Thursday, 27 February 2014

23rd February 2014: Elm Farm Trip Report

I enjoyed the morning spent with the Bath Nats, mostly old friends. Plenty of chatting and leg pulling  – and they seemed pleased with the range of birds we saw along the way! A sighting every few minutes of one sort or another in fields, woodland, hedgerows, on water and in the fields where plants are grown especially for overwintering birds and seed is put out daily for them.  At this feeding station we saw a good size flock of Yellow Hammer and other small birds. We didn’t see anything rare or unusual, even though we did keep checking the Robins for Red Flank Blue Tail!! The brightest we got was a Bullfinch, largest Heron and smallest Goldfinch, most numerous (after the Yellowhammer at the feeding station) were Redwing followed by Blue Tit, and Pigeon of course! Though some of these turned out to be Stock Dove on checking. My challenge for the day was ‘find me a Brambling’ – no luck!!

A couple of people saw Hare sprinting into the undergrowth, and we all saw Roe Deer before they ran to the woodland, gracefully clearing the fence on their way.

Some had booked a favourite pub for Sunday lunch on their way home, and one and all agreed we had built a good healthy appetite by the time we had walked briskly back up the hill!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

From Geoffrey Hiscocks garden

Goldfinch (+ 7spot Ladybird) in garden .
The ladybird was alive - I checked!
Thanks for the post Geoff

Monday, 24 February 2014

Sadly passed away

Dear Bath Nats,
Lin Funston has let me know that Jennie Smith, a long standing member of the Nats, sadly passed away this week.  She used to be a regular member of indoor meetings and field trips and also a number of extended field trips in the past.  Some members of the society will remember her.
I'm told that the announcement of her death and funeral arrangements will be in the Daily Telegraph and the Bath Chronicle.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

16/2/13 after a series of violent storms & days of heavy rain, it was a delight to see an undamaged small tortoiseshell fly in our garden on Lansdown this morning at around 10.30.

Thanks for the post

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sunday, 9 February 2014 Red-flanked Bluetail Photo by Phillip Delve

Red-flanked Bluetail North of Marshfield, athough this rare bird is just outside the Nat's area I think it worth a mention .The picture attached is not the best you will see of this confiding bird. Photographed  this morning between rain showersl

 The first record of this species for S. Glos and the first overwintering bird for the UK was found by .... JOHN BARNETT ..... in the Shire Valley, Marshfield at around 15:00. It was frequenting an area of trees and bushes along the bridleway between the 'Stepping Stones' and 'Big Pond' and ranging 150 metres in both directions. It was still present at dusk! 

Regards Phillip 

The Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus), also known as the Orange-flanked Bush-robin, is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher, Muscicapidae. It, and related species, are often called chats.
It is a migratory insectivorous species breeding in mixed coniferous forest with undergrowth in northern Asia and northeastern Europe, from Finland east across Siberia to Kamchatka and south to Japan. It winters mainly in southeastern Asia, in the Indian Subcontinent, the Himalayas, Taiwan, and northern Indochina. The breeding range is slowly expanding westwards through Finland (where up to 500 pairs now breeding), and it is a rare but increasing vagrant to western Europe, mainly to Great Britain.There have also been a few records in westernmost North America, mostly in western Alaska
At 13–14 cm long and 10–18 g weight, the Red-flanked Bluetail is similar in size and weight to the Common Redstart and slightly smaller (particularly with a slimmer build) than the European Robin. As the name implies, both sexes have a blue tail and rump, and orange-red flanks; they also have a white throat and greyish-white underparts, and a small, thin black bill and slender black legs. The adult male additionally has dark blue upperparts, while females and immature males are plain brown above apart from the blue rump and tail, and have a dusky breast. In behaviour, it is similar to a Common Redstart, frequently flicking its tail in the same manner, and regularly flying from a perch to catch insects in the air or on the ground.