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Farmoor Reservoir & Hawling 4th January 2020

We went to Farmoor Reservoir to look for the Slavonian Grebe, which had been present most of the Winter. There were other common birds around the reservoir including Cormorants, Mallards, Coots, Moorhens, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebes & Goldeneye. We spotted the Slavonian Grebe in the north-west corner of Reservoir 1. It showed & fed very well during our visit, even though the light was appalling. Me & Mum went to the bird hide on the nature reserve. There were Reed Buntings, Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Female Common Pheasants & Goldfinches. The star bird we saw there was a Male Kingfisher which perched in the tree near the hide & gave us fantastic views. Afterwards we popped back to the reservoir to see the Slavonian Grebe. It continued to show well close to the bank, before swimming further back. We had lunch & a cup of tea in the cafe before heading back home. We went back via the Cotswolds in search of Grey Partridges which had reoprted near Cirencester, but no sign. We did manage to see a couple of Brown Hares & a small herd of 4 Fallow Deer. Unfortunately, we were a bit too late for the Short-eared Owls, as they did not put in much of appearance that evening & disappeared for long periods. At least we saw some though. A good day.

Slavonian Grebe [Winter]

Common Goldeneye [Flock]

Great Cormorant [Winter]

Slavonian Grebe [Winter]

Slavonian Grebe [Winter]

Kingfisher [Male]

Reed Bunting [Male]

Fallow Deer [Herd]

Brown Hare [Adult]

Kingfisher [Male]

Short-eared Owl [Adult]

Cooper's Lake, Yate 10th January 2020

I had a message on Twitter from Mark Coller that a Male Goosander had been seen on Cooper's Lake, Yate the previous day while I was at work. Me & Dad popped up there to have a look. Viewing was difficult due to a number of bushes & trees in the way. The Male Goosander was showing well despite the foliage & also did a wing flap. Thanks to Mark Coller for the info.

We popped back up to the Cotswolds that evening & had better views of Short-eared Owls hunting around the farmland in search of Short-tailed Voles. A Red Kite passed the area. A Barn Owl was also hunting around the field at the back & a Brown Hare was also seen. It was getting dark, so we started to make our way home.

Goosander [Male]

Goosander [Male]

Red Kite [Adult]

Short-eared Owl [Adult]

Short-eared Owl [Adult]

Cornwall 17th-21st January 2020

17/01/20
We went to Cornwall for my birthday weekend & popped to Chapel Amble on the way to our cottage near Porthtowan to look for the Water Pipit & Siberian Chiffchaff. The Water Pipit was present on the flooded field opposite the car park & showed very distantly. A Female Stonechat was briefly seen with a couple of Common Chiffchaffs. We were surprised to see a Swallow flying around, especially as it was so cold that we were having sleet showers. We managed to find a couple of Siberian Chiffchaffs with Common Chiffchaffs flitting alongside the road leading to the sewage works. A Green Sandpiper was also foraging in the flooded fields. Afterwards, we continued on down to the cottage.

Common Chiffchaff [Adult]

Siberian Chiffchaff [Adult]

18/07/20
Our first in Cornwall began on the Hayle Estuary. We popped into the hide Ryan's Field RSPB to see what was about. Quite a few Black-headed Gulls were seen on the pool. A couple of Common Redshanks and a Curlew.
We had loads of Gulls on the estuary itself, but no sign of the Caspian, Ring-billed & Yellow-legged Gulls. We headed to Penzance to look for the Purple Sandpipers. Some Turnstones were perched on the rocks.
It was a high tide and very wild & windy. All of the Purple Sandpipers wintering in Penzance were asleep in the harbour wall. A few Feral Pigeons came to feed on the seed in the harbour with the Turnstones. We popped along to Newlyn Harbour in search of the Iceland Gull & Black Guillemot. We didn't see either there. There was Rock Pipit, a couple of Grey Seal, Kingfisher briefly in flight, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Mediterranean Gull, 2 Grey Seals & 2 Great Northern Divers. As the weather got sunny & calmer, both Adult & Juvenile Great Northern Divers swam further out to sea. We had a quick look at Mousehole for the Black Redstart, but no sign. We saw a few Turnstones on the beach. We finished the day at Cape Cornwall where we saw Gannets, Fulmars, Razorbills & Common Guillemots. Some Guillemots & Razorbills were in Summer/Winter Plumage. We stopped at Pendeen on the way home to watch the lovely sunset and a Chough flew over. Presumably to roost somewhere in the cliff.

Great Northern Diver [Adult]

Great Northern Diver [Juvenile]

Black-headed Gull [Adult Winter]

Curlew [Adult]

Turnstone [Winter]

Rock Pipit [Winter]

Great Black-back Gull [Juvenile]

Herring Gull [2nd Winter]

Herring Gull [Adult Winter]

Grey Seal

Razorbill [Summer & Winter]

19/01/20
We went back to Hayle to see what was on view from Ryan's Field RSPB hide. To be honest, it was more or less completely deserted and seemed to be confined to the estuary side of the reserve. We headed to see what was on the estuary as we were in the area. We didn't see the Ring-billed, Caspian or Yellow-legged Gulls again sadly. There were Black-headed Gulls, Mediterranean Gull, Common Teals, Bar-tailed Godwits, Herring Gulls Lapwings, Curlews & Lesser Black-backed Gull. We had a tip off about a Slavonian Grebe, that had been showing well for the past few days. Me & Mum went to have look & Dad waited in the car, as he was not in a very good parking space. The Grebe was still showing well at Carnsew Pool/Basin during our visit, although distantly. This possibly could have been the bird, that was on Farmoor Reservoir earlier in the month but not denfinate. We went down to Sennen to look for the American Buff-bellied Pipit. We saw a Raven perched in the field. The Pipit had been showing on & off around the manure piles, however during our visit it was very very elusive. We only saw a Female Grey Wagtail & loads of Meadow Pipits. Afterwards we headed to Sennen Cove which overlooks the sea towards Cape Cornwall. In the after-noon we went to a location in West Cornwall which was used as the village of Sawle in the TV series "Poldark". It was a lovely little place. I could see why they picked it for the filming. On way back we stopped at St Buryan to Look at the ancient sites of Merry Maidens & Tregiffian chamber.

Curlew [Adult]

Bar-tailed Godwit [Winter

Bar-tailed Godwit [Pair]

Lapwing [Adult]

Black-headed Gull [Adult Winter]

Slavonian Grebe [Winter]

Raven [Adult]

Bar-tailed Godwit [Winter]

Grey Wagtail [Female]

20/01/20
We started the day at Marazion, where we saw a Rock Pipit foraging around the car park & perched on the building. We saw another Rock Pipit near Penzance, as we were looking for Purple Sandpipers. A Ruddy Turnstone came walking up to greet us. The Purple Sandpipers showed very well perched & feeding on the rocks this time as the tide was too rough. Only 4 birds were seen on this morning, compared to a dozen or so the other day. We headed back to Marazion, which sits in the shadow of St Michael's Mount. We walked up along the beach through the town to Little London Bay for Black Redstarts. On the way, we saw more Rock Pipits. Our first Black Redstart we saw was 1st Winter Male. It seemed to do a bit of circuit from the cliff face & down on the the beach. Afterwards it vanished & we slowly made our way back to the car. As got near the steps, we spotted another Black Redstart, this time an Adult Female. We finished the day by watching a couple of Short-eared Owls near Sennen & occasionally getting mobbed by a Female Common Kestrel. We popped along to Men-an-tol, which is another ancient site, we see it at sunset. We saw a Robin & Stonechat there. Men-a-Tol stones lies a few miles away from Ding Dong Mine & in the far distance, you could see Lanyon Quoit. It had been another lovely sunny day, even though it was a bit cold.

Turnstone [Winter]

Purple Sandpiper [Winter]

Rock Pipit [Winter]

Rock Pipit [Winter]

Purple Sandpiper [Winter

Black Redstart [1st Winter Male]

Black Redstart [1st Winter Male]

Men-a-Tol with Ding Dong Mine behind

21/01/20
Our final day in Cornwall we headed back via Bodmin Moor. Our first port of call was King Doniert's Stone. Then to Bodmin Moor to see the Hurlers & the Pipers. We saw the Cheesewring & Stowe's hill nearby.  We saw a couple of Stonechats & Carrion Crows foraging. We then popped to Trethevy Quoit. A few Belted Galloway Cattle grazed on the moor. Our final quest was at Siblyback Reservoir to look for the Ring-necked Duck that had been showing well for a couple of days. There was a Robin, Stonechats, Tufted Ducks, Female Greater Scaup & at last we spotted the 1st Winter Male Ring-necked Duck at the north end of the reservoir. We headed back to Bodmin Moor, where we had a cup of tea before heading back home.

Ring-necked Duck [Male]

Carrion Crow [Adult]

Ring-necked Duck [Male]

Stonechat [Male]

The Hurlers, Bodmin Moor  

Trethevy Quoit, Bodmin Moor

Forest of Dean 28th January 2020

We started our visit to the forest near Parkend to look for the Crossbills. We saw Coal Tits, Blackbirds, Nuthatches, Robins & Marsh Tit. One of the Coal Tits flew up & hit our car window & had a shock. We put him on the log so it could recover before flying off. Nearby a Wren was foraging up a tree. At Speech House we saw Robin, Jay, Grey Squirrels, Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Blackbird & Chaffinch. We finished the day at Cannop Ponds watching a huge flock of Mandarin Ducks. A Jay was seen briefly. Also saw a Female Grey Wagtail.

Coal Tit [Adult]

Marsh Tit [Adult]

Nuthatch [Adult]

Robin [Adult]

Nuthatch [Adult]

Wren [Adult]

Jay [Adult]

Jay [Adult]

Mandarin [Flock]

Kingsgate Park, Yate 2nd February 2020

I had a message from Mark Coller, informing me that a Female Goosander was on the duck pond at Kingsgate Park in Yate. Me & Dad headed to the park & managed to see the bird, before she took off at 10:39AM & flew in the direction of Cooper's Lake. Thanks to Mark for the info.

©  Christopher Teague 2020