Friday, 27 April 2012

Swifts

I saw several Swifts tonight flying low over the house , has anyone else seen any in the Bath area yet ?

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Spring Hoverflies


A nice set of spring Hoverfly photos from Rob with some very interesting Information. Click here for photos click on small photos to enlarge

Thank you Rob

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

SNAKE'S HEAD FRITILLERY

I know it is not within the Bath Nats seven mile radius of the City for comment on this blog but I thought it might be worth mentioning that if people are thinking of going to Clattinger Farm near Minety to see the annual display of Snakeshead Fritillery, Fritillaria meleagris, this year, they will be in for a disappointment. A dry spring in 2011 has resulted in less than the usual number of these plants in flower at the present time.

We can only hope the current rains will result in a good showing for April 2013.
Thanks Chris


Snake's Head Fritillary in flower in the field by the road and close to Swillbrook.


Thank you Phillip

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Chew Valley Lake

We were out at Chew Valley Lake today and watched a group of terns flying over Roman Shallows from Nunnery Point. Along with several Common and two Arctic Terns were a couple of Black Tern (stunning in their spring plumage). On the way back to the main road we passed a trackside bank near The Parkland covered with Cowslips and several spikes of Green-winged Orchids (Orchis morio)click here for photo. Also seen today, the female Long-tailed Duck, from the dam end picnic site.

Phillip and Lucy









Thank you Phillip and Lucy

Birds this morning on Claverton Hill, Monday 23 April.

Birds this morning on Claverton Hill, Monday 23 April.
First sighting of two baby blackbirds, on the drive and in-and-out of bushes. Being fed by the male, haven't seen mum.
Lots feeding activity on the feeders, despite rain. Marsh tit a frequent visitor today. Solitary female greenfinch on niger feeder. Greenfinches have been rare to hear or see here over the last couple of years.
Thanks comments re beak-to-beak feeding (pair bonding; male proving he is a good provider; getting female in top condition for egg laying; etc). The male robin is demonstrating his abilities yet again this morning, feeding the female on the ground.

Thank you Carole.


Friday, 20 April 2012

NEAR WINSLEY

Whilst taking a walk through fields at Great Ashley near Winsley yesterday I saw a Brown Hare and a couple of male Swallows flying overhead.

Thanks Chris

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Bird behaviour



Lots of birds feeding at our nut, niger and fat feeders. Robins; blue- coal- and great- tits; nuthatches; blackbirds; goldfinches; great spotted woodpeckers; dunnocks below. Today we watched both robins and coaltits passing food beak-to-beak by the feeders. Not sure why.

Thanks for the post Carole

I had a chat today with Terry Doman one our of members who is very knowledgeable on birds he explained that this is males feeding females as well as a bonding act the main purpose is to get the females in tip top condition for egg laying.

Thank you Terry

Dipper Batheaston


Great sighting of a Dipper on the Catharine brook today from the bridge in Steway lane.
Steve Curtis 

Monday, 16 April 2012

Greyfield Wood

Many thanks to Rob Randall for an excellent trip to Greyfield Wood today.


Click here for photos

Greyfield Wood and Stephen's Hill, Monday 16th April 2012

Sixteen members joined the leader to explore woods in a part of the Somerset Coalfield where the coal-bearing rocks reach the surface. Much of Greyfield Wood grows on shales, and in places the dark grey nature of the soil indicates the presence of a coal seam below. Heavy soils develop on these relatively acidic rocks and the vegetation is very different from the woods around Bath. Bluebells, Wood Anemone and Cuckooflowers were abundant, and there was no sign of Ramsons, which prefers alkaline soils. One indicator of the acid nature of the soil was Foxglove, several over-wintering plants of which were seen. A single plant of Broom was found near a population of young Birch trees. Silver Birch, the common species, has naked twigs and doubly serrate leaves, but some of these had very hairy twigs, more typical of the Downy Birch. The latter has leaves with simple toothing, but although one or two appeared to show this, most had the compound toothing typical of Silver Birch. These species can interbreed quite freely, so the likelihood of pure strains of Downy Birch surviving for long are not good. Downy Birch is typical of heath and moorland, and may have been part of the original vegetation of the 'grey field' before it became a wood.

A short visit to Stephen's Hill to see one of the few waterfalls in the area, was delayed by a Goldcrest, which remained singing in full view for several minutes. As the Bluebells in Greyfield were not yet in flower, a visit was paid to the south-facing slopes of Highbury Hill, where they produced an impressive blue haze. Highbury Hill is made of a hard sandstone, but well drained, so a number of plants not seen earlier appeared, such as Greater Stitchwort, Red Campion and Wall Pennywort. Leathery specimens of Hard Shield Fern had survived the winter. It being spring, bird-song was very much in evidence, and 18 common birds were seen or heard, and at one point the party was circled by a concerned pair of Roe Deer.

Thank you Rob

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Lesser Spotted Wood pecker.

14 April 2012. Wood pecker drumming at Newton Park ,thought to be a Lesser Spotted Wood pecker.

Roy Curber

Thank you Roy

St.Cathrines Batheaston

Walk up St.cathrines Batheaston,a few spring flowers,Plus my first local Swallow of the year.


Click here for photos



BIDDESTONE BIRDS

I took a circular walk around the outlying areas of Biddestone today. It was very cold on the uplands  so I didn't stay long. Birds encountered included Skylark, Yellowhammer, House Sparrows and a single Lapwing. On the way home I saw a Kestrel at Colerne and when I got to the farm at Middlehill I was very pleased to see a pair of Kestrels inhabiting the owl box again. Last year they successfully reared four chicks.

Thank you Chris keep us updated on the nesting Kestrels.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Walk up Steway lane - Bannerdown 13-4-2012




Usual suspects plus, 
Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) Bannerdown, Skylark (Alauda arvensis) Bannerdown .Coralroot (Cardamina bulbifera) Steway lane,Roe deer with possible gun shot wound. 



Photos click here

Thursday, 12 April 2012

GARDEN WARBLER

This evening I heard a Garden Warbler singing in scrub where the railway line crosses the river at Bathford.


Thank you Chris

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

SWALLOWS

Yesterday evening I saw two Swallows flying over the fields at Bathampton.

Monday, 9 April 2012

ANOTHER SHORT STROLL: COMPTON DANDO

This morning I took a short walk in the rain up Peppershells Lane in the village of Compton Dando, down through the woods and back through the fields to my car. I had gone there to see how far the native Bluebells, Hyacinthoides non-scripta,  in the wood have advanced. The answer to that is that only a few are flowering and I doubt if they will be in prime condition for a week or two yet. What was really worthy of attention today were the clumps of Lady's Smock, Cardamine Pratensis, in full flower, in hedgerows and fields. These are worth an hour of anyone's time to see, and if you can wait a few days before visiting, the emerging flowers on the Blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, will make this an even greater treat.

Among the birds seen in the area were Red Legged Partridge, Linnets and Yellowhammers in or around the fields and a pair of Ravens above the wood.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Garlic

There are several plants of Few Flowered Garlic , (Allium paradoxum) growing with Ramsons just beyond St Catherines court , thanks to Ruth at St Michaels church for the information.

Friday, 6 April 2012

A SHORT STROLL NEAR CONKWELL

On a short stroll near the village of Conkwell today I saw an Orange Tip  and several Peacock butterflies. On the climb to the village there were several Lady's Smock or Cuckoo Flower, Cardamine pratensis, plants  in full bloom on a north facing slope.  At the top of the hill there were a couple of Great Stitchwort, Stellaria holostea, plants in flower and both Jack By The Hedge, Alliaria petiolata, and Cow Parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris, in the very early stages of coming into bloom. Coming back through the fields in the Avon Valley I saw a large patch of Crosswort, Cruciata laevipes, on another north facing slope. Brooklime, Veronica beccabunga ,and Alexanders, Smyrnium olusatrum, were growing on the banks of a small brook flowing into the River Avon.


Thank you Chris

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Nice set of close up photos of Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)
Thank you Mark

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Bath Nats History

Interesting Email to Mike Bailey click here

Lambridge

A short walk around 'our' Lambridge site this afternoon to look for some spring flowers etc.
The plants found were - Danish Scurygrass , Wavy Bittercress , Bugle , Common Field Speedwell , Wood Forgetmenot (this could be a garden escapee) , Great Horsetail , Red and White Deadnettle.
Also found were 4 Chiffchaffs and a Green Woodpecker , Bee Fly ( Bombylius major ) and a Hoverfly (Melanostoma scalare ).
Click here for photos

Thanks Mark



Monday, 2 April 2012

Toad Patrol.


The results so far, although not quite all of the records are in yet.
Toads - 1523 (alive), 73 (dead)
Frogs - 860 (alive), 56 (dead)
Newts - 462 (alive), 38 (dead)
Total amphibians 2845 (alive), 167 (dead)
This is a great total and much more than I thought bearing in mind that over the migration period the weather was predominantly cold and dry. Last year's total was 2954 (alive) so we are close.   

Thanks Becky for the Update