Back to the evening dog walk and much as usual with Pied Wagtail, Song Thrush, Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, Linnet and Goldfinch in the regular places. A small flock of House Sparrows were in the bushes at the bottom of the lane from Folly Farm. They seem to be wandering a bit lately.
As this evening looks as it may be the only decent evening of the week I decided to have a drive out. I narrowed my destination down to either Port Meadow Oxford for Wood Sandpiper or Coombe Hill near to Cheltenham for Purple Heron. I plumped for the latter as the Heron would be a UK tick. I stopped in Cricklade for supplies, battered sausage and chips. I arrived at the Coombe Hill car park at around Seven and headed off along the canal to the reserve. On arriving in the hide I was welcomed with the news that the Heron hadn’t been seen since half past three. Anyway there were plenty of other birds around. At one stage there were twenty-six Grey Herons in view along with five Little Egrets. Lapwing numbered at least thirty and around a dozen snipe were seen flying. A few Curlew were moving around and Swift, House and Sand Martins were numerous. I don’t suppose the Swifts will be around much longer. Although it was a shame the Heron didn’t show it was still a worthwhile visit. Final sighting of the evening was a Hedgehog whilst I was walking the dog.
A quiet day today with no birding, just a drive to my Mums in London. A few Red Kite as usual along the M4 and unusually for London not a sight or sound of a Parakeet, oh joy! A couple of Green Woodpeckers were seen during a visit to Hayes Cemetery. Back home a few of the local House Sparrow flock were enjoying a dust bath in the garden. Other than that some more moths were in and around the house. One was easy, another I think I am right but I haven’t yet hunted for the micro moth.Have to say I quite fancy making a moth trap.
Finally these are now the correct names for these three moths, many thanks to Steve Covey and Dave Brotheridge for their help. Still, I was close with one, miles off with another and didn’t even try for the third!
Today started with a drive to Marlborough for some shopping. Taking advantage of a bit of spare time I headed for the Column in Savernake to have a look for Purple Emperor butterflies. I didn’t see one but did have Speckled Wood and a Silver-washed Fritillary. There were several Nuthatch around, a Marsh Tit was seen and a Willow Warbler heard. I also found a patch of wild raspberries, very tasty. At lunchtime I had to go to Farnham and on the way back stopped off at Greenham Common, another first visit for the year. The hoped for Dartford Warbler wasn’t seen but several Stonechat, many Linnet and Meadow Pipit and half-a-dozen Lapwing went in the book. Also Meadow Brown and Small Heath Butterflies and a few Dragon/Damselflies. This is a fabulous site. It is amazing to
see how nature is reclaiming what was a very large, important and controversial American Air-force base. There are still many physical reminders of its former use. Well worth a visit. Final stop was at Chilton Foliat where as well as the regular waterbirds a Kingfisher was seen. Also seen were several Trout.
Something a bit different this evening, a Glow Worm survey at the Water Park. We met at nine o’clock for a briefing and went out a few minutes before ten. Working in pairs we were allocated a section of the old railway or canal to survey. Our section was the old railway between the Spine Road and South Cerney. With high hopes we set off but apart from a couple of false alarms caused by light reflecting on leaves not a Glow Worm was to be found. On returning to the car we met up with another couple of surveyors who had struck lucky on their section. Rod and I decided to walk along to where they had their sighting and we were rewarded with eight Glow Worms. A good result although it was a shame that we hadn’t found any ourselves. On returning to the centre we discovered that our sector was the only one that drew a blank. Heading home via the back roads, I was hoping for an Owl sighting, but again a blank. What was very noticeable though was the large amount of moths seen, in response to the improvement to the weather. On the subject of moths here is a picture of another one from the house today. I believe it is a Character Moth, maybe Hebrew but it doesn’t quite match any of the pictures I have found so far.
After a family dog walk around Coate this evening I walked back to Chiseldon. At Coate a couple of Green Woodpeckers were heard, sixteen Swans and seven Herons were counted and a Sedge Warbler was singing. A single Swift was seen overhead. On the walk home a couple of bats were seen and a Muntjac and Tawny Owl heard. On arriving home my regular Large Yellow Underwing moth was flying around on the decking.
Another lovely evening so it was off for a ride on the motorbike after work. Coincidentally there was special evening opening at Slimbridge to see the Long-billed Dowitcher. So combining the two seemed a good idea. I arrived in the area a little early so stopped in at Stonehouse to look for Dippers. They weren’t to be seen so it was on to Slimbridge. At half-six we headed for the South Hide where the Dowitcher was hanging out with the Black-tailed Godwit flock. The bird was soon found and all present had good views, unfortunately it managed to keep its back to us most of the time which was a shame as I was looking forward to seeing the full summer plumage which didn’t show as well as it could have. A few Redshanks and Oystercatchers were seen along with a Shelduck family and a Common Tern chick. After a nice ride home I took the dog out for a quick walk and saw Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Little Owl and a flock off around a hundred Starlings. Arriving home a small group of Swifts were flying over. So was it a twitch or a bike ride, being honest the former so I need to be careful as it is starting to becoming a habit.
After going out for a meal at the Harvester it was off for a family walk at Barbury Castle. Plenty of activity with Meadow Pipit (including one carrying food) and Linnet the most numerous species, also a few Corn Buntings and a couple of Yellowhammers. Many butterflies were on the wing with Ringlet the most numerous and several Marbled White and Meadow Brown also seen. There were large numbers (several dozen) of Soldier Beetles around. Grey Partridge was heard, and as we were leaving another was seen. Always a good bird to see. A couple of roadside Buzzards were noted on the drive home
Another milestone reached as per the title. So a big thank you to all of you who are following my waffling.
A lovely evening for a walk so I took the dog onto the Downs near the Ogbournes. A good choice of location with the expected Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer and Linnet heard and seen. A Barn Owl flew over the path in front of me, a Raven was calling in the distance and five Quail were heard. I got to within a few feet of one of them but as normal it was not seen. A solitary Meadow Brown was on the wing and one Swift and two Swallows flew over. Final sighting was of a young Roe Deer.
The Kingfishers at Coate have bred successfully and are showing well so an early morning visit was planned. I arrived at around half-seven to find another birder already there and a Kingfisher perched in front of the hide. Great views were had and also later when the bird returned twice more. Also of interest weresightings of several large Carp that were swimming around in front of the hide. Two family groups of Moorhen were seen from the hide and apart from a single Common Tern very little else. A couple of Meadow Brown and three or four Ringlets were seen in the meadow.