February 2006

A short-eared owl hunted over the salt marsh at Sand Bay on 26th. I took this photo of the backlit bird landing. You can see more photos by clicking on the image.

short-eared owl

A day trip to Wales started off at Collister Pill, Magor, to see a snow bunting.

snow bunting

snow bunting

The first black-throated thrush recorded in Wales is still present on a housing estate at Townhill in Swansea, where it feeds on cotoneaster berries. The bird has been present for the last seven weeks, and is a splendid adult male.

black-throated thrush

black-throated thrush

A quick stop at Eglwys Nunydd reservoir produced the long-tailed duck and an adult male greater scaup.

long-tailed duck

greater scaup

We finished the day at Waunafon bog near Blaenafon, looking for the short-eared owls that have been seen there recently. The area was under snow however, and there was no sign of the owls.

It's becoming standard to see red kites on the train journey to London now. One east of Didcot on 22nd.

On 20 February I saw a red-necked grebe in murky conditions at Llandegfedd reservoir in Monmouthshire. There were also 2 lesser redpolls, a raven and a tree creeper there. A peregrine flew over the M4 at Magor.

red-necked grebe

During a family walk at Silkwood (Westonbirt) on 19th I found a singing male willow tit and heard several marsh tits. This male chaffinch was feeding on crumbs at the restaurant.


On 11 February I went to see the 'Bleadon bustard' - a great bustard that originated from the Salisbury Plain reintroduction programme, and settled on the Bleadon levels near Weston-super-mare. The bird is with a flock of about 100 mute swans, and carries orange wing tags with the number 15. It was apparently part of the 2004 project. It will be interesting to see if this scheme is successful. The bird looked less out of place than I expected.

great bustard

great bustard

great bustard

A good selection of birds at Brean Down included rock pipit, peregrine and raven.

rock pipit



After much searching, I eventually found a black redstart in Brean cove.

black redstart

A pair of peregrines grappled over Catcott Lows on the morning of 4th. After not seeing an otter at Shapwick Heath before 2006, I maintained 100% success from three visits this year when one swam past Meare Heath hide at 12.45h. I also photographed a female pheasant, camouflaged against a background of dead vegetation.