Blog Category | UK Birding

SPTA West

I have spent months away adding to my birds of the western paleartic list (Finland 7 and Iceland 1).  I have also added moths (Sicily) and orchids (Gargano, Italy).  It is only recently that I have been out on the Plain where I have seen and heard Quail. I also saw Stone Curlew on its plot from distance.  I added Yellow Wagtail to the list for this year.  There are plenty of Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer and Whinchat about as well as Linnet, Skylark and Meadow Pipit.  This dry weather can cause some fires and one already has started but soon extinguised itself.  There are plenty of orchids about but mainly Pyramdal and Spotted.  Butterflies include Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Marbled White, Painted Lady, Small Skipper and Marsh Fritillary.  They are live firing tomorrow so I shall check out a wood north of Devizes I have been surveying for the BTO.  We are now one conservation group so no longer do I represent just the West.  I was out on the East the other day and found 5 spot and 6 spot Burnets.   I have also been on the Centre as well!  By the way yesterday was Armed Forces Day in Salisbury and I was there with Kaiser Chiefs playing the last slot on the stage.  

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SPTA West

The migration season is underway and I have only seen a Chiffchaff (could it have been a over winter bird?).  I did see a Hen Harrier near Redhorn Vedette.  I was on my way to see Bustards and saw Red Kite, Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, Linnet, Stonechat, Kestrel and Buzzard amongst other birds before the flock of Great Bustards in a field.  The other day there were few birds about and on a Bee Survey all I found was 1 Snipe and a Bloody-nosed Beetle.  I have been in Iceland (-24C) and the Canaries (+24C) where I did not see the Gyr Falcon nor the Dwarf Bittern.  I did see lots of other birds during my trips.  I was ringing at Lacock with a GRSWO and a SONTH plus numerous Great Tits and Blue Tits.  The Plain on the West has not been productive as it has been very windy.  In the shelter of the valleys however watchers have seen Hen Harriers when we carry out our surveys.  I did have a trip to Eastbourne for a break and saw the normal birds as my wife and I visted National Trust properties in the area.  We also popped in to see our son at Folkestone who is now gainfully employed in Hampstead!  I still am waiting for the migrants to appear on the Plain despite reports of birds within the County.

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SPTA West

The snow is lying thick at home and it still has not stopped snowing all day.  It started last night and this afternoon I cancelled my monthly walk on the Plain which was planned for tomorrow.  I have been busy on the Plain and done some ringing in the Braydon Forest enclaves followed by twitching at the Cotswold Water Park where I was fortunate to see the Ring-necked Duck with a flock of Pochard.  On the Plain I have been steadily working west with my surveys which have had to stop because of the white stuff.  There has been plenty of corvids and pigeons though I have not yet seen the Starling roost nor a Short-eared Owl thinking about it.  There has been a variety of small birds seen from Great and Blue Tit to Goldfinch and Bullfinch.  There has been Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Stonechat and Skylark up to large birds including Raven, Buzzard and a few Sparrowhawks.  There has even been Kestrel and Linnet as well as quantities of Fieldfare.   The last birds I added to the 2019 list were Stock Dove and I am now 83 species for my home land locked county of Wiltshire however that includes a varity of duck.  As well as birds on the Plain there has been Badger setts, Grey Squirel, Roe Deer and Fairy Shrimps.  

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SPTA West

It is already mid January and I am up to 115 birds in UK and 61 in Wiltshire.  I eneded up on the Norfolk Coast for the 1st weekend in January with friends from the Society.  It was a good weekend with a lot of birds seen.  I have been on the Plain and did my first survey last week where I found  the normal corvids and stuff.  I also went on an egg hunt for Brown Hairstreak and though the group found 22 eggs (white dots on Blackthorn) I found several eggs of the Blue-boarded Carpet (white dots on Blackthorn though no dimple).  I have been ringing and twitching in Wiltshire.  It has been a bit windy to ring at home but have been out and about at other locations.  Today I extracted and put a ring on my first Snipe and twitched 3 Whooper Swans near the Thames.  The other day I twitched the Smew though it took me 2 attempts to find it.  On the Plain I saw a Ring-tail Harrier and a Merlin though not on my grid square.  There were also some large adult Fairy Shrimps as well in the last puddle before walking to the car after finishing my grid sqaure (onyy 12 sqaures to go).  There always are Roe Deer about but they are very skittish.  

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SPTA West

I have been doing lots of surveys on the Plain and sometimes it is deadly quiet and other times there are lots of birds.  The Plain has been open to the public since the 27th as long as they keep to the open roads and church.  Most people do as they are told though there are some idiots that ignore signs.  The highlight has been the 400 Golden Plover that was circling just above my head twice now.  There have been huge flocks of Starling and Fieldfare with the odd Redwing mixed in.  There have been Meadow Pipit and Skylark flying up from the long grass though you have to be in close proximity for them to fly.  There has been Woodcock and Snipe plus lots of corvids including Jay.  There have been lots of tits, Chaffinch and Goldcrest seen on the days out across the area as well as Linnet and Goldfinch.  As it is the new year I did pop out to Langford Lakes but drove across the Plain and stopped at the church. It was very quiet today until about 11am when the hordes decended (acording to the staff).  I wish you all a Happy New Year.

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