Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Red Kites and Rainham Marshes RSPB

So caught up at last (for now!)

Last Thursday saw us head down to London to stop with our son for a few days. We had chosen to stop at a National Trust on the way down which meant going down the M40, the bonus of that being the Red Kites, we picked up the first around Banbury, then we started counting until we stopped at the Cliveden NT. We think we had got to 40 by then, best score yet.

We went for a walk around Cliveden (out first visit) and on a nicer day it would have been great, but as my sister-in-law would say, 'The wind was spiteful', a couple of shots from the Garden and a Red Kite (taken at the NT):

So onto London where we had plenty of Laughs, Walking and Drinking. Thanks Son!

So we left Mike's sunday lunchtime and dropped into Rainham Marshes for a few hours on the way home.
We were excited to hear Bearded Tits had been reported and as they are still on our hit list, we had our fingers crossed, but yet again to no avail!

We had a great time there though, despite that 'Spiteful wind' the rain kept off us although we could see downpours all around the reserve. Again not many good photo opportunities, but here a few:

We did pick up another year first and that was a Chaffinch, but he wouldn't stay still for a photo!

Our list for the day:
Black-headed Gull
Carrion Crow
Collared Dove
Great Crested Grebe
Greater Canada Goose
Grey Heron
House Sparrow
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Little Egret
Little Grebe
Mute Swan
Pied Wagtail
Reed Bunting
Tufted Duck

Ham Wall - Somerset

Still playing catch up with the posts! On the weekend of the 15th we made a trip down near Cheddar, the main reason being to test run a Motor Home that we were thinking of buying, so we booked into a site between Cheddar and Wells and made a couple of brief visits to Ham Wall whilst we were there on the Sunday and Monday.

We heard plenty of Booming Bitterns but none of them showed, c'est la vie! We did have a good time though, seeing plenty of Waterfowl and our first Sedge Warbler of the year. Not many photo opportunities though, but here are a few:

In the end have decided the Motor Home wasn't for us, not the ideal vehicle for getting about birding!

Our list for Ham Wall:
Blackbird  ("Turdus merula")
Blue Tit  ("Cyanistes caeruleus")
Buzzard  ("Buteo buteo")
Carrion Crow  ("Corvus corone")
Chaffinch  ("Fringilla coelebs")
Coot  ("Fulica atra")
Cormorant  ("Phalacrocorax carbo")
Dunnock  ("Prunella modularis")
Gadwall  ("Anas strepera")
Goldfinch  ("Carduelis carduelis")
Great Crested Grebe  ("Podiceps cristatus")
Great Tit  ("Parus major")
Greater Canada Goose  ("Branta canadensis")
Greenfinch  ("Chloris chloris")
Grey Heron  ("Ardea cinerea")
House Sparrow  ("Passer domesticus")
Kingfisher  ("Alcedo atthis")
Lapwing  ("Vanellus vanellus")
Lesser Black-backed Gull  ("Larus fuscus")
Little Egret  ("Egretta garzetta")
Little Grebe  ("Tachybaptus ruficollis")
Long-tailed Tit  ("Aegithalos caudatus")
Magpie  ("Pica pica")
Mallard  ("Anas platyrhynchos")
Moorhen  ("Gallinula chloropus")
Mute Swan  ("Cygnus olor")
Pied Wagtail  ("Motacilla alba")
Pochard  ("Aythya ferina")
Redwing  ("Turdus iliacus")
Robin  ("Erithacus rubecula")
Sedge Warbler  ("Acrocephalus schoenobaenus")
Snipe  ("Gallinago gallinago")
Song Thrush  ("Turdus philomelos")
Starling  ("Sturnus vulgaris")
Teal  ("Anas crecca")
Tufted Duck  ("Aythya fuligula")
Woodpigeon  ("Columba palumbus")
Wren  ("Troglodytes troglodytes")

Monday, 24 March 2014

Playing Catch Up! - Kinver Edge, Stourport

We are way behind on posting at the moment, so this one is a summary of a few small walks and a bit of Garden stuff.

So I'll start off with a walk at Kinver Edge. It was lovely sunny Sunday afternoon. we parked near the National Trust Rock Houses and walked up past them and up on to the 'Edge', we found ourselves a nice viewpoint, whipped out the flasks and had a coffee, nothing much to report other than Crows and Woodpigeons at this stage. After coffee we carried on along the edge and into the woods, where we stumbled upon a couple of Goldcrest. Typically with Goldcrest they don't stay still so getting a photo was difficult but I managed a couple for the record:

Further on we came across some more Goldcrest this time flitting way up in the trees, there must have been 4 or 5, but as they were darting about so much it was difficult to tell, a Wren showed briefly but that was about it in the woods, when we emerged back on the heath, a couple of Buzzards showed wee, whilst we watched some Long-tailed Tits:

So on the birding front that was pretty much it.

A few days later on another glorious day, we headed off towards Stourport to do the Stourport Circular Walk. We parked up at Blackstone (near the Safari Park) and joined the route there heading into Stourport along the River Severn, we immediately spotted a Goosander on the river, so a good start, sadly though after that there weren't many birds around at all, some Blue Tits in the trees a Buzzard, but the next highlight was a Jay, before we arrived after 3 miles (ish) in Stourport and a late lunch at Weatherspoons!

From Stourport we continued  the walk, but along the Canal for a fair while, we saw some Long-tailed Tits nest building. From here on in though the birds abandoned us! The walk continued through Wyre Forest Golf Course after which the route markers disappeared, and the downloaded map didn't seem to quite correspond to the terrain! We eventually met up with a nice family walking their dogs in Burlish Top NR, who put us back on track, dropping down by the Devil's Spittleful NR and back to the car some 7.66 Miles in all according to the GPS, although the published walk is supposed to be 6.5!

Next a couple of shots from the Garden, Spring is in the air (for Frogs!):
And a first for our Garden a Lesser Redpoll:
and a Magpie nest building in our conifers:

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Holkham Pines

Our last full day in Norfolk and the weather wasn't so great today, very dull, we paid a further visit to Blakeney and other spots but all the birds seemed to be elsewhere, we went for a brief walk at Stiffkey Marshes but the mud got the better of us in the end, there was quite a bit about, Little Egrets, Curlew, Shelduck, Redshank but all to distant to photograph in the bad light.

We eventually parked up at Holkham and walked along the beach for a while before dropping down to the hides for a last visit. We elected to go to the Jordan hide again and at first glance there wasn't much about, just plenty of Pheasant and the Cormorants on the roost in front of us, but then after scanning things got a bit more interesting, the large flock of what we thought were Greylags in front of the Cormorant Roost weren't, they were White Fronted Geese, that was a nice surprise:
Then as per one of our previous visits, a Spoonbill flew past, but this time it stopped at one of the pools to the right of us:
It eventually flew up to the Cormorant Roost and dropped out of sight there, but not until a second one appeared, it had been there all the time and we hadn't spotted it, to be honest, we saw a white bird in the distance and assumed Little Egret! But then they were up and flying together before disappearing at the Roost.

So a great end to a great week

For all the Norfolk Photos, goto:
Norfolk 2014 Photos

Brancaster Staithe & Titchwell RSPB

So another day......

A quick drop in at Brancaster on the way to Titchwell on a nice sunny day, so a few pics there to start the day off:

Then on to Titchwell, it's difficult to choose what photos to put on the blog from here, it was such a brilliant day. We started off with some Scaup on the 'new' lagoon, but they were to far to photograph even for a record shot, so we didn't tarry there and headed back to the visitor centre and proceed along the walk towards the beach stopping at the hides along the way, hoping that we might see Bearded Tits, but despite plenty of reed scanning none showed themselves. So this species is still on the list of, " We don't really believe the bird exists, all the reports and photos are pure fiction!" Crossbills in England used to be on this list but we were finally proved wrong a while ago.

Anyway on with what we did see. Where do I start. I suppose with a highlight amongst ducks, some Pintail:
But then there were some really smart Shoveler too:
and you can't leave Teal out either:
or Gadwall for that matter:
Then theres the Waders, I have to start with Avocet, I know living south of Birmingham we are spoilt by the Avocets at Upton Warren, but they are still fantastic birds and have to start the list:
second place goes to a Bar-tailed Godwit:
followed by these two Knot:
Moving away from waders, this comorant definitley had eyes bigger than his belly:
there was no way he was going to get this Eel down, we watched it for about 15 minutes, trying to swallow it, but he gave up in the end. So what else? A little Grebe showed quite well for a spell:
And now for another lifer for us a Grey Plover:

And then some more Avocets....

 And a few waders to finish off
 Plus another Pintail
So endeth the afternoon at Titchwell