dyfi Osprey Centre and walked round the boardwalk. We got off to a good start with a singing Sedge Warbler which was probably a non breeding bird. At last we saw Monty, the adult male Osprey perched on the new artificial nest near to the current nest of three chicks in with the female keeping a close watch for intruders. The chicks all sported smart new rings and satellite tags, fitted by Roy Dennis. A few Dragonflies and Damselflies on the wing with Four Spotted Chaser being one of them perched on a flower. Also two juvenile Whitethroats were moving amongst the wetland shrubs and perched frequently on fence posts and shrubs. A Common Lizard was basking in the sun on the boardwalk and when it was warm enough he scuttled away. What a difference a bit of sunshine makes at Ynis Hir and we had a tip off about a sighting of Grasshopper Warbler with chicks but by the time we got down there they’ve gone. The Grey Squirrels were still there though and also we saw some butterflies. Red Admiral and the first of sighting of a Gatekeeper this year. We decided to give Nant -
We started this morning with the Ffestiniog Railway at Tan -
We went to Lake Vyrnwy to have a look around. We saw a flock of Chaffinches on the fence posts and after putting a bit of food down on the ground a Blackbird joined them. We saw the Three Leaping Dolphins which is a sculpture. It might be the last time we see it as it’s slowly rotting. However, as it seemed to be raining almost continually we went somewhere else. As we got away from the mountains, the weather was brighter. At Dyfi Osprey there two Grey Squirrels fighting on the feeders eventually one of them gave up and went off. Below the hide was a Rabbit, Dunnock and Blackbird feeding on the floor. We also went along the boardwalk again -
On our way home we popped into Ynis Hir for the last time to see if Woody was about. The Squirrels were still around by the feeders and various common birds from Robins to Blackbirds. We called in to Capel Bangor as the car start to play up again so we watched the train go through headed by Llewellyn again. We had time to see the arrival at Devil’s Bridge and watched it approach from the bridge. We quickly popped into Gigrin to see what was there, the usual suspects, Red Kite, Raven, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Rook. The White or Leucistic Red Kite flew past briefly. The Peahen also had some recently hatched chicks. We made our way home, but the car was still playing up as we approached the Newport roundabout. We managed to get across the Severn Bridge, but we got stuck behind a learner driver going at 20 miles an hour. The car didn’t like going so slow and started to buck like a kangeroo and eventually stopped at Tockington. We sat in the car and waited for about 15 minutes before starting it again and luckily it did start and we got home without any more mishaps. It was a good holiday, despite the car playing up and of course, the weather! But then, as Simon King says, it does rain a lot in Wales.
Hawk Conservancy Trust
We went to Hawk Conservancy Trust to see what Birds of Prey they had there. First of all we started off with the Heron and Kite feeding: these birds were introduced from Norway and we saw a few but they didn't come down.The Crows and Magpie were nicking all the food. A Grey Heron came down and just stood motionless and not doing much. The first of the flying displays was called the World of Birds of Prey. The first birds flying were the Barn Owls and one of which was called Avon named after the River Avon. Next was a Lanner Falcon which is a bit like our version of the Hobby. Next on the scene was Major Lewis the Burrowing Owl very much like our Little Owl -
We went to Slimbridge to get my book Watching Waterbirds signed. We had a look around while we were waiting for the time of the book-
We headed to Shapwick because we had heard about a Osprey at Noah’s Lake which has been seen for a few days, but of course today it decides to fish somewhere else. We did see a Great White Egret on the scrape, but dipped out on the Spotted Crake and Pectoral Sandpiper that had been seen there previously. There were still a few Dragonflies about. The Cormorants at Noah’s where there as usual, and we had distant views of a Marsh Harrier and Hobby. A Little Grebe was on the lake as well as other water birds, such as Mallard, Tufted Duck, Teal and Mute Swan. We went to Chew on the way home and saw a Black Tern. At Heron’s Green there were two lovely Roe Deer.
We went to Slimbridge to meet up my friend Adam McCabe, who I went to college with. There was a walk out to the Dumbles at 11.00 to see the waders. The person leading is one of wardens Dave Paynter, who managed to pick up the Buff -
We went to Chew to see the Spotted Sandpiper. While we were looking, Dad spotted a Water Rail on the other side so we dashed over and saw it foraging along the edge of the water.This is the first time I have seen the Water Rail in good sunlight, normally the views I've got are dull. There was also a Grey Wagtail there. A Common Sandpiper was along the bank on this occasion but the Spotted Sandpiper didn't like him being there and kept chasing him off, it's almost spotted plumage stood out a mile. However it was very elusive and often disappeared for long periods. We went to Heron's Green where there was two Red Knot on a little island. Despite the name they were not red but grey as they were winter plumage adult birds.
West Somerset Railway
We went to the West Somerset Railway for two engines I haven't seen GNR N2 1744 from Great Central Railway and the return to service of 7828 Odney Manor which has renamed Norton Manor to mark the 40 Commando Royal Marines at Norton Fitzwarren. Williton is first location we started off as SDJR 7F no 88 departs tender first for Bishops Lydeard. Washford is next where we viewed our next loco. This time 5029 Nunney Castle running tender first also to Minehead. As we watched from the bridge we saw a party of Long-
Forest of Dean
We went to the Forest of Dean to see what was about at New Fancy. The Goshawk are now hiding in the deepest woods waiting for next year’s breeding season. At Speech House we put some seed on the log to attract the birds to come down. We had a Robin, Blackbird, Coal Tits, Nuthatches and Grey Squirrels feeding, but not it was not cold enough for others. At Cannop Ponds there was not many birds on the feeders but in winter time the number of birds feeding here will increase. We didn’t see anything at all at Boy’s Grave except a female Southern Hawker Dragonfly on a trunk of a small tree [eating a possible small fly ugh!] We also saw some Fungi, the most common is the red one called the Fly Agaric. I first photographed one in the Scottish Highlands in Summer 2007 and it’s nice to photograph another. This is a poisonous Fungi, so whatever you do don’t touch it, if you do touch it you must wash your hands, if you eat it you will die -
We went to Slimbridge to see if the Bittern was visible from the Ziess Hide, no luck yet but a flock of Canada Geese flew from the Bottom New Piece to the water in front of the Lathbury Hide. The feeders at South Finger were being used by Greenfinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches and Goldfinches -
We arrived late at Slimbridge so we didn't know where to start, we decided to head for the Ziess and that's how we saw Bill Oddie doing his bit of filming for possibly Springwatch Christmas Special as it wasn't featured on Autumnwatch Live that evening. Meanwhile in the Ziess Hide we did see a Bittern perched on top of the reedbed. No picture sorry, too brief. We saw another on the opposite side of the small pond. On the way back to the visitor centre we met Osprey expert Roy Dennis heading to the Ziess. We asked him how the journey to Africa was and about Leri, Dyfi's only female Osprey on
her first migration to Africa whose transmitter has stopped working. He was also going to be in Autumnwatch Live that evening. There was a great bit he filmed in Africa of Einion, another of Dyfi’s Ospreys. Bill was also coming back from filming at South Finger and we saw him heading to the Rushy Pen. We didn’t see the other presenters today, but at least we saw Bill and Roy.
We went back to Slimbridge again to try and see the Bittern but this time no chance of seeing it at all but however we had our first Water Rail from the Ziess and we also saw one from the Holden Walkway -
For the first time since 2006 we went down to River Exe by boat. We started at Starcross with cracking close views of Black -