Monday, 26 January 2015

Frog for lunch?

OUR garden is small and sits in a row of gardens behind our terrace house, surrounded by other terraces.

In our small garden is a small 5x5ft pond.

Our pond does, though, support a pretty strong frog population.

On Saturday, when we returned home and I looked out of our upstairs window, this is what I saw on our neighbour's half built shed:

The question now is - do we have any frogs left?

I was amazed that in such an urban area as Bath a bird like this would contemplate a visit - I love my frogs, but I almost love the thought of a heron in our garden even more!

New Zealand Dotterel - in New Zealand

The north island has its share of wonderful species to match the south island.  I was particularly excited to be able to see the charismatic and endemic Northern NZ Dotterel on one of its breeding beaches; Opoutere on the Coromandel peninsula.

The beach supported some fab natural vegetation, including these cats-tail grasses.

This was a strange thing - perhaps an egg case - certainly not a tooth.  Any ideas?

The variable oystercatchers a prolific in NZ and can be seen on many beaches foraging in piles of kelp.

On the way to the beach we followed the path along the shoreline, but were surprised to find that it took us really near to nesting pairs of oystercatchers.  Not surprisingly they took umbrage, but we had gone to far to go back - the birds actually attacked us and made contact - we felt really bad about that.

Parent and chicks

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Winter on Westhay Nature Reserve (SWT)

A beautiful day today with a bracing breeze, but clear sky - perfect birding weather.

I popped into Greylake and fought the crowds to see what I saw yesterday, but without the ice.  I then thought that I would pay a visit to Westhay Nature Reserve (SWT).  This is much less visited and less known than Greylake, it would seem, but has lots to offer.  In summer is a fantastic site for raised bog plants, migrant birds, insects, amphibians and the occasional otter.  In winter it is much quieter, but still has marsh harrier, duck, egrets, cormorants and herons, plus water rail and cettis warblers etc.

I particularly wanted to see the saw bills - i..e the goosanders, which only seem to like it on one lake here, and nowhere else that I've noticed on the Levels - but I could be wrong.  

There was a number of these spectacular birds - both the brown headed females and the green headed males.  There was some half-hearted courtship displaying going on too.


The water rail below is in a scenic landscape\pose - rather than being too far away, under too dark conditions for me to get a good image with my camera...   ;-)

For reasons that I can't expand upon it was an expensive visit, but a pleasure nevertheless.