29th. A little owl calling as I cycled home in the dark through Flax Bourton.
28th. Dreary and wet - fitting weather for the day that the clocks went back, and poor light for photography. I visited Chew Valley Lake in the afternoon. A kingfisher and a greater scaup male moulting from juvenile to first-winter plumage were at Stratford Hide. Another greater scaup in the same stage of moult was at Villice Bay (below). I saw a flock of 6 ducks fly past, and thought one looked like a female-type greater scaup - these were almost certainly the scaup seen at Chew over the following days.
The male lesser scaup was also present, showing its diagnostic wing pattern with white restricted to the secondaries.
27th. A late and confiding hoopoe at Sand Bay on a cold, sunny day. The bird was feeding actively, occasionally extracting things that looked like leatherjackets from the sandy foreshore. The bill is often open when probing the ground.
25th - a couple of red kites flying over Carmarthen. Swallow still on the Gower.
20th. Wrynecks are always great to see, and this bird at Brean Down showed reasonably well when not being elusive and hiding in the grass tussocks.
14th - a great day out. The first frost of the autumn, followed by a still and sunny day. The last hints of summer are still present with a swallow at Blagdon lake, a comma at Chew, and several dragonflies flying. First stop was Blagdon Lake where I caught up with the black-necked grebe, and also saw a peregrine and about 30 siskins. At Moreton Hide, Chew Valley Lake the eclipse drake red-breasted merganser was close offshore, giving me my best views of this regular individual, which may have been visiting the Lake for 33 years! If that really is the case, it would the longest lifespan recorded for a duck anywhere, and blasts the current record for the species into nowhere (see here), though I guess there's no way of knowing if more than one individual is involved. A juvenile greater scaup was also present.
I walked to Stratford Hide, as Stratford Lane is closed at present. I picked up another female-type greater scaup in the big Aythya flock, and a couple of redpolls flew over. As I was closing the shutters I caught sight of this beauty, close in to the hide - a drake ring-necked duck, presumably another returning bird.
As I drove my daughter home from work, we saw a male sparrowhawk plucking a wood pigeon on our road.
7th. The long-staying black tern had left Dowlais Scrape near Clevedon. I only saw a wheatear, a little egret, a peregrine, a flyover redpoll and heard a singing chiffchaff. No sign of the lesser scaup in Villice Bay, Chew - all quiet here with the only birds of note being a calling siskin, the Egyptian goose and a little egret.