21st October 2012 - Amwell

We visited Amwell on a walk with the Chorleywood and District RSPB Group, which was the first time I'd ever been.  The combination of birds and trains is always a good one!  Our leader was Jono Forgham, a great birdwatcher we'd been out with many times before.

Despite a recommendation, I wasn't allowed to take these home for a soup.  Hmph.
 The Cormorant were out sunning themselves in force with a large crowd of Gulls down the far end of the lake.  Unfortunately it was a little too hazy for my binoculars, but with a little help I found a Common Gull happily sitting on a post looking lovely.  At the edge of the water there were three Snipe and seven Grey Heron were dotted about the place with a couple up in the trees.  Amongst the Canada Geese I saw my first Greylag Geese of the last few months and always a favourite, some Lapwing.

Ducks included Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted, Wigeon and Pochard with Teal spotted later on in the walk.  There was also a Great Spotted Woodpecker bopping around and a Jay posed in the sun for us to admire.  Despite straining our necks for a good twenty minutes, the elusive Redpoll a couple of our group had spotted earlier was not to be seen, but plenty of Siskin were happy to oblige instead.  The walk was rounded off with a Yellow-legged Gull and an excellent fry up at the Village Cafe in Stanstead Abbotts.

14th October 2012 - Dungeness

If it weren't so barren and bizarre, I'd rather like to live at Dungeness - fresh fish, cute railway and birds galore!  I'll make do with my day trips down for now though.  We were introducing a friend to birdwatching and decided Dungeness would be the perfect place.  We of course forgot about the biting cold but luckily after the sun came up it was a rather glorious day.

Awesome train!
A brief amount of sea watching (think 5 minutes) produced quite a good little starter of two Turnstone, Gannet and various Gulls.  A walk towards the Observatory also was rather good, with the first Great Spotted Woodpecker we'd ever seen there and a beautiful pair of Black Redstart flitting around.  A walk around the NNR produced little more than 4 Kestrel, but we enjoyed watching the ringing of a Lesser Redpoll, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a very vocal Jay.

Mobile phone digiscoping Turnstone...interesting
We then rocked on down to the RSPB reserve and did our usual slow progress down the driveway  stopping every few moments!  A great view of a Stonechat was missed by our friend but luckily a couple were seen later on the walk.  A few Greenfinch and many Great Black-backed Gull were around.  On the walk around the reserve the usual passerines and ducks were seen as well as a lovely Pintail and lone Black-tailed Godwit.  A flock of Shoveler were interesting to look through, with different stages of plumage.  There were lots of Grey Heron hanging around (seven to be exact!) and the Kestrel influx followed us over.  A lovely warden took us around to see the Great White Egret and a first for the year flew over - eight Stock Dove.  A happy sight later on was a Bearded Tit flitting about the reeds and two gorgeous Raven directly above us.  A late prize was around 300 Golden Plover on the ARC Pit and finally some Tree Sparrows!  

Er and just a quick couple of pictures of the seafood platter and banana and chocolate cake I made the night before.  Nom.

1st September 2012 - Slimbridge

I apologise for how awful I have been in updating this blog.  Originally when we came back from Hungary I became rather ill and so hadn't been birdwatching for a couple of months.  Now I'm managing the illness and doing more birdwatching, I've been putting off the blog updates - bad Therese!  I have a couple of August visits which I'll update about later, but let us start at the beginning of September with a visit to Slimbridge.


I was visiting my mother in Birmingham and noticed a lovely visitor to Slimbridge, so turfed my mother and the boy into the car and started being a satnav without telling them where we were going (it's a bit far for a non-birder to be persuaded to go).  Eventually they cottoned on, but I had my way by then!  Luckily, I find the WWT reserves great for non-birders as they have plenty of collection birds (a possible debate for later) so there is a lot for them to get excited over at hand.  We had a quick wander round part of the collection, then found our way to the South Lake Observatory.  Here we joined the bank of scopes trying to desperately pick out the visitor I had gone for amongst the many Black-tailed Godwit - the Long-billed Dowitcher.  Eventually he was found, having a bath.  My mother wasn't too impressed - apparently I'm no longer allowed to take her that far to look at a bird unless it is very brightly coloured.  Hmph.
The Tropical House

We all enjoyed the Swallows sitting on the telegraph wires allowing us to get a good look at them and a cheeky Canada Goose trying to get in the window of the hide was a source of great amusement.

Excuse my photos, my camera has been AWOL so my shoddy phone camera has had to try and vaguely depict birds for the last couple of months.  I'm also no longer going to list the birds I see on a given trip unless you guys still want me to - let me know!