Archive for February, 2018

Bewick’s Swan

Posted: February 28, 2018 in Birds, Natural History
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The Bewick’s Swan is a winter visitor to the Uk found mainly in coastal areas of England and the east coast of Ireland. It is estimated that around 7000 birds come to the UK each year from their breeding grounds in Northern Russia.

 

 

Keith and I went on a trip with Bexley RSPB group down to the WWT at Slimbridge on the Bristol Channel. This is a wonderful reserve famed for its wintering Geese.

On arrival, we went to the Holden Tower and were soon watching Barnacle Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose and a Red-Breasted Goose.

Red-Breasted Goose

Greater White-fronted Goose

We then moved on to look out over the flooded fields and located a number of Bewick’s Swans and Common Crane along with other Wildfowl.

Common Crane

Bewick’s Swan (top), Eurasian Wigeon (centre left), Moorhen (centre right top), Shelduck (Centre right bottom), Eurasian Teal (bottom left), Tufted Duck (bottom right).

Northern Lapwing (top left), Pied Avocet (top right and centre right), Black-tailed Godwit (Bottom left) and Grey Heron (Bottom right)

Woodpigeon (top left), Rook (top right), Grey Heron (centre right), Jackdaw (bottom)

A long journey but a brilliant days birdwatching with some great views of species not normally seen in SE England.

Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater White-fronted Goose [sp] (Anser albifrons)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Tundra Swan [sp] (Cygnus columbianus)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Crane (Grus grus)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Great Snipe (Gallinago media)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

Kieth and I spent the morning at Staines Reservoir looking for the American Horned Lark, which is still present. As on my previous visit, it did not take us long to find the obliging bird.

As we left the reservoir, a pair of Little Grebes were seen and there was a group of Fieldfare on the bank.

We stopped off at the London Wetland Centre on the way home for a couple of hours.

Shelduck (centre left), Eurasian Wigeon (Bottom left) and Rose-ringed Parakeet (right)

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Feral Rock Dove [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)

 

A bright winters day and a trip to Walthamstow Wetlands in east London, in search of a Little Bunting which has been present for a number of weeks. This rare visitor to the UK breeds in Northern Norway and Russia and winters in Nepal and China, so this bird is way off course. By nature, it is a skulking bird so on arriving at the area where it had been seen it was just a case of scanning all the small birds coming to the feeding tray. It took about 90 minutes but eventually, I saw a small bird moving behind the tray and then there it was, clearly visible. It moved quickly to the right and then disappeared into the vegetation. Some others present continued to see it for a minute or so in the vegetation but then it was gone. I later heard that it came back about 2 hours later.

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Little Bunting. Photo by Vince Garvey (https://www.flickr.com/photos/baggieman/)

After this, I took a walk around the reservoirs where the usual array of waterfowl were present. The highlight was a drake Greater Scaup, which is not common inland so was a good record.

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Greater Scaup (m). Photo by Andrew Reding (https://www.flickr.com/photos/seaotter/)

Great Crested Grebe

Grey Heron

Common Linnet (top), Great Cormorant (bottom left), Canada Goose (bottom right)

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Greater Scaup [sp] (Aythya marila)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Feral Dove [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Hadrian’s Wall

Posted: February 21, 2018 in History, Roman History
Tags: ,

On our way home from Weymouth, Sue and I made a lunchtime stop at Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve, near Ringwood in Hampshire. I had never been to this reserve before, in fact, I had never heard of it till a couple of days ago. Which is quite a surprise when I read what was on offer here. The evening Gull roost (which as lunchtime visitors we did not see) presently includes 5 rarer Gull species. The stars are 2 American Gulls, Thayer’s Gull and Ring-Billed Gull along with Caspian Gull, Iceland Gull and Yellow-legged Gull together with thousands of the commoner Gull species.

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Anyway, we were too early for roosting Gulls but we started on Ibsey Lake where there was an amazing 40 Goosander on the far bank along with 15 Pintail and a single Pink-footed Goose. Out on the lake were a few Goldeneye together with Common Pochard and Tufted Duck.

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Goosanders. Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Our next stop was the Woodland hide where we were treated to a wonderful display of woodland birds including some beautiful Siskin and Brambling along with Chaffinch, Dunnock, Long-tailed Tits, Nuthatch, Great and Blue Tits.

Brambling

Siskin (left), Wigeon (top right) and Deer (bottom right)

On the way back to the car park, we were directed to a spot where we could see a Great White Egret and Little Egret resting in the reed-bed and then were treated to a rather confiding deer (probably a Fallow Deer) which fed quite happily as we watched it from the path

This was a short visit but I would really like to visit again and spend a lot more time exploring this wonderful reserve.

Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Goosander / Common Merganser [sp] (Mergus merganser)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)
Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

On the way to Ferrybridge for coffee this morning a Eurasian Sparrowhawk flew over the harbour at Weymouth. On the rising tide, a flock of 25 Ringed Plovers together with 3 Ruddy Turnstone and a single Dunlin were feeding on the mudflats. There were only 6 Brent Geese today and a scan through the gulls revealed 4 species but no Mediterranean Gull. There was still a good number of Red-breasted Merganser present. Two Rooks were rather a surprise visitor and a Eurasian Skylark was heard singing.

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Ringed Plover

On the way back to our cottage we dropped in at Lodmoor where we flushed a Kingfisher as we approached the viewpoint. Once again there were good numbers of Common Snipe along with Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwits. A single Mediterranean Gull was present with the other Gulls.

Common Snipe

House Sparrow (top left), Dunnock (bottom left) and Northern Lapwing (right)

Late afternoon we heard that a Eurasian Spoonbill had been seen arriving at Lodmoor so we re-visited the viewpoint and after a few minutes the bird was seen flying from the reed-bed into a ditch out of view. Shortly afterwards it took flight and was seen flying away towards Weymouth.

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Spoonbill. Photo by Joe Pell (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pellyutd/)

 

Brent Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

A visit to Ferrybridge today. It was reasonably quiet bird-wise but it was a lovely day and very pleasant as I walked along the Fleet.

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The best sighting was 30 Red-breasted Merganser present at various places along the Fleet. Today only 3 Mediterranean Gulls could be seen with the Black-headed Gulls but the only waders present were 3 Oystercatchers.

Oystercatcher (top left), Herring Gull (top right) and Red-breasted Mergansers (bottom)

Brent Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
European Shag [sp] (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Today some birding mixed with a trip to Poole. Our first stop was at Hamworthy beach on the north of Poole Harbour. A group of Red-breasted Merganser were present and eventually, a distant Black-throated was located out towards the main harbour.

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Black-throated Diver. Photo by Tony Morris (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonymorris/)

Our second stop was at Poole Park, where a good number of Goldeneye were on the lake together with good numbers of common waterfowl. 7 Little Grebe was a notable number.

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Poole Park

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Common Goldeneye (m)

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Black-throated Loon [sp] (Gavia arctica)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)