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Garden lifer and further winter arrivals

Back in Whitminster I had the rest of the week off to catch up with multiple jobs at home, the weather was still great. Local walks with bouts of work in the garden being the daily routine. A Coal Tit signalled the winter as it called at dusk.

On the 25th October I was clearing out the shed when I heard a Crossbill calling, stepping out I saw three large finches flying off SSW over the house with another settled in the tall Christmas tree in the garden, it also flew off over the gardens calling. Fabulous to record this species at home.

Red Admiral in the garden

Red Admiral on the pegs, Whitminster, MJMcGill

 

On 26th  October a Jay was on the feeders when it, 5 Magpies, c30 Jackdaw and a Raven began mobbing something in the trees, a Cat was high up in the branches.

My last day off saw the weather turn for the worst but I was out and about before the rain arrived, c30 Fieldfare passed through Whitminster. Down on the Severn shore I spent itme with some other wintering arrivals…

Stonechat

Stonechat, Hock Ditch, MJMcGill 3

Water Pipit

 

Water Pipit, Severn Estuary, MJMcGill

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Cornwall visit 22-23 October 2018

I had taken annual leave to look after my daughter during half term whilst my wife was away. A month or so before I was asked if we could go on a road trip somewhere so I suggested a few coastal localities. Cornwall was picked as the favoured destination so off we went.

The forecast was good and the weather glorious as we made our way to the SW peninsula, first bird of note was a sleeping Spoonbill on Ryan’s Field, Hayle Estuary, we never stopped, it was seen from the A30 as we passed!

Seeing as we were in the area I stopped at Treeve Common, Trevescan for a quick search for the Grey Catbird that had been about, it hadn’t been showing so we headed off to the picturesque valley of Porthgwarra for a walk with the dogs. This sheltered spot was ideal as it was warm and sunny so we pottered about stopping to look at birds and insects. After a stop for food supplies we popped back to see if the Catbird was showing and it was, the bird was very obliging giving prolonged scope views atop the brambles before flying towards us and diving back into cover, having seen this skulking species in the USA, I thought it best to accept the great views we just had. It looked very healthy and bright eyed and is still present at the time of writing on 27 October.

Grey Catbird, Land's End, MJM Grey Catbird, Land's End, MJMcGill

We had a nose from Land’s End before visiting Cape Cornwall where Chough’s and Gannet were the highlights and then on to another of my favourite valleys at Nanjizal to watch the sunset. We decided to head for Lanyon Quoit (remnants of a burial chamber, the remaining stone skeleton) to see the moonrise but not before spotting a roadside Barn Owl flying ‘through the moon’ along the way, this bird was near Pendeen. A good end to the day, we had run out of time so we left for our main destination on the Lizard, we were staying in Mullion. A top notch dinner and comfy room rounded off a delightful autumn day.

Next day was again sunny so we explored the nearby Poldhu Cove (Cetti’s Warbler and Chiffchaff ), Lizard Point (six White Wagtails among the Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits and we saw Rock Pipits galore). We had a great walk looking through common birds for migrants and checking the pond at Housel Bay and then headed for the Croft Pascoe Pool near Goonhilly. Sadly the wind was blowing and very strong so our intended target- the rare Vagrant Emperor dragonfly never showed, plenty of Common Darters but not quite warm enough for the larger species. We had been checking the sheltered spots wherever we went for this species hoping to find our own as a mini invasion was on.

An afternoon at Gweek Seal Sanctuary was interesting as well as the seals we saw Little Egrets, Kingfisher, 4 Greenshank and 12 Redshank on the adjacent estuary creek. Another quick stop at Stithian’s Reservoir offered a number of wetlands species, I’d never seen the water levels so low here. This was our last stop of the day before heading home.

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Late Whinchat

I was surprised to see a late Whinchat at WWT Slimbridge on 21 October, the warm sunny weather certainly helped this and any other outbound migrants to linger. An even bigger surprise was seeing it collect a bur and fly off to another spot with it, I presume to feed.

Whinchat, Four Score, Slimbridge, MJM

 

 

 

 

 

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August 2018

A short break to Dorset with my wife and daughter allowed time at the marvellous Fontmell Down nature reserve DWT. I managed some great views of Silver-spotted Skippers as well as numerous other chalk downland butterflies. At least six were noted with three seen scrapping it out at one stage. 2/8/2018.

Silver-spotted Skipper, Fontmell Down, Dorset, MJMcGill (14)_edited-1

Blandford Forum

Little Egret taking time out from fishing near the weir.

Little Egret, Blandford Forum

 

Although the Dorset trip was curtailed by my illness, the home rest did deliver my first ever garden Garden Warbler, a singing juvenile checking out the blackberries.5/8/2018. The first singing bird noted locally (personally) was back in May after heavy rains, it was down at the Stroudwater canal.

Garden Warbler, in my Whitminster garden, MJMcGill Juvenile Garden Warbler, Whitminster, home, MJMcGill

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July 2018

July 2018

Dominated by the heatwave, it’s perhaps been better to look for insects than birds but I can ignore our avian friends.

23rd

Having only seen one in the spring at WWT Slimbridge, it was great to kick off autumn passage with this juvenile Wood Sandpiper while I went about my work.

Wood Sandpiper, juvenile, Top New Piece, MJMcGill (21)_edited-1

24th

We are heading for peak Green Sandpiper time around the scrapes at WWT Slimbridge

Green Sandpiper, Tack Piece, 001, MJMcGill

 

25th- My first Small Red-Eyed and Emerald Damselfies of 2018 were on the WWT Slimbridge reserve.

Small Red-eyed Damselfly, 50 Acre, 002, MJMcGill Small Red-eyed Damselfly, tail, 50 Acre, MJMcGill

 

Emerald, 50 Acre, MJMcGill

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