Friday, 22 April 2011

City Challenge update: What a day!!

Following news the previous evening of a Female Ring Ouzel at Aylestone Meadows and with my day off from work the first port of call was Aylestone Meadows.
Meeting up with Mark Andrews and Roger Davis on site it wasn't long before I increased my city year list in the form of a singing Lesser Whitethroat, a fly-by Red Kite (GET IN!!) and then finally the female Ring Ouzel as it flew across the horse paddocks by the King's Lock Cottage.
Pleased with the tally so far I then cycled through the Meadows hoping for a Gropper, but instead found a Garden Warbler singing near the Mill Lane Entrance (Another year tick!). A brief stop near the boardwalk resulted in no sign of the Groppers, so it was off to Watermead CP South.
Hoping for some Terns at Watermead, I slowly scannned around the main lake, when suddenly I noticed what looked like a smaller swan with the other Mute Swans. Hang about this is a Bewick's Swan I thought!! GET IN!! A Soar Valley tick and City tick to boot!
Phoning John Hague, Mark Skev and Birdnet I let them know of the sighting.
As I only had my bins with me at the time I cycled back home to pick up my scope and camera and a spot of lunch.
Whilst eating my lunch I got phone call from John to let me know that Ken Goodrich had found 2 Wood Sandpipers at Birstall Meadows!! 
So finishing my lunch it was off to Birstall Meadows.
Arriving on-site the two Wood Sandpipers were showing very well on the nearby shoreline, so as you can imagine I took a few record shots of the Sandpipers.
Wood Sandpiper at Birstall Meadows
Another shot of one of the Wood Sands at Birstall Meadows!
Happy with the shots I took of the Sandpipers I then nipped back to Watermead CP South to take photos of the Bewick's Swan.

More to follow shortly....

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

City Challenge update: Northern Wheatear!

Since returning from Slovenia last week, I have been checking out the Soar Valley for more ticks to my city list.
So from the previous weekend before Slovenia I have added the 8 Garganey, Shelduck, Whitethroat,Sedge and Reed Warbler at Watermead CP South.
Then added Green Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover at an undisclosed site in the city boundaries. This followed with Swallow, Common Sandpiper and Common Tern a couple of days later at Watermead South.
Then yesterday checking out Birstall Meadows I found a corking Male Wheatear feeding in the fields near the shoreline! So with these sightings I'm now on 90 species for my City list!!

Slovenia highlights: Butterflies

Here is a couple photos of two new species for me: Scarce Swallowtail and Weaver's Fritillary both seen at Lago di Doberdo on the Italian border.
Scarce Swallowtail
Another shot of the Swallowtail
Weaver's Fritillary
Another shot of the Frit!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Slovenia Highlights part two: Reptiles

Here is a few shots of some Slovenia reptiles I saw which included Dalmatian Algyroides and Common Wall Lizard.
Dalmatian Algyroides
Another shot of Dalmatian Algyroides
Common Wall Lizard

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Slovenia highlights!!

Wildlife highlights to my trip to Slovenia and the Italian border included a Western Palearctic tick in the form of  two Rock Buntings on Stol. Other outstanding bird sightings included a very showy Black Woodpecker at Lago di Doberdo on the Italian border, good numbers of Hawfinches at a number of sites in Slovenia and Italy and nesting Crag Martins in Kobarid!!
Other wildlife seen included at least four different reptile species, two European Pond Terrapins, Black and White Proteus (the rarest Herps in Europe!), Western Whip Snake at Lago di Doberdo, Chamois on Stol and at least six species of Orchid seen on the trip.
The scenery of the country was breathtaking, and although I don't like heights at the best of times the Mangrt Road was truly amazing!!
On the historical and cultural front I was surprised to find out about the Italian front in the World War 1 around Kobarid and the Soca Valley and that half of million causalities occurred in this picturesque setting between 1915 and 1918!

I would like to thank Sean Cole for organising the trip and Tomas and Ericia for guiding us when looking for the Snakes and Reptiles in the Dragonja region.
Rock Buntings at Mt Stol, Slovenia.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Slovenia today!!

Later today I will visiting two new countries for me. I will flying into Italy and then driving into Slovenia for five days of hopefully some excellent wildlife sightings?!
Expect a few photos when I return later in the week!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

City Challenge update and a couple of colour-ringed Gulls!

Another update on the City challenge: I have added a few more ticks for the challenge in the form of 5+ Sand Martins, Blackcap and Willow Warbler at Watermead CP South over the last few days. Also I had another Peregrine sighting, but this time in the city centre flying over Gallowtree Gate! My City list is now on 80 species for the year.
Last Thursday I digiscoped a couple of Lesser black-backed Gulls at Shawell GPs and sent the info off to Pete Stewart of the Severn Estuary Gull group and he informed me that one of the gulls was from Norway and the other was a regular from the Severn estuary.
With the information of the colour-ringed gulls in the last few years it seems that there is definite correlation of gulls moving from Gloucestershire to Shawell and back again!
Coloured-ringed Gulls at Shawell GPs
Bird from Norway!