On the 16th January:
A day birding in north Somerset, starting at Cheddar Reservoir where there were around 30 Goldeneyes, a female and an immature Scaup, an immature Long-tailed Duck, 3 Ruddy Ducks and 4 Wigeon. Also 3 Green Woodpeckers feeding around the banks, 2 Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk. At Tealham and Tadham Moors we saw 40 Dunlin, 31 Snipe, 5 Bewick's Swans and a Green Sandpiper. We continued to Shapwick Heath ( before they had dug it out for peat ) where we found a mixed tit flock containing 3 Willow Tits and a Treecreeper. At Stoke Moor we saw 3 Little Owls and a Grey Wagtail. On the return journey we stopped briefly at Chew Valley Lake where there were 39 Bewick's Swans.
A mild, overcast, misty early morning, becoming sunny and warm, we were at Radipole Lake where we saw a Cetti's Warbler, 2 Bullfinches, a Bittern, around 250 Pochard, 13 Ruddy Ducks, 6 Teal, 20 Tufted Ducks, 2 Shoveler, 5 Snipe, a Water Rail, an adult Little Gull and a Woodcock. In Portland Harbour viewed from the Sandsfoot Castle area we saw a Long-tailed Duck, a Great Northern Diver, 8 Red-breasted Mergansers, 5 Shags, a Red-necked Grebe and heard a Firecrest. At Ferrybridge there were 87 Brent Geese, 150 Dunlin, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 50 Ringed Plover, 4 Grey Plover and 3 Turnstones, on the harbour side were 2 Scaup, 16 Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 Goldeneyes, 3 Little Grebes, a Razorbill and 2 Slavonian Grebes. Returning to Radipole the only birds we added were a Kittiwake and an adult Mediterranean Gull.
On a cold, mainly cloudy day we drove to Plymouth, at Milbay Docks there were lots of gulls including a few Kittiwakes. We had to wait almost an hour before the adult Kumlien's Gull appeared, it flew in from the bay and circled the harbour, from then on we followed the bird from the harbour back out to the bay, where it settled on the sea a couple of times. Unlike the other gulls it wasn't seen to feed, even though there was plenty of fish being off-loaded in the harbour. After a couple of hours it flew out to sea and did not reappear for the rest of the day.
Also seen around the harbour area were 300+ Dunlin, 50+ Redshank, 30+ Curlew, 22 Oystercatchers, a Grey Heron, about 40 Mallard and 10 Shelducks.
Drawing by Laurel Tucker.
A trip to Kenfig, to see and record a Pied-billed Grebe, which was on the pool in view and calling most of the time. Also calling were Teal and Mallard and Whooper Swans were heard in the distance. Mute Swans, Tufted Ducks, Coot, Moorhen, 3 Water Rails and a Snipe were also seen.
A day exploring Lake Tekapo and the River Cass, South Island New Zealand, where the best birds seen were 8 Double-banded Plovers and a Black-fronted Tern.
Photo: Double-banded Plover.