3rd May 2022 – Chew Valley Lake, North Somerset

I spent the day at Chew Valley Lake which, even though I am now out of my surgical boot, is currently my go-to place for birding as I don’t have to walk any great distance. At least I have ventured out of my garden!

The local birders I met all said that it was a very quiet time at the lake, suggesting that poor weather over the Iberian Peninsula had held up migrants. I did see some house martins but no other hirundines.

In fact, there wasn’t a great variety of birds around but I was so pleased to see a pair of great crested grebes perform the beautiful, highly ritualised moves of their courtship dance, including the weed ceremony.

Other highlights were 3 hobbies and a male gadwall.



Slideshow of photos from today


10th January 2022 – Garden birds

As I am currently somewhat restricted on my birding activities I thought I would take Stephen G Hipperson’s advice in my last blog and do some garden birdwatching. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic I have been used to making do in this way at various times in the last two years. In this blog I present a short video of birds I have seen in (or over) my garden during the lockdowns.

Let’s hope that as the year goes forward, as much as I have enjoyed seeing and photographing these birds, we don’t have the same restrictions again.


16th November 2021 – Near Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset

I had a very uneventful day birding near Weston-super-Mare. I started at the disused airfield in Weston which I had never visited before. There were lots of gulls (to be expected by the seaside), lots of starlings, a little egret, goldfinches, a meadow pipit and a pair of stonechats.

Little egret
Meadow pipit
Herring gull

I moved on to Uphill where I saw even less. Just another meadow pipit, a little egret and some teal.

Meadow pipit

In the afternoon I had a pleasant walk on Sand Point – I only saw a few stonechats but the light was so poor that I didn’t take any photos.

There will be better birding days!


5th November 2021 – New Passage, Severn Estuary

There were lots of waders on the foreshore (and on the warth) at New Passage this morning but generally they were too far away for my lens. However, a few redshank and turnstone came closer and allowed me to get some close-ups. The meadow pipit on the rocks on our walk to Severn Beach was probably the highlight for me. although I did confuse it for a rock pipit at first.

More for those with telescopes
Redshank in flight
Meadow pipit

28th March 2020 – Self-isolating in Bristol

I managed to get a short fix of nature this morning whilst self-isolating at home but I didn’t stay long outside as, with a strong north-easterly wind, the temperatures had plummeted.

The bird feeders in our garden continue to go down but I get little or no opportunity to photograph the birds on them because as soon as I go in to our small back garden the birds disappear. I can see them from the bathroom window  but that’s too geeky for even me to photograph them from there. Consequently I am restricted to photographing birds discretely with a long lens in neighbours’ gardens or on nearby rooftops.

The wood pigeons were easy to spot but I didn’t see any of the collared doves which have been around recently.


There seemed  to be more house sparrows this morning. It is very encouraging to see them as, although once quite abundant locally, they had disappeared in recent years.

DSC05698Male sparrow

DSC05681Female sparrow

I could hear goldfinches but didn’t see any today.

The dunnocks appeared again and instantly made for the car across the road to look at themselves in the wing mirrors or at their reflections in the car windows.

DSC05742Dunnock getting ready for the day ahead

On the same wall I also saw a robin.

DSC05596\DSC05604European robin

In a distant garden  there were a pair of blackbirds. I haven’t seen any locally recently but I have heard them. That’s the next thing – recording bird song!

DSC05715The best I could manage of this male blackbird

On the roof tops there were jackdaws, crows and magpies.

DSC05777Two jackdaws

Before going in I spotted a huge bee busy on a flowering red currant next to the back door.


I made a mental note to myself to learn the names of different types of bees. As Simon Barnes writes in the Sunday Times today:

” I can’t kiss you. I can’t buy you a pint. I can’t invite you to drop by and watch the football. All I can offer is the best thing in the world. Nature”. He goes on to say:
“It all starts with noticing. The second stage is seeking the name, and that will give a greater intimacy, as names do.”

But enough was enough and I disappeared indoors to find some chores to do.


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26th March 2020 – Self-isolating in Bristol

We have been self-isolating at home all week. We had a 7 am walk in our local park last Saturday but didn’t feel safe as people, especially runners, came very close to us (even though I often pretended to be looking for a bird in the bushes).  On Sunday we travelled to the Forest of Dean where we managed some exercise in isolation. However, reading what NHS workers had to say, and pleading with us to stay at home, we have remained at home. Neighbours and friends have helped with shopping. It has seemed very strange because it has always been in our nature to help others and now we find we can only help by staying at home.

To some extent I have enjoyed painting fences, building garden storage, cleaning the patio and so on as the weather has been wonderful for this time of the year. However, I have missed my camera (and nature) and today I self-indulged by taking photos from in and around our tiny urban garden. If I can’t go to nature, I’ll have to let nature come to me. I could see a herring gull, goldfinches, sparrows, dunnocks, wood pigeons and collared doves, jackdaws, crows, starlings, blackbirds, a robin (only heard),  blue tits and great tits (only heard), bees and a peacock butterfly.

Unfortunately, all of the birds (except the blackbird on the washing line) were outside of the garden and I hope that neighbours don’t think I am being a voyeur with a long lens. I hope my photos are the proof of it.



DSC04612-2Wood pigeon



DSC04706-2Male sparrow

DSC04737-2Male sparrow


DSC04779-2Female sparrow


DSC04790-2Female sparrow







DSC04946Female sparrow

DSC05047Female sparrow

DSC05115Collared doves



DSC05297Peacock butterfly


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