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1-30 September 2012 blog

A Severn Rainbow above

Black Tern (next two images)
Over the Holden Tower scrape, a late record and probably the same bird that has resided at Clevedon well into October.

27 September 2012 Whilst doing my usual Thursday morning hide round/water levels check I popped back to the Zeiss Hide at 0900 to count the godwits, as it was a still and sunny morning I could clearly hear a wader calling that was familiar but not typical. Out of the sky dropped this juvenile Red-necked Phalarope. I have seen thousands of these lovely birds in Russia and Iceland plus a good number in the UK  including 5-6 at WWT Slimbridge but surprisingly this is a new one for what is probably best called a ‘personally located list’.

23 September 2012 Back at work and headed out around midday to see if a repeat performance of Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper was on the cards for all visitors to WWT Slimbridge. No sign of the Buff b..and we searched high and low but a reward in the form of three Pectoral Sandpipers made the drenching worthwhile. Other notable Severn birds were the Rock Pipit, quite early for this part of the estuary and the first juvenile Curlew Sandpipers of the season, by comparison..late. We just have not had the wind direction to drift them to us so far. Other notables were the major N-NE migration of Swallows and House Martins and large numbers of Meadow Pipits.

Pectoral Sandpipers MJMcGill

22 September 2012 Spent a lot of time working in the garden doing essential and tiring stuff, Meadow Pipits heading over all day.

21 September 2012 Had an hour at the 100 Acre and canal. I managed to scope the distant male Common Scoter as it sat off Hock Ditch on the top of the tide, it was very distant. Also starting to really note the last of the summer birds, a Yellow Wagtail, Hobby and Reed Warbler. How long before these birds dry up until next Spring? The four GCP Cranes were feeding in both the 50 and 100 Acres at midday.

Wheatear and WW2 Gun emplacement (Pill Box)

18 September 2012 After hearing a wader calling as it flew by Neil Smart and myself on 16th whilst doing the WeBS count I was convinced it was a Pec. I was fortunate to really get to know this call in Chukotka in 2011, a ‘pprreeett’ sound. Again the next day I heard it at high tide and saw it whizz across the Dumbles only to dissapear in long grass where the Curlew were roosting. This ruled out further investigation over high tide, I asked Mike Smart to check on his way out of Curlew ring reading and mentioned my suspicions of Pectoral Sand to all in the Holden Tower but it was not seen, despite checking scrapes after work I neved saw it either. Today I finally got it on the deck, I was in early to meet Mike Smart (for Curlew ring reading) where it was feeding with a Ruff in a pool near the Top New Piece, it flew around with a Snipe eventually settling in the Top New Piece where I could confirm the id. Sometimes they don’t want to give themselves up easily.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Top New Piece

16 September 2012 I was out on the tide for the monthly WeBS count when I saw a Buff-breasted Sandpiper arrive on the saltmarsh. It was rather nervous and flighty when Neil Smart arrived but dropped in very close to us until the rapid tide moved it and it dissapeared again. Despite searching I did not see it until my lunch break at 1335 when it flew high South past Middle Point calling and dropped into the spartina island far out on the estuary. Gladly it showed again the next day for a few and despite being very flighty on 18th and dissapearing miles upriver out of view…it returned to the Dumbles where it showed until 1430 before dissapearing again. At least a number of birders got to connect with it via escorted walks out to a ‘safe’ viewing spot.

A snatched Buff-breasted Sandpiper shot

14/15 September 2012 Birding interlude, cricket or was it a beer tour to Barry, S Wales. I did note 3 Yellow Wagtail 2 Tree Pipit and 4 Meadow Pipit over Barry Wanderers CC ground along with 11 Pied Wagtail on the pitch during tea. Can’t stop counting birds, shame it wasn’t runs!

13 September 2012

Wheatear

12 September 2012

Swallows
On wires every morning this week and lots of migration noted, in some cases hundreds heading south especially 16th September. Large numbers of Sand Martin were also around. In this image the juveniles can be compared with adults, the former having short tails and duller plumage.

11 September 2012

Spotted Crake
After finishing work for the day I popped into the Zeiss Hide on the way out, I noticed a crake at the back of the scrape, it looked very yellow billed so I took some hurried shots. The bright sunshine was blazing out much of the colour and markings. It snuck off into cover, did not come back out so I went off to pass on the info to staff and visitors. Heading back and staying with birders that Dave P had collected from South Lake we never saw it again and I left at 1810. I checked a few times over the next couple of days along with others but it had gone or remained hidden.

 

9 September 2012

Starlings catch a sunrise ride on a handy lookout post. I love stuff like this.

Two Garganey and a Mallard
I alway’s get a kick out of Garganey spotting whatever species they are with and have done every autumn since 1988.

8 September 2012 Loving the sunshine, true cricket weather but alas the season has finished. I shall ignore football for another week or two, allow Bristol Rovers to get organised. I had a day on my own catching up with sorting the garden out and other stuff. I set the feeding station up with a variety of feeds and sat back and watched. Coal Tit was the first this year and a Greenfinch and flock of Goldfinch are popping in. A flock of Linnets are feeding in the field next to the house so I hope I get a decent flock and maybe Merlin again this winter.

7 September 2012 Up bright and early, dropped the car off for MOT and was picked up by Neil Smart, we had gone on standby pending news of the Short-billed Dowitcher at Lodmoor RSPB in Weymouth. It was still present so we plumped for a day out in Dorset. Meeting up with Bob Radford on the way and changing to his car we were on site and birding this great habitat a couple of hours later. The SBD was not showing so we wandered about looking at other birds in the sunshine. Juvenile Sandwich Terns were following their parents and begging for fish but the adults just looked bothered in the heat. A Common Sandpiper, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, Common Whitethroat and Hobby were all distractions until the SBD was located in the marsh. We watched it for a while before getting the urge for Chips and Mushy Peas (fish for the other two and battered mushrooms for me) from the seafront. Scoffing down this exercise inducing snack we made changes to our plans when news of a Monarch Butterfly on Portland broke, we went straight to the Buddleia bush in Easton and enjoyed this huge butterfly in the sun.

Mediterranean Gull-Lodmoor

Sandwich Tern-panting in the heat

Small Tortoiseshell and Monarch

Monarch

Two Garganey among the waders

Redshank in the morning sun

Marsh Harrier-two were present at WWT Slimbridge on 6th.

Snipe-quite a difference in plumage tones in these two birds.

 

Blackcap mobbing a Grass Snake
A few bird species also had a look and scolded it.

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Martin

at 7:48 pm