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
Slimbridge 21st January 2013
We went to Slimbridge today to see if the birds were out on the ice and snow. We went first to the Rushy Pen and all the Bewick's Swans were in the pen as they could not feed on the Tack Piece because it was snowy and frozen. The Pintail was having a bath in the pen. We went to the Willow Hide to see if the Water Rail would show itself. We saw it briefly running right to left and dashed into the reeds. There were loads of birds on and around the feeders from the Chaffinches to the Robin. We also saw a nice male Bullfinch briefly, but it too vanished. The Water Rail made an appearance out of the reeds but after a couple of minutes dashed back into the reeds. The Water Rail kept coming out and going back in again. At one time it strecthed it's leg and wing feathers showing the primaries. The Moorhen was blocking the path of the Water Rail and we heard a funny noise which was probably the Rail calling at the Moorhen for blocking his exit. At the South Lake there were loads of Shovelers feeding around in a circle and the half of the lake was frozen. There were a few Teals, Shelducks and Greylag Geese as most of the Ducks must have gone out to estuary and the Waders moved on.
On the way to the South Finger there was a Robin perched on the gate post in good sunlight highlighting the orange breast better. Very obliging bird. At South Finger I saw a Pheasant and a Rat. We went to Ziess Hide to see if the Bittern was showing itself as one was seen in flight and walking across the ice. One was keeping itself hidden in the reeds and very hard to see. We went back to South Finger to look for Siskins and Redpolls which I missed before. They were feeding on the alders in front of the hide. There was also a Reed Bunting there. We were on our way back to the visitor centre when we spotted a Grey Heron by the frozen pond. We had go down that way because that's the only way back which meant the Grey Heron got disturbed twice. The Eider Ducks must have just been fed because the other birds were trying to get at it. The Black-
Shovelers and Black -
Frozen South Lake
Reed Bunting [Male]
Frozen Bottom New Piece
It was still very snowy and we didn’t want to go too far, so we went for a drive around North Yate looking for Waxwings today. This winter has been really good for these Scandinavian species. We spotted five birds perched on some trees on Eastfield Drive briefly before two people walked past and scared them off. We drove in the direction that we saw them fly and located them again in Leechpool Way feeding on the Rose Hips in a garden. I managed a couple of pictures before they all flew off and landed in one of the big trees. They all took off again and we waited to see if they returned to the Rose Hips, but they just kept flying not too be seen again. We did see a flock of about 40+ Blue Tits. I’ve never seen so many together.
The weather forecast snow for Friday and they were right. Organic Blooms was closed and so I had a day off from work. A lot of schools were also closed as lots of children were out playing in the snow. The snow brought lots of birds into the garden and we had to keep the feeders topped up. A flock of Fieldfare and Redwings flew over and some stopped in the large Maple tree by our garden. They must have spotted the apples in our tree, as it did not take them very long to come down to them, much to the disgust of our local Blackbirds, who were chased off their favourite perches.There were loads of other birds coming into the garden such as Chaffinchs, Greenfinchs, Goldfinchs, Long -
Goldfinches in the tree
Fieldfare feeding on the ground
Fieldfare feeding on an apple
Water Rail stretching leg and tail
Garden today 21/01/13
A leucistic Fieldfare arrived in the garden today. It came in with 2 other Fieldfares and was feeding on the Pyracantha berries. We first throught it was a Blackbird, but it remained for a short while feeding on the berries. None of the Blackbirds that have been in the garden during the winter have touched the berries. Also today were 3 Blackcaps and a female Grey Wagtail plus the usual garden birds.
I took these pictures from my bedroom window. Sorry about the quality, I must get Dad to clean the windows.
Slimbridge 26th January 2013
We went to Slimbridge for the Festival of Birds event. We looked in the sightings book and the Bittern was reported from the Ziess Hide, so we went there first. The Bittern was showing really well in the open foraging. A couple of minutes later it rested at the edge of the reedbed and preened it's feathers in the sunshine. It then moved a bit closer to the hide and did a bit of swimming which don't see often. We went to see Mike Dilger [presenter of the One Show] learning to feed the Mute Swans on Swan Lake with the warden James Lees. Another Celebrity visiting Slimbridge was Johnny Kingdom from Exmoor with his wife Julie, and he was watching the swan feed. We went to see some of the small birds being ringed. We arrived just as they were releasing a family of Long-
Slimbridge 27th January 2013 We went to Slimbridge again to listen to Ed Drewitt giving a talk about Urban Peregrines which was very interesting. We went to look for the Bittern again, but although it had been seen that day, it was keeping in the reeds a lot more, probably because it was not so icy now. We went to South Finger to look for Redpolls and Siskins. I could see at least one in the Alder, but the light was all wrong for a photo. We saw a nice male Reed Bunting on one of the feeders. After lunch we went to the Duck Hut and watched some Teal being ringed by Ed Drewitt and James Lees. In the afternoon Iolo Williams gave a talk about Welsh Wildlife from the mountain top to the coast. It was a very entertaining talk.
The final talk of the Slimbridge Festival of birds was by James and Martin on the wildlife at Slimbridge for 2012. Some brilliant photos and a nice reminder of all the best birds of the year. We finished with a quick look in Martin Smith hide and made our way home.
Johnny, Mike and Julie at Swan Lake
Meeting Johnny Kingdom
January 2 2013