Saturday, 14 July 2012

Hanningfield Reservoir 13/07/12

Yesterday I had a very good day at Hanningfield reservoir.
Despite the sky being grey in the morning I decided to take a chance and  go to the reservoir to see what I could find.
The first hide, Lyster was all but Bird less; only the ever present 'raft' cormorants and a few very distant black spots( Coots) were visible. But under the hide a small family of coots were visible including two near mature juveniles and it was nice to watch the families antics for a while.
RAWL hide was much better. There were 2 Red-crested Pochard viewable from the hide and this species was a lifer for the person in the hide with me. Apart from the Red Crests, there was a mixed flock of Tufted Duck, Common Pochard, Mallard and a few coots. On the island A 3rd Summer Great Black-backed Gull was nice and a second appeared soon after. Some interesting behavior has seen next when the GBBG's flew off the island ans at least 3 Swift started to mob the Gulls some even making contact. After coming out of RAWL hide I herd reports of a Barn Owl hunting across the Grazing medow but I could not finf the Owl.
Point Hide was next and it wasnt much better than RAWL hide. But a good bird did appear in the form of an adult Yellow-legged Gull. Although distant on the island all the main identification features of the YLG were seen which makes the Gull the 4th Yellow-legged Gull I have seen at the reservoir. On the way back to the visitor centre the butterflies started to come out and many species let me come to with in touching distance of them. Species seen were Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Small and large Skipper and Red Admiral. An unusual raptor call was also herd which was most likely a Hobby and a female Bullfinch was also seen.

Too be continued...

Monday, 9 July 2012

Skomer Trip

Continuing my report on my Trip to Wales...
On Monday my long awaited Skomer trip had finally arrived, My family eventually set off from Borth at 9 o'clock and on the journey down I saw at least 15 Red Kite, some showing within a few metres of our car.
However as we approached Skomer we herd the news that we had been dreading, The island was full (It had been full since 9 o clock). After a quick discussion our family decided we would try and get a boat trip around the island then we would stay in the Deer hill national trust reserve around the island. But I knew that my chances of getting a good Puffin Photo had been dramatically slashed.
 My parents then went off to get a boat ride. After an antagonising wait, my parents came back and said that we had the last place on the boat trip! That meant that I would at least see Puffins (Lifer)
But before the boat trip I had time to do some birding around the peninsular, my Target being Red-billed Chough. And with in 5 minutes I was looking at 2, distant but stunning Red-billed Chough (Lifer). Seeing that my family were heading over to the boat I hurried along as well, I really didn't want to miss the boat. I finally got to the boat jetty and luckily my family were second in the queue. Around the jetty there were some Wheatear and a racing pigeon and a few gannets were flying in the distance. After an hours wait the boat came and we boarded and got great seats. The boat trip started well, I saw lots of Razorbill and Guilemots and a few Herring Gull but so far no Puffins. Then as we rounded the corner Skomer came into view and with Skomer came the Puffins, 100s of Puffins! After the puffin fest came a trip round the island which yielded lots more Razorbill, Guillemot, Puffin and a Shag. Kittiwakes and Great Black-backed Gulls were seen nesting on the island.
Then on the approach back to the mainland I saw a very heavy bodied gull like bird and photos that I took revealed that it was  Northern Fulmar another Lifer.
Back on the mainland I got some good view and photos of Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, Common Whilethroat, Linnet, Swallow (Very close swallows) and Wheatear. I also got better views of the Chough and then I saw a flock of 15 Chough. What A sight! So all in all a very good day even though I didn't get on Skomer. And to top the day off, I saw a very close Common Buzzard on the drive home.
Barn Swallow, These Swallows near the Jetty were perfect for Photography

Atlantic Puffin. This was the Closest I got to my target Species. You can see the Sand eels in its bill.

A colony of Razorbills on Skomer

The Only Shag seen.

The only Northern Fulmar seen. A lifer for me.

A rubbish Photo of a Red-billed Chough. A brilliant lifer for me. One of 19 seen.

Bettewr views of Razorbull.

Some of the Nesting Kittiwake's