On the 15th February:
A visit to Ashton Court where we saw a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, 300 Redwings, a least 6 Fieldfares and 6 Mistle Thrushes and a Marsh Tit.
A day spent birding locally, with a visit to Chittening Warth where there were spectacular numbers of finches, we estimated
1200 Bramblings, 200 Chaffinches, 20 Linnets, 30 Greenfinches and 50 Reed Buntings. On the shore were around 5000 Dunlin, 250 Redshank and 50 Shelducks, we also saw 20 Stock Doves, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel.
Overnight in Altrincham, in the morning we learned of a White-billed Diver at Hartlepool Harbour, so, we all set off for the long drive northeast.
Arriving at the harbour the adult winter plumaged White-billed Diver was on show and remained just off the harbour wall for the couple of hours we were there, a new bird for us.
Then we had to leave for the even longer drive home.
In Ethiopia, today a drive from Addis Ababa to the Blue Nile Gorge. 20 new birds and 3 new mammals seen.
Photo: White-collared Pigeon.
In The Gambia where I spent all day at Abuko. 9 new birds seen.
Photo: African or Olive Thrush.
In Kenya at Lake Victoria, west of Kisumu. 12 new birds seen today.
Photo: White-throated Bee-eater.
In Fiji on Viti Levu, around Suva. 2 new birds seen today.
A drive to Clevedon where in the front gardens of Oldville Avenue 2 Waxwings were feeding on berries.
Another visit to Portbury Wharf, seeing much the same selection of birds as on the 5th, including the male Ring-necked Duck and there were now 12 Reed Buntings.
A visit to the Forest of Dean on a bright, sunny, warm day. Starting at Soudley Ponds where there were 10+ Mandarin Ducks, lots of tits and couple of Nuthatches around the feeders and Siskins singing in the pines.
Then to Parkend where after a short wait I saw a female Hawfinch under the Yews by the playing field, at the church only a Marsh Tit.
Then I went to New Fancy View and as soon as I got to the view point there was a reasonably close Goshawk flying over the woodland. I saw 3-4 more Goshawks, all very distant, there could have been more. Also seen were 6 Ravens, 4+ Buzzards and a Red Admiral.
My last stop was Woorgreens Lake where there were 7 Goosander, a few Teal and Mallard, and, as I was walking back I heard rustling in the trees and a herd of about 8 adult Wild Boar came towards me, they stopped, then turned and ran off into the trees. A new British mammal for me.
Photos: Female Hawfinch & Goosanders.