Tuesday 25 August 2009

Essex – Abberton – 16th August 2009

A mild summer’s morning and its now time to see if bird movements have started. Being a reservoir Abberton is a typical place that these early signs might be detected and we were not disappointed. The fist thing of note was the large gatherings of particular species, c200 Coot, c100 Greylag Geese, c100 Canada Geese and c50 Little Egrets all pointing to the fact that these birds had left their breeding sites.
Then in the margins a few incomers; 2 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers, 5 Ruff, 3 Yellow Wagtails, Common Sandpiper and a Barnacle Goose (suspect I know!). Added to this there were Mallard, Shoveller and Pochard, all in eclipse and a flock of juvenile Goldfinch feeding off the turned over Hog Weed on the waters edge.
Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 230 Month bird count: 63

Thursday 13 August 2009

Suffolk – Sizewell – 11th August 2009

As mentioned in the previous account, things can get pretty quiet this time of year but I think one exception is the Tern. They all begin their long migrations and it is relatively easy to pick up most species en-route, often loitering around feeding or rest areas. One such area is the outfalls off shore from the Sizewell Power Station and this weekend we were not disappointed. Right on the shore line was a gathering of mixed aged birds, mainly consisting of Common Tern, then a number of juvenile Arctic Tern and finally two adult Black Terns still in summer plumage. These birds all continued to fish then return to the shore line for a good hour making long term identification study easy. Off shore there was the odd Sandwich Tern, the harder to identify Little Gull, as they were mixed with a larger population of juvenile Kittiwakes and adult Kittiwakes mainly roosted in the outfall towers. Interestingly, as the population of Herring and Black-headed Gulls grew the terns did move on, but reports the next day did show the same behaviour pattern.
Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 226 Month bird count: 42

Monday 10 August 2009

Out the Back – In the Garden – 2nd August 2009

With little opportunity to head out this weekend we looked no further than the back garden to see what was going on. As always this time of year one notices a remarkable drop in bird activities as fledglings no long need feeding the tired adult bird recover some body weight, often moult and change appearance heading to winter plumage. (Wildfowl appearances in the eclipse period can be particularly deceiving). So in the garden, no Tits at all, a juvenile Blackbird still hanging on to be fed by its parents who were becoming increasingly frustrated by its laziness, a Song Thrush still singing most evenings, Swifts still overhead (but not after the weekend) and sporadic feeder raiding parties of House Sparrows.
However all is not lost, because on the insect front things have gone ballistic and most impressive are the butterflies; Small and Large Whites, Tortoiseshells, Peacocks, Painted Ladies and Speckled Wood all seen in a very short space of time. All close to hand and captured on camera with the aide of a step ladder! (Makes note to cut buddleia back a bit further this autumn).
Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 222 Month bird count: 18

Monday 3 August 2009

Spain – Clot de Galvany (Fresh Water Marsh) – 7th July 2009

This is a full blown reserve sandwiched in to a fairly built up area, but quite large and well worth the time to explore. Although our main viewing was focused around the considerable pools there is a lot of open “bondo” and wooded areas to walk through and explore, in these we saw Wryneck, Black Wheatear, Spotless Starling, Southern Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike and Fan-tailed Warbler. Moving to the waters and right in front of us on the edge from one of the hides we had the most amazing views of Purple Gallinule along with Marbled Duck, White-headed Duck, Black-winged Stilt, Wood Sandpiper, Red-rumped Swallow and Great Reed Warbler.
Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 221 Month bird count: 68