January 2016 – Birding overview

As with last year, our new year was seen in at Stowford Meadows our campsite in North Devon, here we experienced all sorts of weather conditions throughout 2015 and also in to 2016, this January was one to remember thanks to hurricane Frank. Extreme gusts of wind hit the caravan at over 90 miles an hour.

My first birds of the year where Chaffinch followed by Blue Tit, Great Tit, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Collared Dove and a pair of Buzzards high above using the high winds to sour effortlessly over the whole site.

2nd of January 2016 – Northam Burrows Nature Reserve

Arriving before high tide, this superb nature reserve always offers brilliant close up views of many birds and the occasional seal. Although it rained a lot, this did not dampen the day with the highlights being Brent Goose, Curlew, Little Egret, Grey Plover, Ring Plover, Golden Plover, Knot, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Turnstone, Skylark and many Stonechats.

Wind swept Curlew

Record of some of the 100 plus Golden Plover
 After a morning on the Appledore side of the estuary we moved across to Braunton Burrows and Crow Point. Following a rather splendid in-car picnic the birds of note were House and Tree Sparrow, Kingfisher, Kestrel, Common Gull, Little Egret, Grey Heron and Dunlin.

On this visit to North Devon a total of 40 species of birds were seen.

9th of January 2016 -Draycote Water

Venturing out on what was a miserable dull day of high winds which brought with it cooler temperatures! Birds of note were 2 Great Northern Diver, 20 Goldeneye, 50 plus Great Crested Grebe, 31 Little Grebe, 100’s of Coot and Tufted Duck. A not so common bird that was amongst the many ducks was a single Scaup. 

Great Northern Diver
17th of January 2016 – Brandon Marsh

My first visit of the year to the Marsh on another dull and cloudy day gave up 46 species. Meeting up with my two birding friends we enjoyed the banter and the highlight was a Bittern showing close to the big hide on east marsh pool. Also and not so common was 3 Merganser.

Hidden Bittern

24th of January 2016 – Kings Swinford & Gloucester

Out for the day with birding buddy Gary (Hawkeye) Hobbs saw us of in search of the long staying Hoopoe. Arriving not long after daylight we made our way towards the field described in many birding reports, as we walked up towards the hill top the sought after Hoopoe flew up from a bush right in front of us, “Tick”.

Record shot of Hoopoe
 After an hour and a half we returned to the car for our next location this time in Gloucester for the reported Penduline Tits. As we arrived we met up with birding buddy Steve Nikols who had already enjoyed views of the two birds.

Very distant record of one of the Penduline Tits
 We had to wait a considerable time for them to show, but after what seemed hours we finally caught sight of them 50 metres or so from the fenced area low in the reeds.