Thursday, 6 January 2011

West Somerset and Waxwings

Waxwings - Driffield
 Spent Sunday to Wednesday doing bird disturbance work in Bridgewater Bay, West Somerset. It wasn't great weather, we got a puncture second day but still it was good to be somewhere new. Infact if the transit van didnt get the puncture I was due to go looking for the Great White Egrets at Shapwick heath, 10 miles away from Burnham-on-Sea where we stayed. Sadly it was not to be but some decent birds were seen.

The travel down was later than expected - I had racked a mere 27 species of bird on New Year's Day (highlights few and far between) and I was hopeful of perhaps getting Buzzard en route. What I did manage was Feral Pigeon, Herring Gull and something else equally crap. We got a good run down (we being me and a colleague, Ann, who was doing the benthic hovercraft sampling I was observing) and arrived at Burnham around 9.30pm.

The next morning I managed to sleep through my alarm almost failing at my job before it started. I zoomed down to Hinkley Point with new year ticks including Teal, Wigeon, Shelduck, Curlew, Greater Black-backed Gull and Oystercatcher. Exciting stuff. I did manage a Buzzard as I travelled - infact these were pretty universal in the area. Plenty of Dunlin were kicking about with top counts around the 10,000 mark.

As the hovercraft sampling moved along Bridgewater Bay I had to move to Stert Flats to get a better view. As I trundled along I noted a bird of prey on a post. I readied my camera and ... bugger, I had forgotten the battery in the rush from oversleeping. I rolled the transit van to within 20m and the bird flushed onto the next post - a female Merlin. It just sat and watched me with me watching it, gutted I didnt have a battery to snap away at it. Not alot on Stert flats so that was my lot for the day save manual labour.

mmm - muddy
The next day had me watching the estuary of the River Parrett as the van had a puncture and I had to sort that. Not alot to report but a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits and 8 Ringed Plover were nice and a Grey Wagtail in a garden was a surprise. We were about done and dusted apart from a few bits and bats don by the power station. These took much longer than expected on the Wednesday so when we got finished at half 3 we were releaved. Then I got the van stuck on wet grass with over a tonne of mud samples in. An hour it took me to unload the van, move the van and reload the van although I was concerned it could have been allnight... Finally we were away. 

Waxwings - Driffield

On the way back I heard that a few Waxwings were knocking about Driffield - I managed to get away and see them this morning. I managed a few shots but messed up my autofocus - sorted now but these shots were all I could manage. I did manage a Common Gull on the roof of next doors house though and a bona fide garden tick - Yellowhammer on the seed under the feeder - a nice bright female.
Common Gull - Nafferton

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