Pied Flycatcher, Wood Warbler, Cuckoo, Red Kite, Little Ringed Plover and Whimbrel!

In the last 2 weeks I paid a visit to Battery Point at Portishead in North Somerset looking specifically for Purple Sandpipers. I did not find any! However, I had a fabulous consolation, a Whimbrel on the rocks! These large waders with long down-curved...

In the last 2 weeks I paid a visit to Battery Point at Portishead in North Somerset looking specifically for Purple Sandpipers. I did not find any! However, I had a fabulous consolation, a Whimbrel on the rocks! These large waders with long down-curved bills pass through Somerset on their Spring migration, but are not easy to get a close view of and are often mistaken for the very similar resident Curlews.

    The Whimbrel I happened upon was so camouflaged on the rocks that I didn't notice it at first and inadvertently flushed it... It flew off, around the Point and landed in the distance on the beach! I cursed myself, thinking a great photo opportunity had got away. However, I laid on the grass and, much to my surprise, watched the Whimbel walk along the beach back towards the Point! I climbed back on the rocks and towards the exact spot I had originally flushed it from! I ran across and crawled to the edge of the grass overlooking the rocks where it had been previously and lay down waiting. Sure enough, the Whimbrel soon walked into view, and I got my closest and best ever shots of this wonderful wader as it used it's long bill to look for rock creatures to feast on, pushing it deep into all the holes and crevices.
Was fabulous to see!

On another day I was working down at Broadwindsor in Dorset when a Red Kite flew right overhead!
I ran back to my van to grab my camera and managed to get some shots from underneath as it looked down at me! These stunning birds of prey are still uncommon to see in the West Country, but instances of seeing them have increased in the last couple of years, can't wait until they're a regular sight in Somerset!

Yesterday I went to Hodders Combe on the Quantock Hills in Somerset looking for Pied Flycatchers. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the open oak woodlands of the combe were full of life. I saw Wood mice chasing each other around, Squirrels in the canopy and a herd of Red Deer. Bird life was fantastic. I found the Pied Flycatchers, gorgeous little black and white birds that are actually quite easy to miss in the dappled light of the woodland. Photography in these conditions is very difficult. In almost every photo there are areas of shade and darkness and areas of harsh brightness! This makes all round exposure very tough.
   Despite this, I managed some ok photos of these birds, along with some other Hodders Combe specialities, including Wood Warbler, Garden Warbler, Blackcap and Grey Wagtail. I did see a beautiful Male Redstart too, but only managed a poor distant record shot of it high in a tree. Near the top of the Combe where it opens up into heath and moorland I heard a Cuckoo and managed to get a pic of it in the distance.

Below are photo's of most mentioned above, plus lots of other stuff I've photographed since my last blog post, including Sparrowhawk, Little Ringed Plover, Avocet, Swift, Hobby and Yellow Wagtail;

^Above^ - Pied Flycatchers at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Garden Warbler at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Wood Warblers at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Blackcap at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Blackbirds at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Cuckoo at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Grey Wagtail at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Nuthatch at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Mistle Thrushes at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Robins at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Record shots of a Redstart at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Blue Tit at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Red Deer at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Squirrels in the canopy at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Attractive Beetle at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Blue Butterfly at Hodders Combe.

^Above^ - Red Kite at Broadwindsor in Dorset, chased by a Crow in the bottom pic.

^Above^ - Whitethroat at Broadwindsor in Dorset.

^Above^ - Just a few pics of the Whimbrel at Portishead! 

^Above^ - Linnets at Portishead.

^Above^ - House Sparrows enjoying a dust-bath at Portishead.

^Above^ - Goldfinches at Portishead.

^Above^ - Carrion Crow at Portishead.

^Above^ - Dunnock at Portishead.

^Above^ - Great Black Backed Gull at Portishead.

^Above^ - Male and female Tufted Ducks at Portishead.

^Above^ - Mallard at Portishead.

^Above^ - Blackbirds at Portishead.

^Above^ - Herring Gull at Portishead.

^Above^ - House Sparrows at Northwick Warth near Bristol.

^Above^ - Meadow Pipit at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Mistle Thrush at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Sand Martins at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Shelducks at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Robins at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Blackbirds at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Black Tailed Godwit at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Distant Yellow Wagtail at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - White Wagtail at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Yellow and White Wagtails at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - House Martins at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Dunlin at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Rabbits at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Chiffchaff at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Sparrowhawks at RSPB Greylake in Somerset.

^Above^ - Redshank at RSPB Greylake.

^Above^ - Little Grebe at RSPB Greylake.

^Above^ - Buzzard at RSPB Greylake.

^Above^ - Mallard at RSPB Greylake.

^Above^ - Lapwing chasing away a Rook at RSPB Greylake.

^Above^ - Sedge Warbler at RSPB Greylake.

^Above^ - Moorhen at RSPB Greylake.

^Above^ - Robin at RSPB Greylake.

^Above^ - Swift at RSPB Greylake.

^Above^ - Sand Martins at RSPB Greylake.

^Above^ - Avocets at a Somerset location.

^Above^ - Little Ringed Plovers at a Somerset location.

^Above^ - Little Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers having disagreements at a Somerset location.

^Above^ - Oystercatchers at a Somerset location.

^Above^ - Peregrine Falcon in attack mode at a Somerset location.

^Above^ - Peregrine Falcon, Avocets, Black Tailed Godwits and Oystercatcher!

^Above^ - Shelduck at a Somerset location.

^Above^ - Pied Wagtail at a Somerset location.

^Above^ - Linnet at a Somerset location.

^Above^ - Grey Heron at a Somerset location.

^Above^ - Jackdaw in my Somerset garden.

^Above^ - Cute baby Robin in my Somerset garden.

^Above^ - Blue Tit in my Somerset garden.

^Above^ - Young Woodpigeon on my van windscreen outside my house!

^Above^ - Collared Dove in Bridgwater in Somerset.

^Above^ - Goldfinch and Collared Dove at Bridgwater.

^Above^ - Lesser Black Backed Gulls at Bridgwater.

^Above^ - Magpie at Weston Super Mare.

^Above^ - Distant Cuckoo at RSPB Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Great Crested Grebe at RSPB Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Great White Egret at RSPB Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Hobbies at RSPB Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Gadwall at RSPB Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Little Grebe at RSPB Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Great Tit at RSPB Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Reed Warbler at RSPB Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Orange Tip Butterfly at RSPB Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Female Chaffinch at RSPB Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Sheep and lambs at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Lambs at Cheddar in Somerset.

^Above^ - Dogs at Northwick Warth.

^Above^ - Dog on a lead at Portishead.

^Above^ - Scenes form Hodders Combe in Somerset.

^Above^ - Daisies at Portishead.

^Above^ - My fellow 'spotter' at Hodders Combe!