March 2014 Blog and sightings

March 31 2014
I had to drop my son off at his friends due to an inset day so took the chance to look for some downland or what we called farmland birds whilst at Leighterton. A short drive away and I bagged 8 Corn Bunting from the car and 260 Linnet.

Corn Buntings

Corn Bunting, 31 Mar 14, MJMcGill

Corn Bunting, 31 Mar 14, MJMcGill 001

I headed home and rested up for the afternoon when I saw a tweet from Colin B about a Bean Goose on the Dumbles. I had to have a look and fancied a trip out to loosen up my joints. On reaching the Holden Tower I joined Nige Warren and Paul Taylor, the latter was watching the Hooded Crow proving he does study his birds when given free time. I got onto the Bean and saw it was a female Taiga Bean Goose, a quick scan revealed a male, the same pair I saw on Saturday morning!

Great to see this (should be) species as it has been years since my last at Slimbridge.

Male left and female right Taiga Bean Geese, The Dumbles

Taiga Bean Goose, male, Dumbles, 31-03-14, MJMcGill Taiga Bean Goose, female, 31-03-14, Dumbles, MJMcGill

The lovely couple together

Taiga Bean Geese, male and female, Dumbles, 31-03-14, MJMcGill

Late in the evening I cycled to Saul Flashes where a large pale Greylag was roosting, I saw the same bird floating on the estuary on the morning tide.


March 30 2014
14 Fieldfare and a Redwing W over my house. A canal side stroll produced a female Marsh Harrier hunting the foreshore and single Little-ringed Plover and even scarcer here a Yellowhammer N. I went for a drive to bird from the car and saw a 2nd summer Mediterranean Gull with full hood in fields near Arlingham/Overton Lane.

In the afternoon I got a call from DBP  about a possible Hooded Crow from Holden Tower. I was there when he confirmed it was still present, a county lifer. Thanks to the ‘Sunday gang’ for getting news out and going out of their way to do so. I narrowly missed the 91 bird that Pete Alder saw, long time to get that one back.

Hooded Crow

Hooded Crow, Dumbles, 30 Mar 14, MJMcGill

March 29 2014
I was up very early, seems to be the norm lately and noticed that Mike King was actually enjoying life on Cleeve Hill. I formulated a plan which involved taking my bike, there was no way I could reach the Postlip valley on foot. A short roll down to the area of the washpool and I was able to settle under a hawthorn and scan for the two Ring Ouzels. was joined by two other ouzel hunters and had a chat whilst watching a female feeding on earthworms. Nice to see Andy Wiggins in his usual habitat on the hill but sadly unable to go for a stroll with him. After giving detailed instruction on where to find the birds he reported that he saw the male as well confirming MLK’s previous total. I missed the male.

Heading off in the car I detoured to the reported Tundra Bean Geese at Kemerton, Worcestershire, being just over the border it was not far and close to the car. I was soon watching two Taiga Bean Geese, excellent to see them locally. It was a male and female, the gander being a striking almost fully orange billed bird hence an old name being Yellow billed Bean Goose. The female looked like she had laid eggs before, she showed a real ‘saggy ass’.

Later in the day a short walk across the road from home and I could see 30+ Sand Martin.

Taiga Bean Geese, Kemerton, Worcs.

Taiga Bean Geese, pair, Kemerton Lake, Worcs, 29-03-14,MJMcGill Taiga Bean Geese, pair male on right, Kemerton Lake, Worcs, 29-03-14, MJMcGill Taiga Bean Geese, Kemerton Lake, Worcs, 29-03-14, MJMcGill Taiga Bean Geese, Kemrton Lake, Worc, 29-03-14, pair, MJMcGill

Female Ring Ouzel, Cleeve Hill

Ring Ouzel, female, 29 Mar 14, MJMcGill Ring Ouzel, Cleeve Hill, 29-03-14, MJMcGill

March 28 2014
Off crutches and a painful hobble to the foreshore of my so beloved Severn. I saw my first pair of Little ringed Plover and three Ringed Plover of the year. The latter among 9 Dunlin and 2 Little Stint out on the sands off Hock Ditch. Two Grey Plover went through N.

Little ringed Plover, Saul, 28-03-14, MJMcGill

Little ringed Plover, Saul Warth, 28-03-14, MJMcGill

March 20 2014
My first five Sand Martin and four Grey Plover on the estuary.

The threat of Whitminster losing lots of varied habitat due to housing developments looms large. I intend to provide a voice for the birds, a selection of Whitminster residents in late March below.


Sparrowhawk, female, Whitminster, March 14, MJMcGill

Great spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker,male, Whitminster Mar 14, MJMcGill


Yellowhammer, male, Whitminster, 27 Mar 14, MJMcGill

March 10 2014

I underwent my fifth operation on my damaged foot, it was a relief to finally get it out of the way as it has been highly stressful having it hanging over me. It should be for the best in the long run but means a short-term lay up to heal and then a programme of light then increasing exercise to build up strength. As usual it is totally frustrating to be unable to walk again. Being ill the week before did not help things at all but I am so glad the operation was quick and went to plan. N. Bristol NHS at Southmead were brilliant, they removed the metal plate and eight screws and did a very neat sewing job.

March 5 2014

In the company of Terry Grant in the Holden Tower we were enjoying the birds when he spotted a Spoonbill on the Tack Piece. It was very restless and flew around the reserve visiting many spots.


Spoonbill, Dumbles, 5 Mar 14, MJMcGill Spoonbill, 5 Mar 14, Dumbles, MJMcGill

March 3 2014
A likely candidate for female American Wigeon was on the Dumbles scrape. I watched it for over half and hour and took lots of video but never captured the wing flap. I did see this event through the scope and it had white axillaries. The bird flew off when the tide flooded the Dumbles. It had a very strong mask around the eye and a grey not a all brown head.

Female American Wigeon?

poss American Wigeon, female, Dumbles, 03-03-14, MJMcGill

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: