17th November 2013 - Chew Valley Lake and Salisbury Plain

We stayed in Bath with a couple of friends this weekend as we had booked in to go and see the Great Bustard on the Sunday.  Chew Valley Lake was first as there had been a plethora of great birds reported.  

Chew Valley Lake

Mallard time

Of course, we didn't see any of them, but did get some distant views in the mist of lovely Goosander and Goldeneye.  It was then on to Salisbury Plain where the Great Bustard Group run their reintroduction scheme.  There were a group of 5 of us going out that day to see the birds and we hopped in the 4x4 and were driven to the hide, passing many a MOD warning sign!  

Great Bustard!
From the hide there was a bird instantly recognisable, even to someone who had never seen one before.  We soon spotted another bird sitting down and had a great time watching them for a while.  It was then on over the hill to see if we could find a larger flock of Great Bustard outside of the release zone where we had watched the first pair of birds.  


We were in luck as there were a flock easily viewable - it was very interesting to compare the size of the female bird to the male bird.  We also saw the first Fieldfare for the Autumn/Winter and a lovely perched Kestrel took the focus away from the Bustard briefly.  It is definitely a trip I would recommend although you need to book quite far in advance - apparently April/May trips are already booked up!

Trip list: 28
Year list: 193
Lifers of year list: 28

10th November 2013 - Farmoor Reservoir

The trip to Farmoor was a quick trip, specifically to see a Red-necked Grebe that had been hanging about.  As always with reservoirs, it was freezing cold and blowing a gale, but the sun was also out so it was quite a pleasant walk.  We had heard there were also a couple of Slavonian Grebe about and spent an embarrassingly long time staring at a few Little Grebe trying to turn them into Slavonian!  Thankfully we stumbled across a lovely little Slavonian Grebe further round the reservoir, just before we came across the Red-necked Grebe and the many birders watching it.  It was quite playful and very quick to move, which was good for exercise but not so great for my hangover.  

Trip list: 12
Year list: 193
Lifers of year list: 28