Wednesday, August 29, 2007

WWT Slimbridge 28 and 29 August 2007

29 August 2007 A great late summer day on the reserve, although most of the day was spent digging out concrete and concreting in new gate and fenceposts I saw a great variety of species flying over or on my travels. Up to three Hobby were feeding over the 100 Acre along with 4 Little Egret, 1 Little-ringed Plover over, 1 Yellow Wagtail over, 2 Greenshank, 2 Whinchat, a Kingfisher and 3 Sedge Warbler were also noted. At Middle Point a further 3 Whinchat were showing on the reeds. The estuary edge over high tide had 1 Wheatear, 50 Curlew, 4 juvenile Knot, 20 Dunlin, 16 Ringed Plover, a Little Stint, a juvenile White Wagtail with three Pieds and juvenile Yellow and assorted gulls. The most bizarre thing was juvenile Sedge Warbler that landed at my feet and then sought cover amongst the feet of the cattle, this was more reminiscent of a Blakeney Point fall than anything I have ever seen on the edge of the Dumbles. It caused me to initially think it was a Grasshopper Warbler as the grass is very short here with no cover and not what the Sedgies go for. I think the South Lake and scrapes held the same range of birds as over the weekend but I did note a Little-ringed Plover over the car park at 0800. In the afternoon I noted a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler in the hedge at the back of the hedge that can be seen from the Knott Hide.
Juvenile Whinchat in the WWT 100 Acre image by M.J.McGill
Adult Little Stint along the foreshore image by M.J.McGill
Juvenile Spotted Flycatcher near the Holden Tower
28 August 2007 The highlight was seeing six Greenshank arrive over the car park from the east.

Monday, August 27, 2007

WWT Slimbridge and local sightings 25-27 August 2007

I have now returned from a succesful WWT expedition to Iceland where we have fitted 7 satellite transmitters to Whooper Swans and and managed to catch 376 birds in total. I will add a trip report with images to the relevant section when I get the chance.

27 August 2007 At WWT the South Lake held 7 Ruff (4 juveniles, 3 adults), 3 adult Spotted Redshank, 20 Redshank, 75 Black-tailed Godwit, 100 Lapwing, 1 Common Sandpiper and 2 Greenshank. A Wheatear was on the Dumbles and the 100 Acre had a Whinchat and 2 Hobby, one of which was colour ringed. 2 Yellow-legged Gulls and 24 Great Black-backed Gulls were notable on the high tide, 8 Ringed Plover and 12 Dunlin joined 60 Curlew. At the end of the day 2 Golden Plover were off Middle Point.

26 August 2007 At WWT the South Lake is stilll the magnet for most waders, a Common Sandpiper, 99 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Spotted Redshank, 20 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 4 Ruff, 150 Lapwing and plenty of wildfowl were all showing well all day. I did have a juvenile (unringed) Mediterranean Gull arrive at 1605. Also on site were an adult non-breeding Mediterranean Gull (river am), Yellow Wagtail (over the Rushy), 7 Green Sandpiper and at least 4 Yellow-legged Gulls. Southern Hawker was at the South Finger and at least 30 Migrant Hawker were noted.

25 August 2007 I added three new species to my Whitminster garden list today, Yellow Wagtail, Common Tern and Migrant Hawker.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

WWT Slimbridge sightings 5 August 2007

5 August 2007 A few new birds in at WWT, whilst inpsecting the state of the fields for potential tractor work (impossible still due to the wet) I put up a juvenile Marsh Harrier in the 100 Acre. A couple of adult Whinchat were also on the hedge here and a Yellow Wagtail flew over. The South Lake was very busy with a variety of waders and were joined by an adult Spoonbill (initially discovered on the Rushy by Rich Hearn). Images of some of these birds can be found on the WWT website.

Nick Goatman showed me an image taken at Nebrow hill this morning of a dragonfly that he wanted identified and it was a male Scarce Chaser!. It was near the car park resting in the hedge and showed mating scars. This is a significant local discovery.

I will be in Iceland until from 7-22nd August as part of an BBC Autumnwatch/WWT Super Whooper research team. You can follow this project on the WWT website and it will feature diary updates, images and short movies. Click on the link below to follow what is happening.

I will update images on my return so for local news see the WWT website or The Gloster Birder plus links to keep up with what is going on.

Martin J McGill

Thursday, August 02, 2007

WWT Slimbridge 30 July and Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire 31 July, 1-2 August 2007

30 July 2007 A first day at WWT Slimbridge for a while and 100 Dunlin, 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank including a juvenile, Black-tailed Godwits and 5+ Green Sandpiper amongst other waders. The waders on the estuary included 3 Sanderling and a Whimbrel. I did the gulls with McGill event in the evening and logged 30+ Yellow-legged and 4 Mediterranean Gulls (2 adult breeding, 1st summer and a white darvic ringed juvenile, JSL had a red darviced juvenile the day before on South Lake). A few Sanderling and 2 Red Knot were on the river with 3 Whimbrel and the Curlew flock.
31 July 2007 I traveled to WWT Welney with JSL for a three day Reserve Managers meeting. We had a look around the flooded Welney reserve where most species have failed due to high water levels. We still saw Hobby, 30 Common Terns, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper and plenty of Snipe. Turtle Doves are to be found along the bank hedges. 10 Yellow Wagtail were around the centre and dragonflies were much in evidence particularly lots of Brown Hawker. We also had a tour with RSPB Welches Dam warden to view the wader breeding areas.
Turtle Dove at WWT Welney M.J.McGill This reserve is the best place I know to see this species in numbers and in the open.
1 August 2007 Lots of Turtle Doves around Welney followed by a very interesting visit to Chippenham Fen NNR which was productive, highlights aprt from the Water Buffalo were Emerald and Azure Damselfies, the habitat itself and a Fen Fragrant Orchid. The afternoon/evening was spent at RSPB Lakenheath which was quiet for birds but good for drags and we did see a Golden Oriole whilst looking closely at the development of this site.
Water Buffalo wetland management at Chippenham Fen NNR These animals are amazing, huge beasts but very placid.

Fen or Bog Fragrant Orchid Gymnadenia densiflora, Chippenham Fen NNR

2 August 2007 A female Marsh Harrier was quartering the fields next to the WWT Welney visitor centre 0830.