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.
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.
From 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.
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).
Bluebells (proper jobs – not the Spanish invaders!)
Grey wagtail on the weir
Woodpigeon looking very much at home in the greenery of the park
The swans seem to have displaced the grey heron from its perch by the lily ponds
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.
One of several buzzards, often being mobbed by crows
There were at least a dozen ducklings on Duchess Pond.
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.
Great crested grebess
Great white egret
Great white egret
Immature female common pochard
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.
Great white egret
Scary great white egret
… and some small birds too
Not 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
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.
It was very windy and quite chilly in Stoke Park this morning and not a lot to see. There were five surviving ducklings on Duchess Pond and I did get a few shots of a grey heron and I did take a photo of a coot (only because I could see its eye clearly).
There were also invaders – Spanish bluebells.
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:
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.
I see no trees – treecreeper among the rocks in Fishponds Brook
… before flying off.
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.
Grey wagtail posing on the lake
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).
On the way home there was a small flock of long-tailed tits and more robins, blue tits and great tits.
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.
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.
Little ringed plovers
Little ringed plover