February 2005

On 5 February I went to Brean Down to see 4 black redstarts, including an adult male. At lunchtime on 8th, I went to Downend cricket field to see the waxwings there. Dave Nevitt was ringing birds, and I got some lovely views of waxwings in the hand. A local man brought some feathers from one bird that had been killed in his garden. The picture above (bottom right) shows how the birds get their name - some of the secondary feathers have waxy tips.


flock of waxwingswaxwing secondary feather

On 12 February I saw the glaucous gull at Nether Stowey. The bird is very bleached and worn, but the dark iris and dark-tipped bill show it is a first winter-‘first summer' individual. The bird is very confiding, feeding on wet ground around a water trough, and I wonder if it is in good health. A redhead smew was at Cheddar reservoir, together with an adult Mediterranean gull moulting into summer plumage.

glaucous gullflying glaucous gull

Mid-month highlights included a trip to the Forest of Dean. First stop was New Fancy View, where I saw ca. 5 goshawks , including a grappling pair at quite close range, ca. 10 buzzards, a peregrine, and ca. 5 raven. No hawfinches at Brierley, but saw a marsh tit, heard a willow tit, and I flushed a woodcock. At least 10 mandarin on the lower Cannop Pond. At Parkend Church I eventually found a hawfinch, calling frequently, and flying in the treetops. Also a flock of siskins here. I also saw a pair of crossbills, ca. 20 lesser redpolls and ca. 10 siskins at Fernworthy reservoir in Devon.


Chew valley lake – late afternoon 19th. 3 greater scaup and 5 goosander in Villice Bay. A pair of great crested grebes were performing their weed dance in front of the hide. The goose flock at Parklands included the feral red breasted goose. The gull roost included 4 Mediterranean gulls – one second winter and 3 adults.

great crested grebes weed dance