Farmoor Reservoir - 25 Apr 17

We had a couple of hours at a sunny but cold & windy Farmoor Reservoir today as the possibility of seeing our first Bonaparte's Gull was one too good to miss, particularly as there is always a good selection of other birds to see and often some very close views to be had.

As usual we got the bus and walked along the Thames to the Pinkhill Hide gate and arriving at the causeway saw our first Swift of the year and lots of Common Terns. A quick look towards the south end of F2 suggested that the Bonaparte's Gull was still there, as there was a small group of birders by the ''bus shelter''. We were able to watch it at close quarters as it harassed the fishing Great Crested Grebes, trying to steal their lunch, and squabbling with the Black-headed Gulls. Also nearby were 4 Common Sandpipers, a Cuckoo calling and a Red Kite passing overhead.

Large numbers of hirundines were feeding over both F1 & F2, mostly Sand & House Martins with a few Swallows & 2 more Swifts. Along the causeway were a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin, many Pied Wagtails, a White Wagtail & a Yellow Wagtail.

Amongst other birds seen were a Kestrel, a Buzzard, a Mistle Thrush, a few Canada & Greylag Geese (with goslings), Gadwall, Mallards (with ducklings), Coots, Moorhens, Cormorants, Chiffchaffs & Long-tailed Tits.

Bonaparte's Gull (Sue Clayson)

Bonaparte's Gull (Sue Clayson)

Bonaparte's Gull in flight (Sue Clayson)

Dunlin (Sue Clayson)

Dunlin (Sue Clayson)

Yellow Wagtail (Sue Clayson)

(Trevor & Sue Clayson)

Slimbridge - 22 Apr 17

The reason for the visit, along with many other birders that day, were the 3 Black-winged Stilts which were lifers for us and they showed well all day from the South Lake hides.

Other highlights were a Spoonbill, a Marsh Harrier, a Ruff almost in full breeding plumage, Avocets, Cranes, Black-tailed Godwits & Kingfishers.

A total of 61 species were seen.

Black-winged Stilt (Sue Clayson)

Black-winged Stilt (Sue Clayson)

Spoonbill (Sue Clayson)

Spoonbill (Sue Clayson)

(Trevor and Sue Clayson)

Weymouth - 18 Apr 17

We spent the afternoon & early evening visiting Ferrybridge, Lodmoor & Radipole.

At Ferrybridge there were Wheatears, Oystercatchers, Common & Sandwich Terns. The Little Terns were yet to arrive but the wardens were on site making ready.

Amongst the birds seen at Lodmoor were a Sandwich Tern, Snipe, a Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatchers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, a Little Egret, 2 Marsh Harriers, Wheatears and a Swan Goose which was nice to see although presumably an escape rather than being a long way from home.

We arrived at Radipole just before 7:00pm and we had excellent views of a Red-rumped Swallow amongst the Swallows feeding over the lake. Also seen were Oystercatchers, a Common Sandpiper, a Black-tailed Godwit and the resident Hooded Merganser.

We try to visit Weymouth & Portland 2 or 3 times a year and have always have a good day.

(Trevor and Sue Clayson)

Farmoor Reservoir - 23 Apr 17

Toady at Farmoor Reservoir the Bonaparte's Gull, still present since 8 Apr 17.

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte's Gull

(Ian Stewart)

Pentylands Sightings

There's been some interest recently in Pentylands, Highworth. I thought it would be worth sharing the list we have of different things we have seen there. This is a list built up over the last 2 years or so. The things in brackets have not yet been photographed, but have been seen.


(Neil George)

Farmoor Reservoir - 15 Apr 17


A few from Farmoor in Oxfordshire (Courtesy of Brian Waller from our Facebook Page Here)

(Brian Waller)


Common Sandpiper (Brian Waller)

Common Tern (Brian Waller)

Dunlin (Brian Waller)

Dunlin (Brian Waller)

Yellow Wagtail (Brian Waller)

Yellow Wagtail (Brian Waller)

Beacon Hill, Devizes - 3 Apr 17

This was our first visit in quite a while to an area that was a favourite place to walk.

On a sunny but blustery afternoon which the Buzzards, Kestrels & Red Kites were enjoying riding the updraughts the smaller birds were a bit thin on the ground.

Walking along the hedgerow at the base of the hill a Blackcap was the first bird seen along with a few Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Great Tits & House Sparrows. A Green Woodpecker flew from the hedge and was feeding on the ground at the edge of the escarpment. A pair of Ravens were seen a few times along with some Crows and a large flock of Magpies.

A Stonechat was seen while climbing the hill then a Corn Bunting, Meadow Pipits & singing Skylarks at the top. Descending through Roundway Hill Covert Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming and as we reached the road an Orange Tip Butterfly flew by. The most numerous birds of the day was the Pheasants which were everywhere, possibly even exceeding the Wood Pigeons.

The last sighting of note was a Red Kite low over the canal in the centre of Devizes.

(Trevor & Sue Clayson)