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.
This 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.
Great white egret
2 yellow wagtails ( I saw 4 but others saw more)
Wheatear ( I saw another one too)
Godwits on the estuary – this image is not really in black and white, just the weather
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.
A very heavily cropped photo of the osprey
Mute 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.
Speckled Wood butterfly
A very distant kingfisher
A great white egret in the same bushes
Disappointing maybe, but still lots of fun to see such a magnificent bird as an osprey.
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).
Note black feet of juvenile
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.
About 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.
Early morning in Eastville Park: spoilt for choice featuring 3 kingfishers, 3 grey wagtails, 3 grey herons, 3 cormorants, 3 robins and 4 juvenile gulls.
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.
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.
There was a buzzard over the woods.
Around Duchess Pond a grey heron posed and occasionally flew from one patch to another.
There was a Painted Lady butterfly and several damselflies and dragonflies.
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.
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).
Grey heron scrambling out of the lake having fished its supper
Grey heron struggling to swallow its supper
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.
Grey wagtail devouring beetle
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.
A (rather faded) Painted Lady
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.
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?
There was also a very distant kestrel and I managed a few acceptable shots considering how far away it was.