Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Birding diary 2-15 March 2008

Hawfinch, Forest of Dean

15 March 2008 I guided a group to the Forest of Dean which worked out well until the rain settled in at Midday. It was nice to bump into Rich, Mark and Kate all out birding and walking. We began at Boys Grave/Speech House area and soon located the Northern Grey Shrike atop a sapling, it spent the whole time looking/listening for prey and did not move. A Cormorant flew over and Crossbill were heard. A stop to look through the 40 Redwing for Mistle Thrush revealed the real surprise of the day. A Wheatear was feeding on the turf of the Speech House field, the first of the year for me and on checking, part of a UK arrival!, we will have to see what appears on MLK's Gloster Birder site for any other reports. This is the first one I have seen in the forest. A Brambling and 2 drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers were also nearby. At Brierley a flock of 30 Brambling and 30 Chaffinch were eventually enticed down after an hour by British finch seed. Whilst waiting a walk towards Cinderford produced a Hawfinch, Siskins, another Brambling, single Redpoll, Raven, 1 Marsh Tit and many common woodland species. We also had poor and brief views of a Goshawk flying away from us. On returning a further 5 Hawfinch flew in and showed well for about 10 minutes. A stop for comfort at Beechenhurst and the rain began falling. A look at Woorgreens gave us a pair of Mandarin, a few Greylags and 19 Goosander, 3 males, 8 females and 8 first-winter/summer males. We then expored Cannop Ponds where more Mandarin, male Reed Bunting, a Marsh Tit, a singing Chiffchaff, a pair of Little Grebe, a pair of Grey Wagtail and lots of woodland birds were seen. The rain continued to fall and further searches were not really possible, it was game over for the day but we gave it 5 minutes for Crossbill without success before leaving. A Marsh Harrier was reported at Fretherne.

14 March 2008 A recycling trip to Hempsted was made more interesting by the pair of Shelduck feeding on the roadside puddle complete with industrial backdrop.

13 March 2008 It was nice to see 2 Dunlin, 9 Black-tailed Godwit (inc breeding plumage birds), 1 Grey Plover and 1 Golden Plover were all on the 100 Acre at 0800-1330 at least. Two Black-tailed Godwit were on South Lake as well.

12th March 2008 Little or no birding but there were 54 Kittiwake on the estuary.

11 March 2008 My highlight of the day was a Rock Pipit which was joined by what was probably a Water Pipit at the WWT, 100 Acre. We had a female Goshawk stoop and then fly low over the Decoy at 1230. The Temminck's Stint was still showing at the Holden Tower.

9-10 March 2008 No birding.

8 March 2008 On investigating a white winged gull at Townfield Lake I saw my first six Sand Martin of the year. Jeremy had seen what he believes to be a leucistic Herring Gull so beware when looking for Iceland/Glaucous locally. A Cattle Egret was seen in the fields near Rectory Farm, Slimbridge.

7 March 2008 See the special report on diary page but image of the White-Crowned Sparrow below.

6 March 2008 The Dark-bellied Brent Goose was still present as was the 12 European Greylags in the road fields.

5 March 2008 The Dark-bellied Brent was among 100 Wigeon from Holden Tower, no White-fronted Geese left, 1 Bewick's Swan. 2 Water Rail at the feeding station and a female Brambling. 12-14 European Greylags were in the road field. I noted 4 Siskin over the Decoy this afternoon.

Water Rail at WWT Slimbridge all images MJMcGill

Adult Dark-bellied Brent from the Holden Tower

4 March 2008 At WWT an adult Dark-bellied Brent was with 30 E White-fronted Geese. 1 Bewick's Swan remained (Hosta a yearling, first to arrive on 18 October 2007). A Cetti's Warbler was in full song at the Zeiss Hide. Further clearouts of duck occured but 900 Wigeon remain. Water Rail showed very well at the Willow Plantation feeding station. 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Ruff and up to 6 Redshank remain on the South Lake. At least 12-14 European/continental Greylags remain on the road fields or Top New Piece.

3 March 2008 At WWT I noted a Chiffchaff at the South Finger with 3 singing Cetti's Warblers. Only 80 E White-fronted Geese were left after an overnight departure.

2 March 2008 At least 307 E Whitefronted Geese left on the WWT reserve today, the Tundra Bean Goose with them. Only 1 Bewick's Swan left. A grey female Merlin (has wintered for three years at least) was on a Dunlin kill in the 100 Acre. Only saw the 1 Peregrine today. 5 Little Stints were on the Top New Piece with 30 Dunlin. 2 Kingfishers were in a territorial/mating chase. a male Brambling was on the South Finger feeders. Reed Bunting was in song at the Robbie Garnett Hide. 2 Little Egret were in the 100 Acre.

1 March 2008 See the Wallcreeper trip report.