May 2017

27th. Male little bittern singing distantly from the east end of Ham Wall. It's being advertised on the RSPB blackboard, so I guess it's OK to report it here.

17th-24th. Tuscany in lovely sunshine. Monterchi looked splendid.

Lucie looking at Monterchi

Monterchi

Monterchi

We spent a night in Siena, and I've never seen so many swifts.

Siena

Siena

Siena

Siena Duomo

Donatello's Madonna

Siena

Siena

Siena

Siena Duomo

Siena

Wildlife around Lucie's house - tracks of wild boar showing the characteristic dew claws, and a wall lizard, probably common.

Lucie's house

wild boar tracks

common? wall lizard

Birds included a significant passage of honey buzzards.

honey buzzards

A SHORT-TOED EAGLE flew down the valley regularly, here carrying a snake, maybe back to a nest site. A male Montagu's harrier was also in the area.

short-toed eagle

Other birds included a singing male MOLTONI'S WARBLER and serins. I heard a nightjar singing on the night I arrived.

Moltoni's warbler

serin

Insects included violet carpenter bee, owl flies in abundance, and mating bee-flies joined together, even in flight.

violet carpenter bee

owl fly

bee flies

bee flies

Butterflies: ones not photographed here included holly blue, brown argus, a few wood whites, speckled wood, small, large, dingy, grizzled and probably Essex skippers, scarce swallowtail.

Adonis blue

Adonis blue

Common blue

common blue

Little blue

little blue

little blue

Provencal short-tailed blue

Provencal short-tailed blue

Spotted, Glanville and heath fritillaries

spotted fritillary

spotted fritillary

Glanville fritillary

heath fritillary

Large wall brown

large wall brown

large wall brown

Wall brown

wall brown

Presumed Berger's clouded yellow

Berger's clouded yellow

Southern white admiral

southern white admiral

There were 6-spot, 5-spot and Thryrrhenean burnets present- latter two below.

5-spot burnet

Thyrrhenean burnet

Broad-bordered bee hawk moth

broad-bordered hawk moth

broad-bordered hawk moth

Greater butterfly orchid

greater butterfly orchid

Common spotted orchid

common spotted orchid

Bee orchid, including white form

bee orchid

bee orchid

bee orchid

Field gladiolus

field gladiolus

Love-in-the mist

love-in-the-mist

Tassel hyacinth

tassel hyacinth

Yet-to-be-identified- sowthistle?

to be identified

Lots of parasitic broomrapes are flowering, including this common broomrape

common broomrape

14th. Back to Ham Wall and Shapwick Heath. Birds quite similar to yesterday, though 3 male garganey now present, and 2 whimbrel. I took some more photos of the glossy ibis, including one of the bird eating a pea mussel.

glossy ibis

glossy ibis

glossy ibis

glossy ibis

I had about 10 sightings of flying bitterns, and saw 3 cattle egrets. Flight shots of little and great egrets below.

little egret

great egret

Large numbers of four-spotted chasers were emerging, and I photographed a calling marsh frog. DNA analysis confirms that the green frogs at Shapwick and Ham Wall are Pelophylax perezi, the Southern or Iberian Marsh Frog.

four-spotted chaser

marsh frog

marsh frog

13th. Shapwick Heath and Ham Wall - beautiful demoiselle and red-eyed damselfly, great white egret, bittern, glossy ibis, 2 male garganey, hobbies, cuckoo and whimbrel heard.

beautiful demoiselle

red-eyed damselfly

great white egret

glossy ibis

glossy ibis

8th. Female black-winged stilt at Pilning Wetlands. Single white and yellow wagtails too. 2 whimbrel at Portbury Wharf, and lots of singing reed warblers. I can now say I unexpectedly also saw a purple heron, though I was advised to keep quiet about it at the time.

reed warbler

Two black tern and a male yellow wagtail at Barrow Tanks in the evening.

7th. Pilning and Northwick Warth. Wood sandpiper, greenshank, swifts and house martins arriving in numbers, lesser whitethroat and 2 yellow wagtails. A small flock of ringed plover and a summer plumage grey plover from Severn Beach.

I was in Germany between 1-4th, visiting Gerald Kerth in Greifswald, and giving at seminar at Greifswald University. There were redstarts, black redstarts and tree sparrows in the town. A crested lark fed outside a bus stop. The gulls I saw in town appeared to be standard herring gulls. Coypus were along channels in the Tierpark.

tree sparrow

redstart

crested lark

coypu

The surrounding landscape is barely urbanised, with vast tracts of arable land, marshland and forest. On the morning on 2nd, I visited the Tierpark, where wild white storks nest alongside captive ones. I concentrated on photographing unringed birds, which were presumably wild.

white stork

white stork

white stork

white stork

white stork

On 3rd Gerald Kerth, Alex Scheuerlein, Sebastien Puechmaille, Michael Schoener and I vised the Polder Menzlin on the River Peena, and saw some great birds: my first white-throated bluethroat (singing male), red-necked grebe, black-necked grebe, common cranes, white storks, a redhead smew, marsh harriers, red kite, willow tit, crested tit, nightingale, lesser whitethroat, and several Savi's and great reed warblers singing.

birding gang

Menzlin polder

Oilseed rape for biofuel and wind turbines.

Menzin

A lame red fox was in the area too, and an oil beetle.

red fox

oil beetle

White-tailed eagle

white-tailed eagle

white-tailed eagle

white-tailed eagle

white-tailed eagle

Lesser-spotted eagle

lesser-spotted eagle

lesser-spotted eagle

January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017June 2017July 2017August2017September 2017October 2017