Sep 242017
 


Another beautiful sunny morning at Pennington Marsh and I decided to walk my normal circuit in reverse, first out past Fishtail and to Keyhaven and back past Butts and Jetty Lagoon and finally past Pennington Lagoon and Shoveler Pools. I had much of the morning to spare after dropping Tobias off so my birding was very leisurely.

There were very large numbers of hirundine passing west overhead with many hundreds of birds, I estimated 750 House Martin, 150 Swallow and 75 Sand Martin but this was a fraction of the birds and numbers may have been 2-3x this easily. I was disapointed at how few waders there were on Fishtail but three Spoonbill showed very well as they fished actively in the lagoon.

After the recent numbers of Baird’s Sandpiper and Semipalmated Sandpiper that have been in the country I spent some time grilling the waders and searching the shallows at Keyhaven Lagoon but other than 25 Grey Plover, one Spotted Redshank, one Knot and 12 Dunlin there was little to be seen.

There were increased numbers of wildfowl with 12 Wigeon and 25 Teal on the lagoon. In the dead gorse at the back of the lagoon I was pleased to see three juvenile Whinchat. On past Butts Lagoon three Bearded Reedling showed well, a male, female and a juvenile bird.

The spit off Butts Lagoon had a good gathering of waders with 75 Grey Plover, 150 Dunlin and four Knot while 17 Sandwich Tern loafed on the mud nearby.

Walking out to Jetty Lagoon the female Red-breasted Merganser was still present but an unfamiliar wader call grabbed my attention and as I got onto the bird I was convinced I had something decent but then I realised I had heard the call before but just in a slightly different habitat and I soon realised the bird was a Purple Sandpiper – still, a patch tick so not to be sniffed at.

Spoonbill – Fishtail Lagoon

Spoonbill – Fishtail Lagoon

Spoonbill – Fishtail Lagoon

Spoonbill – Fishtail Lagoon

There are large numbers of Starling around the marshes at the moment, this

flock numbered around 350

Greenshank – Jetty Lagoon

After picking Tobias up from school I had to drop him at Brockworth near to Cheltenham for a sleep-over with his cousins for the weekend. I then headed to Chipping Sodbury Common where a juvenile Woodchat Shrike has been present since 9th September.

Parking on the edge of the common and walking to the area of bramble scrub that the bird frequents it was not long before I located the bird and over the next 1.5 hours I had some great views as the bird fed on cranefly and on one occasion took a Sericomyia silentis (hoverfly) which it swallowed whole – it barely touched the sides.

Also here were six Whinchat, three Wheatear and four Yellow Wagtail. At 17:15 it was time to head for home.

Woodchat Shrike (juvenile) – Chipping Sodbury Common, Gloucestershire

Woodchat Shrike (juvenile) – Chipping Sodbury Common, Gloucestershire

Woodchat Shrike (juvenile) – Chipping Sodbury Common, Gloucestershire

Woodchat Shrike (juvenile) – Chipping Sodbury Common, Gloucestershire

Woodchat Shrike (juvenile) – Chipping Sodbury Common, Gloucestershire

Whinchat (juvenile) – Chipping Sodbury Common, Gloucestershire

 

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Simon Colenutt

Simon Colenutt

I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine's Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green. To a nine year old these birds were near mythical and so I just had to go and try to see them. Little did I know that these birds were seasonal and after a long winter of seeing nothing I eventually started to bump into other birdwatchers as March drew to a close. It was then that Dave Hunnybun, Dave Wooldridge, Paul Castle, Peter Gandy and Audrey Wilkinson introduced me to the art of seawatching and the joys of bird migration, I have not looked back since.

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