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Bird Sightings 15/12/14

Monday, 15 December 2014 09:44:00 Europe/London

December

This month is normally very quiet for birds, I tend to look at inland reservoirs for wintering divers and grebes, Chew Valley Lake is always a good bet for a Great Northern Diver, I also head out onto Salisbury Plain for Hen Harriers and Short eared owls, a slow drive across just before dusk normally gets you one or both species along with Barn Owls 

Slimbridge in Gloucestershire is brilliant for Ducks, Swans and Geese, all giving very close views from the many hides.

The Cotswold Water Park is well worth a visit with so many pits to look at there is always something to find, there should be Goosander, Goldeneye and with a little luck Smew and Scaup, try pits 29, 30, 44, 57, 68 a, 68b and 74, if you are out late then try pit 74 or 16 for a gull roost, I have found Iceland and Glaucous Gulls here in the past

Severn Beach area can also be very good for Wildfowl, the best area is between the 2 motorway bridges at Northwick Warth / New Passage area looking upriver from the last house, Severn Beach sea wall can be worth a look and if you are lucky you might find a Diver or winter grebe, if you do please let me know!

 

Recent Bird records (South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the old county of Avon)

13th

Tree Sparrow at Shepperdine , a very rare bird for south Gloucestershire !

3 short Eared Owls at Blakehill

12th

Great white Egret, Bittern and Great Northern Diver all still at Chew Valley Lake

11th

Water Pipit still at Northwick / New Passage area

10th December

A Dipper in Calne, very rare here!

Water Pipit at Northwick Warth / New Passage area

8th December

2 Hen Harriers, 1 Short Eared Owl and Merlin on Salisbury Plain

Great White Egret, Bittern and Great Northern Diver still on Chew Valley Lake

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Comments | Posted in Wildlife By Mark Coller

Bird Sightings 08/12/14

Monday, 8 December 2014 16:22:01 Europe/London

December

This month is normally very quiet for birds, I tend to look at inland reservoirs for wintering divers and grebes, Chew Valley Lake is always a good bet for a Great Northern Diver, I also head out onto Salisbury Plain for Hen Harriers and Short eared owls, a slow drive across just before dusk normally gets you one or both species along with Barn Owls 

Slimbridge in Gloucestershire is brilliant for Ducks, Swans and Geese, all giving very close views from the many hides.

The Cotswold Water Park is well worth a visit with so many pits to look at there is always something to find, there should be Goosander, Goldeneye and with a little luck Smew and Scaup, try pits 29, 30, 44, 57, 68 a, 68b and 74, if you are out late then try pit 74 or 16 for a gull roost, I have found Iceland and Glaucous Gulls here in the past

Severn Beach area can also be very good for Wildfowl, the best area is between the 2 motorway bridges at Northwick Warth / New Passage area looking upriver from the last house, Severn Beach sea wall can be worth a look and if you are lucky you might find a Diver or winter grebe, if you do please let me know!

 

Recent Bird records (South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the old county of Avon)

6th December

Penduline Tit at the Cotswold Water Park in the reed bed on pit 68, Found by Nigel Pleass, Nice find mate!

Hen Harrier and Merlin on Salisbury Plain

2 Short Eared Owls at Blakehill

5th December

Smew at the Cotswold water Park on pit 29

3rd December

Great White Egret and Great Northern Diver still on Chew Valley Lake

Dipper on the By Brook at Box

2nd December

2 Mediterranean Gulls and a Merlin at Marshfield

1st December

Rose Coloured Starling is still in Bishopston Bristol

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Comments | Posted in Wildlife By Mark Coller

Bird Sightings 24/11/14

Monday, 24 November 2014 17:14:01 Europe/London

Recent Bird records (South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the old county of Avon)

22nd November

Green Winged Teal at New passage on the river Severn

19th November

Great white egret still at Chew Valley Lake

18th November

Bittern at Chew Valley Lake

16th November

Hawfinch over Chipping Sodbury

Female Merlin at Blakehill N.R

15th November

Ring Ouzel at Portbury Docks

14th November

Great White Egret, Bittern and Great Northern Diver at Chew Valley Lake

Black Redstart in Melksham

2 Hen Harrier and 3 Short Eared Owls on Salisbury Plain

13th November

Goldeneye and a Water Pipit at Northwick Warth area

12th November

Brent goose at Northwick Warth

11 Yellow Legged Gulls at Langford Lakes

11th November

Common Scoter at the Cotswold Water Park on pit 29

10th November

Great Northern Diver at Chew Valley Lake

Hen Harrier at Gore Cross Wiltshire

Med Gull, Jack Snipe and Goosander at Northwick Warth / Aust Warth area

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Comments | Posted in Wildlife By Mark Coller

Bird sightings 10/11/14

Monday, 10 November 2014 12:01:41 Europe/London

November

This is the month to head to the south or east coast, Lots of wildfowl will be arriving, head for the Norfolk coast for Brent and Pink footed Geese these should be here in the thousands and it’s a stunning site to see!

With strong North East winds the Norfolk coast is the best place to see Little Auks and Waxwings, if you can stand the cold!!!

 Closer to home, Slimbridge in Gloucestershire is brilliant for Ducks, Swans and Geese, all giving very close views from the many hides , in the past it was possible to see thousands of White fronted geese here but now as it is getting milder the numbers are down to a few hundred !

If we get prolonged west / south west winds, Severn Beach can be very good for Leach’s Petrel, I have had my best views of these tiny sea birds from here, the best place to look from is from the sea wall opposite the village an hour either side of high tide!

 

Recent Bird records (South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the old county of Avon)

9th November

Ring Ouzel still at Liddington Hill Swindon

Bittern at Stoke Park Bristol

3 Jack Snipe at Aust

8th November

Marsh Harrier at Cotswold Water Park at pit 40

Bittern at Chew Valley Lake

7th November

11 Yellow legged gulls at Langford lakes

5th November,

Outside our area over 4000+ Little Auks flew past the east coast today

 4th November

Ring Ouzel at Liddington Hill near Swindon

Black Redstart in Kingswood Bristol

2 Bearded Tits at Portbury Warth

3rd November

Firecrest in Salisbury

1st November

Bittern at Severn Beach

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Comments | Posted in Wildlife By Mark Coller

Wildlife sightings 03/11/14

Monday, 3 November 2014 13:24:51 Europe/London

Recent Bird records (South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the old county of Avon)

1st November

Bittern at Severn Beach

31st

Merlin at Northwick Warth

Adult Mediterranean Gull at Marshfield

Hen Harrier at Walkers Hill, Wiltshire

Hen Harrier at Aldbourne,  Wiltshire

29th October

Female Merlin was at Northwick Warth

28th October

Great Grey Shrike is still at Marshfield and a Red Kite flew over

Short eared owl was at Oldbury Power Station

27th October

Great Grey Shrike at Marshfield, only the 5th record for South Gloucestershire

2 Merlin at Northwick Warth  

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Comments | Posted in Wildlife By Mark Coller

Wildlife sightings 27/10/14

Monday, 27 October 2014 00:00:00 Europe/London

October

This is the month to head to the South West coast, with winds predominantly coming from the west,  Cornwall , Devon and the Isles of Scilly are the places to head for, I will be in Cornwall and on the Isles of  Scilly from the 9th – 19th hoping for an passerine to arrive, I have been going to the Isles of Scilly at this time of year since 1984 and I have seen such rare birds as a Northern Waterthrush, 3 Parula Warblers, 3 Yellow Rumped Warblers, 8 Red eyed Vireos, 3 Blackpoll Warblers, 2 Black and white Warblers,  2 Yellow Billed Cuckoos, 1 Black Billed Cuckoo, 5 Grey Cheeked Thrush, 1 Hermit Thrush , 4 Swainson’s Thrush, 2 Bobolink and many more, this all depends on the weather !

 Closer to home, if we get prolonged west / south west winds, Severn Beach can be very good for sea birds such as Manx shearwaters, Petrels, Skuas, Grey Phalarope and if you are lucky a Sabine’s Gull , best place to look is from the sea wall opposite the village an hour either side of high tide!

With prolonged very strong westerly winds these sea birds can end up on inland lakes, Chew Valley Lake is as good as any; in the past I have seen Sabine’s Gull and Grey Phalarope here.

 

Recent Bird records (South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the old county of Avon)

26th October

Pintail at Kingsgate Park, only the 2nd record for this site

2 Jack Snipe at Yate common

Great white egret flew over Easton-in-Gordano

Outside of the area a Pallid Harrier is at Steart nature reserve in Somerset

 

I HAVE BEEN TO CORNWALL AND THE ISLES OF SCILLY

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDED

Subalpine Warbler, Richards Pipit, Short toed lark, Ring necked duck, 2 Red breasted flycatcher, 8 Yellow browed warbler, 5 Firecrest, 3 Snow Bunting, 2 Jack snipe, Arctic, Great and Pomarine Skuas, Balearic and Sooty shearwaters, 10+ Ring ouzel and 9 Whooper swans.

Also seen were Prickly Stickinsect, Great green bush cricket and a Monarch butterfly

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Comments | Posted in Wildlife By Mark Coller

Leica T (typ.701) Interchangeable Lens Camera Review by Ben

Wednesday, 8 October 2014 15:44:39 Europe/London

When Leica announced the Leica T (Typ. 701) in April/May I was mostly sceptical, but also a little intrigued. I had to look twice at its specifications, especially concerning its 3.7” touch screen. At first glance it seemed extremely ‘un-Leica-ish’ but after holding one, many aspects that are suitably Leica shone through, such as its solid aluminium casing that’s been hand polished for 45 minutes. I have to give the German camera manufacturer credit for being so bold to even think of designing this camera in the first place. The T is an amalgamation of traditional Leica aesthetic and modern ‘smart-phone’ usability. Its 16 Million pixel APS-C sized sensor gives outstanding resolution across a wide range of conditions and it’s a treat to view them on the 1.3 million dot 3.7” LCD screen. With a dedicated movie record button, (one of the few buttons it has) capturing HD quality video is frighteningly simple.

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Comments | Posted in Reviews Cameras By Ben Spicer

Bird Sightings 06/10/14

Monday, 6 October 2014 16:46:35 Europe/London

Recent Bird records (South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the old county of Avon)

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Comments | Posted in Wildlife By Mark Coller

Leica M (typ.240) Digital Rangefinder Camera Review by Ian

Friday, 3 October 2014 16:41:12 Europe/London

The first thing that strikes you when you pick up an M 240 is a reassuring feel of build quality, the inclusion of a thumb grip means the cameras solid construction sits well in the hand and balances perfectly.

If you are moving from an SLR system the rangefinder focus might at first glance seem a bit alien, but after a short time it becomes second nature.  The finder displays two frames at one time dependant on which lens is fitted, 28 & 90mm, 35 & 135mm and 50 & 75mm. Unlike its predecessor the M9 the M240 does not have a frame selector lever but if you’re lucky enough to have a bag full of lenses it’s not long before you have a feel for which lens will suit the job.

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Comments | Posted in Reviews Cameras By Ian Reader-Schofield

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Bridge Camera Review by Ian

Friday, 3 October 2014 13:08:32 Europe/London

The first thing that you will notice about the new FZ1000 is that it is notably larger & heavier than your average bridge camera, but then this is most definitely not just your average bridge camera.

In design the camera is similar to a D-SLR with a large handgrip which even after hours of use allowed for balanced, comfortable use. The top control dials are quite chunky & feel positive in operation, in common with cameras of this design there are separate release buttons for stills & video although when switched to manual video mode from the main control dial either button has the same function. Zoom function can be operated either from a rocker switch forward of the shutter release button or from the large control ring around the lens assembly, this ring can also be used for manual focus....

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Comments | Posted in Reviews Cameras By Ian Reader-Schofield

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