Monthly Archives: June 2015

Another Evening in the Forest

Nine O’clock found me parking the car at Savernake for another attempt to find Nightjar. I had decided to try a different area which involved walking, no lazy birding from the car this time. Heading along the track Whitethroat was heard and Yellowhammer heard and seen. A Barn Owl flew across ahead of me. A good omen maybe? Reaching my chosen area I settled down to see what would appear. The first sighting was unexpected with Martin Adlam appearing around the corner, complete with dog, camera and binoculars. It was nice to have some company, the more eyes and ears the better. Next sighting was a Hare that sat in the middle of track watching us. Then two or three young Tawny Owls started to call. No Woodcock were seen or heard but there were plenty of moths around. We both had a brief glimpse of a bird in the distance and Martin who had the best view was sure that it was a Nightjar. As there was no further sighting we decided to change location. At just gone ten the first of several large bats appeared and a few minutes later after some calls from a nearby pair of Tawny Owls a Nightjar started to Churr. Over the next half an hour it was heard at least three times but it didn’t show again. It was now almost eleven so we decided to head back to the cars. On the way Martin found a single Glow Worm. The other highlight was an astronomical one, a close conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in the western sky.

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An Afternoon on the Plain

This afternoon, despite the threat of heavy showers I decided to go to Salisbury Plain for a couple of hours. On arrival I parked at area with a commanding view over the edge of the Plain to eat my lunch. From here I saw three Stone Curlews, Red Kite and Buzzard. I then headed onto the tracks in the Everleigh area. There were plenty of Skylarks, Linnets, Yellowhammers and Corn Buntings around. A couple of Partridges wandered out on the track ahead of me, a quick stop and a look with the bins identified them as Greys and I managed a quick photo before they disappeared off into the grass. Further on a pair of Stonechats were on some fence-posts. I was slowly driving along hoping for Whinchat, it can be difficult on your own here as you need to watch the track well as there a lot of large dips that aren’t good for the car. No Whinchat but I heard a Quail calling. I stopped and got out to listen. Realising it wasn’t far from the track I started to stalk it. I got very close, probably within a few feet but it kept on moving through the long grass so I had no chance of seeing it. The bonus here were several species of butterfly and a few moths along with lots of wildflowers. A Cuckoo was calling in the distance and a Lapwing flew over. Giving up the Quail hunt I drove a few more tracks but didn’t see anything new before setting off for home.

An Evening in Savernake

Yesterday evening my wife and I took the dog for a late walk in Savernake Forest. We arrived at around twenty past nine and were greeted by at least three singing Song Thrushes. Robins, Wrens and Blackbird were also heard. At around a quarter to ten we had the first of six passes by Woodcock. Obviously it wasn’t possible to tell how many different birds we saw. Several Tawny Owls were calling and despite good numbers of moths about only one bat was seen. With no Nightjars heard we left at just gone half-ten. Taking a longer route home I was hoping for a Barn Owl or two but what we got was a post sitting Little Owl which was a nice end to the evening.

Down by the River

After going to Marlborough with my daughter we went down to the Kennet at Axford to eat our lunch. Greeted by a calling Green Woodpecker and a flyby Mistle Thrush. Along the river were House Martins, Blackcap and Reed Warbler, a Sparrowhawk was circling overhead. Also here was a Beautiful Demoiselle, my first on the Kennet and also first for the year. On our way home was stopped at a bridge a little way downstream and I was pleased to hear a Gropper singing away. Not expected at two o’clock on a warm sunny afternoon.

Spirit Time

This evening I had the choice of an early evening trip to Fairford for the arrival of two B2 Stealth Bombers from Whiteman AFB in Missouri or a late evening visit to Savernake for another go at Nightjar . Fairford won and while waiting for the main event there were plenty of birds to watch.  Yellowhammers, Corn Buntings, Swifts, Swallows and Buzzards entertained during the wait for the star performers. A couple of RAF Hercules made a low pass over the airfield.IMG_9600 (1280x852) Just after eight the B2’s arrived. Well worth the wait and I even managed to get a Swift into one of the pictures.

And as I was writing this they have just flown over Chiseldon on their way back to the States.

BUFF Time

Well the B52’s are back at Fairford for a couple of weeks and if the rumours are right may well be joined by a couple of B2’s. Just for a change I was able to get down there to see them land. Awesome as always. Hopefully I shall be paying a couple more visits during the time they are operating. And as this is supposed to be a birding blog there were a few Skylarks singing and a Curlew flew over just as the first B52 was on finals for landing. The last picture is taken from home this evening, and is of the third aircraft to arrive as it flew over to the north of Swindon