1-30 November 2008 sightings and blog

28-30 November 2008 No birding until 29th when a few Tree Sparrows on feeders and the Pink-footed Geese and Whooper Swans at WWT Martin Mere. I was at the reserve for the NW Bird Fair to do a talk each day. We also noted a Barn Owl on the way into Ormskirk.

27 November 2008 A Jack Snipe was still in rushes near the Hogarth Hide, we have been cutting here today.

26 November 2008 I was topping the juncus (hard rush ) in the 100 Acre, a Jack Snipe, 5 Stonechat, 2 Buzzards, 2 Brown Hare and Peregrine werenice but the female Bearded Tit that flew in from the N and landed next to the tractor briefly before flying back N was even better. Two Jack Snipe were in the rushes near the Hogarth Hide while we were cutting plus 3 Water Rails.

Bearded Tit from a seriously vibrating tractor cab! MJM

Also a bird showing all the characters of Mealy Redpoll was with four Lesser Redpoll feeding on seeds. It was bigger, had frostier plumage, white feather edges on wings, tramlines to white rump, pale nape band and colder tones overall etc..

Probable Mealy (Common) Redpoll top (and behind) Lesser Redpoll MJMcGill

24 November 2008 Whilst on the rounds I saw a Siberian Chiffchaff with a colybitta Chiffchaff move through and past the Holden Tower. It was chasing the Commoner bird all the time until they parted and it was last seen atop the thorns in front of (S) of the tower.

Bittern, Tack Piece reedbed, Zeiss Hide WWT Slimbridge MJM

23 November 2008 The return of the Tack Piece Bittern was welcome for birders and photographers alike. Nick Goatman discovered the Lydney Lesser Scaup on the Court Lake at Frampton late yesterday, three first winter Greater Scaup were also present with it today as well as over 100 Tufted Duck.

17-22 November 2008 Norfolk trip report now on relevant section. All my sightings are reported on the WWT website.

14-16 November 2008 Away on an Anser Norfolk trip, report will be on the trip reports section soon. It was a very succesful bird filled visit.

12-13 November 2008 See WWT site for my sightings.

Tundra Bean Goose WWT Slimbridge MJM

11 November 2008 Brenda Moatt rang me with news of the re-discovery of the Bean Goose, LPA found it last week but it had not been seen over the weekend. (Note on showing LPA the images it is a different bird) It shows a lot of orange in the bill, this gives a long billed look but the bird has a short and stocky neck and is stocky overall. The Lesser Scaup is still at Lydney Lakes and a pair of Whooper Swans at Ashleworth Ham GWT.

First-winter male Lesser Scaup, Lydney Lakes MJM


10 November 2008 Rising water levels at WWT saw a return to the wildfowl and wader spectacle on the Tack Piece. At least 3 Spotted Redshank were among the waders. A call and email from Gloster Birders concerning a probable Lesser Scaup or hybrid on Lydney Lakes was interesting as the finder was John Phillips and would like a second opinion. I thought that if he was interested it was wise to go and have a look, he does turn up a lot of great birds in the county and once again was onto a good bird. He was still present as I arrived, had much better views than of 11 days ago and was ready to head off home to phone out the confirmation of his excellent find. I saw all the features on the bird whilst I was there, it wing flapped to show it’s wings, It had…dark wing bar on primaries and clean whitish on secondaries (giving a fairly clean cut division), bright yellow eye, black bill nail, long black nostril (black not confined to immediate surround of nostril entrances), steep forehead from base of upper mandible giving high forehead look, neat peak behind the rear of crown that has point above or level with crown depending on posture, no downturned crest as in hybrids fine vermiculations on pale grey mantle, not uniform grey/pearl size as Tufted, flanks pale grey/brown. John had seen a purple sheen to head, I was viewing in poor light so did not see this very well.

Redwing at the WWT, Holden Tower MJMcGill

9 November 2008 Showy Redwings, 58 Black-tailed Godwit and the Water Pipit were my highlights today. See WWT website for details.

7-8 November 2008 Nothing to report.

6 November 2008 Mike Cox and I made up some weldmesh baskets for holding Apples for the feeding stations (Badgers are eating them all on the ground). A quick look from the Holden Tower this morning resulted in a Lapland Bunting being the first bird on show. It was feeding on seeds among the grass piles on the Dumbles/Holden scrape with Skylark. LPA saw it twice more until 1145 at least and had 28 E Whitefront. Lots of Redwing and Fieldare in the hedges with 400 of the latter and a brief view of a Ring Ouzel in the afternoon.

5 November 2008 Still lots of migration, thrushes, Bramblings, Redpools, Siskins and Chaffinches.

Bewick’s Swan (unamed but sporting AA1617 Moscva metal ring) It is a yearling and was ringed on the Tundra in August 2008. This bird has been in the Rushy at WWT.

4 November 2008 Another good day of visible migration at WWT. At least 5 Brambling flew NW calling during the dayplus 2 at the South Finger feeders. 100 Chaffinch were also noted over. Finches in general are around in good numbers which is very encouraging. Whilst packing up for lunch I turned around only to see a Hawfinch fly from the vicinity of the feeders to the top of a tree and pose! It flew off N toward the Decoy and was joined by a second. A very scarce bird here and only the second I have ever seen on the reserve. LPA counted 54 E White-fronted Geese.

3 November 2008 A good day for winter migrants, it was great to watch a family of three E White-fronted Geese arrive (the first juvenile) to make the flock up to 14. Seven more Bewick’s Swans arrived to make 8 and once again thousands of thrushes, a Brambling and Siskins and Redpolls were all seen during the day. I also saw a Red-breasted Merganser and two Goldeneye fly upriver together this morning. A Brambling was also around the feeders at the new Kingfisher hide which opens on the 12th.

2 November 2008 Highlights included a Water Pipit on the Dumbles scrape and the arriving White-fronts.

1 November 2008 A day at the Space Centre, Leicester.

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