SIGHTINGS 2012

Tuesday 1st May

A great couple of hours spent up at Cleeve Common. The area was buzzing with singing birds. Many Willow Warbler, Yellowhammer and Linnet along with Blackbirds and Song Thrush with the constant sound of Skylark and displaying Meadow Pipit. I was scanning the area when a smart female RING OUZEL hopped out of a gorse bush and started feeding nearby. She was joined by a male and after feeding for a while the male joined the other birds and stared singing from a high perch. The first time I have heard an Ouzel singing.

I continued round counting 5 Swift, 12 Sand Martin, 2 House Martin and at least 12 Swallow through with 4 Wheatear on walls above the Wash pool. As the weather started to turn again I headed home seeing a Tree Pipit in the butterfly reserve and 14 Wheatear in the approach road fields.

Singing Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff up the field with Green Woodpecker seen.

Monday 30th April

Two smart BLACK TERN were on the South Lake at Slimbridge and after work I had a look over the river seeing, 20 Wheatear, 40 Ringed Plover with around 20 Dunlin and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit. There were 8 Grey Plover with 3 cracking summer plumage birds. I heard my first Cuckoo of the year and 6 Swift passed overhead. Scanning from Saul I noticed two Roe buck on the river’s edge and in the distance I counted at least 6 BLACK TERN feeding over the 100 Acre pool.

Sunday 29th April

From the Robbie Garnet at lunch three Wheatear and from the Holden tower, two Swift through with a White Wagtail and the two Avocet on the scrape. A Yellow Wagtail heard only.

Saturday 28th April

A Ruddy Shelduck and Avocet were on South Lake in the morning and from Ziess at lunch at least 4 Yellow Wagtail showing well along with around 100 Black-tailed Godwit. On the way home the sailing lake at Frampton was covered in a huge flock of Swallow and Sand Martin. At least 500 birds.

Friday 27th April

A very smart BLACK TERN on the South lake at lunchtime today. Also Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler seen well with many singing around the reserve. Greg had a Swift over Bourton. Also the Owls were heard well last night so they appear to be getting through this rough weather.

Thursday 26th April

My first Swift of the year with 3 high over Frampton Court Lake.

Tuesday 24th April

Early at Dowdeswell there was just 2 Common Sandpiper remaining and a walk around Cleeve Common produced at least 4 Ring Ouzel, 5 Wheatear, a Tree Pipit and a Grey Partridge showed well.

Monday 23rd April

An early walk around Cleeve Common and we decided to do a different route and headed first to the heather enclosure and then round to Wontley farm. Two male Ring Ouzel were seen from the heather enclosure and the area was full of Willow Warbler with Yellowhammer and Linnet also singing. At the Wontley Farm area there was a Whitethroat a Wheatear a very nice pair of Stonechat and a singing Tree Pipit. On the walk back to the car we noted at least 10 Wheatear and the highlight of the walk a single CORN BUNTING sat on top of a bush before flying towards the pylons.

In the evening and in awful weather a walk around Dowdeswell reservoir produced a Red Kite which was flushed off the ground near the reed bed and there were seven Common Sandpiper and my first ever Wheatear! Also at least 40 Swallow over the water and two House Martin. A producive walk!

Saturday 21st April

A walk around Dowdeswell Reservoir today, had 1 Crossbill overhead, a Common Sandpiper and the resident Great Crested Grebe sat on eggs. On the way home had another look at the family of Tawny Owls, what fantastic birds.

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Friday 20th April

At Cleeve Common at least 11 RING OUZEL still feeding away in the cattle enclosure. It is difficult to get exact numbers and 11 is definitely a minimum. There was a pair of Stonechat above the heather enclosure and at least 15 Wheatear were along the wall from the car park with one male singing.  

Thursday 19th April - Tawny Owls

All three Tawny Owlets together again today with one adult nearby. Cracking birds.

A look at Dowdeswell Reservoir produced at least 30 Swallow over the water and moving through and 7 Crossbill flew to the Lineover Wood side.

Wednesday 18th April

I have now published a report for our visit to France. If anyone is thinking of doing a similar trip and wants any further information just let me know. Hope you enjoy it ALPS + CAMARGUE = AWESOME  

A Peregrine went over our field yesterday evening. A new field bird.

The Tawny Owl family have had some poor weather to deal with but all three young and an adult were seen last night. Today I saw two young and what I think is the other adult bird. The young are much easier to locate at dusk when they start screeching and hopefully the third bird is nearby.

Tuesday 17th April

Cleeve common was crawling with RING OUZEL this morning. I saw at least 10 with 6 feeding and 4 in trees but there were possibly double that. Birds were flying around and calling all over the place. It is a great time to see these superb birds. A walk around the cattle enclosure should secure some great views.

Monday 16th April

No sign of the Osprey today at Dowdeswell or Witcombe. A Lesser Whitethroat was singing and showing at Witcombe.

Greg heard Tawny Owls and Owlets last night and a look in the area this morning had them clearly on view. A treat to see Tawny Owls in the day and the adult was sat near the young who were showing adult feathers already.

Here are a few photos of the stunning OSPREY from yesterday. I think it is a young adult female, maybe hanging around as it is a first time breeder and hasn't got a mate or nest to return to?

Sat at Dowdeswell having just recieved a text saying the Osprey had left Witcombe, knowing in a few minutes it was going to be over my head was magic. It didn't disappoint. What a bird.

Sunday 15th April - Osprey Update

The OSPREY still at Dowdeswell. It came in from Lineover side at 6 and sat in a tree warming up until 8.10. It then did a length of the water and headed off in the Witcombe direction. The bird was seen fishing making 5 unsuccessful attempts at Witcombe and then was seen back at Dowdeswell from 10-10.20 where it had a proper look at the water without fishing and a Red Kite had a tussle with it and 2 Peregrine were nearby! (I would have loved to have seen that!) The Osprey headed back to Witcombe where it caught a fish before flying with it back towards Dowdeswell at 11.15ish. Thanks to various observers for the info.

Also seen flying up and down the reservoir at some height was a Shelduck species. On looking at photos it fits Paradise Shelduck well.

I watched the OSPREY again at 4.20 coming from the lineover side and drifting over Dowdeswell. It then circled gaining quite a height and then flew purposefully back to Witcombe. The bird was then watched at Witcombe making some unsuccessful attempts and returned to Dowdeswell at 6.10 spending 20 minutes flying up and down the water before heading back towards Lineover wood/ surrounding fields. Watching the bird hovering and cruising low overhead really is special. There are fish to be had at Dowdeswell but I have only seen it dive in once. 

Saturday 14th April

Greg went early for the OSPREY and again it got up from the wood and circled around before heading off in the seven springs direction. The bird was seen returning at 9.30 and reported over Witcombe wood at 12.30. I watched from 12.15-1.30 with no sign at Dowdeswell.

I went for a great walk around the common seeing 12 Ring Ouzel with some excellent views. All birds were counted in flight together. There was a flock of 9 and 3 others went off in a different direction. Also seen was a Fieldfare which was sat on gorse near feeding Ouzel and 4 Wheatear were along the approach road. I returned to Dowdeswell and the OSPREY came in at 5.37 either getting up from the woods or coming from the Wittington direction. It circled a few times and then continued in its normal direction towards lineover. Also there were 2 Little Egret over the reservoir and 2 Crossbill again.

Friday 13th April

The OSPREY was at Dowdeswell again and on turning up on the bike, right on cue the bird was flying at 6.15am and landed on top of a large pine. The bird sat here for 55 minutes and at 7.10 it flew and headed back in the same direction towards seven springs. Where is it hunting? A great bird giving some fantastic views. Well worth getting up for! Also seen were two Crossbill and a pair of Mandarin with a Common Sandpiper flying low across the fog covered water.

The bird was seen at Witcombe reservoir between 9 and 11 and as I viewed Dowdeswell from the lineover side the OSPREY came in at 4.45 right over my head and went up and down the water making an unsuccessful attempt to catch a fish. I went to pick up Greg to watch it more but on my return there was no sign. It is a fantastic bird giving great views and it is either early morning or around 4 which are the best bet. There were lots of carp this evening very close to the surface. It may well have caught on Dowdeswell! Hope it stays for the weekend.

Thursday 12th April

Greg had the OSPREY this morning at 6.15am leaving the wood and heading back over towards lineover and 2 Crossbill went over. The Common Scoter was still on the sailing lake with 10 Avocet from the Zeiss hide at Slimbridge. In the evening there was no sign of the Osprey but again 2 Crossbill went into the wood with the male showing. 12 Swallow 2 Sand Martin and 2 House Martin went through.

Wednesday 11th April- OSPREY still on the patch

We got to Dowdeswell reservoir at 6.15 this morning and within 5 minutes of being there the OSPREY flew out over the reservoir went up and down the water before going into the woods. As the sun came up it flew back out and circled directly over our heads in fantastic light. What a bird! Also seen were two Canada Geese and two Greylag Geese with a Mandarin high over.

We had the escaped Blue-eared Pheasant down Greenway lane in the morning fighting with a cock common pheasant and 4 RING OUZEL were seen up the common in the evening.

 

Tuesday 10th April

After a miserable day Tom and I decided to have a quick look at Dowdeswell Reservoir for the Osprey well found by Arthur Ball in the morning. Despite the pouring rain, we had a good look round and were sheltering under a tree when I glimpsed the OSPREY heading down the lake towards us then heading off over the trees. We then waited for an hour or so on the causeway, the weather cleared up and as we predicted the Osprey re appeared giving fantastic views. While we were waiting for the bird we witnessed a car leaving the road and rolling down the hill in an unbelievable crash! Incredibly the driver walked away! Not a good idea to go 70 after rain round a very dangerous bend. The bird showed on and off circling the reservoir until dusk. What a magnificent bird, hopefully its still there in the morning. Also a Common Sandpiper and two Swallow were seen. A very eventfull visit!

Friday April 6th – Monday April 9th

Another great Easter weekend spent in the Brecon beacons. The weather was a bit dodgy which didn’t help with finding birds but we went on some great walks and it didn’t stop the fun. We did see two Red Kite and a Peregrine Falcon and I spent some time with a pair of Dipper, watching these great little birds going about their business and getting a few photos. There were no Redstart or Pied Flycatcher back in the area but I did see singing Wheatear and as we were sat around the camp a flock of 15-20 thrushes flew over and through eliminating other possibilities we decided they were most probably Ring Ouzel! A great weekend but a little less of the rain next year would be nice.

Tuesday April 3rd

This evening I went on a rare visit with Jack to Cleeve Common and down at the Wash pool was a nice BLACK REDSTART. Probably the same bird that was seen a few days ago. It was very active feeding around the stream and in the field over the gate there. Showing very well. The Common Redstart was not in it's usual area but conditions were poor and we didn't search for long. Little else was seen in the rain.

Monday April 2nd

I was up at Cleeve Common at first light this morning for a cracking fresh spring walk. The sound of all the birds singing away was great with many Song Thrush and a notable increase in Willow Warbler with at least 5 heard. There was a Wheatear near the car park and another bird in the field above the wash pool. The highlight of the walk was getting excellent views of a male RING OUZEL. It gave its self away by calling loudly from the top of a hawthorn in the valley beyond the wash pool. It flew into the field over the wall from the wash pool and I watched it feeding near a Wheatear here for around 20 minutes before it headed towards the cow enclosure. A cracking bird. Around 80-100 Fieldfare were along the approach road.

Sunday April 1st

This afternoon a cracking male Redstart was just above the wash pool at cleeve common. The last 3 years a male has sang in the bushes just up the from the wash pool and this is a few days earlier than normal. Also a Wheatear.

Saturday 31st March

A really cracking day today. Stella and I booked a couple of weeks ago to go canoeing down the river Wye and we set off in time for a picnic and a spot of birding. We had a short look from New fancy view and managed to see Hawfinch, Brambling and an OSPREY! I was just trying to get a Hawfinch in the scope when two northern guys down for the Yellowthroat spotted the Osprey heading high towards us! It circled a few times and and then drifted away. What a cracker! A female Brambling was near the car park and briefly in a larch. Whilst canoeing we had two Kingfisher with 15-20 Mandarin and it was great fun with a nice pint en-route. Whilst resting the arms we had 2 Swallow and 4 Sand Martin over the river feeding on the stacks of emerging insects. After the 8 mile canoe trip we stopped in at Newnham and the BONAPARTE'S GULL was showing well off the pub car park. A first for me and nice to compare it with the Black-headed Gulls nearby. Top stuff.

Friday 30th March

Two Wheatear on the wall by the washpool this evening with one allowing a close approach! Really stunning birds. Also 5 Buzzards around the Jackdaws.

Thursday 29th March

I was up at Cleeve Common early again this morning but no sign of any Ring Ouzel this time. I did see my first Willow Warbler with a single bird singing and a single Swallow went through. More surprisingly was a single House Martin which passed overhead above the heather enclosure and out towards Winchcombe. I have never seen one in March before. Some nice early migrants. A Raven was very close to the car park with a flock of around 50 Fieldfare and a single Redwing with them. Each year they gather in these flocks a feed in the fields at this time, getting ready to head home to breed.

Little Owl have been calling loudly from a tree next to our field and the Kestrel pair are very vocal at the moment. Speckled Wood, Comma and Peacock butterflys were also seen at our field.

Wednesday 28th March

Still two RING OUZEL up the common early this morning and a Red Kite drifting over with three Wheatear near the car park. Also at least 10 Song Thrush seen on the walk with a flock of around 70 Fieldfare in the field by the car park. Great birding up there at the moment. At our field two Blackcap are singing and in the garden a Robin nest building in a rather obvious position.

Tuesday 27th March

Top birding up the common this morning. As I was walking towards the heather enclosure on the normal route I was stopped in my tracks by a cracking male RING OUZEL on the path. Probably the least searching I have ever had to do for the first of the year. I watched it feeding for a few minutes before it flew a short way down the valley. As I was looking for it  the BLACK REDSTART popped up, flitting around the valley running down from the table I have put up. It was getting grief from a Robin as it tried to feed.

After having a chat with Jake King I continued on and and up the hill spotting a female RING OUZEL running around in the fenced off area for cattle. I went under the fence and had superb views of the bird feeding around the gorse where it has recently been cut back. Four of us were treated to cracking views of the bird and left it feeding happily. The bird was very tolerant and it was a real treat to get such prolonged views. There are many Yellowhammer, Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Linnet with their song filling the air with a noticeable increase in Chiffchaff. Two Goldcrest were also seen.

I repaired the digi kit but forgot to charge it which was a bit silly,still I got a few pics but a bit of a chance missed.

Monday 26th March

I went for a look up at Cleeve Common this morning and was greeted with a BLACK REDSTART (1st year male) soon after arriving. It was feeding off the fence that surrounds the pylons and then started to sing. I had only heard them singing once before and the scratching sound at the start of the song is great. A smart bird enjoying the spring sun. Also near it was a Wheatear.

On the common there was no sign of any Ouzel yet but lots of Meadow Pipit and Skylark displaying.

Friday 23rd March

An evening walk around Timbercombe wood produced a pair of Little Owl  and we heard a pair of Tawny Owl.

Wednesday 21st March

Two Wheatear in a field on the approach road to Cleeve common today, running around and feeding close to the road. Super birds. On the common a noticeable increase in Meadow Pipit and Skylarks everywhere with 6 singing Song Thrush. No sign or any Ring Ouzel yet though, they will be here soon! There is something about Ouzel that takes me to the common whenever possible at this time of year. A Peregrine flew overhead and 5 Buzzards were up together with a Curlew head only. I haven't seen a curlew on the common for a long time and it was nice to hear one. Now is a very good time of year for seeing Adders as they come out of hibernation and warm up in the spring sun but none were found today. A common Lizzard was warming up on some felt. 

Monday 19th March

My first Chiffchaff of the spring heard and seen this evening. Spring is definitely here now.

Sunday 18th March

We went with Mum and Dad for a jaunt to the forest this afternoon as mum has always wanted to see Wild Boar. We failed on the boar front but did see a large flock of Siskin with around 60 birds feeding noisily in a group of larches at boys grave along with at least 4 Lesser Redpoll and a single male Crossbill showing very well feeding low down. We moved to New fancy for a quick look and there was a distant Goshawk up over the woods and a very smart young Adder trying to warm up on the path to the viewpoint.

Young Adder

After a nice lunch at the Woodman pub we went for a very nice walk around Nags Head and I was pleased to find a FIRECREST working an ivy covered oak and flycatching in the canopy. A little gem. There were many Nuthatch all very active with Treecreeper and yet more Siskin with a pair of Mandarin on the lower pool. We drove round looking for boar but with no joy and had a look over Woorgreens lake seeing 11 Goosander. Great as always and will be even better in a few weeks!

Saturday 17th March

Up at Cleeve Common this morning the first WHEATEAR of the year with in the field next to the car park and up on the wall with a Stonechat near to them. Such smart birds. 8 Stock Dove were down in a field with singing Linnet and Skylark with 12-15 Meadow Pipit seen with a few displaying. At the field a Raven flew low over.

Wednesday 14th March

Still 2 Lesser Redpoll visiting the garden regularly and 2 Green Woodpecker up the field. I have finally finished the write up of the Goose chase in the Netherlands. See the report here.

I will publish a full report of our Alps and Camargue trip soon.

Monday 12th March- Belated update.

I have had a few issues recently and have been unable to update. Last Tuesday after helping with the Gloucestershire wildlife trust I watched singing Willow Tit at Sherbourne with a second bird nearby. Also 2-3 Marsh tit also singing. A nice opportunity to compare the two. Fingers crossed they will breed here again.

A growing flock of Common Gull on Ham Hill with a few Black-headed but no Meditteranean Gulls.

Up our field a pair of Kestrels again near the box and Stock Doves singing. All the boxes ready and waiting for action and work has been done on the pond and scrape area which is looking good now.

Trip reports for the Netherlands goose chase and France are still a work in progress and will be posted as soon as their done.

Sunday 4th March - Return from birding abroad.

We have just got back from an awesome trip to the Alps and the Camargue. We saw loads of cracking birds and I will write a trip report soon. One of the many highlights was having an adult LAMMERGEIER drift low over our heads up in the Alps. One of those magic moments!!

Saturday 18th February - More Geese

Today we headed down to Plymouth to visit Jack at Uni and stopped off at Exminster en route. We found the flock of around 200 Brent Geese and had a look at the Red-breasted Goose in with them.

Wednesday 15th February

A drake Goosander on Dowdeswell reservoir today. Greg spotted it from the van driving past. I got up there and had great views of the bird which was sat on the ice for most of the time. A very smart bird which allowed nice close up views. Also 2 Snipe got up. 

Sunday 12th February

I have just returned from an real Goose fest in the Netherlands with Anser birding. A cracking trip with great company. A full trip report and more photos will be added soon.

This Red-Breasted Goose is one of two found in a flock of around 800 Barnacle Geese. Nice of it to fly overhead when they all got up!

Monday 6th February 

At Dowdeswell a Cetti's Warbler seen this afternoon along with around 35-40 Reed Bunting coming in to roost. A few Mallard, 2 Coot and a Little Grebe on the reservoir which is still mainly frozen.

Greg had great views of a Red Kite near Whithington with a large finch flock comprising of Yellowhammer, Linnet and Chaffinch.

Saturday 4th - Sunday 5th February- The festival of birds

A great weekend spent at Slimbridge spotting birds and showing them to the public with great company. Despite the freeze there was still plenty to look at and although the Zeiss Bitterns weren't around it was great to find a new Bittern in front of the Martin Smith hide. The bird showed well most of Sunday. Special birds. The Lesser Scaup was still on show and an Egyptian Goose was with the White-fronted Geese with great views of Water Rail and stacks of wildfowl minus the Wigeon. A flock of 5 Skylark were in front of the Holden Tower and Dunlin and a few Snipe were seen. Top stuff.

Wednesday 1st February

A Great Crested Grebe and 2 Coot joined the few Mallard and a single Little Grebe on Dowdeswell Reservoir and a conservative estimate of 30 Reed Bunting coming in to roost in the reed bed.

Tuesday 31st January

On the way to football a Barn Owl flew in front of the headlights.

Saturday 28th January

Today Greg and I went down to the Somerset levels with Stella and Karin for a spot of birding and a picnic followed by the Starling display.

We went for a walk first along the path on the Ham wall side and after having a brief and unsuccessful look for the Yellow-browed Warbler we were delighted to spot a ringtail Hen Harrier coming over the reeds and we watched it quartering a shorter area out the back of the reed bed before flying to the right. A great bird! We also had a female Marsh Harrier and a Great White Egret in flight.

We then went for a walk to Noah's hide and there were 3 Great White Egret. They all got up and one flew very close in front of the hide. The wildfowl were mainly Wigeon with a few Teal and Tufted duck and fewer Gadwall and Shoveler.

We wandered back and before watching the Starlings had 3-4 Goldcrest, Siskin, Redpoll and a drake Red-crested Pochard was on one of the pools. There were constantly calling Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler in the reeds and the Great White Egrets were often seen flying and landing in the open. It's a great habitat and the Herons are colonizing!

We watched a fantastic Starling display and although numbers aren't quite what they have been it was still stunning and they came down close to the path. Awesome!

Wednesday 25th January

A trip down to Slimbridge produced the goods today. It was 3rd time lucky with the BITTERN. After about half an hour in the hide I heard some rustling in the reeds and then sure enough the beauty crept out. It had a drink and walked slowly from right to left in front of the hide and disappeared again. What a bird.

A Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Bullfinch were along the south finger walkway with a Cetti's warbler from the Kingfisher hide.

From Robbie Garnett the LESSER SCAUP was snoozing with the other wildfowl and it was a cracking scene from the Holden Tower with 100s of Wigeon right in front of the hide and the sky full of Lapwing and Golden Plover. There was a group of 7 Ruff on the dumbles and a single Oystercatcher near the hide with two Skylark in song. The White-fronted Geese were quite close in, adding to the masses of birds.There are birds everywhere at the moment and it's a great time to visit.

On the way back I had a look over Frampton court lake where there were around 40 Shoveler, with Gadwall and Tufted Duck along with two Goldeneye. As I was scanning a Fox ran around the corner and almost into me! On the sailing lake there were 150 Coot, 2 Great Crested Grebe and a couple of Tufted Duck.

Tuesday 24th January

We got a call this evening about an injured bird of prey and went to have a look. On arriving it was clear the Sparrowhawk was in trouble so we picked it up and brought it back but it has unfortunately died. A stunning bird that most likely got hit by a car.

At Dowdeswell Reservoir, very few wildfowl with is a shame, just 1 Tufted Duck around 10 Mallard and 3-4 Moorhen. Not even a single coot! Lots of Reed Bunting roosting in the reed bed (25-30) and the Cetti's Warbler is still in the area but still just doing the very start of the call. A Water Rail was seen again with Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker in Scobb Grove.

Friday 20th January

Just when the garden count reached 12 Blackbirds all feeding on apples at the same time it was reduced to 11 when the nemesis of all garden birds the SPARROWHAWK came in and took one. A male bird came in putting all the birds up and snatched an unfortunate female blackbird. After a bit of a scrap the Sparrowhawk sat on the back border and plucked and fed for about half an hour before leaving with the bird. They really are awesome and it was a real treat to get such brilliant views. Just look at those eyes!

Thursday 19th January

In the garden the ringed female Great Spotted Woodpecker was in, along with 4 Lesser Redpoll. I really hope the numbers build like last year. Also 11 Blackbirds on all the apples, 12 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Blackcap and Marsh Tit

Wednesday 18th January

After releasing 3 Pigs into their new pen up the field a Woodcock flew across and dropped down into a copse.

Tuesday 17th January

7 Bullfinch up the field today with 2 on the walk back 2 in the garden and 4 at Dowdeswell. Really cracking birds. There were 10 Blackbirds in the garden on apples and 2 Blackcap were in. At Dowdeswell there was a Cormorant on the water and a Water Rail was by the reeds. On the camera trap we have recorded Badger, Fox and Roe Deer up the field 

Saturday 14th January

Visiting mates in London I had time for a walk around Tooting common having some nice close up views of Ring-necked Parakeet, Egyptain Geese, Grey Heron, Tufted Duck, Jay and Goldcrest. Everything seems so approachable with so many people always near by. I had my best ever views of Parakeets in great light going in and out of a hole. Should have taken the camera!

Thursday 12th January

I went down to Coombe Hill Meadows today after news of an AMERICAN WIGEON and was not disappointed. The bird showed well from the hide for around half an hour before lifting up with the other wildfowl. On the walk back it could be seen from the path near the gate, on the area of water difficult to see from the hide. A smart bird indeed.

The scene from the hide was great with hundreds of ducks and geese. Around 500 Wigeon, 150 Teal, 100 Pintail and 8-10 Shoveler. Pintail really are stunning ducks and were close in front of the hide. There were 2 Barnacle Geese and a Bar Headed Goose with the many Canada geese and around 200 Lapwing were often whirling overhead. On the walk to the hide a Peregrine got up from a tree and 3 Egyptian Geese were seen from the path on the way back.

American Wigeon

Sunday 8th January

A Lesser Redpoll again in the garden today and 7 Buzzard were circling behind the house.

Wednesday 4th January- Devon day trip 

Today we went to Devon for the day with some cracking birds seen! Full report here.

Devon day Trip 04/01/12

My personal highlight was getting brilliant views of this stunning LONG-EARED OWL.

The bird was said to be roosting near the car park for the past week or so and although not where it had been, after a short search Greg spotted it! We scoped the bird through the foliage and as the light faded it started to get more alert, looking around and getting ready to go out and hunt. It was still sat there when it was too dark to see. What a great bird! The owl never flinched as cars drove very close by and walkers and runners past by the bird only a few feet away! What an end to the day.

Tuesday 3rd January

Today we put up a Tawny Owl box up the field. We hear a lot up there so hopefully they will use the box. A Muntjac Deer was also seen in the copse. On clearing and checking boxes it was a bit annoying to find Squirrels in 3 of the 4 larger boxes. There are so many and they make you jump when they come scampering out too!

Monday 2nd January

We have not been out and about much recently, feeding the garden and working up our field. There are 3 Blackcap in the garden with 2 regular Marsh Tit and 2 Lesser Redpoll are back on the niger seed. Up the field 2 Raven flew over yesterday and a Kestrel is still a regular sight. There seems to be voles all over the place up there when in previous years very few. Good news, especially for our Kestrels and Owls!

HAPPY NEW YEAR and good birding for 2012