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31st August 2019 – Northwick Warth, Severn Estuary

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I set off to go birding in a T-Shirt and had even contemplated wearing shorts but when I arrived at New Passage on the Severn Estuary I was glad I hadn’t and even more glad that I had several layers and a waterproof. The tide was very high and had clearly crossed over on the Northwick Warth when at its highest an hour before.

IMG_5794This stretch of water is normally a narrow Pill leading in to the Severn Estuary between the two Severn Bridges

It was very poor light but I still managed a few passable photos of swallows, yellow wagtails, wheatears, starlings and waders (mainly black-tailed godwits) on Pilning Wetlands and flying over the Warth. I even worked my way along the Pill and saw the Great White Egret which has been there in recent days.

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DSC01754Swallow

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DSC01813Great white egret

DSC019832 yellow wagtails ( I saw 4 but others saw more)

DSC02001Yellow wagtail

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DSC02034Wheatear ( I saw another one too)

DSC02059Starling

DSC02100Pied wagtail

DSC02161Starlings

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DSC02249Black-tailed godwits

DSC02358Little egret

DSC02379Black-tailed godwits

DSC02406Collared dove

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4 curlews

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DSC02470Godwits on the estuary – this image is not really in black and white, just the weather

 

 

 

 

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29th August 2019 – Shapwick Heath NNR, Somerset Levels

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We made a last minute decision to go and try to see an osprey which has been reported at Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve on the Avalon Marshes in Somerset.

We set off from Bristol in bright sunshine and I was still full of optimism when I met a photographer in the car park and saw his magnificent photos of the osprey flying around the reserve; but when I realised he had been there since 6.15 a.m. and that he was setting off home because the light was deteriorating I began to suspect that I might not be so fortunate.

We did see the osprey but it was sitting on a very distant stump of a tree and never left its post for all the time we were there.  There were a few distant sightings of marsh harriers and a buzzard but not much else of interest and as the hide was very congested we didn’t spend long there.

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DSC01517A very heavily cropped photo of the osprey

DSC01477Marsh harrier

DSC01560Buzzard

DSC01553Mute swans

DSC01620Mute swan with seven cygnets

There wasn’t much activity either at the nearby RSPB Ham Wall and, as we really only had the morning available to us, I settled for a few photos of insects and a distant great white egret and a kingfisher.

DSC01664Speckled Wood butterfly

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DSC01583Common darter

DSC01457A very distant kingfisher

DSC01464A great white egret in the same bushes

Disappointing maybe, but still lots of fun to see such a magnificent bird as an osprey.

 

 

 

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28th August 2019 – Eastville Park, Bristol

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Rain was forecast for the afternoon and so a walk around Eastville Park this morning was a safer bet especially with the attraction of regular sightings of kingfishers.

They again proved the highlight as we spotted two around Colston Weir on the River Frome in the park.

We also saw 3 grey wagtails and 2 juvenile herons of note as well as a dragonfly and two Painted Lady butterflies (one looking very fatigued).

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DSC01290Note black feet of juvenile

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26th August 2019 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

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We went for a short walk to the park in the afternoon. It proved to  be much shorter than we anticipated as there was very little shade and it was really too hot for us.

There were lots of dragonflies but I didn’t have the patience (or the ability) to get any decent photographs.

DSC01120About the best of my dragonfly shots

I did manage to photograph a Clouded Yellow butterfly (hence the reason for my blog) and a grey heron in flight.

DSC01006Clouded Yellow

DSC01051Grey heron

 

 

 

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24th August 2019 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

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I walked across to Stoke Park this morning before it was too hot and before the light was too bright; so no excuses about the light today.

I was hoping to see a whinchat. My mission was soon accomplished and so I then went in search of other birds and insects.

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I was surprised to see a dozen swifts – I thought they had all departed. During the last  week I have seen house martins, swallows and swifts over Duchess Pond.

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There was a buzzard over the woods.

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Around Duchess Pond a grey heron posed and occasionally flew from one patch to another.

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There was a Painted Lady butterfly and several damselflies and dragonflies.

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DSC09619Migrant hawker

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The motorway was quite quiet for a change and I could have stayed all morning but, if I had, I would have had to spend the rest of the day editing hundreds of photos. So home I went and faced up to England’s dismal performance in the Test match.

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23rd August 2019 – Eastville Park, Bristol

 

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The weather has certainly bucked up today and it has been sunny and warm. Late in the afternoon we had a walk around our local park. In the full sunlight it was diffficult to pick things out but a Red Admiral butterflly and a couple of grey herons on the lake were easy enough (although difficult to photograph in the bright sunshine).

DSC08998Red Admiral

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DSC09029Grey heron scrambling out of the lake having fished its supper

DSC09052Grey heron struggling to swallow its supper

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On the way home we spotted three kingfishers flying round together near the weir. I then had the opposite challenge of trying to photograph them in the deep shade; likewise with three grey wagtails one of which was enjoying the challenge of a large beetle.

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DSC09238Kingfisher

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DSC09291Grey wagtail devouring beetle

 

 

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22nd August 2019 – Pilning Wetlands, Severn Estuary

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I was looking forward to going to Severnside today as I was anticipating seeing lots of waders but I was greatly disappointed especially as, even though reasonable weather had been forecast, it was in fact very gloomy and quite cold.

I saw lots of Canada Geese (well over 400), mute swans, black-tailed godwits (quite distant on the wetlands), goldfinch, starlings, pied wagtails, house martins and swallows and, I realised when I edited my photos, a flock of more than 30 curlews. There were a few butterflies too.

DSC08470Mute swans

DSC08511Canada geese

DSC08853Canada geese

DSC08875Curlew

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DSC08918Black-tailed godwits

DSC08836Pied wagtail

DSC08705House martin

DSC08957Swallow

DSC08747A (rather faded) Painted Lady

DSC08780Common Blue

DSC08786Bee

 

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20th August 2019 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

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I spent the morning painting the garden fence so I needed a treat in the afternoon. Do I really need an excuse? So, another trip across the road to Stoke Park.

Today it was the turn of the swallows. By  the marshy copse I could see reed buntings flying off to hide in the trees and a I also saw a painted lady butterfly. Around Duchess Pond there were still a few common darters (darting too much for me), some damselflies and a very distant  green spotted woodpecker.

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19th August 2019 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

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I played golf this morning and there were House Martins buzzing all around me on the course – perhaps the distraction was the reason I played so badly. So, this afternoon I thought I would have another go at photographing some over at Stoke Park.

I didn’t really have the success of a few days ago but it was still fun trying – more akin to fishing perhaps?

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There was also a very distant kestrel and I managed a few acceptable shots considering how far away it was.

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