Posts Tagged ‘Goldfinch’

Some more pictures from our Northumbria trip

Bullfinch

Bullfinch

 

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

 

Great Tit

Great Tit

 

Common Tern

Common Tern

 

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

 

Great Tit

Great Tit

 

Moorhen displaying

Moorhen displaying

Off to Minsmere in Suffolk with the local RSPB group. Minsmere is a wonderful collection of different habitats collected together on the Suffolk coast and has long been one of the RSPB’s premier reserves. It has grown over the years and it is almost impossible to cover all of it in a single day’s visit so rather than trying to do so, I decide to target certain species and visit specific locations in the hope of getting some photos.

 

Pheasant

Pheasant

Arriving at the reserve, I set off to the south scrape as this is where the best bird activity has been reported.

South scrape

South scrape

A patient wait is rewarded with views of Little Tern, Red Knot and Grey Plover – although all too distant for photography.

Common Tern

Common Tern

Pied Avocet

Pied Avocet

From here I make my way to Island Mere hide. On the way a Western Marsh-harrier quarters the reads not far away and the wood is full of bird song. A brief diversion is made as a warden has located a basking Minotaur Beetle, which sits happily as photographers take their turn to record it.

Minotaur Beetle

Minotaur Beetle

The distinctive call of a Common Cuckoo is heard as I approach the hide.

Island Mere surrounded by reed-bed

Island Mere surrounded by reed-bed

This is to be a stop of brief views as both Eurasian Bittern and Bearded Reedling are seen in flight but do not linger in view before disappearing into the reed-bed. Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Cetti’s Warblers provide a constant musical background – all unseen from within the reed-bed. A hunting Eurasian Hobby is seen over the reeds and there is constant activity from the Marsh-harriers.

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My route takes me on across the heathland – hopeful of some early butterflies but the morning sun has receded and the wind has added a chill note to the afternoon. Any self-respecting butterfly is tucked away. Arriving at Scott’s Hall (one of the best sites on the reserve for Marsh Tit) it is disappointing to find the feeders empty and devoid of birds. But at the next feeder station, I am luckier and both Marsh Tit and Coal Tit are seen as they make lightning quick raids on the feeders, stopping only long enough to grab some food before departing.

Common Chaffinch

Common Chaffinch

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

My  final stop of the afternoon is West scrape.

West scrape

West scrape

Here I find a Meditteranean Gull in amongst its far more numerous relative, the Black-headed Gull together with Common Sandpiper and Barnacle Goose. These later are normally winter visitors, but there seemed to be a few each year which fail to migrate back to their arctic breeding grounds and hang around throughout the summer.

The afternoon was fast waning by this point and it was time to begin the journey back to London – an excellent days birdwatching, even if not yielding the photographic opportunities I had hoped for

 

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Eurasian Hobby [sp] (Falco subbuteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Red Knot [sp] (Calidris canutus)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
Little Tern [sp] (Sternula albifrons)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Cuckoo [sp] (Cuculus canorus)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
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 (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Some more photos from my trip to Norfolk at the weekend

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

 

Pochard

Pochard

 

Moorhen

Moorhen

 

Coot

Coot

 

Goldfinches

Goldfinches

 

Whooper Swans

Whooper Swans

 

Mute Swans

Mute Swans

A lovely spring Morning and a visit to Bough Beech.

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The first thing I noticed on arrival was the calls of Common Buzzard and up to 8 birds in the air at the same time. There has been a noted passage of Buzzards over SE England over the last couple of days – at least 16 had been reported from Bough Beech yesterday. It is possible that the calls were from a resident pair as they objected to the presence of other birds in ‘their’ area.

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On the reservoir were good numbers of great Crested Grebes and Tufted Duck along with a few geese and Cormorants. In the vegetation on the edge of the resrvoir a number of Little Grebes were also present.

LIttle Grebe

LIttle Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

A lapwing could be heard calling but was not seen. Also heard were a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker and Pheasant. Grey Herons were perched in the Trees.

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

A Kingfisher sped across the causeway but did not stop in view. Down at the Visitor centre the feeders had the usual selection of finches. sparrows and tits.

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Blue Tit

Blue Tit

Gold finches

Goldfinches

A Cuckoo (the first of the year) had been heard about 30 minutes before we arrived but remained silent during the time we were there.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

A bright morning and off to Minsmere with the Central London RSPB group. Minsmere never seems to disappoint, whatever the weather, whatever the season. Its unique collection of different habitats in a single area (Sea, tidal marsh, freshwater marsh, woodland, heathland, reed-bed) mean there is always something to see.

Island Mere

Island Mere

My top priority today was to see if I could find and photograph Black Darter, a dragonfly species becoming increasing scarce in the South and East of England.

Black_Darter_-_Sympetrum_danae_-_geograph.org.uk_-_920862
Black Darter (Male)
Photo by Dave Green [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I have seen it at Minsmere some years ago and wanted to see if I could find it again. So I departed off to the heathland stopping briefly at Island Mere where I was fortunate to see both Marsh Harrier and Bittern, both specialities of the reserve.

Looking from Winn Hill over Island Mere

Looking from Winn Hill over Island Mere

Alas my search was in vain. The fact that the clouds had come over and the wind got up didn’t help, but no Black Darter to be found. I did manage to catch up with one good butterfly species as I noticed a large butterfly which was lost to sight as soon as it landed. Closer inspection revealed it to be a Grayling, a master of disguise whose camouflaged underwing enables it to ‘disappear’ as soon as it lands. It also rests at an angle to reduce the shadow it casts on the ground. It is also a declining species and is estimated to have declined by over 50% in the last 30 years.

Grayling

Grayling

Looking at the weather it seemed that it was not likely to be very productive for either dragonflies or Butterflies so I decide to head off for the scrape to see what wading birds were around. The east scrape proved the most productive with a number of waders including some which caused some ID queries. Ringed Plovers were present but were they Little Ringed or Common Ringed? Both had been reported and at the distance viewed it was impossible to see the yellow eye ring of the Little. I was fortunate to get some views of birds in flight and was able to confirm that both species were present (The Common has a wing bar and the Little doesn’t). Equally Common and Spotted Redshank were also both present. In breeding plumage these two species are very distinct but now as we go into winter plumage it is more difficult. One individual looked quite dark in its plumage and most people agreed that it was almost certainly Spotted Redshank. A small part of Yellow Wagtails was also a welcome sighting. Regrettably all these birds were too far for photographs.

Looking over North Scrape towards Sizewell Power station

Looking over North Scrape towards Sizewell Power station

Walking back to the reserve centre, a feeding Goldfinch did at least provide the opportunity for some decent photos and then there were the Beewolf. A reserve volunteer was showing visitors these interesting digger-wasps which parasitise bees (hence the name).

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Beewolf

Beewolf

For me watching these wasps dig their holes and hearing about their life-cycle was one of the highlights of the day along with that sighting of Grayling. As I said Minsmere never seems to disappoint.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Eurasian Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Little Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius dubius)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Western Yellow Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla flava)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Grayling [sp] (Hipparchia semele)
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Heysham nature reserve in Lancashire is a small piece of land bounded by the Sea, the port of Heysham and Heysham power station. It consists of two linked pieces of grassland and is very good for invertebrates.

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There were a large number of butterflies, unfortunately all of of common species. We did not see any Grayling, a speciality of the reserve.

Speckled wood

Speckled wood

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper

I also found this moth basking in the sun.

Shaded Broad-Bar Moth

Shaded Broad-Bar Moth

At the pool in the western section we got some excellent views of both Emperor dragonfly and Brown Hawker laying eggs.

Emperor Dragonfly

Emperor Dragonfly

Brown Hawker

Brown Hawker

A number of common birds were also present but I did get ths picture of a Goldfinch, looking very smart in his multicolour plumage

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)
Large Skipper [sp] (Ochlodes venatus)

Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis)
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

First stop on our two week trip to Lancashire and Cumbria was the Wetlands Trust reserve at Martin Mere near Preston.

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Although a reserve best known for its wintering wildfowl, Martin Mere is a great place to explore at any time of the year. Although there was no unusual birds present the day we visited, there were still a good selection of resident breeding birds and Summer migrants.

House Martin nests

House Martin nests

Shelduck

Shelduck

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

Wren

Wren

Moorhen with young

Moorhen with young

I think the highlight for me was the Tree sparrows on the the feeder station, as this is becoming a rare species in the UK and it was great to catch up with a small party and be able to photograph them (albeit on a protected feeder)

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Bar-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa lapponica)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Cuckoo [sp] (Cuculus canorus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [sp] (Passer montanus)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

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Went for a walk this morning along the River Aln. I started from the mouth of the River and began to walk upstream. The tide was almost full. Shelduck are on the river together with the Gulls. An Arctic Tern flies by before starting to fish in the river. Oystercatchers are probing what is left of the mudflats looking for food.

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Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

The bankside bushes and meadows are full of birds – Blackbirds, dunnocks and House Sparrows as yesterday, but also Goldfinches, Starlings and Collared Doves.

Goldfinches

Goldfinches

Blackbird

Blackbird

As yesterday the sky is full of circling Common Swifts, House Martins and Swallows. Two land on a fence and I am surprised that when I focus on them they are in fact a pair of Sand Martins.

On the waters edge I can see a duck displaying a large amount of white plumage. It does not look right for Shelduck and as I get closer it comes into the open and I can see it is a male Eider resplendent in its white, black and apple green breeding plumage.

Eider

Eider

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Common Eider [sp] (Somateria mollissima)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)