Wednesday 23 December 2015

An American Surprise

In typical Phil Abbott fashion, despite it being what I can only describe as the worst winter on patch in my time here for both birds and weather, he still makes as much effort as ever and was duly rewarded with the patches second ever Green-winged Teal! A smart drake on Bridge Marsh on Saturday 19th Dec.

Unlike the first one (a short staying drake on Colyford Marsh on 29th Jan 2013) this one is lingering, although it is often invisible, I dipped it four times before seeing it this morning.

Not exactly a top quality photo!

Really pleased Ian Mc has seen it, he was off patch on the day of the first bird with no sign of it by the time he was home.

This will probably be my last post before Christmas, so I'd like to take this opportunity to wish ALL my readers a....


Wednesday 9 December 2015


Mid last week the Abbotsbury Swannery boys came over again, hoping to catch the male Mute Swan that slipped the net a few weeks ago.  It wasn't as easy as our first attempt as the female clearly remembered us and remained a little nervous, which rubbed off on him. Despite this though within a few minutes thanks to some superb tiger-esk stalking from Steve G, he was in our hands...

As you can see from Steve's expression in the lower of the three photos he was a heavy boy, weighing 3kg more than the female at 13.5kg.  And he can now be known as DJO.

Tuesday 8 December 2015


This is a completely non-birding post, you have been warned!

Whenever I visit any zoo, I do so with mixed emotions. Animals should be free and wild and that's how I always want to see them, but I'm not completely dead against zoos.  I do understand the fantastic educational opportunities they offer, plus many do help with and undertake important conservation work. And of course the animals are not wild, they have been born and bred in captivity, as have their parents and parents parents (I hope!).

Jess has been keen to go to Longleat for a while now, and I have since I was about ten!  Thankfully my bank agreed the loan last week, meaning we were at last able to afford a trip to this impressive place.  

Overall it was very good, both the animals and the house part. My only real negative was the amount of people we were sharing it with.  It felt like we spent the whole day queueing, whether it was in our car with Wildebeest and Lions around us, or because we wanted to go to the loo or buy a bottle of water.  People and cars everywhere!!  The road through the safari park has two lanes, the left lane for people who want to stop and look, with the right lane being the over taking lane which is meant to stay flowing.  Well this works just fine when the animals are on the left hand side of the road, but when they're to the right the whole place comes to a stand still!

My final advice is if you have parking sensors on your car don't go in the Monkey section! I have lost 50% of my reversing sensors thanks to these critters - it was so painful watching and hearing them cause so much damage and not being able to do anything about it!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these few pics...

The above beasts were only half the story. As it got dark the Festival of Lights became the main attraction, and this really was impressive - done on such a massive scale ...

All in all, I can recommend. Especially at this time of year as there's a lovely Christmas feel to the house and surrounding gardens, just try and avoid their predicted busiest days (which last Saturday was one of!).