On the 12th February:
Another visit to Clevedon Harbour, where there were still 2000+ Dunlin, 70+ Redshank and around 40 Golden Plover. On a walk through the spartina grass we saw 8 Jack Snipe and about 60 Snipe.
A visit to Slimbridge where there were about 1000 White-fronted Geese, 5 Pink-footed Geese, a Bean Goose, 5 Barnacle Geese, around 20 Bewick's Swans, 15 Dunlin, 2 Jack Snipe and a Tree Sparrow.
An overnight drive to Minster-on-Sea on the Isle of Sheppey following reports of the discovery of a Rock Thrush. As dawn broke, we and lots of other birdwatchers, waited for the bird to appear along the sea front, but it didn't.
During that time we did see a Short-eared Owl, 30+ Tree Sparrows, 8 Yellowhammers, a Corn Bunting, a Kittiwake, 15 Turnstones, lots of Redshank, a Ringed Plover, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, 5 Red-throated Divers, 9 Common Scoters and a Gannet.
Not having been to this area before we decided to explore elsewhere with a visit to Capel Fleet were we saw 2 female Hen Harriers, a Peregrine, lots of Mute Swans, Lapwings and Golden Plovers, and distant flock of geese.
Then we went to Harty Island where there was a female Merlin and another female Hen Harrier.
Returning to Minster-on-Sea we found that the first winter male Rock Thrush was showing well, a new British bird for us.
Rock Thrush drawings by Laurel Tucker.
In Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa around the hotel garden I saw 20 new birds.
In Senegal at Niokolo Koba National Park. 16 new birds and 7 new mammals today.
In Kenya, in the Masai Mara, 5 new birds and a new mammal today.
Photo: Immature Black-chested Snake Eagle.
In Fiji on Viti Levu, travelling from Nadi to Suva. 6 new birds and 1 new mammal seen today.
A trip out to Chew Valley Lake to look for the Booted Eagle, the bird appeared over Herriott's Bridge where I had a good view of the 2nd year pale phase Booted Eagle before it headed east, although not excepted by the BOU, I considered it to be a wild bird due to it's condition and habits and it's on my list.
I drove along the valley east of the lake and found it in a side valley, where it flew overhead several times giving excellent views. The bird then returned to CVL and was seen at several locations around the lake, before disappearing eastwards again.
A drive to nearby Ham Green where a male Ring Ouzel was visiting berry trees in back gardens, a very unusual bird to winter here or in Britain.
At home in Portishead where I watched a Sparrowhawk attempt to take a Collared Dove which was feeding on the grass beneath the Willow Tree. It appeared to miss, but then caught it in flight and landed on the ground were it began to feed, it then dragged the dove across to the trees and continued feeding.
A visit to Aust Warth where there was a Merlin, several Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, a Stonechat, Wigeon, Teal, 3 Pintail which are rare in the estuary, Shelduck, about 30 Redshank and 200+ Dunlin.
At Northwick Warth there were 3 Little Egrets, a Kestrel, 350+ Dunlin, 100+ Oystercatchers, 30+ Curlew, 30+ Redshank, 2 Turnstones, 50+ Shelduck, 3 Buzzards, 20+ Pied Wagtails, a few Meadow Pipits and a Water Pipit.