Sunday, 4 November 2012

Jump Through Hoops

Saturday 3rd November 2012
A trip to North Somerset with Paul and Brendan. First stop was the dunes opposite Swallow Point Caravan Park. On arrival it was pouring with rain but keen to see our target bird a Hoopoe, we decided to brave the elements. We made our way from the car along a short track to the dunes. As soon as we started to walk the dunes the Hoopoe flew from the track about 50 metres in front of us and towards the caravn park. As it was pouring with rain and we were confident the Hoopoe would show again we sheltered under the bushes in a nearby hedgerow. After about 30 minutes the rain abated and we set about looking for the Hoopoe again. Almost straight away the Hoopoe flew in to feed amongst the longish grass on the dunes. We enjoyed some great views although it was not that easy to pick out considering it's garish appearance.
Next stop was Battery Point, Portishead near Bristol. Here we connected with a lone Purple Sandpiper and also a single Rock Pipit.
Chew Valley Lake was our next port of call. We were hoping to connect with a drake Ring-necked Duck, however, despite some quite intense scanning of the ducks on the lake we could not find the Ring-necked Ducked. We did note; Scaup, Pochard, Goldeneye, Wigeon, Kingfisher, Buzzard, Peregrine and also a very late juvenile Swallow.
From Chew Valley we headed for home with a slight diversion to Otmoor in Oxfordshire. A massive Starling roost with in excess of 20 thousand birds has been reported from here. Hen Harrier, Peregrine and Sparrowhawk have been seen harrassing the Starlings. When we arrived the car park was packed as many people had come to see the Starling spectacle. On our walk from the car towards the "first screen" we noted two Lesser Redpoll and a female Reed Bunting feeding amonst a large flock of Chaffinch. We stood on a raised bank and looked out over the reserve as hundreds of Starlings flew in from all directions. A fair size flock did form and fly around the reserve but it did not reach the massive proportions of recent days. No sign of Hen Harrier but we did see a Peregrine but this was not interested in the Starlings.
Pics below; Hoopoe at Swallow Point (first three are mine and next two Paul's), Purple Sandpiper at Battery Point (first five are mine and then next two Paul's).


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