On the 16th February:
An overnight drive to Great Yeldham in Essex, to see a Black Kite, although we and lots of other birders scanned the fields on the outskirts of the village for several hours the kite wasn't seen. During that time we did see a Barn Owl, a Tree Sparrow, a Yellowhammer, a Grey Partridge, 2 Kestrels, 120 Golden Plovers and 300 Lapwing.
On the way home we called in at Stoke Newington Reservoir where there were plenty of Pochard, Tufted Ducks and Great Crested Grebes, and 3 male and 10 female/redhead Smew.
A mild, sunny day, we were at Portishead, where on the beach we saw 18 Twite, also a few Chaffinches and Goldfinches, and 3 Reed Buntings. On the shore were around 30 Redshank, 20+ Dunlin and 2 Turnstone.
A trip to Barrow Tanks, where on the rubbish tip opposite the main site we saw a 1st winter Iceland Gull, with around 500 other gulls. Later we saw it again on tank number 3 when it came in to bathe with other gulls.
Drawings by Laurel Tucker.
In Ethiopia, this morning we left Addis Ababa for a 3 day trip south to visit some of the lakes of the Rift Valley. 22 new birds and 2 new mammals seen today.
Photo: Hemprich's Hornbill.
In The Gambia and a visit to Banjul town centre, around the harbour I saw lots of Little Swifts and several Red-chested Swallows.
In Kenya in Kakamega Forest. 5 new birds seen today.
Photo: Northern Masked Weaver.
A visit to Chew Valley Lake, where there were good numbers of ducks and gulls, including 2 'redhead' Smew and an adult Ring-billed Gull.
In Fiji on Vanua Levu, at Savusavu. 1 new bird seen today.