Wednesday, January 09, 2008

1-31 January 2008

A rather interesting Goldie on 31st January on the WWT Tack Piece, dark-capped, clear cream not-yellow supercilium, greyish upperparts rather than the warmer golden of it's companions and no warm tones at all, long primaries, long thin bill, large spots on tertials, clear isolated ear covert spot and long trousers (the feathering where the body meets the legs), ability to stand in the deeper water without body getting wet, diffuse smoky breast band, open face with cream base colour. Despite watching it for a long perid we both (JSL and MJM) missed it's underwing when it flew! We had to go back to work as our lunch break had ended. This is not the bird that was seen last year.

31 January 2008 A Merlin and four Little Stints were the highlight for me. Getting soaked to the skin was not. The plovers were interesting today, the partial breeding plumage bird was on the Dumbles and the above bird was very interesting.
30 January 2008 Two Little Stint were on the Tack Piece.

Red-throated Diver in the mist and distance! WWT Slimbridge

28 January 2008 A foggy start to the day but it soon brightened with a reserve lifer for both myself and JSL after midday. A Red-throated Diver was on the estuary over high tide and was the same bird that Paul Taylor had found further downriver yesterday. This was an excellent find for the estuary and thanks go to Paul for the find and for giving me a call. A few Siskin were around us where we worked (Decoy/Willow plantation) but other than that no other birding was had. At least 168 Bewick's Swans were on the reserve including a bird that was ringed in Russia in 2006.

27 January 2008 What a brilliant day, the weather was amazing and watching birds was a real pleasure with such quality light. The Tack Piece at WWT Slimbridge was still highly productive and the Tundra Bean Goose showed all day among 508 E.White-fronted Geese. The waders were particularly excellent to watch with 50+ Redshank, 5 Spotted Redshank and 16 Ruff all showing close to the hides.

Common Redshank looking for something....

Golden Plover on the Tack Piece, one or two in this image are moulting into breeding plumage. The individual back left is of a lighter build.

25 January 2008 I had another quick look at the Cattle Egret at Fretherne, it was in the company of 8 Little Egrets. Some recycling at Hempsted gave me the chance to look at few gulls in the public areas, nothing of note and a long walk around Frampton on Severn was great as I have not been out birding locally for a while. 11 Pochard, c80 Tufted Duck, c30 Gadwall, 10 G.C Grebe, 150 Coot and a selection of the usual gulls.

24 January 2008 A female Merlin around the Northern end of the reserve was a highlight. Two Spotted Redshank were also at the north end with 2 on the Tack Piece.

22 January 2008 I made a count of 8620 Lapwing around the reserve and 60 Redshank were on the Tack Piece. At least 79 Snipe and 2 Jack Snipe were on one field which is not viewable from the hides.

20 January 2008 As has been the pattern at WWT recently, a bird packed reserve with the Holden Tower being productive. I picked up a first winter Glaucous Gull flying over the estuary at 0830, it landed and rested among the GBBGulls in a variety of places and was present to 1000. The Tundra Bean Goose was on the Dumbles and also of note the Ferruginous x Pochard was still on the Tack Piece scrape. Single Oystercatcher and Black-tailed Godwit were joined by 50 Redshank, 14 Ruff and 2 Spotted Redshank. At the end of the day I saw a Lesser Redpoll on the weeds around the entrance pond. Cetti's Warbler were singing at the Zeiss and Loke hides.

Bewick's Swan flying down the estuary at WWT Slimbridge

The first winter Glaucous Gull on the estuary

Blue-billed Mallard WWT Slimbridge
Lesser Redpoll on the WWT Slimbridge entrance pond

Northern Grey Shrike in a darkened Forest of Dean, Boy's Grave

19 January 2008 I took advantage of being in the Forest to do a little birding (I was there to collect a piece of sandstone from a friend, it is for my hearth). A walk from Boy's Grave to Speech House produced the hoped for N.G Shrike and a few Siskins, I also heard a Hawfinch. The floods around Gloucester were very spectacular and a few fields near Westbury/The Strand held large numbers of gulls. Graham Clarkson was down with a group from Lancashire today and he had a good days birding seeing the WWT Slimbridge wintering birds such as Tundra Bean Goose and Spotted Redshanks.

15-18 January 2008 Very little birding this week but I did count 712 Teal on the Top New Piece and 71 Shoveler on the same flood. I did see a male Goshawk head over the Rushy on the fine and sunny Wednesday 16th. Late news for last week included a Green Sandpiper on a roadside puddle along the A38 at Hardwicke ( a much reported bird).

The Ferruginous x Pochard hybrid (we ringed this bird a couple of years back) and the female Pochard with albanistic markings which has also been at WWT for a few winters at least.

14 January 2008 We completed the Wetland Bird Survey today and it totalled over 24,000 wetland birds on the 800 acre WWT Slimbridge Reserve. See WWT website for count details, a female Merlin was seen, as was Jack Snipe and the E White-fronted Geese were up to 520 and the Tundra Bean Goose were from the Holden Tower. Oystercatcher was a welcome sign of spring.

10-13 January 2008 The birding is quite simply outsatnding from the main WWT hides. The Temminck's Stint was still showing from the Holden Tower. Two large Greylag Geese were on the Top New Piece and the six regulars were on the edge of the estuary on the latter date.

Male Blackcap in my garden 5 January 2008

9 January 2008 A good half hour at work from the Holden Tower....I discovered a/the Temminck's Stint on the pool in front of the Holden Tower before it flew off to the Tack Piece. I saw it take flight twice before it eventually settled among the 500 Dunlin. I saw 2 Little Stints on the Dumbles along with 2 Grey Plover, 150+ GBBGulls, 1 Yellow-legged Gull, the 491 E White-fronted Geese and Tundra Bean Goose. The Tack Piece also had 1 Snipe, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Grey Plover,2-3 Spotted Redshank and Ruff among the commoner waders, I thought I heard Oystercatcher today. A Redpoll sp was near the Robbie Garnett Hide.

Temminck's Stint 9 January 2008

8 January 2008 During the day at WWT my personal highlights were a female Merlin and possibly 3 Peregrines in the 50 Acre/Bull Gound and the Turkey Oaks, 4 male and 1 female Stonechats in the 50/100 Acre/Bull Ground and good numbers of wildfowl.

7 January 2008 Plenty of birds at WWT Slimbridge, I counted 256 Great Black-backed Gulls on the Dumbles (a record I think).

6 January 2008 A Great Spotted Woodpecker in the garden again.

5 January 2008 Still a male and female Blackcap in my garden.

3-4 January 2008 A visit to Lancashire to stay with Graham Clarkson was good fun for the kids, we had a look for an interesting aythya at Ainsdale that Gra had seen in the week but could not relocate it. Marshside RSPB was busy as ever with American Green-winged Teal present. We noted 20 Common Scoter and Sanderling and Dunlin whilst dragging the childred around on plastic barrels on the beach.

1-2 January 2008 See WWT website for bird details.