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Wildlife in and around the city of Bristol

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Bristol and Avon Bird

Sightings

Scotland & North East 2016

We found out that the boat to the Isle of May was cancelled due to a damaged rudder, and wouldn’t be sailing until at least Wednesday. We thought there must have been a problem with it when we saw it coming back from the conversatory of our guest house last night. We went down to the harbour at Anstruther where some Common Eider were resting on the rocks. Some were also swimming out in the sea. We then popped to Loch Leven RSPB at Vane Farm. The flies were swarming around the area in their millions because there was no wind. The Tree Sparrows were feeding at the feeding station from Gillman Hide. At the Carden Hide the Male Garganey was picking the flies off the water. A good number of Black-headed Gulls breed here. Only 2 Common Gulls were present during our visit. We went back to Gillman Hide for another look at the Tree Sparrows. Dad saw a Garden Warbler singing briefly. The Swallows were nesting under the eaves of the Visitor Centre by the toilets as usual. A few Green-veined Whites were on the wing. We drove round the Loch and had a look at the castle in the middle where Mary, Queen of Scots had been imprisoned. In the evening, Dad and I went for walk at Anstruther and we saw a couple of Linnets foraging on the grass. We saw the same Male singing on top of a gorse bush. We even managed to see a Male Velvet Scoter flying past the headland.

Anstruther & Loch Leven RSPB 15th May 2016

Scotland and the North East

Common Eider [Male]

Common Eider [Male]

Common Eider [Female]

Tree Sparrow [Adult]

Garganey [Male]

Barn Swallow [Adult]

Greenfinch [Male]

Linnet [Male]

Linnet [Male]

We were lucky to get the last 3 seats on the RIB ‘Osprey’ for the Isle of May. Mum was a bit worried about it so we had a little walk around the harbour first. We saw a Rock Pipit collecting nest material. A few Common Eiders started to come into the harbour. We all got kitted out in waterproofs and lifejackets (this did not put Mum’s mind to rest), then we boarded the RIB. The sea was very calm and Mum started to enjoy the ride over. As we approached the island we saw Guillemots, Razorbills & Puffins on the water. It also has few Grey Seals around the coast. A few Great Black-backed Gulls patrol the coastline. The Isle of May has got both Arctic and Common Terns breeding there, though not as many as the Farnes. Female Eiders nest on the island, just like on the Farnes and of course lots of Puffins. Quite a number of Kittiwakes nest on the island but unfortunately, no Little Gull that had been seen recently. A few Lesser Black-backed & Herring Gulls were present in some numbers but not as many as the Kittiwakes. A few pairs of Fulmars were nesting on various cliff tops. Amongst the numerous Guillemots were 2 Bridled forms. Shags numbers have increased after the winter of 1995 and good numbers were seen around the island. Razorbills nest sometimes near the Guillemot Colonies in crevices. The Puffins on the other hand nest in underground burrows. We didn’t have time to look for the Bluethroat that have been seen there as it was a large area to explore. Much bigger than Inner Farne. After 2 hours walking around, we still hadn’t seen all of it but we had to return to the bay to catch the RIB back to Anstruther. It was a very enjoyable morning and we would certainly like to come again one day.


In the afternoon we explored Morton Lochs and from the Railway Hide we saw a Kingfisher fishing at the back of the loch. A Reed Bunting was perched briefly on reed mask. Back at the car park we saw a Small White perched on a dandelion. We popped into the Squirrel Hide where a Juvenile Robin was foraging on the ground. Suddenly, a Red Squirrel made an appearance at the feeder. After a very good prolonged feed, it bolted into the woods when a jogger ran past.



Time to say goodbye to our lovely hosts at Anstruther and head towards Yorkshire. We went to Saltholme RSPB on the way to look for the Whiskered Terns that had been present for a few days. Both Adults were mainly seen in flight over the main lake during our visit, but distant. Whiskered Terns are rare and annual visitors to Britain, but my last sighting of this species was two years ago in the Camargue, France.
At the feeders were Tree Sparrows & Stock Doves. From Paddy’s Pool hide, the air was filled with the chorus of Black-headed Gulls and a couple of Common Terns perched on a wooden post in front of the hide. We walked down to Saltholme Pools where there were some Avocets with a Little Egret. A couple of Little Gulls were flying at the back of the pools. Back at the feeders from the Visitor Centre, the Tree Sparrows & Stock Doves were still there, along with a Male Reed Bunting. There was nothing much from the Wildlife lookout Hide except a Little Egret & couple of Common Terns. A Common Whitethroat was singing in the bushes.

We did not have time to explore any further as we had to get down to the apartment in Beverley where we were staying for the next 4 nights.

Us on the rib

Me and Mum ready to aboard the rib

Rib number 2 alongside ours

Rock Pipit

Common & Grey Seals

Arctic Tern [Summer]

Common Tern [Summer]

Arctic Terns

Atlantic Puffin [Summer]

Atlantic Puffin [Summer]

Atlantic Puffin [Summer]

Atlantic Puffin [Summer]

Common Eider [Female]

Kittiwake & Puffin

Kittiwake [Summer]

Kittiwakes

Fulmar

Shag

Common Guillemots

Razorbill [Summer]

Razorbill [Summer]

Razorbill [Summer]

Arctic Tern [Summer]

Arctic Tern [Summer]

Isle of May

Isle of May

Arctic Terns

Atlantic Puffins

Razorbills

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Whiskered Tern [Summer]

Whiskered Tern [Summer]

Whiskered Tern [Summer

Tree Sparrow [Juvenile]

Tree Sparrow [Juvenile]

Goldfinch

Isle of May 16th May 2016

Common Guillemots

Common Guillemot [Summer]

Saltholme RSPB 17th May 2016

After all the sunny weather we’d had, today was the first wet one. We started at North Cave Wetlands but there was not too much around so we continued on to Potteric Carr. Both are Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserves. There are lots of hides here, so it was good for dodging the showers. We started at Willow Marsh Hide which had a feeding area which attracts small birds like Willow Tits, but unfortunately there were none during our visit. There were only Canada Geese and Coot Families, Mallards, Chaffinch, Great & Blue Tits. We walked around Huxter Well Marsh, stopping at various hides on the way to the viewpoint, which was the best place to look for the star bird, the Black-necked Grebe. Although our first views were somewhat distant, we put in a bit of time at the viewpoint & eventually one of the Grebes swam a bit closer before disappearing around the lake. Luckily, it had stopping raining for a bit and the sun even came out for a while. We continued to walk around the marsh and stopped at Piper Marsh hide. There was plenty of Swifts and Black- headed Gulls here. We popped into the tearoom for a cup of tea while another shower of rain passed before walking back to the Visitor Centre via Decoy Marsh. There was time for another quick look at North Cave Wetlands. Amongst other birds such as Avocet, there were a few Little Ringed Plovers showing from the Crosslands Hide.


The weather today was much better so we went to Bempton Cliffs RSPB to see the Gannets that breed here. There were also Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills, a few Puffins and Tree Sparroews. Unlike 2 years ago we didn’t have very close views of the Gannets on the cliffs. I think that it might be because they had only started to nest as we saw some pulling out clumps of grass and flying off it it. Me and Mum saw a Corn Bunting singing on a fence post behind a farm track that said ’private’, so we couldn’t go any closer. There was plenty of Tree Sparrows around the reserve. We had a drive to Spurn and just like the last time we were there, not much to see. There was a few Grey Plovers in breeding plumage along with some Dunlin on the shore. At the canal scrape hide Mum saw a Male Cuckoo fly past in front of the hide, but Dad and I wasn’t there. We drove back along the road to Spurn and I managed to spot the Cuckoo being mobbed by small birds. We popped to nearby Kilnsea Wetlands and we saw three Mute Swans having an almighty fight. One was on top of the other holding it by the neck and the poor thing was covered in mud. It managed to break free and flapped over the mud to swim away with the other two in hot pursuit. Then some Dunlin flew in with a Little Stint. A couple of Avocets were nesting on the island. We saw the Cuckoo perched on a post at the edge of the field, which was too distant for photos. Then it started raining, so we made our way back to Beverley.

Black-necked Grebe [Summer]

Black-necked Grebe [Summer]

Coots

Black-headed Gull [Summer]

Tree Sparrow [Adult]

Tree Sparrow [Adult]

Kittiwake [Summer]

Kittiwake [Summer]

Kittiwake [Summer]

Puffin, Common Guillemots & Kittiwake

Razorbill [Summer]

Fulmar

Fulmar

Gannet [Adult]

Gannet [Adult]

Gannet [3rd Year]

Gannet [Adult]

Grey Heron

Gannet [Adult]

Gannet [Sub Adult]

Gannets & Kittiwakes

Common Guillemots, Razorbill & Kittiwakes

Gannets

Gannets

Gannets at a distant

Bempton Cliffs RSPB

Peregrine Falcon

Grey Plover & Dunlin

Mute Swans

Avocets

Avocet

Marsh Harrier [Male]

Koniks

Sedge Warbler [Male]

Mediterranean Gull [2nd Summer]

Moorhen Chick

Marsh Harrier [Male]

Shoveler [Male]

Swift

Swift

Tree Sparrow [Adult]

Red-legged Partridge

North Cave Wetlands  & Potteric Carr 18th May 2016

Canada Gosling

Black-headed Gull [Summer]

Bempton Cliffs RSPB & Spurn/Kilnsea 19th May 2016

Gannet [Sub Adult]

Gannet [Adult]

Little Stint [1st Summer]

Little Egret [Summer]

Blacktoft Sands & Old Moor RSPB 20th May

We went to Blacktoft Sands RSPB to see what was about. Around the feeding station were lots of Tree Sparrows. There was pently of Avocets breeding on the island but sadly no chicks presumably a Heron got them all, as there was one that kept being chased off by the Avocets. Me & Mum went down to Ouse Marsh Hide where we saw Konik Ponies, Little Egret and an Avocet. We saw a Sedge Warbler singing from a little screen near the hide. We went to Old Moor RSPB and started at the Bittern Hide, and no, we didn't see any Bitterns there but saw a Great Crested Grebe in front of the hide. A Male Orange Tip was perched on a Cuckoo Flower. At the Wader Scrape we didn't see the Sanderling that was reported earlier in the day but a 2nd Summer Mediterranean Gull was present in with Black-headed Gulls. In the evening we popped back to Blacktoft Sands RSPB to see if there were any Owls about. There was a few Marsh Harriers which was about all there was. A pair of Shovelers were on a small pond by the Visitor Centre.


Fairburn Ings RSPB 21st May 2016

We started off homewards today, but decided to go to Fairburn Ings RSPB for a few hours on the way. It was pretty quiet for wildlife but we saw quite a number of Swifts and Tree Sparrows. There was a new path around the reserve which, so we had a walk around it. The first bird we saw was some Red - legged Partridge. We could hear Cuckoos calling, but just couldn’t see any. The path takes you quite high up and there were some lovely views from the top. Also, we got good views of the heronry from above. We didn’t see any Sand Martins nesting in the bank this year by the hide, so maybe they aren’t there this year.We had some lunch and then we continued the homeward journey. It had been a lovely two weeks and we’ve never had such good weather in Scotland.


Orange Tip [Male]

Mediterranean & Black-headed Gulls