I started my walk this morning in Stoke Park. It is very wet underfoot but by wading through the very deep puddles surrounding the area of reeds I did get good views of a male and female stonechat.
As I walked around Duchess Pond a grey heron took off and presented me with another great opportunity to photograph it in flight.
I didn’t see much else so walked across to Eastville Park on the other side of the M32.
The first bird to greet me here was a cheery robin.
On the lake there were 4 more grey herons.
There were also 4 mute swans on the lake. However, the most exciting birds for me were a little grebe and a teal (the first one I have seen here).
I could also just see the tawny owl in its box on the island.
There are lots of black-headed gulls on the lake and lots of corvids around it.
Black headed gull
Before I left a cormorant flew in and posed on a nearby branch.
Both profiles of the cormorant
We always enjoy visiting Dyrham Park at this time of the year as the trees look glorious and there’s always a chance to see one of nature’s spectacular sights with the deer rutting. The stags were rounding up their hinds but we didn’t see any locking of horns. Maybe worth another trip later this week if the weather holds.
This lovely part of Bristol is well known to many motorists as they head in to or out of the city on the M32 but how many of them know its real beauty? The noise they cause does spoil it a little but if you bother to walk through this ancient parkland you will be sure to see some of the beauties that I see regularly on my walks from home.
Wellies are definitely the order of the day
It was glorious this morning, if a little wet underfoot, and I was treated to one of my favourite birds, a little grebe, which I don’t see that often here.
Before the sun broke through I saw a pair of wrens and a grey heron. Once the sun came out I didn’t bother going much further than Duchess Pond where I enjoyed watching the little grebe and the regular moorhens and coots. The landscapes were pretty special too.
Moorhen treading lightly on the lilies
Having watched and enjoyed 3 games of rugby within 24 hours (Bristol Bears v Bath live, England v Australia and Ireland v New Zealand on television) I needed to stretch my legs a little and wandered over to Stoke Park.
It was very warm in the sun and I was lucky to see a pair of stonechats. I also managed a photo of a robin and had a fleeting sight of a green woodpecker. I didn’t stay long as the sky was threatening a heavy shower.
There are still dragonflies around – here a common darter
Another dry day and so we made the most of it by crossing the Severn Estuary and visiting the Forest of Dean. Not that I had a lot of luck with birds except I took my first ever photo of a goldcrest (even if it was a rather poor photo). At the same pool there was a tree creeper, a coal tit and a great tit bathing. We had a pleasant walk and a rather nice cream tea before heading home.
Treecreeper (easier to see in the pool rather than against the bark of a tree)
The rain stopped for a while and we had a walk to our local park. We didn’t see many birds except for three grey herons and at least half a dozen cormorants around the lake. Probably not enough for a blog but as I haven’t taken many bird photographs for some time I was pleased at least to get something to publish.
We had a last minute opportunity to go out birding this afternoon and so, not to waste time planning, we plumped for WWT Slimbridge where we can generally count on seeing something interesting.
The first few hides didn’t produce anything very special (teal, lapwings and lots of greylag geese) but there was some excitement about a snipe which, however, was very difficult to see (with its head tucked in to its body).
Well camouflaged snipe
We then wandered through the captive watefowl where I took a few photos and we made our way to the Zeiss Hide.
Here we were richly rewarded as a crane flew right in front of us: this huge graceful bird made a very dramatic appearance and circled around before landing. I was busy trying to photograph it when spectacularly two more flew in front of us. We couldn’t believe our eyes when yet another two appeared.
They remained for a very short while before flying off over the reed beds towards the Severn estuary.
From the same hide we could also see more lapwing, a grey heron, redshank, several snipe and a greenshank (too far away for a photo).
A few of my favourite captive wildfowl.