Tuesday, June 27, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 27 June 2006

27 June 2006 The Wood Sandpiper was still present on the Top New Piece along with 4 Green Sandpiper (another six were on the Tack Piece scrape), 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Lapwing, 20 Redshank, 15 Teal, 22 Shoveler, 80 Gadwall, 2 Oystercatcher and 1 male Wigeon.

The South Lake had a first-summer Mediterranean Gull, 60 Lapwing, 20 Redshank and 1 Black-tailed Godwit along with the breeding and moulting birds. A single Lesser and Common Whitethroat were back in song around the car park field hedge.

Please check the WWT website until 8 July as I am afraid the diary will not be updated due to a break in the service. www.wwt.org.uk/visit/slimbridge/reserve.asp

Monday, June 26, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 25-26 June 2006

Lots of mothing at WWT Slimbridge this summer. Keep an eye on the events if you want to see species like the Elephant (left) and Poplar Hawkmoths.

26 June 2006 A definite change in the air....a few more autumn migrants are arriving and the rain has helped to bring a few birds down. At 1245 I found an adult Wood Sandpiper on the Top New Piece after probably hearing earlier in the day while I was clearing an aquaduct pipe. Also on the Top New Piece were a party of nine Black-tailed Godwit which included a colour-ringed bird, they were all adults so appear to be new in. 14 Teal, 1 Wigeon, 1 Little Egret, 30 Lapwing plus 10 chicks, 30 Redshank, 20 Shoveler, 2 Little-ringed Plover (also seen flying around over the Dumbles) 2 Sand Martin and 100 Black-headed Gulls. The Tack Piece scrape held 5 Green Sandpiper one of which was a Slimbridge colour-ringed bird plus a Teal. We have had over 33 broods of Shelduck so far this year. The Barnacle Goose flock have re-appeared with c30 seen on the fields.

The South Lake had 44 Redshank, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, pair Oystercatcher with 2 chicks, pair of nesting Common Terns.

The 100 Acre has three pairs of Common Tern that are just settling to nest plus 40 Swift and a few Sand Martin feeding over the pools. A pair of Pochard signal the return of wintering duck. JSL led a Landrover Safari in the evening and saw 6 Yellow-legged Gulls, 172 Curlew, 2 Grey Plover and 8 Common Gull.

Check the following web link for WWT sightings if I have not updated the Anser Birding site. www.wwt.org.uk/visit/slimbridge/reserve.asp

25 June 2006 Up to three Hobby were over the 100 Acre. Two male Cuckoo, one at the Top New Piece and the other in the 100 Acre were still in voice. 30 Redshank on the South Lake plus five Black-tailed Godwit. Four Raven were along the estuary edge.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Anser Birding Rare Breeding Birds Day Trip 17 June 2006

Stone Curlew at Weeting Heath NNT M.J.McGill

WWT Welney Wetland Centre

Little-ringed Plover at WWT Welney

17 June 2006 This day out is designed with the intention of finding some of our scarcer breeding birds. We set off at 0645 and made for RSPB Hockwold Fen arriving after a stop for refreshment at 0940. A short walk along the river embankment brought us to my regular scanning position and we soon heard the fluty notes of the Golden Oriole eminating from the poplar plantation. The fen had many Sedge Warbler singing and showing and 6 Hobby were also hawking over the trees. Whitethroat, Stock Dove , Cuckoo, Mistle Thrush and Green Woodpecker also made appearances. A Marsh Harrier floated over the fen. After half an hour I found the male Golden Oriole on the edge of the wood where it showed very well for 3-4 minutes as it sang. I had my two scopes set up and everyone saw it well. Our attention was turned to the fen again where Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Shoveler and numerous dragonflies were busy. A short transfer to Weeting Heath where a bite to eat was followed by great views of Stone Curlew, they had a recently hatched chick in the nest and wer very close to the hide.
We decided to go to Mayday Farm next were we saw Woodlark carrying caterpillars (three flight views plus one perched in a pine) Tree Pipit, Linnet, Yellowhammer, Stonechat and Bullfinch. Our next stop was the very impressive new visitor centre and hides at WWT Welney, a Marsh Harrier was seen as we approached and the entrance ponds were alive with damselflies and dragonflies. Red-eyed Damselfly, Black-tailed Skimmer, Common Darter and Emperor were all showing superbly. From the centre a Yellow Wagtail was seen fly-catching.

As ever the observatory was a great place to watch from as the marsh was buzzing with activity. Breeding Common Terns, Black-headed Gull, Avocet, wildfowl and other waders had chicks of all stages of development. The four Little-ringed Plover chicks below us were popular as was the aggresive Avocets that drove a Bewick's Swan away. A number of Whooper Swans were also left over from the winter in the form of old or injured birds. Two Black-tailed Godwit displayed over the marshes with Snipe drumming. Two or three Little Egrets made fly pasts but a bathing male Yellow Wagtail stole the show for a while.
We searched for a Turtle Dove but found a Corn Bunting on the wires.

To break up the jpourney home we stopped at Cambridge services and then we headed off towards Pitsford Reservoir in Northamptonshire to search for a Red-necked Grebe. We could not find it but ended up adding 2 gorgeous Black Terns and breeding Tree Sparrows as well as more waterfowl.

To end the day we took the group to Thrupp in Oxforshire to hear the Eurasian Scop's Owl and take part in a mass twitch! It was calling but did not show so we left for home arriving in Glos at 2300. A long day ut but some great birds along the way.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Some images from the Anser Birding trip to Finland 3 to 9 June 2006

Anser Birding Trip to Finland 3-9 June 2006
Great Grey Owl Finland 3-9 June 2006 Martin J McGill
All images have not been changed in any way, I used a Nikon Coolpix 995 and Leica Apo Televid 62mm with 16x or 27x eyepiece. A full trip report will be added to the site when it is completed.
Red-flanked Bluetail, Finland 3-9 June 2006 Martin J McGill
Tengmalm's Owl, Finland 3-9 June 2006 Martin J McGill
Hawk Owl, Finland 3-9 June 2006 Martin J McGill
Great Grey Owl, Finland 3-9 June 2006 Martin J McGill

Thursday, June 15, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 13 to 15 June 2006

15 June 2006 Highlights include a first summer Mediterranean Gull over the 100 Acre, 9 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Redshank on the South Lake, a pair of Garganey, the male Greater Scaup and an early Pochard on the Top New Piece. A new brood of 4 Lapwing chicks join the 2 two week olds and the nearly full grown chick. A flock of 29 Shoveler, 80 Gadwall and 15 Teal are also present. The high tide produced only 42 Curlew.

14 June 2006 A combined effort to survey the breeding waders of the area produced mixed results, as was expected. At least four pairs of Redshank have young in the 100 Acre but Lapwing have had a bad time with only one pair with young. Two post-breeding flocks have developed, 18 in the 100 Acre and 16 on the Top New Piece. Three Garganey were on the Top New Piece. A Greenshank was in the 100 Acre area.

I was tasked with surveying the Frampton Marsh/Saul Lodge area and although 64 Lapwing and 10 Redshank were present only a pair of each had chicks. Two first-summer Mediterranean Gull were with the flock of 120 Black-headed Gull (one had a black hood developing). On the river off WWT the four Sanderling were seen as the tide came in.

13 June 2006 A Green Sandpiper was in the 50 Acre and four Garganey (one female) were on the Top New Piece.

Monday, June 12, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 12 June 2006

12 June 2006 Three male and one female Garganey had joined the 84 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, 9 Teal and 40 Mallard as a moult flock on the Top New Piece. A small post-breeding flock of 16 Lapwing have built up with a few pairs still in breeding mode, one pair has two chicks. At least three Redshank were also present here. The river was very quiet with 47 Curlew and 17 Oystercatcher. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was seen at high tide and the numbers of gulls are increasing. A first summer Mediterranean Gull was present this evening with 4 Sanderling also noted. A breeding wader survey is planned for Wednesday and things look quite good for Redshank and Oystercatcher, on the other hand Lapwing seem to be struggling. At least 8 Little Egret were around the pools and scrapes with a single Wigeon also notable. A number of Painted Lady butterflies are present along the seawall.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 11 June 2006

11 June 2006 I am back from a hugely succesful Anser trip to Finland, all the owls plus the other specialities seen. I will add a trip report along with the others soon. At the trust today, 3 Garganey (two males) had joined the moulting duck flock on the Top New Piece. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was on the Dumbles over high tide (the first of the autumn). Eight Black-tailed Godwit and two Redshank were on the South Lake. Two Cuckoo were noted a singing male at the Zeiss Hide and a brown bird in flight over the 100 Acre. Bee and Pyramidal Orchids were seen on the safari with Four-spotted Chaser, Hairy Dragonfly, Emperor and Red-eyed Damselflies all seen well.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 30 May to 1 June 2006

The apparent first-summer Purple Heron at WWT Slimbridge 30 May 2006 M.J.McGill.

1 June 2006 An adult male Ruff in full breeding plumage was the highlight. It joined the single first-summer Black-tailed Godwit, 3 pairs of Oystercatcher (two have chicks), Lapwing with chicks, Common Terns (nest scraping on raft) and Little Grebes on South Lake. 120 Black-headed Gull, 1 Shoveler, 2 Little Egret, breeding Oystercatcher and Lapwing were all on the Top New Piece. Some birds are flocking already. The Greylags are up to 146 at least. The Kingfishers are great at the South Finger due to them feeding young. You only have to wait a few minutes for them to arrive with a fish.

We also added 2 more nesting platforms for the 4 Common Terns as seven pairs of Black-headed Gull have claimed the rafts in the 100 Acre. A male Cuckoo sang here also.

31 May 2006 At least five broods of Shelduck are on the river with two broods in front of the Holden Tower. 8 Shoveler remain on site. I saw two Bar-tailed Godwit (one breeding, one non-breeding plumage) on the estuary with 3 first-summer Grey Plover. 30 Ringed Plover and 30 Dunlin were seen in the morning. Two Whimbrel were seen at 1630. A Black-tailed Godwit was in the 100 Acre with one at South Lake. Two Hobby were displaying over the 100 Acre at 1415.

30 May 2006 The Purple Heron was again in one of the reserve ditches see www.wwt.org.uk/visit/slimbridge/reserve.asp for details. A female Wheatear remained along the foreshore. I had an e-mail from Graham Watson who had a great morning from the WWT 100 Acre viewing platform from 0600. He logged a female Marsh Harrier, a singing Quail and 3 Common Terns. A Fox was seen out on the marsh and was probably looking for wader nests.