Sunday, 23 November 2008

Saturday 22nd November 2008

Back to Wiltshire

I had to travel back to my roots in Wiltshire today, occasioned by my elderly parents. As you can see from my profile, I was born in Wiltshire, and I actually lived there for 28 years. However, I have a very small Wiltshire birding list - caused mainly by living in the extreme west of the county, most of my original birding trips being to such birding hotspots as Chew Valley Lake and the Somerset coast. I also had many birding contacts in the Bath and Bristol area, and in my early twitching days, used to travel with crews of birders from these haunts. I only had to walk less than a mile from my home and I would be in Somerset! Therefore I don't have many rarities on my Wiltshire list. Red-footed Falcon is about the rarest, and to that you can add Black-winged Stilt, Hoopoe, Dotterel, Bittern, Osprey and Great Grey Shrike, so as you can see it's not very impressive!

Come on Terry, stop whittering on, get to the point. As I mentioned, I was back in Wiltshire and luckily there was a Wiltshire tick waiting for me. I called in at Westbury Ponds, well actually Frogmore Pond to be precise, and there sat in the middle of the pond was an adult Great Northern Diver still moulting out of summer plumage. I would imagine that it was a sick bird. It was pretty inactive and didn't dive once the whole time I was there. In fact speaking to a local birder, I was told he had only seen it dive once in over three hours' viewing over the past few days! Still, it showed very well and it was a good bird to add to my county list. Strangely enough, while I was there I added another bird to my Wiltshire list. This was the Yellow-legged Gull which was seen paddling around with a few other gulls. So, a lucky double strike!

A bit later on in the day I had a quick stomp around my old childhood patch before dusk totally descended. This produced Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, and Grey Wagtail, but nothing else of note.

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