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28th April 2019 – Pilning Wetlands, Severn Estuary

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There have been reports of two rarities at Pilning recently – a Citrine wagtail and a “Channel ” wagtail and so on Sunday we joined lots of “twitchers” to see them.

I did manage views through the telescopes of some kind twitchers who had their telescopes trained on them but didn’t manage to get any photos.

There weren’t many birds around but we did get quite decent views of wheatears, a small flock of linnets and a little egret but all of my photos were disappointing.

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25th April 2019 – Eastville Park, Bristol

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We dodged the April showers (the French call them “les giboulées de mars” – they must happen earlier in France) on our morning walk around our local park.

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IMG_5269From April showers to spring sunshine

The birdsong was magnificent but, although we spent quite some time trying to spot the originators of these beautiful sounds, we spotted only a few birds. The noisiest of them all seems to be the blackcap and we saw both a male and a female. We are getting better at identifying birds by their songs and calls and we can certainly now recognise the noisy and gregarious long-tailed tits as they dart about in their small excitable flocks. There were very few ducks on the lake (clearly, like us,  sheltering from the rain). What is strange is that we haven’t seen any ducklings here this year whereas just across the road at Duchess Pond in Stoke Park there have been many.

DSCF1557Male blackcap

DSCF1581Female blackcap

DSCF1544Long-tailed tit

Despite the rain the park was looking very pretty as the ramsons (wild garlic – allium ursinum) have joined the bluebells and there was even some very attractive greater stitchwort (Stellaria holostea).

DSCF1517Ramsons

DSCF1535Greater stitchwort

DSCF1537Bluebells (proper jobs – not the Spanish invaders!)

DSCF1508Grey wagtail on the weir

DSCF1565Woodpigeon looking very much at home in the greenery of the park

DSCF1579.jpgThe swans seem to have displaced the grey heron from its perch by the lily ponds

 

 

 

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24th April 2019 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

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After a wonderful spell of sunny, warm weather it was normal service resumed with plenty of rain and a steep drop in temperature; however, late in the day I did manage a walk over to Stoke Park.

The light was not good but I got some fairly decent photos of a chiffchaff and some ducklings and then experimented taking close-ups of flora and fauna with not much success; but never mind hey.

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DSCF1037One of several buzzards, often being mobbed by crows

DSCF1098There were at least a dozen ducklings on Duchess Pond.

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18th April 2019 – Somerset

 

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As the Bank Holiday weekend doesn’t start until tomorrow we thought it would be okay to take the motorway south to Somerset but we got caught in a traffic jam just south of Bristol (due to an accident involving at least one caravan) but fortunately the delay was not too long.

On the Somerset levels at RSPB Ham Wall it was warm and misty (yes, more excuses for poor photos). but we had a lovely day, saw plenty of birds and had a picnic.

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MT1D0998Great crested grebess

MT1D1007Song thrush

MT1D1010Great white egret

MT1D1020Peacock butterfly

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MT1D1075Marsh harrier

MT1D1087Great white egret

MT1D1102Marsh harrier

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MT1D1039Common pochard

MT1D1060Immature female common pochard

 

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On the way home we stopped off at Chew Valley lake briefly; large white birds (mute swans and great white egrets) were the stars again.

MT1D1122Great white egret

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MT1D1166Mute swans

MT1D1219Gadwall

MT1D1174Shoveler

MT1D1153Common pochard

MT1D1198Scary great white egret

MT1D1224… and some small birds too

MT1D1173Not sure about this one. I have since been informed it is a white-cheeked pintail, an escapee from somewhere as they don’t live round here – more likely to be found in the Galapagos

 

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17th April 2019 – Avon Gorge, Bristol

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I had an hour to kill before going to the dentist and went to The Downs to see if I could see a peregrine; well you don’t want to sit around thinking about the dentist, do you?

The weather took an upward turn today and its starting to get warmer. Unfortunately that meant there was a haze and, although I did see a peregrine, it wasn’t the best of light for photos. (Always excuses, I hear you saying). I need to come back for another go.

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11th April 2019 – Longleat Safari Park

 

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I have very mixed feelings about zoos and safari parks but I must admit that I really enjoyed visiting Longleat Safari Park (only just over an hour from home) where the welfare of all the animals seemed at the heart of the enterprise. All the visitors seemed to enjoy the experience and were wowed by the animals. An awareness and interest in animals must be a good thing.

A few of my favourites:

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8th April 2019 – Eastville Park, Bristol

 

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As I drove home from golf this morning, having played a round in misty murky weather, I listened to the weather forecast and heard that the rest of the country was bathed in sunshine. Ergh!

I wasn’t going to give in and still had a walk around our local park because, even though there wasn’t much hope of decent photos, I was still encouraged by all the bird song I had heard on the golf course earlier.

And there was lots of bird activity in the park. In Fishponds Brook we had good views of a treecreeper bathing among the rocks. There was then a pair of grey wagtails which came closer.

DSC09270I see no trees – treecreeper among the rocks in Fishponds Brook

DSC09281… before flying off.

DSC09246Grey wagtail

DSC09445Robin

Robins were singing everywhere. As soon as we arrived at the lake we caught sight of a kingfisher but it didn’t stay for long. There was another pair of grey wagtails too.

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DSC09378Grey wagtail posing on the lake

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A wren out-sang the robins. Over the lake a male sparrowhawk worked its way up in the sky on a thermal (or was that just wishful thinking).

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DSC09322Sparrowhawk

On the way home there was a small flock of long-tailed tits and more robins, blue tits and great tits.

DSC09473Long-tailed tit

There were more bluebells out than our last visit and the blossom and the leaves on the trees were bursting out. All it now needed was a bit of sunshine.

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2nd April 2019 – Severnside

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It was a foul afternoon (but not particularly a fowl afternoon) at Northwick Warth on the Severn Estuary; there was a little sunshine but mainly cold winds, rain and hail.

My perseverance was rewarded with a close-up view of a black-tailed godwit, 12 little ringed plovers, a small flock of pied wagtails and three redshank on the shore line. On the Pilning Wetlands there were surprisingly few birds. For me the best was a not too distant teal and a very distant little grebe.

MT1D0705Black-tailed godwit

MT1D0799Black-tailed godwit

MT1D0824Black-tailed godwit

MT1D0763Little grebe

MT1D0830Pied wagtails

MT1D0833Pied wagtails

MT1D0844Teal

MT1D0869Little ringed plovers

MT1D0914Little ringed plover

MT1D0957Redshank