Thursday, 5 April 2012

Somerset & Gloucestershire

Saturday 1st April

Down to Somerset and Gloucestershire with fellow West Mids region bloggers Martyn and Richard. A few quality birds tempting us to make the journey down the M5.

First we visited the 2 Long-billed Dowitchers at Meare Heath on the Somerset Levels. We arrived around 8.00am and were instantly furnished us with very good scope views of the two Dowitchers (lifer 286). 

Image courtesy of Richard Powell -

The same lagoon also contained a Great White Egret, Bittern, 4 Ruff, 23 Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank. Spring migrants included a singing Willow Warbler and a Sedge Warbler was also heard. Blackcap & Chiffy firmly established just about everywhere now. Bitterns booming and Cetti’s belting out from the reedbed behind us. Not at all a bad way to start the day.

Next, Chew Valley Lake. The long-staying Spotted Sandpiper was being a bit of a pain, having just wandered into the far corner along with a Green Sandpiper and becoming totally hidden from view. We proceeded to the dam area where we watched a female Long-tailed Duck, as it associated with Tufted Ducks. Here also a Raven over and a Gypo Goose. Sand Martins were noted with around 10 here, and high above Herriot's Bridge a ball of seemigly hundreds of hirundines were in the air.

Back at Herriot’s Bridge the Spotted Sand still did not seem to be playing ball, but thankfully it soon flew from the far corner onto some rocky islands where at last decent scope views were obtained. The bird had some subtle spotting to it’s flanks.

LBBG at Chew Valley Lake

 The final portion of the day was spent in Gloucestershire. After a quick look for a Cattle Egret that we didn’t see at Lydney, we were all anxious to connect with the Bonaparte’s Gull at Newham, on the bank of the Severn. Although we had just missed the bird, it was only across the road feeding in a field with Black-headed Gulls and was commuting between the mudflat and it’s feeding field. We all had excellent and prolonged views of this diminutive gull, my personal favourite bird of the day. 

Bonaparte's Gull at Newnham, Glos
We finished off with a curry, such has become the tradition. Maybe I should introduce a ‘curry corner’ to this blog?

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