Saturday, 26 November 2016

26th November 2016

I've been too busy these last few weeks to fit any birding in, so thought I'd take a look at the Ring-Billed Gull at Blashford Lakes. It was showing on arrival, at times next to Common Gulls for comparison. Also present was 5+ Yellow-Legged Gulls, at least 1 Argentatus Herring Gull, 7+ Goosander and a Goldeneye.

Ring-Billed Gull - Blashford Lakes

2 of 5 Yellow-Legged Gulls - Blashford Lakes

Argentatus Herring Gull - Blashford Lakes

Goosander - Blashford Lakes

 Also saw a flock of 6 Red Kites from the car window, the largest winter flock I can remember seeing in the south west.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

3rd November 2016

Had a flyover Little Egret at Stourton Way on the way to work today. A decent bird for Yeovil and my first here for a few years, they certainly seem to have become far less regular then they once were.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

30th October 2016

Spent most of the day volenteering at Ham Wall today, a nice change from manic twitching. At the first viewing platform first thing we had a flock of c.17 Bearded Reedlings in the reeds, the largest flock I've seen. Also of note throughout the day were 4 Bitterns (surprisingly active for the time of year), one of which was viewable on the edge of the reeds from VP1 for a short time, 4 Great White Egrets, 4 flyover Redpolls (presumed Lesser), 2 Kingfishers and a few Marsh Harriers.

Great White Egret - Ham Wall 

Bittern - Ham Wall

Bearded Reedling - Ham Wall

Also had a flyover Glossy Ibis behind the Avalon Hide, a bit fustrating as I couldn't tell if this was the same bird I'd already seen this year. However both birds flew down together behind VP1 later in the afternoon so I can say I've definitely seen 2 here this year.

Glossy Ibises - Ham Wall

29th October 2016 (Lincolnshire and Norfolk)

As the swamphen had been reported almost every day over the last few weeks, I decided to try once again. Left home at 3am and arrived at Alkborough Flats at 8. Walked out to steps and looked out over the pools in the dark and thick fog, and was able to make out a family of 5 Whooper Swans and a pair of Avocets amongst the commoner species. The fog seemed to be getting worse, but then at 9:20, someone picked out the shape tucked up against the reeds. After a short while, the WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN walked out into the open, and showed alongside the comparatively tiny Moorhens.

Stunning shots! Second one shows size comparison with moorhen in case you couldn't tell.

Views were really poor; distant, in the dark and through fog, I think I could actually see some purple at one point, but nonetheless really happy to have finally caught up with this bird. I could have stayed longer and waited for the fog to clear, but with the bird back to hiding in the reeds I didn't really fancy waiting around again like last time and was keep to move on to north Norfolk.

After a few more hours driving, parked up along side the road at Burnham Overy and walked down to the dunes. Shortly after arrival the ISABELLINE WHEATEAR showed at the top of the first ridge, and continued to show on and off whilst I was here. I had expected this bird to be quite boring and to look much like Northern, but it's larger size and the sandy yellow wash to the whole body made this a rather attractive and distinctive bird.

Added last shot to show tail pattern.

 After I'd had my fill, I wandered back towards the car, seeing on the way singles of Short-Eared Owl, Barn Owl and several Egyptian Geese.

Egyptian Goose - Burnham Overy

Curlew - Burnham Overy

Last stop of the day was Cley Marshes where, after what seemed to be a long walk along the pebble beach, I had great views of the male DESERT WHEATEAR.

Would have been a 3 wheatear day if only I'd seen a Northern!

Lastly, had another Barn Owl from the car window on the way home.

Great day, definitely worth the long drive!