1-31 December 2009 Martin’s blog and sightings

27-31 December 2009 Back to work at WWT Slimbridge where the conditions were rather heavily overcast but the thaw allowed many birds to return to the fields.

26 December 2009 At last the apples worked and I have my first male Blackcap of the winter.

25 December 2009 Happy Christmas to everyone. A walk around the field next to my house revealed c35 Skylark (they have been here all winter), 1 Stock Dove, 12 Golden Plover over low S, Fieldfare, Redwings, 3 Yellowhammer and a female Blackcap in the orchard mistletoe.

21-24 December 2009 Shops and little birding but for watching the garden feeders. This however is very rewarding as I have seen my second Great Spotted Woodpecker for the garden, a female.

17-20 December 2009 A snowy trip to Slovenia, a trip report will appear soon on the relevant page.

Green-winged Teal, male far right Tack Piece, WWT Slimbridge
The vertical whitish stripe on fore flank clearly visible.

GWTeal 002 December 2009 MJMcGill

First-winter male Eurasian Teal with vertical leaf!
I have seen this a few times before with feathers/leaves, always check!

Not a  GWTeal December 2009 MJMcGill

6-16 December 2009 A period of large influxes of wildlfowl and waders to the WWT Slimbridge reserve. This time of year allows for very limited birding with such short days and often poor light. I have seen a few things whilst at work but have done absolutlely no birding on my days off.  A few Chiffchaff and Blackcap are wintering but the best birding is widlfowl, wader and Starling watching. A Green-winged Teal added a little Christmas spice to the mix and Bar-tailed Godwits overwintering is unusual for us. Locally Great Northern Divers in the Cotswold Water Park have been a draw for local birders, cold weather movements this week should see the Smew arriving here, perhaps with something else to get the scopes out for.

Barwits, Curlew and assorted wildfowl, Tack Piece.

Bar-tailed Godwits, Tack Piece, WWT, MJMcGill

Starling roost gathering WWT Slimbridge 3 December 2009

Starling roost 1- 7 December 2009 MJMcGill

Starling roost 1- 7 December 2009 MJMcGill 014

Starling roost close up 1- 7 December 2009 MJMcGill 015

1-5 December 2009 A period of favourable winds have brought wildfowl/wader numbers up at WWT, over 200 E.White-fronted Geese and 70 Bewick’s Swans. Other highlights for me have been the Barn Owl through the Rushy whilst doing a floodlit feed on 30 November, the Starling roost at WWT and at least three wintering Chiffchaff and c14 Cetti’s Warblers around the reserve.

At home in Whitminster I have added Merlin (chasing Skylarks) 28 Nov , two male Yellowhammer (Nov and 4th Dec) and a female Brambling (20 and 27th Nov) to the garden list in the last two weeks.

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