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12th April 2021 – Greenbank Cemetery, Bristol

We spent a good hour again this afternoon in a local cemetery looking for a pied flycatcher. This time we were lucky and had views of it flitting from tree to tree for 10 minutes. Frustratingly I never had a clear view of it with my camera but I was quite happy to get a few shots.

Pied flycatcher

I did, however, get clear shots of a wren and a jay.

Wren
Jay

The cemetery is a wonderful place for photographs and I look forward to returning with a wider angle lens than my 200-600 lens.

Wood pigeon
Female blackbird
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11th April 2021 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

The common redstart was the incentive to wander over to Duchess Pond in the Stoke Park Estate (less than 500 metres from home) and we were lucky to see it again. There were lots of treats including our first swallows of the year, willow warblers, chiffchaffs, reed buntings, green finches, blackbirds, robins, a cormorant, 2 mute swans, Canada geese and dozens of ducklings of various sizes. I’m sure there were loads more to see but we were bitterly cold and the attraction of a coffee was too great to entice us to stay out any later.

We saw the redstart early on but then had no other sightings of it
The redstart gets its name from its red tail
The first swallow of the year
Some older ducklings
Willow Warbler / Chiffchaff
Reed bunting
Cormorant joining the party
Chiffchaff
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10th April 2021 – Greenbank Cemetery, Bristol

There have been reports of a pied flycatcher (and lots of willow warblers) at Greenbank Cemetery not far from Eastville Park.

We went and had a look this afternoon but the closest we got to seeing one was looking at the photos of other photographers who had bagged some great shots in the morning.

My consolation prize was a jay and a blue tit preparing a nest.

Nevermind, I have been quite lucky recently. I also had lots of goldfinches in the garden when we got back.

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9th April 2021 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

I went back to Stoke Park with my godson to see if we could see the redstart. With his sharp eyes he had no problem picking it out. I could only see it when it perched on the wire but he was able to see it scrambling in the grass and on an adjacent tree. We also saw a chiffchaff nearby. All around Duchess Pond there were robins who were much more obliging in posing for us.

Profile of common redstart
Front view
Rear view
Chiffchaff
An inquisitive robin

Quite a poser
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8th April 2021 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

I have been rather frustrated over the last few days as I have seen reports of sightings of a common redstart on my local patch but knew I didn’t have the opportunity to go and try to spot it.

This afternoon, with dwindling light (and a cold northerly wind) I found an hour to go searching. On turning up at the acknowledged spot I met other photographers who had seen it in the morning (with their proud photos). But nothing to see. I hung around in the cold without any success. Another birder claimed to see it across the pond, but all I found in my lens was a robin.

Raised hopes but only a robin

It started to rain so I set off home on two occasions but kept coming back. And then – voilà – my redstart appeared on the barbed wire. I fired a few shots and then it flew off only a few seconds after it arrived, never to be seen again.

Male common redstart
I’m sure it had spotted me
Right profile
Left profile
Canada goose flying in the rain
Lots of ducklings around the pond
The robin came back to show off
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6th April 2021 – Eastville Park, Bristol

It was bitterly cold around the lake in the park and so we were quite pleased to spend time in the woods looking for birds. We really only managed to see two birds (which were making very loud calls) – a nuthatch and a great tit.

Nuthatch calling
More familiar pose of the nuthatch
I thought I was back at school with the great tit shrilling “Teacher, Teacher”

As we made our way alongside the lake on the way home it was good to see the Tawny Owl in its box on one of the islands.

You could just see the male tawny owl in its box
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3rd April 2021 – Iron Acton, South Gloucestershire

We had visited Algars Manor and Algars Mill gardens near Iron Acton just north of Bristol as part of the National Garden Scheme in March, and enjoyed the spectacular show of daffodils in the 2 acre woodland gardens which are bisected by the River Frome. We returned again for another NGS day and this time we were treated to another spectacular show: this time it was the turn of the camellias and magnolias to steal the show. The wood anemones and the fritillaries were pretty amazing too.