Belvide 17.1.17 Mist/Murk S 2

The Bittern roosted to the left of the Scott hide from 4pm. The redhead Smew was still present. The Common Sandpiper was on the north shore. A Woodcock flew behind the Scott hide at 4.10pm.

After announcing yesterday that I finished 2nd in the overall inland league, confirmation that Belvide finished top of the Midlands league has been announced today. You can read here. http://patchworkchallenge.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/midlands-minileague-december-2016.html

Belvide 16.1.17 Patchy Drizzle NW 2-3

The Bittern roosted to the left of the Scott hide at 3.55pm. The redhead Smew was still present, also 2 Goosander were noted. The Common Sandpiper was on the shingle island this afternoon. 5 Siskin were along the Gazebo bay. The Tawny Owl left it’s box from the Woodland hide at 4.40pm.

In 2016 I entered Belvide into the Patchwork Challenge. This puts local patches against each other in leagues. Belvide was put into the Midlands league. Over the year it has been a close run thing against 2 chaps from Rutland Water.

Today I found out that Belvide came 2nd in the overall inland league and although not announced yet it looks like Belvide won the Midland league by 3 points. I was shocked to hear this, especially when Rutland bagged Green-winged Teal and Surf Scoter in December. I was convinced this would leave me in 3rd place. I can only assume that the Surf Scoter was on a part of the reserve that wasn’t allowed?

This really shows what a fantastic reserve we have that produced 174 species last year and testament to all the hard work all our volunteers have put in over the years to create the habitat that can attract that amount of species. You can read about it here. year.http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=6140

Belvide 15.1.17 Rain NW 3-4

The Bittern roosted to the left of the Scott hide from 3.47pm. Today’s WeBS count produced the redhead Smew, drake Pintail, 187 Mallard, 23 Shoveler, 139 Teal, 220 Wigeon, 29 Gadwall, 118 Tufted Duck, 35 Pochard, 173 Coot, 34 Cormorant, 7 Mute Swan, 2 Black Swan, 4 Grey Heron and 168 Greylag Geese. The Common Sandpiper was still on the north shore.

Belvide 11.1.17 Sunny NW 6-7

The adult Caspian Gull (photos) from yesterday was present all day giving visitors the chance to get to grips with the identification features. The Bittern roosted straight out from the Scott hide from 4.07pm. The Common Sandpiper remains on the north shore. The Tawny Owl was sat in the owl box entrance from the Woodland hide at 4.40pm.

Belvide 10.1.17 Overcast W 2-3

A small adult Caspian Gull (photo) probably a female roosted this evening. The Bittern was viewable to the left of the hide early afternoon and later roosted there from 3.50pm. The redhead Smew was still present, also 2 Shelduck and 35 Pochard were counted. The Common Sandpiper remains on the north shore. A female Brambling was along the Gazebo bay this morning.

Belvide 9.1.17 Rain W 2-3

The Bittern roosted to the left of the Scott hide at 4pm. The redhead Smew was still present, also 66 Goldeneye were counted. A Golden Plover flew over this morning, also the Common Sandpiper remains on the north shore. The Cetti’s Warbler showed well near the ringing station. The Tawny Owl was sat in it’s box from the woodland hide at 4.39pm. 5 Red-legged Partridge were new for the year.

Belvide 8.1.17 + Stejneger’s Stonechat Dungeness

News received today included the redhead Smew, Common Sandpiper and 15 Siskin. Some late news for yesterday included 3 Pintail and 2 Shelduck.

I had the day off from Belvide to see a Stejneger’s Stonechat that has been present at Dungeness, Kent since early November. Stejneger’s Stonechat is part of the Eastern/Siberian Stonechat complex and is a potential species split. It breeds in north and central Asia. It is a very difficult bird to separate in the field, but recent DNA testing from the birds poo has come back with a positive identification.

With this news the bird has become quiet popular. We arrived on site to find the bird immediately performing. It was very frosty in appearance with a pale supercilium and rump. After an hour of grilling we later enjoyed a drake Ring-necked Duck and Great White Egret on the ARC pit nearby.

Belvide 7.1.17 Early Fog/Murk Calm

A quick visit this morning produced the redhead Smew, 34 Pochard. The Common Sandpiper on the north shore, also a Dunlin flew thru. 33 Siskin were along the Gazebo bay, also 2 Greenfinch and a Treecreeper were the first of the year. A Tawny Owl was seen at the woodland hide box. There was no sign of the Bittern late afternoon.

 

Belvide 5.1.17 Sunny Calm

The Bittern was viewable from the Scott hide around midday and then roosted from 4.20pm. The Smew was still present, also 1 Goosander, 55 Shoveler, 366 Teal and 36 GC Grebe were counted. A Dunlin flew thru this afternoon also the Common Sandpiper was on the north shore. 11 Skylark, 9 Meadow Pipit, 2 Yellowhammer and 200 Redwing were in the stubble field below the dam. An adult Yellow-legged Gull roosted.

Belvide 4.1.17 Cloudy NNE 2 + 2016 Review

The Bittern roosted to the right of the Scott hide from 3.50pm. The Smew, Shelduck and Common Sandpiper were still present. A Green Woodpecker was by the south east bay, also the Cetti’s Warbler was still present.

2016 has been an excellent year. A total of 174 species were recorded, which was a marked improvement on the 161 species recorded in 2015.

January got off to a flyer with a Glossy Ibis flying through on the 1st. A drake Green-winged Teal on the 13th was only the 2nd site record. 120 Pink-footed Geese flew over on the 17th. A Knot and a 2nd winter Caspian Gull were present on the 18th. A Scaup arrived on the 20th which was to stay for several weeks. A Brent goose on the 23rd was the only bird of the year. A 1st winter Caspian Gull roosted on the 27th. The month ended with a record count of 47 Pintail on the 30th.

February was mainly quiet, except for a juvenile Iceland Gull on the 5th, a 1st winter Caspian Gull on the 8th and a Bittern between the 18th-20th. A Stonechat on the 25th-26th and a Merlin on the 26th were the other birds of note.

March recorded a Kittiwake and 1st winter Little Gull on the 9th. A Brambling on the 16th and the first Swallow and  Sand Martins on the 22nd. The first Osprey flew through on the 29th equaling the earliest record. A Merlin on the 30th was followed by another Osprey on the 31st.

April continued with an excellent series of Osprey sightings with 2 on the 2nd and singles on the 18th and 23rd. A Redstart on the 7th equalled the earliest arrival. The 11th saw a passage of 7 Little Gulls and 4 Common Scoter. A Lesser Whitethroat on the 13th was the earliest on record. A Merlin on the 15th was followed by one of my personal highlights in the form of a superb male Hen Harrier on the 19th.

May was a very productive month. The only Cuckoo of the year was on the 1st. The first Arctic Tern was on the 2nd. The only spring Whinchat was on the 3rd. Another Osprey passed through on the 4th. A drake Garganey between the 5th-7th was joined by a 2nd bird on the 7th. An excellent passage of Black Terns started with 3 on the 6th, followed by another 3 on the 9th. The 10th saw a classic day of passage with 5 Little Tern, 21 Black Tern, 2 Arctic Tern, 60 Common Tern, 13 Greenshank and a Marsh Harrier. The next day was just as impressive with a Roseate Tern, 18 Black Tern, 10 Arctic Tern and 2 Little Stint. A Temminck’s Stint was present between the 17th–20th. 46 Black-tailed Godwit on the 17th was also of note. 34 Sanderling on the 18th was a regional record. A Marsh Harrier flew thru on the 26th. 2 Turnstone 29th rounded off a good month.

June quietened down with an Osprey on the 3rd, a Little Gull on the 8th, an Avocet on the 11th was the first for 4 years.  Yet another Osprey on the 15th. This summer saw 5 pairs of BH Gulls attempt to breed, with the first chick hatching on the 23rd.

July contined the quiet spell with an Arctic Tern and 11 Black-tailed Godwit on the 2nd. 5 pairs of Common Tern nested with the first of 11 chicks hatching on the 5th. A brood of 4 fledged Kestrels bred in a box. A juvenile Pied Flycatcher was present from 21st.

August saw 2 juvenile Marsh Harrier on the 5th. The only Willow Tit of the year was ringed on the 10th. 2 Common Scoter were on the 14th. A day of passage on the 19th recorded a Tree Pipit, 70 Common Tern, 5 Arctic Tern and 7 Black Tern. An adult Gannet on the 21st was one of the years highlights though it sadly died the next day. 2 Osprey and a Marsh Harrier were also noted on the 21st. The first Black-necked Grebe of the hyear arrived on the 23rd. A Pied Flycatcher was trapped on the 27th. A drake Common Scoter on the 28th and a juvenile Caspian Gull on the 29th ended the month.

September started with 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Knot on the 5th. 2 drake Common Scoter and 5 Turnstone were present on the 6th. A juvenile Black-necked Grebe arrived on the 8th which was the start of a 75 day stay. 13 Black Tern were also recorded on the 8th. 6 Knot on the 12th were followed by 10 Turnstone and a Grey Plover on the 13th. The first Cetti’s Warbler of the year arrived on the 18th. A little Stint was present on the 19th. A showy Great White Egret entertained between the 26th-30th.

October recorded a Grey Plover on the 2nd for several days. The first of several Rock Pipit was present on the 5th. A vis mig watch on the 9th was rewarded with a Hawfinch. A Curlew Sandpiper was present between the 13th-19th. A Firecrest on the 16th was brief. Another Cetti’s Warbler arrived on the 16th and was to stay to the end of the year. 2 Scaup on the 20th was the start of an excellent passage of at least 13 birds in the coming weeks. 70 Pink-footed Geese flew west on the 22nd. 8 Common Scoter and a 1st winter Caspian Gull were on the 30th. A Purple Sandpiper on the 31st was one of outstanding birds of the year.

November is definitely one of my favourite months if the weather conditions are right and this year they produced the goods. The Purple Sandpiper was present till the 4th. A late Common Sandpiper arrived on the 1st and was to stay till the years end. 3 Whooper Swan were present on the 4th. A Redhead Smew arrived on the 8th and was to stay till the years end. 10 Common Scoter a 1st winter Little Gull and a Knot were present on the 9th. The 2nd Green-winged Teal of the year was present between the 20th-21st. Strong winds produced a Great Northern Diver on the 22nd. 2 Slavonian Grebe on the 24th was an excellent record. A Great White Egret flew thru on the 25th along with 3 Whooper Swans. A Ring-necked Parakeet on the 26th and a Common Scoter on the 28th rounded off a good month.

December started with a 3rd winter Caspian Gull on the 2nd followed by an adult on the 4th. Amazingly the 3rd Green-winged Teal of the year was present on the 11th. 6 Whooper Swans flew thru on the 15th. A Bittern arrived on the 17th and was to entertain till the years end. Finally if the year couldn’t get any better a smart little Grey Phalarope was well received on the 27th. A juvenile Iceland Gull roosting on the 27th and 29th put the cherry on the cake.

Out of the 174 species recorded this year, I managed to see 168 species. I made a total of 329 visits to the reserve.

I would like to thank you all for being great company over the year. The friendship I have with you all means such a lot to me. Here’s hoping 2017 is just as good.

Belvide 3.1.17 Overcast WNW 3

The redhead Smew was back after a 2 day absence, a Shelduck was new also 42 Shoveler, 263 Wigeon and 256 Teal were counted. The Bittern was still present, viewable from 1.15pm. It later roosted at 3.50pm. An adult Mediterranean Gull roosted this evening. The Common Sandpiper remains on the north shore. 4 Siskin were along the Gazebo bay. A Peregrine, Mistle Thrush and House Sparrow were new birds for the year.

Belvide 2.1.17 Sunny NW 1-2

The Bittern roosted in front of the Scott hide from 3.47pm. A possible 2nd winter Caspian Gull and 1 Common Gull roosted this evening. The Common Sandpiper was still present. The Cetti’s Warbler was along the south east bay scrub. 246 Wigeon, 249 Teal, 317 Canada Geese and 11 Mute Swan were counted.

Belvide 1.1.17 Rain N/NNE 2-3

Today’s dreary weather made birding hard work. 61 species were seen. Highlights included the Bittern at it’s roost site at dawn. It showed again at 1.40pm, before roosting again from 3.40pm where it showed well. The Common Sandpiper and 61 Common Snipe were on the north shore. There was no sign of the Smew today, but 3 Goosander, 206 Wigeon, 31 Shoveler, 30 Pochard, 1 Little Grebe, 267 Canada Geese, 124 Greylag Geese and 8 Mute Swan were counted. The Cetti’s Warbler was along the south east bay. An adult Yellow-legged Gull roosted this evening.

Belvide 31.12.16 Overcast W 2

The Bittern roosted in the Scott hide reed bed at 3.42pm. A 1st winter female Scaup was a new arrival, also the female Smew remains. 427 Wigeon were feeding on the north shore which is the most I’ve seen here in the 32 years I’ve been visiting. It doesn’t come anywhere near to the 2500 that were present on 5th February 1949. A Litte Egret dropped in late afternoon. The Cetti’s Warbler was along the south east bay. 4 Siskin were along the Gazebo bay. An adult and 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull roosted this evening.

Happy New Year to everyone and here’s to some good birding in 2017. I will do a full years review in the next few days.

Belvide 28.12.16 Sunny SSE 1

There was no sign of the Grey Phalarope today. Yesterday’s bird was the 16th site record. The Bittern roosted at 4pm to the left of the Scott hide, but can I request that people don’t stand along the path as the bird won’t come in to roost. The redhead Smew was still present, also 44 Goldeneye, 1 Goosander, 75 Shoveler, 318 Wigeon and 246 Teal were counted. The Common Sandpiper has appeared again on the dam. A Woodcock flew over the south east bay this afternoon. An imm Peregrine was noted.

Belvide 27.12.16 Sunny SSW 1

A cracking days birding, the main highlight being a Grey Phalarope that was found by Dave Cashmore in front of the west end hide at 8.45am. It spent the morning moving between the West End and Gazebo hides before relocating to the dam where it spent the rest of the day and was still present at dusk. This is the first record since 11th October 2013. A juvenile Iceland Gull (photo) roosted this evening. The Bittern showed to a packed hide this afternoon but was generally elusive. The redhead Smew was still present.

Belvide 24.12.16 Cloudy W 4

The Bittern left it’s roost site at 7.40am and landed left of the hide. It was showing to the left of the hide between 11.30-2.45pm and then roosted at 4pm. The redhead Smew was back in the south east corner, also 62 Gadwall were counted. 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls roosted. An imm Peregrine were noted.

Wishing all the Belvide regulars and Blog readers a very happy Christmas.

Belvide 22.12.16 Sunny SW 2

The Bittern was still present. It was seen early morning at it’s roost site, then again from 3.05pm where it roosted again in the same place. It is roosting on the outer edge of the reed bed looking 1 o’clock from the hide. (flight shot by Nick Nandan) There was no sign of the Smew today. The Common Sandpiper was still on the north shore. Some video footage of the Bittern can be viewed here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1576el0t60&feature=youtu.be