Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas Greetings

NO ONE can say that I like cliches, so here are some images of the abundant mistletoe seen on our Sunday walk in lovely west Wiltshire (near Iford)

The lime trees towering above our heads supported many big bunches of the hemi-parasite and it seemed a pretty easy deduction that the berries had been transferred to the fruit trees below by birds (thrushes?); the fruit trees were more mistletoe than tree!

- Happy Christmas!

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Ham Wall Starlings

IT was a bit risky to expect much on a windy and overcast day like today, but the thousands of starlings were still quite spectacular.  I arrived late too, so was lucky to see them wheeling around the sky.  The flock has amassed on a line of willows, then rose up to settle down into the reeds for the night.

A buzzard, and maybe a smaller bird of prey, did spook the starlings for a few moments, but the breezy evening kept the birds low when I was there.

The numbers peak in the new year, but there was still a huge flock tonight and the sounds of the murmuration was as loud as ever - worth the trip.



Saturday, 28 November 2015

A blustery and cold day on the Levels

TODAY we ventured out, in-spite of the uninspiring weather forecast - which unfortunately was cruelly accurate...

Before the rain and wind fully set in, we visited the RSPB's Grey Lake reserve - open, wild and wet.  The highlight was the enormous flock of green and golden plovers; disturbed by some hidden or perceived danger they wheeled around in the grey sky, filling the air above our heads with flapping wings and scything shadows.


Near the hides, where the willows provide a muddy carr, a number of water rails tiptoed and skulked, seeking out a tasty morsel 

In the car park the bird tables, stocked with seeds by visitors, attracts multiple buntings, tits, robins, starlings and finches.

Reed bunting
We then headed off to RSPB Ham Wall, before the rain came.  At the brand new Avalon Hide two or three marsh harriers were seen hunting over the reeds and occasionally dropping down out of sight - maybe making a kill.  A single great white egret hunted from the edge of the reeds and winter ducks slept, upended or dabbled.


 It was great to be out, but we were quite glad to call it a day at 3pm.

Monday, 26 October 2015

North Norfolk: Cley & Titchwell

A wonderful week on the fabulous north Norfolk coast has just recharged our batteries.  The quaint villages contrast with the rugged coast of shingle and sand, facing out to the North Sea.  Based in Cromer, we headed out west each day and visited the NWT and RSPB reserves bathed in sunshine and the areas in between and along the coast.

Whilst we did not see any rarities (in spite of looking) we did see an array of more common species, which were a delight in themselves.


Yellow-horned poppy

Little egret

Cromer pier


Black-tailed godwit

Golden Plover
Brent Geese