Friday, 30 July 2010

A better day!

Decided that the best time to see these birds at Attenborough is probably in the morning, so i got back on my bike at 7.30am and got to attenborough about 8.30. I went straight to the tower hide and ended up spending about an hour and a half in there.

Just as i was getting to the hide, i heard the unmistakeable trill off a Grasshopper Warbler, so i cupped my ears trying to locate the bird, but as they are such good 'ventriloquists' it was difficult, but then i spotted a couple of blokes down the path with a scope and ventured over. I was rewarded with excellent (45x) views of the 'gropper' in full song, brilliant!

Back to the hide and i wanted to get some sights of some of the interesting birds which have been about. Going up the steps i saw an interesting gull on top of the dead tree in the middle of the tween pond scrape, so in the hide i got my scope out and laid eyes on my first UK sighting of a Yellow legged gull! One down!

the hide soon filled up and i was restricted to one side looking over the wheatear field, while everyone else was pointing out interesting birds that i couldn't get views of the other side! I bided my time though, and in the meantime got excellent views of a couple of kestrels, both females, perhaps juveniles. Also of note were loads of Lapwing (as is the norm at the moment!), several whitethroat still active amongst the brambles, and the gropper was still going crazy.

Once a space opened up the other side, i moved across and scanned the reedbed and clifton pond. There were a good number of Little Egrets to be seen, 6 being the most in view at one time. A female Sparrowhawk sped past the hide with prey in talons, spooking a few Lapwing. I also got a distant view of my first Green Sandpiper, and one came in closer later on. Another nicee surprise was a solitary Wigeon which was milling about near the main island, the first of the season! A common sandpiper was also seen.

Much better today then! I wish i could have stayed a bit longer as there was meant to be a weather system moving in which could have brought in a few migrants, but i guess i can go back any time really!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Wasn't to be...

Well just got back from attenborough and didnt see much! the hides were just being shut when i got there.... 4pm seems early in the summer.

I saw 2 common sandpipers, which i wasnt sure of as i knew there were greens about, but i think in all honesty it was commons, as they were quite light in colour... not sure though!!! One little egret was present tonight, a kingfisher was seen near the trent and there were around 200 lapwings about. As for the yellow-legged gull... not sure i took a picture and i'll get some second opinions but its probably just a lesser black backed!

A couple of 'dips'

After getting home after whisby, i checked the notts birdwatchers website and came across a few interesting sightings...

- this i had to see, but alas no money til friday so this would have to wait, so instead i looked closer to home

- the first two i've never seen and i dipped on seeing a dunlin in may this year at the same site, the redshank i've only ever seen abroad

So the next morning i hopped on my bike and made my way to attenborough, however it wasn't to be, and none of the aforementioned birds were there. it wasn't a fruitless trip though, as i got excellent views of 2 Little Egrets, over 200 Lapwing, a reeling grasshopper warbler, and a male kestrel which was causing some ID problems in the hide due to its positioning and the wind ruffling up its feathers. I was disappointed not to see the waders, but it was nice to go.

With wages in my pocket, and the Great White Egret having been spotted again on thursday, i got up early friday morning and got a train to worksop, from where i had a gruelling bikeride to clumber park to see this bird. I had trouble deciding which bridge was the 'ornamental' one which was in the description of the birds location, and ended up circling the entire lake before realising that it was in fact Clumber Bridge, which is where i'd started anyway, as there were a group looking down telescopes for the bird. Unfortunately, despite looking for nearly two hours, the closest i got to a Great White Egret was a Grey heron.... Typical.

It was nice to visit the park though and i'll be returning soon as its a hotspot for birds, and on this trip i did see some nice species, such as Yellowhammers, Treecreepers, Nuthatch, Linnet, Kestrel, buzzard and on the farmland at the far end of the park were many birds in the hedgerows, mostly made up of greenfinch, goldfinch, house sparrow and linnet, with a few yellowhammers singing away too. The reedbeds in the 'wetland' was home to many Reed warblers and Buntings too.

Now as i write i'm about to go to attenborough again, as i've seen that the following birds are present

- Little ringed plover
-little egret
-black tailed godwit
-common sandpiper

and more interestingly (for me)

lets hope i see at least one!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Mid July Update

Not really done a lot of birding lately, as its quieter at the moment, so i've been looking at butterflies and dragonflies a bit more. However the birding i have done has been pretty good.

I've been fishing a bit which has allowed me to see a fair bit of wildlife, and while i was at the trent last week, i saw 3 Kingfishers going up and down the river and perching in some overhanging branches on the far bank. There was also a Common Sandpiper that kept popping up every now and again. Black Headed gulls and Common Terns were also in abundance.

On Sunday the 18th i had the chance to go to a developing RSPB reserve called Langford Lowfields, about 6 miles out of newark, so i hopped on the train with my bike and went down. The reserve isn't open to the public for another 7 years (!) and the RSPB have been managing it since 1998, so the only way to go round is via a guided walk with the warden. The theme of the walk revolved around the Marsh Harriers which have been breeding there this year (a first for nottinghamshire), and we got incredible views of these handsome raptors, both male and female out hunting and flying together over the extensive reedbeds. We didn't get to see a food-pass though, which was a little disappointing but they nearly did it!
One of the developments at Langford Lowfields
Along with the harriers, i also got another 2 lifers, 3 Hobby, one of which gave excellent views as it was hunting near the marsh harriers, and a small group of juvenile Yellow Wagtails which were flitting about over one of the waterways. To top it off we also saw a Buzzard, heard a turtle dove and had sightings of 3 Oystercatcher and a Little Egret (3rd time i've seen them now this year!!!) In all it was a great day and it will be great to see the reserve when it opens, as it is still a working quarry for the most part, but eventually the RSPB will take over the whole place and it will form the largest reedbed habitat in the midlands, i look forward to it very much and feel lucky to have seen it in its early stages of development.
The Marsh Harrier Reedbed

I visited some friends in lincoln on tuesday night and the next day i hopped over to Whisby Nature Park, a Wildlife Trust reserve on the outskirts of lincoln, as i've wanted to visit for a while. It was largely quiet across most of the reserve, away from the main lakes, and aside from a few warblers (Reed, Willow, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Blackcap) there wasn;t much birdlife. However in the main lakes the tern and gull colonies were making themselves heard, and i got some quality views of both juvenile Common terns and Black Headed Gulls.
Also seen were around 40 Lapwing flying over the 'Grebe Lake' and coming to land amongst the terns, and i saw 2 Oystercatcher on the reserve too. There were a lot of butterflies about, but more on that next post :)

Monday, 12 July 2010

New bike = More birds!!!

Picked up a new bike last monday, and have been out on it nearly every day since. Its great as i need not spend money getting to all my patches now on the bus and can also travel a little further afield.

Wildflower meadow at Branshill Moor

For example on tuesday i biked down to Clifton, but managed to explore other areas of the patch, such as the farmland to the south of the village. This was rewarded by my first ever UK sightings of Corn Buntings, which are very rare in nottinghamshire and barton lane is one of the best areas to see these birds. It was lovely to hear them again after last hearing them in southern spain in 2009. I also saw my first Grey Partridges of 2010, flushing around 10 of them from the corn in one of the fields.
Comma Butterfly at Clifton Woods

I also spent a little bit of time in my usual patch at clifton, seeing several Buzzards, the Red Tailed Hawk over Branshill Wood, and Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings at holme pit, along with the family of Swans which were still going strong.

On wednesday i biked down the beeston canal to Attenborough, after hearing reports of a Little Egret that had taken up residence there. I didn't see the bird until i was leaving, as it was feeding in the reeds on Clifton Pond, but i got good views of this rare visitor to notts. I also saw a Black-tailed Godwit in the same area, and got some cracking views of it, the first i've seen since last october when a bird was resident in the wet marsh at the same reserve. Also saw a couple of Oystercatchers over beeston lock.
Thursday i biked to holme pierrepont, just for the ride really, but did manage to get a few shots of the Greylags which were feeding with their young there. There were also plenty of Swallows, Blackcaps and Common Terns about, and i briefly saw a Buzzard too.

And heres a Wasp drinking from my parents bird bath, presumably to help make a nest

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Arnot hill park

Had a quick visit to arnot hill park the other day, while having a bit of a day out with me mate. The pond was busy with waterfowl, and i saw a few dowdy-looking Red Crested Pochards, lots of coots and moorhens, lots of tufted duck with little cute ducklings, and a surprise sighting of an eclipse-plumaged Shoveler.
Juvenile Coot

Eclipse-plumage Shoveler Male

Tufted Duck(ling)

New Camera!

I've just finished uni with a 2.2 in Wildlife Conservation, and my lovely parents have given me a new camera!! Its a Canon 40d, heaps better than my old one, which has served me well indeed. I took it out for a spin in the farmland around their house, where i saw Yellowhammers, Whitethroats and Linnets, among other things. Here's a few photos i managed to get.

Common tern, Attenborough

I shared with two policemen cracking views of a Common Tern fishing only metres away from the bridge we were on when i was at Attenborough on the 25th of June. I didn't really get the photo i was aiming for, but it was good practice nonetheless, not to mention a great sight. The policemen enjoyed it too!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

June Photos

Grey Heron, Attenborough
Collared Dove, Rainham Marshes

Juvenile Pied Wagtail, Rainham Marshes

Marsh Frog, Rainham Marshes

Herring Gull, Camden Lock

Juvenile Blue Tit, Colwick Park

Chaffinch, Colwick Park

Juvenile Robin, Colwick Park

Moorhen Juveniles, Colwick Park

Great Crested Grebe, Colwick Park

Stock Dove, Attenborough

Woodpigeon in my garden

Swan and cygnets, Holme Pit

Monday, 5 July 2010

JUNE update

So i've lost a lot of notes, not been very organised and now i wish i had been, as i can't properly see what i've observed over june. Oh well, i'll just have to be more vigilant in july!

The ticklist hasn't really increased ever so much, but this is to be expected at this time of year, however it has increased by 5 species, some of which i was very happy to see.
  • Linnet - i've seen a few of these now, always paired up in farmland habitat! Typical! Nice too as its the first time i've seen them in the UK
  • Red-legged partridge - seen at clifton on the weir field and down south near bristol. UK firsts too
  • Little egret - Loads of these white herons at RSPB rainham marshes in essex - very happy to see these, another UK first, but special to me as i've wanted to see one for ages
  • Ring necked parakeet - A lifer for me, quite odd to see these in britain, but they seem very happy and established in the trees at hampstead heath, where i saw them
  • Red Tailed Hawk - this vagrant bird has been at clifton for ages but has always eluded me, i have finally seen it now, but it was while i was at attenborough nature reserve where i scoped it from the tower hide.

So now the list stands at 113 species! not too bad, although 9 are vagrants/escapees.

Can't quite remember much about what else i saw this month, but i went to clifton and attenborough a few times, as well as colwick park. I've gone out on a lot of 'non-birding' walks this month, hence all the invertebrate photos, but i've been out looking at flowers too. i also had a good couple of days birding in london and rainham marshes.

Most of the trips out have been dominated by sightings of juvenile birds, especially swans geese and ducks, but i have also seen plenty of other birds. here's some highlights

  • Kingfisher at colwick park
  • 4 kingfishers, lots of common tern, 49 lapwing and over 100 sand martins at attenborough
  • Lots of warblers, great spotted woodpecker, red legged partridge and lots of lapwings and reed buntings at clifton
  • Reed buntings, herons and egrets at rainham marshes (as well as marsh frogs and lizards!)
  • Yellowhammers, Linnets, House Martins, Swallows, a Skylark and a Buzzard on the farmland near my parents house

I also compiled a list of birds that i saw in the london city area (including hampstead heath) and it numbered around 40 species, a nice list for the capital - highlights included:

  • House sparrows (due to their decline in the city)
  • Whitethroat
  • Pied wagtail
  • Parakeets
  • Swifts
  • Great spotted woodpecker

I'll post some pics in the next post.... probably tomorrow now!!! This blogging business is harder than i thought!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

A creepy crawly update

Haven't updated in ages (again!), as i've been rather busy, but have also managed to get out and take plenty of photos. i'll do a june birds update soon (if i can find all my field notes), but in the meantime i'll just share some of the invertebrate life that i've encountered over the past month.

Garden Chafer - there were hundreds of these at Kings Meadow, Notts, getting frisky and foamy!
Burnet Moth Caterpillar
Scorpion Fly
Peacock Caterpillar
Carpet Moth sp.
Wasp Beetle
Red-headed Cardinal Beetle
Wolf Spider sp. with egg sac
Greenbottle Fly
Some sort of 'tephritid' fly
Common Blue Butterfly on Southern Marsh Orchid
An 'empidid' fly

Mating Damselflies

Hoverfly sp.