28th of January 2012.

WWT - Brandon Marsh.

Species seen 50.

As usual upon arrival to Brandon Marsh I parked in the overspill car park, which I always do, whether the main one has spaces or not. The reason for this, is that usually this area throws up a good mix of common birds to start off my sightings list.

Notables: Willow Tit, Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Buzzard, Kestrel, Goldeneye, Shelduck, Barnacle Goose, Snipe, Kingfisher.


While chatting for some time to a fellow regular, there was a hybrid goose amongst the Greylags and Canada Geese.

This hybrid has been listed in the Brandon Marsh Report as
Emperor Goose x White Fronted Goose.

Thanks to Keith Yates for the up date.
19th of January 2012.

WWT - Brandon Marsh.

Species seen 24.

A late visit before dusk produced my first Peregrine Falcon of the year. I first saw it over the East Marsh Pool and then again at close quarters from the Carlton Hide. Even in the dim light I could make out it's bright yellow eye ring. There was one photographer in the hide when I arrived, he should have waited a few more minutes perhaps and he would have got a great close up?

Other raptors, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Kestrel.

There had been a Merlin reported a few days previously, however, there was no sign of it.
8th of January 2012.

WWT - Brandon Marsh

Species seen 46.

Arriving after lunch, I spent an enjoyable afternoon until 5pm. As this was a day of 46 birds, I thought I'd mention them all.

Grey Heron, New Zealand Scaup - escapee, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Shoveler, Wigeon, Pochard, Gadwall, Mute Swan, Teal, Cormarant, Pheasant, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Snipe, Lapwing, Common Gull, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Feral Pigeon, Collered Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Carrion Crow, Jay, Magpie, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Cetti's Warbler, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Redwing, Starling, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Greenfinch.
2nd of January 2012.

Napton Reservoir & Draycote Water Reservoir.

Species seen 28.

Decided to have a walk around both reservoirs, Napton first, upon arrival we chatted to local birder's Keith & Dee and agreed to contact them should anything unusual have turned up. Unfortunately we didn't have need to contact them. There were a great many Fieldfare above us and in the fields. Scanning the far side reeds produced 9 Snipe.


Draycote Water was much the same in terms of species, the weather was sunny and bright, which made for an enjoyable walk.
31st January 2011.

WWT - Brandon Marsh

Species seen 39.

Last day of 2011 and my visit to Brandon Marsh produced a few extras from the mammals on site. Muntjac Deer and Stoat, as well as the usual Grey Squirrels and Rabbits.

Notables: Kingfisher, Goldcrest, Goldeneye, Snipe, Great Crested Grebe.
17th of December 2011.

WWT - Brandon Marsh.

Species seen 38.

Today's visit produced my first Bittern of the winter, flying in the the reed beds at dusk. Plenty of Redwings and Fieldfare around the site now too.

Notables:
Black Tailed Godwit
Goldcrest
Wigeon
Buzzard
Kestrel
Snipe
Kingfisher.
7th of December 2011.

RSPB - Titchwell - Norfolk.

Species seen 28.

Our week off work had now taken us to Lincolnshire for three days. The weather, one word "dreadful".  Plans for a visit to the RSPB Titchwell site were nearly put on hold, however, upon arriving there we were greeted by very friendly staff and given superb tips and directions from one of the volunteers. 

Notables: Pintails and Marsh Harriers.

Due to the weather my stay here was reduced to only two and a half hours. Another visit is a must at some point in the future.
6th of December 2011.

RSPB Arne - Poole - Dorset.

Day two in Dorset and another day at the RSPB site at Arne. What a fabulous day for raptors, Arne is brilliant!

Marsh Harrier x 2, Buzzard x 2, Kestrel x 1.

Species seen 28.

All through the woodland area we were constantly being watched by a great many Sika deer.



5th of December 2011.

RSPB Arne - Poole - Dorset.

A weekend away in Dorset and a trip to Arne, is a must. This is one of my favourite birding places in the UK. The weather was sunny for most of the day. Arne has everything in terms of habitat, woodland, heathland and the estuary.

Species seen 21.

Notables: Avocet, Brent Geese, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew, Great Spotted Woodpecker.
13th of November 2011.

Draycote Water Resevoir.

Species seen 25.

Clear sunny day for a walk along one side of the resevoir.

Notables: Scoter (F) Red Brested Merganser, Goldeneye, Goosander, Shelduck, Golden Plover, Redshank, Dunlin.
6th of November 2011.

RSPB - Isley Marsh - North Devon

Species seen 41.

A beautiful sunny day with a clear sky all day. Started my walk on the Tarka trail for a few hundred metres, then on to the Isley Marsh area. This site is not huge, however, it has different habitats, Mud flats, open fields, brooks, stone beach, sand banks and a small pond. As far as the eye could see were Curlew, these birds look superb even from a distance.

Notables: Spoonbill x 1, Little Grebe, Whimbrel, Knot, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Redshank, Sandpiper, Wren, 50 + Curlew.

5th of November 2011.

Stowford Meadows - Coombe Martin, West Down.

A weekend away in North Devon to get my caravan cleaned & ready for winter storage. The weather was unbeleivably warm for November, warm enough the sit outside drinking coffee without coats on!

Using my scope and looking beyond the campsite there were Red Deer, one stag and seven doe's running about freely.

Birds seen around were, Buzzard, Kestrel, Black Headed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Feral Pigeon, Collered Dove, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Tree Sparrow.

While in Ilfracoombe having lunch, a Rock Pipit was also seen.
2nd of November 2011.

Draycote Water Reservoir.

Species seen 16.

A very good walk in sunny weather, unseasonably warm too.


Notables: Black Necked Grebe, possibly the same bird seen at Napton Reservoir, Goosander, 100 + Great Crested Grebe.
30th of October 2011.

WWT – Brandon Marsh.
Species  seen 33.

Started my walk passing Grebe Pool towards Sheep Field, stopping here for a while in hope of catching sight of a reported Short Eared Owl, sadly, no Owl. On towards New Hare Covert I came across a Red Fox sniffing around in leaves, as soon as we saw each other, it was off as fast as it's legs could take it!

Notables: New Zealand Scaup - escapee has returned to Brandon and joined up with a few Tufted ducks for company. Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Green Sandpiper, Barn Owl x 2 and a Chiffchaff doing exactly what it say's on the tin.
  
28th of October 2011.

WWT - Brandon Marsh.


A late visit, on a bright sunny  autumn afternoon.

Species seen 22.

Notables: Whopper Swan x 2 and Barn owls x 3.
8th of October 2011.

Napton Resevoir - Warwickshire.

Species seen 21.

Reports of a Black Necked Grebe was the purpose of my visit, a very windy and cloudy afternoon today. Great views of said bird as it came very close to the bank.


Birds seen, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose, Coot, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Great Black Backed Gull, feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Green Woodpecker, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Blue Tit, great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Blackbird, Buzzard, Kestrel.
17th of September 2011.

WWT -  Brandon Marsh.

Species seen 50.

Arrived at 2.30pm and spent 4 hours enjoying the warm weather, along with chatting to other visitors to the site on route.

As today was a higher count day than a normal day, I have listed all the birds seen, they are as follows.

Notables: Goldcrest, Hobby, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Water Rail, Dunlin, Snipe, Kingfisher.

Other birds seen: Greylag Goose, Barnacle Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Teal, Pheasant, Cormarant, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Green Sandpiper, Black Headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Feral pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, Robin, Blackbird, Starling,  Chaffinch, Siskin, Tree Sparrow.
9th of September 2011.

Tarka Trail - Taw Estury - North Devon.

Species seen 25.

A walk along the Tarka Trail turned up the usual birds seen on other days, however, to see a Spotted Flycather was a real treat.

The weather was cloudy and very warm a total contrast to previous days.
8th of September 2011.


RSPB - Darts Farm & RSPB Bowling Green - Exe Estuary.


From our base in West Down, North Devon experiencing torrential rain and a relatively cold day, we decided to drive south to explore the Exeter area. Having put warm clothing on etc, we were absolutely boiling when we arrived, as the difference in temperature was 10 degrees higher! Amazing to think that the distance was only 60 miles?


Lunch was at the Fish cafe, most enjoyable fresh produce, eaten in lovely sunshine.


From here we walked the mile or so to the RSPB Bowling Green site on the Exe Estuary.


Species seen 32.


Before arriving at the hide we had good views of two Osprey. An adult in flight around the area and one juvenile perched on a boat mast, which didn't move for a very long time. I guess it had spent a great deal of time fishing and was having a long rest.


Once the high tide had come in, the inland views from the hide included 300 + Curlew, 200 + Black Tailed Godwits, plus Little Egret, Shelduck, Grey Heron, Whimbrel, Green Sandpiper, Kingfisher & Wheatear.


Other birds seen were, Canada Geese, Mute swan, Mallard, Teal, Cormorant, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Black Headed Gull, Common Gull, Wood pigeon, Magpie, Jackjaw, Carrion Crow, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Tree Sparrow.
7th of September 2011.

RSPB - Isley Marsh, North Devon.

Species seen 19.

Again a very stormy visit to this area, didn't stay too long due to the adverse weather conditions.

That said, it's always great to be out along the estury no matter what the weather does! the picture here shows just how fabulous this area is.
6th of September 2011.

Torrington Quay - River Taw Estuary, North Devon.

Species seen 29.

Notables: 100's of Shelduck, 30 + Little Egret, 50 + Oystercatcher, 50 + Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel, 30 + Curlew, 4 Knot, 2 Kingfisher.

The weather was stormy, with a lot of rain and very windy.

Each time I vist this area, it seems that the Little Egret population keeps growing, great when you think it's not too long ago that these birds were in decline.
31st of August 2011.

WWT - Brandon Marsh.

Species seen 25.

Another evening visit to Brandon Marsh following a lovely warm summers day. Highlight was a Weasel hopping around the dry sections of earth surrounding the pool in front of the Carlton Hide.

Notables: Sparrowhawk, Barnacle Goose, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler.

22nd of August 2011.

WWT - Brandon Marsh.

Species seen 11.

A very quiet evening spent chatting to locals in the Carton Hide produced only a handful of birds, however, later on, when there was only myself and fellow birder/photographer Paul putting the world to right, I caught sight of a large, black, furry animal, initial thoughts were, Otter, no such luck. As we kept quiet, we were soon rewarded with watching two Badgers feeding.
20th of August 2011. 

Rutland Water.

Went to the Bird fair at Rutland Water and enjoyed a fabulous day looking at all things birding! also tried out some of the most expensive scopes & binoculars available. A good lottery win will be needed to buy the ones I'd like. They call the event the "Glastonbury" for birders and it certainly didn't disappoint.

After a good look around, I went to the Hide in Manton Bay for an hour to hopefully see an Osprey or two. To my delight there were five, two adults and three juveniles. Osprey's are truly magnificent birds of prey, one of the juveniles was practising their fishing technique, sadly I didn't get to see it catch a fish, however, I was just as pleased to have seen one in the first place.


Species seen  27.

Notables, Egyptian Geese, Buzzard, Kestrel.
6th of August 2011

Draycote Water Resevior.

Species seen 15.

Enjoyed an evening walk around the resevior 5.1 miles.

Dunlin, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Mallard, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Great Black Backed Gull, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail.

23rd of July 2011.

WWT - Brandon Marsh.

Species seen 40.

Notables: Treecreeper, Wren, Great Black Backed Gull, Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker.

16th of July 2011.

Brandon Marsh.

Species seen 28.

Red Kite over East Marsh Pool at 5.50pm scattered all the Lapwings and Black Headed Gulls off Willow Island.

Sadly it was harassed and chased off by three Carrion Crows. Great to see one over Brandon even for such a short period.

7th of July 2011.

Brandon Marsh.

Species seen 36.

Notables: Barn Owl, Kingfisher, Sparrowhawk, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Linnet, Bullfinch.

29th of June 2011.

River Taw Estuary - North Devon.

Notables: Whimbrel, Curlew, Skylark, Chiffchaff, a good number of Tree Sparrows.

22nd of June 2011.

Brandon Marsh.

Species seen 40.

Notables: Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Yellow Legged Gull, Kingfisher, Barn Owl. 



This is the peaceful view from the "Steetley" hide.

19th of June 2011

Brandon Marsh.

Species seen 34.

Notables: A few Jackdaws, they're not always seen here, these really are quite stunning birds when you get up a close to them.

28th of May 2011

Brandon Marsh

Species seen 28.

Notables: Sandpiper, Redshank, Rook, Kestrel.

21st of May 2011

Brandon Marsh

Species seen 32.

Noteables: Greenshank, Redshank, Oystercatcger, Little Ringed Plover, Common Tern, Cuckoo, Swift, a great many House and Sand Martins.

14th of May 2011

Brandon Marsh

Species seen 25.

Noteables: Curlew flew over East Marsh Pool, Cuckoo x 3, Sedge Warbler, Little Ringed Plover, Redshank, Swifts, House Martin and Sand Martins.

9th of May 2011

Brandon Marsh

Species seen 37.

An evening visit now that the days are getting longer gave me my first Hobby sighting of the year, which gave a superb display over the pools hunting for dragonflies.

Noteables: Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Little Ringed Plover, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Whitethoat, plus a great many Swallows, Sand Martin and House Martins.

1st of May 2011


River Taw Estuary - Tarka Trail


Species seen - 33


Noteables: Wimbrel, Shelduck, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, lesser Whitethroat, Wheatear, Swallow, Song Thrush, Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, good numbers of Tree Sparrows.

30th of April 2011

Lynton & Lynmouth - North Devon

Drove to Lynmouth and parked in the central car park, feeding the meter, as we didn't know how long our walk would take us? Having visited the National Trust centre, we took the bus to "County Gate"  starting at sea level, the bus slowly climbed the steep road which gave us fabulous views of the coast, stopping eventually at the bus stop at County Gate, we were now 345 metres above sea level. Taking time to look at the panoramic views over the sea and inland over the West Downs, we then proceeded to start our walk back down to Lynmouth village centre, a walk of 7 miles, through sheep fields, woodland, small hamlets, finally passing waters meet, then on towards Lynmouth.

This is now officailly one of the best walks I've ever done! We plan to do this walk again in both Autumn and Winter to see the different seasons.

Species seen 32.

Noteables: Dipper, Sandpiper, Chiffchaff, Grey Wagtail, Linnet, Martins.

30th of April 2011

Weare Gifford Village - North Devon

News from Twitter that a White Stork, presumed escapee, had been reported not too far from our campsite. We made contact with it along with a few other birders that turned out to see it. It kept being moved on around the field by grumpy cattle.
28th of April 2011

Marsland Valley Nature Reserve - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Species seen - 9

Noteables: Redstart, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Buzzard, Chiffchaff, Herring Gull.

7th of April 2011

Brandon Marsh, arrived at 6.45am.

Species seen 43.

Arrived early at the East Marsh Hide to hopefully get to see the reported Spotted Crake, I didn't have to wait too long as it soon made an appearance. Some time later, the hide door opened and in walked a young couple from South Wales who had left very early, to hopefully see and photograph the bird. The young man asked if I'd seen it and very, very, calmly I quietly said, here you go, have a look, to say he and his partner were hyper is an understatement.
Noteables: Spotted Crake, Blackcap, Little Grebe, Oystercatcher, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Fieldfare, Nuthatch.

3rd of April 2011


River Taw Estuary - Tarka trail, North Devon


Species seen 27.


Noteables: 100 + Shelduck, 50 + Oystercatcher, Swallow, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff.


Fabulous walk along the Estuary, when Doctor Beeching closed the railways, he certainly did us all a favour!


30th of March 2011

Brandon Marsh

Species seen - 47. Spring is on it's way.

Noteables: Golden Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Kingfisher, Swallow, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff. 

19th of March 2011

Brandon Marsh

Species seen - 45

Noteables: Barn Owl, Dunlin, Redshank, Little Grebe, Shelduck, Snipe.

7th of March 2011

Draycote Water Resevoir

Species seen today - 24

Noteables: Smew, Goldeneye, Brambling.


5th of March 2011

WWT - Brandon Marsh

Species seen today was 45.

Noteables: Shelduck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Snipe, Yellow Legged Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Filedfare, Redwing, Lesser redpole, Siskin, Goldfinch, Tree Sparrow.

26th of February 2011

WWT - Brandon Marsh

Species seen today was 41.

Noteables: Shelduck, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Buzzard, Kestrel, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Snipe, Gadwall, Cetti's Warbler, Long Tailed Tit, Fieldfare, Reed Bunting,

23rd of Februay 2011

On Business in Oxfordshire today.

Noteables; Red Kites, Buzzards and Kestrels all viewed from the car.