A drive to Doncaster with Tim Cleeves and Roy Smith, in fields in the Tollbar area we heard the distinctive calls of the bird we had come for, but due to early morning mist couldn't see it. As the mist lifted in the distance was a Common Crane, a new bird for us, as it became clearer the Crane took off and it took almost an hour to relocate it. We found it feeding in a field by the side of a minor road, so in the car we were able to get quite close. After an hour or so the Crane took off, circled and flew into the distance.
Our journey home took us through the Peak Dristrict and on a stop near Allgreve we saw 2 male and 2 female Ring Ouzels and 4 Wheatears.
The next stop was at Sandbach, where there was a Little Bunting, another new bird for us. It only gave brief views as it skulked in the grass, but now and again would fly to nearby bushes and trees and perch in the open, giving much better views.
Other notable birds here were 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Yellow Wagtails and a Wheatear.
Illustration of the Crane by Laurel Tucker.
Photos: Common Crane, Roy preparing to photograph the Little Bunting.
Overnight on Portland, in the morning we saw the Alpine Accentor again, also a male Ring Ouzel, 32 Willow Warblers, 19 Wheatears and a Magpie, which was rare here.
Most of the time was spent seawatching, on and off through the day, with Common Scoter the most numerous birds, in one session we saw 1447 birds with 1944 seen in total, also a summer plumaged Black-throated Diver, 2 Puffins, a Red-throated Diver, 3 Sandwich Terns, 16 Gannets, a Velvet Scoter, 5 Bottle-nosed Dolphins, an adult Little Gull and on the rocks 15 Purple Sandpipers.
An evening visit to Chew Valley Lake where there was a Kumlien's Gull.
Also there was an adult Little Gull and 30+ Goldeneye.
Drawing by Laurel Tucker.
Leading a Wingspan Bird Tour to Spain.
Co-leading a joint Wingspan/Ibis and Bristol Ornithological Club tour to Cyprus.
In Arizona on a sound recording trip, 3 new birds seen today.
In Zimbabwe on a filming and sound recording trip, no new birds seen today.
A visit to Battery Point in Portishead, where at just after high tide, there were 3 Purple Sandpipers and I also saw 3 Rock Pipits and 2 Sandwich Terns flying up the estuary. I returned for the evening high tide seeing 5 Purple Sandpipers, then I saw a flock of around 50 small waders flying up the estuary and land on a red buoy, they were crowded together and at this distance hard to decide which species they were, but they were either Dunlin or Purple Sandpipers.
The day started at Portbury Wharf where there were a few warblers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and a Common Sandpiper. Then north to Severnside which was very quite. From there I went to Chew Valley Lake where there were a few common warblers, 20+ Swallows, very few ducks, but I did see a Little Gull.
A visit to Northwick Warth where there were 3 Little Ringed Plovers, a Little Egret, 40+ Shelducks and 6+ Swallows.
An exciting few minutes in the garden in Portishead, on the feeders were 2 Goldfinches, 6 Siskins and 2 Lesser Redpolls, while amongst the gulls flying overhead there was a Common Gull, rare here.
Watching the 10+ House Sparrows coming to the feeders and resting in the Hawthorn bush, while most were in typical plumage there were two which stood out, a male and a female, both had much more dark feathering on their underparts, an odd moult pattern or maybe a touch of Spannish in their heritage? Also seen in the garden was a Chiffchaff.
Odd male House Sparrow.
Odd female House Sparrow.
A drive to Tenby, Pembrokeshire, on the way seeing 2 Red Kites near Carmarthen. Arriving in Tenby I found parking difficult and nowhere near to the Lifeboat Station, I had to park in the large car park alongside the North Beach. Then a short walk up to the coast road from where I could view the lifeboat slipway across the bay, some 4-500 yards. If I was fitter I could have walked around to the Castle Hill, but it was too far and hilly. Almost immediately I saw The Atlantic Walrus, in the water near to the end of the slipway, it repeatedly dived only staying on the surface for a minute or so, later it stayed up for a bit longer, so seemed to be feeding well. Through the telescope I had a good view, but not so good for photos. It was reported to be a young male, but looked big to me, it stayed in the water the whole time I was there, about 4 hours, I was hoping it would rest on the slipway as it had everyday since it's arrival.
Also seen were 2 Gannets and several Shags on the sea, and, on the lifeboat slipway 2 Common Sandpipers and a Purple Sandpiper.
Some grainy video of the Walrus on hard drive.
Tenby, beach, Castle Hill and Lifeboat Station.
Photo by Mark Coller, taken from Lifeboat Station.