Thursday, 16 November 2017


16 Nov - A sunny morning (before the predicted cold front and rain arrived) and I decided on a short session in the Pinkhill hide at Farmoor where some good Water Rail pics have been taken recently, when the bird emerges from the reeds to pick up fragments under the feeders. The Rail made 2 short visits in my time there mid-morning, but always tended to be partly obscured in terms of the camera - but nice views. Also seen a Kingfisher, fem Reed Buntings and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Green Woodpecker and Cetti's Warbler heard. 2 Grey Squirrels were also in attendance but the squirrel-proof feeders proved their worth. A few winter Thrushes about, and a nice group of Goldeneye on F2.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Hawfinch in Ciren !

13 Nov - At last! On a walk in Ciren Park this morning on a lovely cold sunny autumn morning, 2 Hawfinches flew from the trees and overhead towards Cecily Hill - a brief view but very distinctive large silhouette, front-heavy with big bill, and long wings with white wingbar the length of the wing. Good to log this excellent Cirencester record as part of the current national invasion.

Cleveland Lakes work party

13 Nov - The highlight from the weekend work party at CWP, removing willow scrub from the reedbed, was a flyover Marsh Harrier, presumably the bird that seems set to winter here. Also a few Pintail in with large flocks of Wigeon and Teal, flyover Little Egrets, and 2 flyby Snipe. A strong cold northerly wind, but very clear.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Photo Hide........

10 Nov - A morning visit booked in a photo hide in Worcestershire, and we were fortunate with the weather, sunny intervals and not too windy. The morning session was on a small river where Kingfishers regularly fish and we were fortunate to have 4 visits from the bird over a 4h period, each time perching for a minute or 2 on a small branch approximately 5m from the hide - superb views of this stunning bird, surprisingly small in close up, and an all-dark bill so a male. I managed to capture the bird in sunlight, and especially in the morning the light was at a nice angle. In the afternoon we had good views of a male Kestrel feeding and perching on posts also in good sunlight, a beautiful bird at close quarters. Altogether a very successful day.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Slimbridge fix......

9 Nov - An early morning visit to WWT, always good to go in before general opening, and the first Bewick's Swan of the winter has arrived. A good morning for raptors - a male Sparrowhawk perched in the hedge from Martin Smith hide, also Buzzard and a flyby Peregrine seen, and a Kingfisher made a brief stopover on the post that has been erected to entice them into view. A good number of waders on the Top New Piece including Golden Plovers, Blackwits and Snipe, with Curlews on the Tack Piece. Not much time so no visit to South Lake and Zeiss. Good numbers of winter duck now building up. En route home I detoured through Winstone to look for the Golden Plover flock that is usually around this area (but mobile), and I had a real bonus in the shape of a male Merlin that flew close to the car hunting the fields, then perched up more distantly in an oak - nice views of the blue/grey colouration and compact size. A 3-falcon morning!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Autumn is here......

6 Nov - darker evenings since the clocks went back, and signs of changing seasons with Fieldfares and Redwings becoming more widespread, including in CWP and at Blakehill on 4th, and over the garden. No Hawfinches yet, despite the invasion nationally ........

Friday, 3 November 2017

Leckhampton Hill

3 Nov - No sign of the Snow Bunting that has been present at Leckhampton for the previous two days, but a flock of 60+ Golden Plover circling over and up to 10 Bramblings with the finch flock, especially around the grain silo at the farm - including 2-3 smart male birds. Always exciting to see. Also my first Gloucestershire Fieldfare of the autumn. Nice autumnal views across Cheltenham to the Malvern Hills.