Follow in Nigel's Footsteps

Monday, 28 January 2013

Snow Bunting, Ferrybridge, Dorset

Dave Helliar got some great shots of the tame snow bunting, which has been at Ferrybridge for quite a few weeks now. At times it was less than a metre away and too close to photograph!

Snow bunting: Dave Helliar

Snow bunting: Dave Helliar

Snow bunting: Dave Helliar

Dave also caught up with some of the local winter goodies in Portland Harbour, including black-necked and slavonian grebes, velvet scoter, eider, great-northern diver and the resident Hooded Merganser at Raddipole in Weymouth:


Siberian Chiffchaff, Pudleigh sewage works - Sat. 26th Jan 2013

I stayed local on Saturday and found a nice tristis chiffchaff flitting about the hedges around the sewage works at Pudleigh along with 5 or 6 normal collybita type birds and at least 5 goldcrest. Siberian chiffs seem to be more frequent than firecrests now!

Andy Grinter managed to get a record shot of it.

Siberian chiffchaff: Andy Grinter

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Patch tick!

About time we had a waxwing in Chard, they seem to have flirted with us on all sides this year but none, until today. At least four birds present in Snowdon Park mid-morning but they soon disappeared. Two came back though and were showing well in the trees in the south-east corner of the park, feeding on a (very) small clump of berries before flying off high to the north-west. Still managed a short video and some photos (last two courtesy of Dave Helliar):

Waxwing, Chard: R.Harris
Waxwing, Chard: R.Harris
Waxwing, Chard: R.Harris
Waxwing, Chard: R.Harris
Waxwing, Chard: R.Harris

Waxwing, Chard: R.Harris


Waxwing, Chard: D. Helliar
Waxwing, Chard: D. Helliar


This was a patch tick for me too. What a difference a bit of cold weather makes.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Hawfinches...Norton Sub Hamdon...again...

I hope nobody's getting bored with Hawfinches because I just had to go back and see them again. It's such a  great opportunity to see these usually elusive birds at close range and with snow forecast for the weekend I made the decision to do something for an hour this morning before work so I don't go stir crazy over the coming days. Managed a video and a few snaps but the bird was backlit most of the time making it difficult to say the least:


Hawfinch: Roger Harris

Hawfinch: Roger Harris

Hawfinch: Roger Harris
If they hang around, I'll probably end up going back to see them again.

Bewicks and Smew on West Moor, 16th January

The flood waters are still pulling birds in, including these bewick's swans and a beautiful drake smew on West Moor as photographed by Dave Helliar:




Monday, 14 January 2013

Brambling, Greylake

Great photos of Brambling taken at Greylake RSPB reserve on 13th January by Dave Helliar:

Brambling: Dave Helliar

Brambling: Dave Helliar

Friday, 11 January 2013

Ring-necked Duck, Hawkridge Res

Record shot - they never come very close, preferring to stay in the deeper water in the middle.

Drake Ring-necked Duck: Andy Grinter

Andy Grinter

Hawfinches revisited...

With rubbish weather forecast for the weekend (and being a lovely sunny morning), I decided to go back to Norton Sub Hamdon to see if I could get more views of the Hawfinches still patrolling the churchyard there. There were at least 10 birds present while I was there, sitting in the beech trees along Rectory Lane and feeding in the Yew tree next to the church.

Hawfinch: R. Harris

Sadly not in sharp focus Hawfinch :-(

Hawfinch: R. Harris
Then, with the clock ticking, it was off to Bathpool to see the waxwing flock that's been feeding on mistletoe berries in an orchard for the last few days.

Waxwing: R Harris

Waxwing: R. Harris

Waxwing: R. Harris

Makes you wonder how many hawfinches are waiting to be found - certainly keeping an eye on my local churches!

Monday, 7 January 2013

More Glaucous pics...and a bit of vid too.

I love gulls and just couldn't resist bolting up to Highbridge today to see the Juv/1st winter Glaucous gull. What a confiding bird it is too! Possibly getting a little more wary of people (and dogs) I was the only one there looking at it and managed to get down to about 10ft before it would waddle off a few paces - it never got closer than that. Pity there are so many dogs around today chasing the birds but it is in the middle of town so has to be expected I guess.



1st winter Glaucous gull: R Harris

1st winter Glaucous gull: R Harris

1st winter Glaucous gull: R Harris

1st winter Glaucous gull: R Harris

Glaucous Gull, Highbridge

This 1st winter Glaucous gull appeared at Apex Park, Highbridge over the weekend and is incredibly tame!

1st winter Glaucous gull: A. Grinter
1st winter Glaucous gull: D. Helliar

Black redstart, Brean: D. Helliar

Lyme Regis, Saturday 5th January

4 Purple sandpipers, 2 Med gulls and rock pipits seen by Dave Helliar at Lyme Regis:

Purple sandpiper: D Helliar

Adult (L) and 2nd winter (R) Med gulls: D Helliar

Rock pipit: D Helliar

Rock pipit: D. Helliar

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Hawfinches, Norton Sub Hamdon

After a report of up to 8 birds yesterday, an early start by the Church in the village this morning produced a flock of 10 followed by a single bird on its own, quite amazing and easily the largest flock I've ever seen. They spent most of their time in the top of tall polars along the edge of the churchyard and Rectory Lane or flying around calling, fantastic birds. Short hand-held video clip below taken from about 100m away in poor light but you can see what they are...




And a couple of images too...

Hawfinch, Norton Sub Hamdon: R Harris

Hawfinch, Norton Sub Hamdon: R Harris

After this a visit to a traditional tree sparrow site produced good numbers but no photo ops and then to finish off the morning a stop at Cheddar reservoir produced 3 Goldeneye, small numbers of Pochard, a little owl and 3 Scaup quite close to the northern edge:


Scaup, Cheddar res: R. Harris


Scaup, Cheddar res

Not a bad morning's birding in Somerset!


Friday, 4 January 2013

Purple Sandpipers, Lyme Regis

Five purple sandpipers at the Cobb in Lyme Regis this afternoon.

Purple sandpiper: Andy Grinter

Rock pipit: Andy Grinter


Andy Grinter

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Devon Bonanza - January 1st 2013

What a great start to the year! A visit to Bowling Green Marsh found 350+ Avocets, good numbers of Black and bar-tailed godwits, a kingfisher, a water rail, the long-staying female long-tailed duck, at least 4 pintail and large numbers of wigeon, teal and shoveler.

Close by at Exeter services were four very obliging waxwings - my first of the winter (they've been very thin on the ground in south Somerset). Sorry for the shaky video - forgot to take my video tripod.


Waxwing, Exeter M5 services: R Harris



Next on to Milbury Lane in Exminster to see another long-staying 1st winter Rose-coloured starling:

1st winter Rose-coloured starling, Exminster: R Harris

1st winter Rose-coloured starling, Exminster: R Harris

1st winter Rose-coloured starling, Exminster: R Harris




Just outside Exminster at least three Cirl buntings showed well along with a mixed flock of chaffinch and 7+ brambling.

Not a bad morning's work!