October 2007

A day in the field on 23rd in unbroken sunshine. First stop was Barrow Tanks to see the great northern diver, almost in full summer plumage - photos in early morning light below. Other highlights were a Dartford warbler on the Mendips and the juvenile purple heron at Meare Heath.

great northern diver

great northern diver

great northern diver

great northern diver

First fieldfares in Flax Bourton on 22nd.

On the afternoon of the 20th I walked along the Severn towards the Yeo estuary near Kingston Seymour. Birds included about 10 little egrets, ca.25 turnstone, 17 grey plover a knot, 2 ravens and 3 stonechat. At about 16.30h a helicopter flew over putting lots of birds in the air. I heard a strange series of calls - two 'tuu' notes with a twangy, rapid sound in the middle. The bird flew into the saltmarsh never to be seen again, but from the shape and call I thought it may have been a Lapland bunting - several have passed through Lundy recently.

Lots of grey squirrels are active storing food on Brandon Hill now. Here's one photographed in the leaf litter with the S5 on 19th.

grey squirrel

There were at least 6 stonechats in 3 groups along the Flax Bourton cycle track and on Backwell Common on 14th. I've not seen them in the area previously and wonder if they were migrants passing through.

During the afternoon of 13th I went to Chew Valley Lake to look for the cattle egret seen there. A juvenile arctic tern flew overhead in Heron's Green Bay. The egret was perched on a jetty in the bay, and then flew to the Parklands where it fed on flies among a herd of cattle. Click the image below to see more.

cattle egret

On the morning of 13 October this lesser black-backed gull was attacking its reflection in Millennium Square, Bristol. This and the landscape photos below were taken with a Canon Powershot S5 IS camera.

lesser black-backed gull

lesser black-backed gull

Between 7-11 October I was at the Heinrich-Fabri Institut of Tuebingen University in Blaubeuren, southern Germany, for a workshop on the current status and future perspectives in echolocation research. I saw serins, black redstarts, 2 ravens and several red kites. The photos below are of the Blautopf and abbey.


Blautopf, Blaubeuren

reflections, Blautopf

Blaubeuren abbey

On the afternoon of Saturday 6th I visited Meare Heath for the first time since February. Although I missed the pectoral sandpiper, there was an excellent selection of birds present on a balmy day, including 23+ little egrets, a female marsh harrier, kingfisher, 2 ruff, 2 green sandpipers, and the osprey shown below. This bird was perched at the trees on the far N side of Meare Heath, and made fishing forays over the lagoons.

osprey and crow

An otter swam at the back of the flooded lagoon, and the avian highlight was the return of the juvenile purple heron, that showed well in flight and when feeding in the open at the rear of the flooded lagoon.

purple heron