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In Search of Little Bunting

Two Owls Birding - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 16:19
Jackie and I had a 'twitch' today after the Little Bunting that was found at Chiswell, Portland yesterday.  The only trouble was that my car was in the garage and Jackie's turbo doesn't seem to be working properly, but as it's a county tick and it's been a slight bogey bird in Dorset for us to catch-up with, we made the decision to go for it even if we had to get the breakdown truck out to get home. 
After an hour we arrived and parked up and meeting friends Liz and Terry who had already seen the bird and pointed us in the right direction, which in fact was about four metres away from where we were stood.  So I joined a few photographers to see if I could manage a few memory shots and a little video of the bird.
Little Bunting - Chiswell, Portland © Nick HullThe above shot was taken just to the rear of a parked car at the edge of the drive to the rear of the buildings.  The one below was taken when it was disturbed by a delivery van and it moved to sit and preen in some dried scrub on the Chesil bank.  I have to say of all the Little Buntings I've seen this was the most confiding Little Bunting - Chiswell, Portland © Nick HullAnd the good news is we made it back home without use of a tow truck.
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Abbotsbury Swannery Bird Sightings - September 2018

Swannery Steve - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 10:44

This month’s best sighting was undoubtedly the Swannery's first ever Lesser Yellowlegs but  the first Dipper for 36 years came a close second! Also of note were multiple sightings of GarganeyCattle Egrets and Grey Phalaropes, along with singles of Osprey, Hen HarrierCurlew Sandpiper, Black TernShort-eared Owl and 'Blue-headed Wagtail'.

Lesser Yellowlegs, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Joe Stockwell
Garganey (juv.), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Steve Groves
Cattle Egret, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Joe Stockwell
Osprey, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Steve GrovesGrey Phalarope, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Steve Groves
The Month's Bird News In Full...More details of the above highlights and the rest of this month's sightings...
Canada Goose... Present throughout with 337 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.
Barnacle Goose... Two were present for much of the month.
Greylag Goose... One was present all month.
Black Swan… Four were present for much of the month.

Black Swans, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Steve Groves
Mute Swan... Present throughout with 585 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.
Whooper Swan... The released rehabilitated second calendar year was present all month.
(Common) Shelduck... Seen regularly with five counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th. In addition the two Shelduck x Eider hybrids were present throughout.
Garganey... Three were present on the 3rd, whilst singles were seen on the 6th, 22nd and 26th.

Above two images... Garganey (juv.), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 
© Steve Groves

Northern Shoveler… Present throughout with peaks of 50 on the 7th and 19th.
Gadwall... One on the 4th only.
(Eurasian) Wigeon... Present throughout with a peak of 50 on the 3rd.

Mallard... Present throughout with 524 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.
(Northern) Pintail... Present throughout with 66 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.
(Eurasian) Teal... Present throughout with a peak of 500 on several dates.
(Common) Pochard... Seen regularly with eight counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.
Tufted Duck... Present throughout with 85 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.

(Common) Pheasant... Present throughout.
(Northern) Fulmar... One briefly on the 9th. 
Little Grebe... Present throughout with a peak of 24 on the 18th.
Great Crested Grebe... Present throughout with a peak of at least 50 on the 3rd.

(Western) Cattle Egret... Five arrived on the 14th and there were then regular sightings with a peak of 19 on the 27th.

Above two images... Cattle Egret, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 
© Steve Groves
Grey Heron... Seen regularly.

Grey Heron (juv.), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 
© Charlie Wheeler
Little Egret... Present throughout with a peak of at least 22 on the 18th.
(Great) Cormorant... Present throughout with 45 in the roost on the 13th.                                                            
(Western) Osprey... Singles were seen on six dates from the 1st to the 28th inclusive.

Above two images... Osprey, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Joe Stockwell

(Eurasian) Sparrowhawk... Singles were seen regularly.
(Western) Marsh Harrier... Singles were seen regularly.

Hen Harrier... An adult male was seen briefly on the 29th... The first sighting of this species since December 2017 and the first adult male since January 2011.
(Common) Buzzard... Present throughout.
Water Rail... Seen or at least heard regularly.
(Common) Moorhen... Present throughout. 
(Eurasian) Coot... Present throughout with 250 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.

(Northern) Lapwing... Up to 15 were seen regularly.

Lapwing, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Steve Groves
(European) Golden Plover... Two on the 1st were the first since March.
Grey Plover... Two on the 7th.
(Common) Ringed Plover... Seen regularly with a peaks of at least five on several dates. 
Whimbrel... Singles were seen fairly regularly.
(Eurasian) Curlew... Singles were seen fairly regularly.

Bar-tailed Godwit... One on the 27th.
Black-tailed Godwit... Seen regularly with a peak of eight on the 1st.
(Red) Knot... Seen regularly with a peak of 14 on the 1st.
Ruff... One on the 7th.

Curlew Sandpiper… One on the 8th.

Curlew Sandpiper (juv.), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Dunlin... Seen regularly with a peak of over 15 on the 23rd.

Dunlin (juv.), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Steve Groves
(Common) Snipe... Seen seen regularly, with a peak of nine on the 15th.

Snipe, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Charlie WheelerSnipe, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Steve Groves
Grey Phalarope… Three were present on the 20th/21st, five on the 22nd and two on the 23rd, with at least one then lingering to the 25th.

Grey Phalarope, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Steve GrovesGrey Phalaropes (& Coots), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Joe Stockwell
Common Sandpiper… Seen regularly, with a peak of 14 on the 6th.

Green Sandpiper… Singles were present on the 2nd/3rd, 8th and 22nd.

Lesser Yellowlegs... The first for The Swannery (and 3rd for The Fleet) lingered briefly on the 23rd (before being relocated at nearby Lodmoor RSPB).

Above two images... Lesser Yellowlegs, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 
© Joe Stockwell
(Common) Redshank... Up to three were seen regularly.
(Common) Greenshank… One on the 5th.
Black-headed Gull... Present throughout with 22 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.
Mediterranean Gull... Seen regularly with a peak of at least 100 on the 9th.
Common Gull... Seen regularly, with a peak of eight on the 23rd.
Great Black-backed Gull... Present throughout with a peak of at least 100 present on the 18th.
(European) Herring Gull... Present throughout.
Yellow-legged Gull... One first calendar year was present on the 19th/20th.
Lesser Black-backed Gull... Single figures were seen regularly.
Sandwich Tern... Singles were seen on the 16th and 24th.

Common Tern... At least eight were still present to the 7th but none were seen subsequently.

Arctic Tern... A juvenile was seen on the 20th.

Arctic Tern (juv.), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Black Tern... A juvenile was present on the 5th.

Black Tern (juv.), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Joe Stockwell
‘Feral Pigeon’... Present throughout.
Stock Dove... Single figures were seen regularly.
(Common) Wood Pigeon... Present throughout.
(Eurasian) Collared Dove... Present throughout.

(Western) Barn Owl... One on the 21st.
Tawny Owl... Seen or at least heard regularly.

Short-eared Owl... One was seen on the 5th.
(Common) Kingfisher... Up to two were seen regularly.

Kingfisher, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Joe Stockwell
Great Spotted Woodpecker... Seen regularly.

(European) Green Woodpecker... Seen regularly.

(Common) Kestrel... Single figures were seen regularly.

Kestrel, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Charlie Wheeler
(Eurasian) Hobby... 
Singles on the 2nd and 4th.
Peregrine Falcon... Singles were seen regularly.
(Eurasian) Jay... One seen on the 10th was the first since March. Subsequently one was heard on the 27th.

(Eurasian) Magpie... Present throughout.
(Western) Jackdaw... Present throughout.
Rook... Present throughout.
Carrion Crow... Present throughout.
(Northern) Raven... Seen regularly.
Coal Tit... Present throughout.
(Eurasian) Blue Tit... Present throughout.
Great Tit... Present throughout.
(Eurasian) Skylark... Present throughout.
Sand Martin... Single figures were seen regularly to the 12th but none were seen subsequently.
(Barn) Swallow... Present throughout, with  a peak of over 500 on the 4th.

(Common) House Martin... Seen regularly, with a peak of over 500 on the 4th.

Cetti's Warbler... Present throughout.
Long-tailed Tit... Present throughout.
Willow Warbler... Up to ten were seen regularly to the 13th but none were seen subsequently.
(Common) Chiffchaff... Present throughout, with a peak of at least 200 on the 13th.
Sedge Warbler... Present throughout, with a peak of at least 20 on the 6th.
(Eurasian) Reed Warbler... Seen regularly, with a peak of at least 10 on the 3rd.
(Common) Grasshopper Warbler... Two were seen on the 13th and singles were present on the 17th and 21st.
(Eurasian) Blackcap... Present throughout, with a peak of over 200 on the 13th.
Garden Warbler... One was seen on the 8th.

Lesser Whitethroat... One was seen on the 25th.
(Common) Whitethroat... Seen regularly, with at least 10 present on the 13th.
Goldcrest... Present throughout.
(Eurasian) Wren... Present throughout.
(Eurasian) Nuthatch... At least one was heard regularly.
(Eurasian) Treecreeper... Present throughout.
(Common) Starling... Seen regularly with a peak of at least 25 on the 27th.
(Common) Blackbird... Present throughout.
Song Thrush... Present throughout.

Mistle Thrush... One on the 13th was surprisingly the only record.
Spotted Flycatcher... One on the 7th was surprisingly the only record.

(European) Robin... Present throughout.
(Common) Redstart... Two were present on the 13th.
Whinchat... Seen regularly with a peak of 10 on the 1st.

Whinchat, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Joe Stockwell
(European) Stonechat... At least three were seen regularly.
(Northern) Wheatear... Seen regularly with at least 15 present on the 5th.

(White-throated) Dipper... The first at The Swannery since 1982 was seen on the 25th.

House Sparrow... Present throughout.
Dunnock... Present throughout.
(Western) Yellow Wagtail... 
‘British Yellow Wagtail’... Seen regularly with a peak count of at least 430 in the roost on the 1st. 
‘Blue-headed Wagtail’... One was seen briefly on the 1st. 

Yellow Wagtails (juv. & ad.), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Kev Butler.
Grey Wagtail... Seen regularly with a peak of 12 on the 6th.
White Wagtail... 
'British Pied Wagtail’... Present throughout, with at least 100 present in the roost on the 28th.  
‘European White Wagtail’... One was seen on the 5th and two were trapped, ringed and released on the 24th.
Meadow Pipit... Seen regularly with at least 1,500 over on the 22nd.
Tree Pipit... Seen regularly in the first half of the month, with a peak of at least 10 over on the 5th but none were seen after the 15th.

(Eurasian) Rock Pipit... The first since April was seen on the 23rd and again on the 25th.
(Common) Chaffinch... Present throughout.
(European) Greenfinch... One or two were seen regularly.
(Common) Linnet... Present throughout.
(European) Goldfinch... Present throughout.
(Eurasian) Siskin... Single figures were seen regularly from the 13th.
(Common) Reed Bunting... Present throughout.

... And that's it for this month except to say thanks to my work colleagues and volunteers for additional sightings and additional images, particularly Joe Stockwell and Charlie Wheeler but also Alan Barrett, Kev Butler, Phil Jenks, Richard Philips, Nick Urch and Jonny White. 

Southern Hawker, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2018 © Charlie Wheeler
October’s sightings to follow shortly.
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Since the last Post

Two Owls Birding - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 14:58
Since our last post I had a few hour to spare and went to Arne and volunteered a few hours which I try to do as regularly as possible. On the way I stopped at a field at Nutcrack Lane and checked if the Cattle Egrets were with the cattle there.  There were nineteen Cattle Egret spread across the field,  so out with the bridge camera for a little shooting and trying out the video mode.  Here's what I managed to get.
Also Arne had been getting a male Brambling into the feeding station behind the Welcome Hut so whilst helping out I kept an eye open for a it to visit.  I was just pointing out the different birds to one of the visitors when I spotted a Brambling but this time it was a female none-the-less a very smart bird and she continued to visit throughout the afternoon though somewhat intermittently to the chagrin of some of the visitors.Female Brambling Arne © Nick HullNext we had a Two Owls group meeting at Blashford Lakes this was on a rather cold damp day but luckily for us it stayed dry right up until we were walking to the cars when it started again. None-the-less we had a good mornings birding see many of the regular species that frequents the reserve.  The highlights were Green Sandpiper on the bank and a dozen Goosander from the Goosander hide was most appropreiate on Ibsley Water.  Also from the Goosander hide we had realy close views of a Snipe which was hunkered down right below the hide amongst trashed willow on the shoreline.Common Snipe - Goosander Hide, Isbley Water, Blashford © Nick Hull

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27 Nov 18

Martin Adlam - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 13:44

Rain stopped play today. In fact this afternoon just got darker and darker.

At least it didn't stop the birds visiting the back garden with 4 Great Tits, 2 Blue Tits, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Greenfinches and House Sparrows all visiting the feeders. On the lawn a male Blackbird, Robin and Dunnock.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2017
Today's Sightings Here
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26 Nov 18

Martin Adlam - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 16:30
Rufus Castle and Church Ope Cove

A late afternoon walk down to Church Ope Cove, where for the first time in quite awhile there was a Black Redstart under the cliffs at the north-east corner of the cove. Also here were 3 Rock Pipits, a Pied Wagtail, 3 Wrens and 2 Herring Gulls.

Out to sea a fishing boat was heading back to Weymouth with a good 20+ gulls at the rear and a couple of Cormorants heading in the opposite direction.

No sign of the Firecrest from yesterday, but on the steps half-way up to Rufus Castle there were 2 Goldcrests, a Great Tit, Blue Tit and a Robin in the small copse on the right in Penns Weare Here.

Also on the steps I came across the headless corpse of a Kestrel. There were 3 Kestrels here on 14 Nov having a right dispute. Is it possible they had a fight to the end!!

Here are a few photos from this afternoon:

The Black Redstart appears to be back.
Not venturing far from the large boulders....... stayed here for awhile before heading off to the southern end of the beach.
One of the 2 Herring Gulls lurking on the shoreline.
Just the 3 Rock Pipits here today.
Not sure why this Kestrel died, possibly the result of a fight with a rival. Who knows!!
A fishing boat returns to Weymouth with gulls for company.
Dawn, Ted and Benji at Rufus Castle.
And another pose for the camera.
Ted the rock climber.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2017
Today's Sightings Here
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25 Nov 18

Martin Adlam - Sun, 11/25/2018 - 13:55
Broadcroft Quarry Lane, Bumpers Lane, South-west Coast path, Rufus Castle, Penns Weare, Church Ope Cove, St Andrew's Church and Penns Wood.

Main highlight today was my first Firecrest this Winter at the back of Church Ope Cove behind the huts. Other highlights were 8 Rock Pipits, 1 Pied Wagtail and 3 Wrens on the beach.

Elsewhere there were 2 Goldcrests in Penns Wood and 5 in the Car Park across the road from the wood Here.

What was noticeable was the increased numbers of Robins along my walk with many birds singing from what I can only imagine are their overwintering territories.

Overhead on my travels were one or 2 Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Chaffinches.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was also heard along Bumpers Lane.

Here are a few images from today:

One of the 8 Rock Pipits on the beach this morning.
This one seems to be doing alright catching Kelp Flies.
The only insects on the wing today appeared to Bluebottles soaking up the sum.
A Goldcrest in Penns Wood.
And his mate high up in the canopy.
One of the local Blackberries is just starting to come out in blossom. Not bad for November!!
These are Snowberries, also know as Waxberry or Ghostberry and is a member of the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae.
This track would lead you down onto Broadcroft Quarry Lane, but for some reason has now blocked off. Sadly the bushes either side have been buried, which is a real shame as thrushes and finches have been using this area for winter food and cover. No one ever thinks of the consequences of dumping tons of rubble on vegetation.
This is Euonymus japonicus.............
..........which is just starting to bear fruit.
The berries are white now, but when they ripen they will look like this here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2017
Today's Sightings Here
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24 Nov 18

Martin Adlam - Sat, 11/24/2018 - 16:27

Having picked up my new camera from Curry's it was off to Radipole Lake up by the Tennis Courts Here. Unfortunately the new camera needs a full charge, so old faithful was used. The light conditions, once again, were horrendous and as I got out of the car, so the drizzle came down.

The Ring-necked Duck was easy to pick up as it kept close to one of feeding Mute Swans. In fact a couple of times it dived under the swan. Also here were Tufted Ducks, Shoveler and at least 7 Pochard.

Here are a few poor quality images again I'm afraid.


The feeders were really busy again today with the normal suspects of Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Great Tit and Blue Tit. Locally there were a few Blackbirds, a Robin and overhead a Siskin was heard calling.

Greenfinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit and House Sparrow

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2017Today's Sightings Here
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23 Nov 18

Martin Adlam - Fri, 11/23/2018 - 17:05

Another busy day on the boat and the good news is the radio now works. Apparently there was water in the cable of the old aerial which had to be replaced. I also managed to get the Garmin Fishfinder to work, which is good news, as it also gives you the depth under the boat. The transducer which is normally attached under the boat was actually next to the bilge pump and had broken away. So a bit of a clean up and reattachment to the hull and that also works now. Happy Days. Unfortunately the bilge pump and sensor I had fitted by a local marine engineer company, doesn't work and there is a huge amount water at the bow end of the boat. So hopefully they'll be out on Monday to fix it.

So the bird watching today was centred around the back garden with good numbers of birds on the feeders, which included Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, House Sparrows, Great Tits and Blue Tits. On the lawn was a Dunnock, Robin and 2 Blackbirds. In the neighbours garden were 2 Redwing and a Song Thrush.

Not wanting to miss out, the Grey Squirrel was back.

Here are a few images from today with an apology about the poor quality. I'm still using my back up camera which is really naff in low-light conditions, but the good news is I pick up my new one tomorrow.

This Grey Squirrel was quite clever. Once he turned round to stop the blood rushing to his head and ran up the feeder over the top and then came down........

.........on this one before going back to the other one. Ingenious.
Once the Squirrel had his fill, the birds came back. Here are two male birds, Chaffinch on the left and a Great Tit.

Here are two Great Tits and a Greenfinch.
And finally 3 Greenfinches with a male House Sparrow.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2017
Today's Sightings Here
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Blog Post: November 2018 RSPB Radipole Lake Update

RSPB Weymouth Wetlands - Fri, 11/23/2018 - 12:28
Welcome to the new look blog and community pages. Apologies that it has been a while since our last blog. A few notable birds have been around on both reserves since the last update. Ruff, Lesser Yellowlegs and a Grey Phalarope were regularly on Lodmoor at the beginning of October. The Lesser Yellowlegs is still a frequent visitor and may well over winter in the area. An Osprey was seen over Radipole Lake and Lodmoor on 5 th and 7 th October. Wildfowl and wader numbers are increasing as the autumn progresses with 30 Wigeon counted on 11 th October and 17 Snipe observed on Lodmoor on 19 th October. Over 100 Lapwings gathered at Lodmoor on 24 th October along with a Cattle Egret and a Bittern sighted briefly. On 30 th October over 40 Black Tailed Godwits were counted. Photo Credits : Edmund Mackrill, RSPB Weymouth Wetlands Volunteer Among noteworthy garden birds, a Ringed Ouzel and a Redwing were seen at the North End of Radipole on 28 th and 2 Mistle Thrushes on Lodmoor on 29 th October. Also some notable bird events over the past month. An eruption of Bearded Tits took place at Radipole Lake on 9 th October with over 45 individuals counted. On 1 st and 6 th November starling murmurations took place, with c1000 birds. A Peregrine was also seen on 1 st . On 2 nd a group of 3 Scaup were observed and again the next day along with 2 Avocets and a Cattle Egret. Great White Egrets are still around and regularly seen on both reserves. Fab shot by Edmund Mackrill. A Ring Neck Duck arrived on Lodmoor on 21 st October. Observations of the Ring Neck Duck have been regularly seen At Radipole lake over the past couple of months, the duck may well over winter here. On 12th November a Franklin's Gull was seen in the Radipole Lake car park. The gull was regularly observed until 14th November. Photo Credits: John Wall Very mild for the time of year causing some confusion for the plants around the reserves. Though the trees are turning shades of gold, the two Bay Trees at Radipole Lake are currently in bud. Normally Bay flowers in March/April so this is exceptionally early. Hogweed, Wild Angelica and Wild Carrot are also producing new flowers, the plants themselves are shorter in height now than they would normally be in the summer months. New shoots of Cow Parsley alongside the footpaths are well up, normally their green shoots are first seen in December so this is well over a month early. The Work Party has been very busy recently over at Chafey’s Lake restoring the reed beds that have been neglected over the past few years. Much of the overgrown bramble has been taken out to allow the reed bed to start flourishing again over the coming year. Photo Credits : Dave Morphew, RSPB Radipole Lake Volunteer For more information and all the latest sightings, contact Radipole Lake Discovery Centre, details below or pop in and see us. Hot and cold refreshments and snacks available. Telephone : 01305 778313 Email : Website :
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21 Nov 18

Martin Adlam - Wed, 11/21/2018 - 18:20
Top Fields

Another horrendous day with shower after shower falling on Portland. There were even a number of thunderstorms in amongst the squally showers that passed overhead.

Eventually the main weather front passed over and there was an opportunity to get out for a walk. The light was fading quickly so the best place for any birding had to be the Top Fields, for possibly a Short-eared Owl.

Well I did see one very briefly at 4:10pm, when a single bird appeared above the West Cliffs just north of the Higher Lighthouse. One minute it was above the cliffs and then it was gone. I walked around the fields for another 35 minutes until the light really faded, but that was the only SEO about.

There were good numbers of Chaffinches in the Crown Estate Fields with a few Goldfinches for company. Also seen were 2 Ravens, 2 Kestrels, a Buzzard, 3 Meadow Pipits, a Skylark on the path which I nearly stood on, a pair of Stonechat and a Grey Heron heading north towards Southwell.

As I walked back to the Obs a Chiffchaff was heard calling and a large Bumblebee zoomed across in front of me as the daylight had almost gone.

Looking south towards the Bill, with the back end of the stormy weather drifting west.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2017
Today's Sightings Here
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20 Nov 18

Martin Adlam - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 19:49

The temperature dropped to 4°C today and with that strong north easterly it felt a lot lot colder.

The number of Chaffinches is rising daily and there were 7 around the feeders. The Greenfinches are back, with 3 squabbling over the bragging rights to the sunflower seed feeder.

No Goldfinches today, but both Great Tit and Blue Tit were busy grabbing seeds, before disappearing into the neighbours Buckthorn to eat them.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2017
Today's Sightings Here
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