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Otmoor
21th August


We had an extra night at our hotel to save us having to rush back on Sunday night. So on the way home we decided to pop into RSPB Otmoor to see what was about. We didn’t expect to see any Turtle Doves as we guessed they would have left. We were right! No sign of any! Only Collared Doves to be seen. We did see a lovely Bullfinch as we pulled into the carpark, but it didn’t stay for a photo. It was very quiet, not even a Hobby, but lots of Red Kites were flying around. We went into the hide and there was a Red Kite perched on a distant tree. We made our way to the first viewing screen and we could hear Common Cranes calling. We just managed to see a couple flying in the distance. If they had waited a couple of minutes we would have had a better view of them from the viewing screen. Still, nice to see. There was a Juvenile Reed Warbler foraging along the reeds in front of the screen. We also saw a few Common Lizards basking on the log, outside the hide. Afterwards we made our way to car park and started our journey home.



Reed Warbler [Juvenile]

Collared Dove [Adult]

Common Lizard [Juvenile]

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21-6-17

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Arundel WWT 13th August 2017

We went to Arundel WWT in West Sussex with the Dursley Birdwatching Group. One thing that Arundel WWT is fameous for is it's Icelandic exhibit. They had Common Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks & Harlequin Ducks in captivity. They have also had a boat safari & we went on the first one of the day before it got busy. Sadly we didn't see any Water Voles, but there were quite a few Mallards in eclipse plumage and Female Tufted Ducks. A Common Buzzard was perched high in one of the trees. After arriving back at the jetty, we continued exploring the rest of the reserve. A Canada Goose was grazing in the grounds. We went to Ramsar Hide, where we saw a Grey Heron & Little Egret. As the tractor was cutting the grass on the other side, there nothing much else & the Lapwing Hide was pretty much the same. A couple of Long-tailed Tits were flitting through. In the afternoon, we headed to the Woodland Hide. The feeders were full, but not many birds using them. There was Chaffinches, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Moorhen & Mallards. We didn't see any Water Voles in the afternoon either, but some rafts on the water were full of their droppings. Which proves they've been about. A Red Admiral was nectaring on the Buddliea. In the Sand Martin Hide, a Little Egret was foraging in front of the hide & a Grey Heron was at the back of the lake. We saw two Kingfishers chasing each other off the perch, due to the windows being locked so that people don't disturb the Sand Martins, I couldn't get a very good picture of the Kingfisher perched. We went back to the Iclandic exhibit for the 2:00 feed. The Male Harlequin Duck was asleep on the rock, while the 2 Females were swimming around. It was good to see them swimming under the water, as it was very clear. After the Sea Ducks had their feed, we headed back to the Sand Martin Hide, where the Kingfisher was still perched in the same place. On the boardwalk, I was watching some Common Wasps chomping some wood to make paper for their nest. Finally back near the jetty, we saw a couple of Roach showing quite well. Afterwards we headed back on the minibus, ready to head back home. A very nice day and the weather was perfect!

Slimbridge WWT
14th August

We went to Slimbridge WWT to see the Wood Sandpiper, that had been present for a few days. In the Rushy Pen, we saw a Juvenile Grey Wagtail, a couple of Little Ringed Plovers & a few Green Sandpipers. We went down to Robbie Garnett Hide, which looks toward the Tack Piece. A few Black-tailed Godwits, Green Sandpipers & a Common Sandpiper were showing well. The Wood Sandpiper was feeding in the small channel. We saw 6 Ruff on South Lake & a flock of Black-tailed Godwits. A Tufted with a brood of 2 Ducklings. Later on, the Juvenile Wood Sandpiper came slightly closer to the hide at Robbie Garnett. A very pleasant couple of hours!


Rutland Water Bird Fair 18th-20th August 2017

Friday 18th August 2017

On the first day of the Rutland Bird Fair we explored around some of the marquees. We saw Stephen Moss & David Lindo walking around and I asked them to sign my programme. We went to the Simon King marquee & I also asked Simon to sign my programme. Later on we went to his talk about ‘Wild Light - through the lens of Simon King’. In the evening we went to some of the hides on the Egleton reserve. There were a few wildfowl to be seen from Sandpiper Hide, also Little Egret & Green Sandpipers. We went over to the Shoveler Hide, which is normally good for Waders, but not this time. Only a couple of Little Grebes were present in front of the hide. It was very comical watching them walk on land. Afterwards we headed to Oakham for some tea, before heading back to our hotel.

Saturday 19th August


The second day of the Rutland Bird Fair, we took another look around the stalls in the marquees. There are so many to look at you need a couple of days! When we went to the the Events Marquee for the 11:30 talk, there were lots of people for the Chris Packham talk about Malta & Cyprus and we couldn’t get in. It was so busy by the entrance, that we couldn’t even see inside what was going on. We went to see Chris Packham at the Canon Stand later at 12:00 for the talk about his photography. It was even busy at that one as well! We went to Marquee 3 to see Mike Dilger doing the signing at 1:00. Later on we went back at 3:00 to see Nick Baker. Afterwards we made our back to the Events Marquee for ‘The Bird Photographer of the Year’ awards by Chris Packham. We caught the end of ‘Bird Brain of Britain’ which was chaired by Stephen Moss. The winner that had the most points was David Lindo. Then Chris Packham talked through some of the best photos that won the 2016 year awards. At the end of the day we popped to Lyndon Nature Reserve to see the Ospreys. A few Tree Sparrows were perched in hedge by the Visitor Centre. The first hide we went to was Deep Water. A family of Great Crested Grebes swam past. We then went to the Shallow Water Hide, where we had good views of the Male Osprey and 2 Juveniles. They did a couple of fly pasts from the post, nest & the tree. Other birds seen were Lapwings, Cormorants, Common Terns, Great White Egret & Stock Dove. On our way back to the car park, we had an unexpected sighting of a Barn Owl hunting in the late evening. What a wonderful way to end the day!

Sunday 20th August 2017

 

Our final day of the Rutland Bird Fair began with a final ook in the marquees and also buy a few things. We made our way to the Events Marquee, ready for the first talk of the day that we wanted to hear. We caught the end of Steve Backshall’s talk about ‘Adventures with Wildlife around the World’. It was packed out as before, but I could just see from the doorway. We went in to next talk, which was called ’Tales of a Ludicrous Bird Gardener’ by Bill Oddie. Afterwards we went to Marquee 3, where he was doing the book signing at 1:00. He was a bit late, having been interviewed by Rutland Radio. He looked very tired. After the Simon King talk, we went to see what the ’Tales of Beatrix Potter’ was about. It was very funny, like a pantomime. It featured Hugh Warwick, Rob Lambert, Nick Baker, Stephen Moss, Lucy McRobert, Bill Oddie, Mike Dilger & Dominic Couzens plus few other members of the cast. After that show, the Bird Fair drew to a close for another year. We again headed off to look around some of the hides, starting in the Shoveler Hide. The Black Tern was still present flying over the Lagoon 3, although very distant. After a tip of about a Red-crested Pochard in front of the Smew Hide, we headed to see if it was still there. Even though it was not in breeding plumage, this Male Red-crested Pochard was a lovely bird to see and a very obliging individual. There was also a Hybrid Duck present at the back as well. Not really sure what it was.We then made our way back to the car park. We were amazed to see how empty all the marquees were already! It was hard to believe how busy they had been a few hours ago. So that was it for another year!


  


Little Grebe [Juvenile]

Little Grebe [Summer & Juvenile]

Simon King Talk

Small Tortoiseshell

Hen Harrier Weekend in Dorset 5th-7th August

05.08.17
We headed down to Arne RSPB for Hen Harrier Event . After arriving in the late afternoon, we explored around the reserve as it was going to busy on the Sunday. Not long after leaving the car park, we saw some vlounteers from the local Bat Group ringing some Natterer's Bats. As Bats are nocturnal, it was a privilege to see one in the daytime, being ringed. A few Butterflies were still on the wing. These included Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers & Red Admirals. By the Dragonfly Pond, we saw one Raft Spider but no Wasp Spiders. Sadly one Damselfly had fellen as a prey item for this Juvenile Spider. A few Dragonflies were about including a Female Keeled Skimmer, which I wrongly mistook for a Male Black Darter. We walked up to Coombe Heath. We saw a distant Osprey & 6 Spoonbills from the viewpoint. Near the hide, me & Dad saw a Female Sand Lizard basking along the wall. Back near the car park, we saw a Female Migrant Hawker & a Juvenile Long-tailed Tit. In the evening, we went over to Stoborough Heath. We saw a few Sika Deer & Shetland Ponies. We looked at Wader Scrape viewing screen, but it was dried up. Even the hide was completely overgrown. We also explored around Middlebere. We saw a Green Woodpecker briefly. From the Avocet Hide, we had a slightly better view of the Spoonbills feeding in the creek. After a while, they went to sleep. On our way back to the car, we saw a Juvenile Robin foraging on the path. I heard a Dartford Warbler and Mum had a quick glimpse of it as it disappeared into the gorse. They seem to keep themselves hidden this time of year.  Afterwards we made our to the B&B near Wareham. We had never been to this one before and it was lovely! The lady said the Sika Deer sometimes come to the gate at the bottom of the garden and she keeps apples up there to feed them with.

06.08.17
We woke up & saw Sika Deer by the gate in the garden of our B&B, waiting to be fed. We quickly got dressed and went out through the patio doors of our room as we were on the ground floor. These were mainly Hinds with newborn Fawns & older Fawns from last year. There was a bit of bonding between the Mother & the Fawn. It was very lovely to have a close ecounter with wild animals like Sika Deer. Mum even stroked one of them! We headed back to Arne RSPB for Hen Harrier Day. The event was to start at 11:00, so we had a bit of time to walk down towards Shipstal. A few Gatekeepers were present in the woodland & also Speckled Wood. After a while Mum decided to walk back towards the centre, while Me & Dad continued our walk round. We saw a Grayling Butterfly on the heather. We were looking for Reptiles around the viewpoint, when all of a sudden a Nightjar flew up from cover and went down. We got back in time for the first talk which was by the Dorset Police Rural Crime Team. At 12:00 Chris Packham was doing the book signing by the Visitor Centre. As I already had his book 'Fingers in the Sparkle Jar', we asked him for a photo. The next talk was by Gill Lewis, about her book called 'Skydancer.' The final talk was by Chris Corrigan & Chris Packham about the Hen Harriers disappearing from our landscape & how to stop Raptor persecution. It was also about trying to reverse the decline in the Hen Harrier population & getting more support. After the event, we headed to Higher Hyde, to see if we can find any Reptiles. We had an explore around, but we only saw a Male Gatekeeper & a Male Keeled Skimmer. We went back to Arne RSPB in the evening & walked down to the Raptor Hide. We saw a Male Southern Hawker perched near the car park. When we got there, it was nothing more than a viewing screen. It said on the sign, that the old hide was getting a bit unsafe, so the decision was made to demolish it. It was nearly 50 years old! The only bird we saw there was a Grey Heron feeding on an Eel. Mum couldn’t look. She’s a bit squimish like that! On the way back to the car park, I saw & photographed a Longhorn Calf on the edge of the woodland. A Roe Deer Doe was seen briefly in a field near Stoborough, after it was distrubed by the Cattle bellowing. The Sika Deer revisited the B&B garden in the late evening, so we were able to feed them more apples!

07.08.17

Our final day in our B&B near Wareham & once again the Sika Deer paid us a last visit to the garden. Our first port of call was Tadnoll Nature Reserve near Wareham. There was nothing much in the way of wildlife, but it's always nice to explore a new place. We continued down to Weymouth and to Lodmoor RSPB. Quite a few Black-headed Gulls, Lapwings, Black-tailed Godwits and Common Sandpiper. Sadly no Terns this time. We then headed to Radipole Lake RSPB. The first birds I saw was a Tufted Duck with a brood of 4 Ducklings & Feral Pigeons. A few Mallards were in their Eclipse Plumage. We walked down towards the North Hide, but the path brought us to the new viewing screen. The new view point overlooks the North Hide. The reason why we couldn't gain access to North Hide, was because the old boardwalk had got damaged & it would be expensive to replace it, so the old hide is now condemned. While Mum headed back to the car park, me & Dad headed back via the Buddliea Loop. We saw Speckled Wood & Common Sandpiper. I spotted some Hoverflies nectaring on some flowers. This species is called Volucella zonaria. Our final port of call was at Blandford Forum. We didn't expect to see any Otters, but it was just nice to see what it was like. We did see Little Egret, Red Admirals, Black-headed Gulls, Banded Demoiselle & Mute Swans. We then made our home. A great weekend and the weather couldn’t have been better!

Chris Packham Talk

Bill Oddie Book Signing

Nick Baker  Book Signing

Great Crested Grebe [Juvenile]

Egyptian Goose [Adult]

Common Tern [Summer]

Lapwing [Adult]

Common Tern [Summer]

Osprey [Juvenile]

Barn Owl [Adult]

Barn Owl [Adult]

Black-headed Gull & Common Tern

Ospreys

Red-crested Pochard [Eclipse Male]

Cetti’s Warbler

Bill Oddie Talk

Meeting Bill Oddie

Hybrid Duck

Great Crested Grebe [Juvenile & Summer]

Ruddy Darter [Male]

Red Kite [Adult]

Common Lizard [Adult]

Wood Sandpiper [Juvenile]

Grey Wagtail [Juvenile]

Black-tailed Godwit [Female]

Ruff [Adult]

Grey Heron [Adult]

Moorhen [Chick]

Long-tailed Duck [Captive Female]

Common Scoter [Captive Male]

Common Scoter [Captive Female]

Harlequin Duck [Captive Male in eclipse]

Harlequin Duck [Captive Female]

Long-tailed Tit [Adult]

Great Tit [Adult]

Water Vole Droppings

Grey Heron [Adult]

Little Egret [Juvenile]

Raft Spider [Juvenile]

Keeled Skimmer [Female]

Natterer’s Bat

Keeled Skimmer [Female]

Keeled Skimmer [Female]

Sika Deer [Pair]

Long-tailed Tit [Juvenile]

Shetland Pony

Robin [Juvenile]

Sand Lizard [Female]

Migrant Hawker [Female]

Spoonbill [Flock]

Sika Deer [Fawn]

Sika Deer

Speckled Wood

Grayling

Gatekeeper [Male]

Southern Hawker [Male]

Roe Deer [Female]

Sika Deer [Female]

Sika Deer [Female]

Chris Packham Talk

Meeting Chris Packham

Lapwing [Adult]

Black-tailed Godwit [Female]

Common Sandpiper

Tufted Duck [Family]

Tufted Duckling

Ringed Plover [Summer]

Volucella zonaria

Red Admiral

Banded Demoiselle [Male]

Mute Swan [Adult]

Volucella zonaria

Little Egret

©  Christopher Teague 2017