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On the 19th April:


A trip to Portland, where in the brambles alongside the wall of the observatory garden was a male Subalpine Warbler, a new bird for us.

It was very sculking only showing for brief moments before diving back into cover, eventually it gave good views, but not for long.

Later, in a row of gardens by the Eight Kings Quarry, in an area of patches of overgrown cabbage plants with wide strips between, we saw 3 Serins, a male, a female and a first summer male, another new bird for us.

Also on Portland we saw 7 Corn Buntings, 6 Wheatears, 17 Swallows, a Black Redstart, lots of Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, lots of Goldcrests, a Merlin, a White Wagtail, and a Redstart.

On the sea were lots of Kittiwakes and Fulmars, Gannets, Guillemots, Razorbills, 2 Puffins, 3 Sandwich Terns, 2 Arctic Skuas,

2 Velvet Scoters, Shags and Cormorants.


An overnight drive from the Brecklands to Weymouth, with our first stop at Radipole Lake to look for a Purple Heron, but it didn't show, the best we saw were 3 Sparrowhawks, a Kestrel, a Cuckoo, 3 Sedge Warblers, a Willow Warbler, 2 Sand Martins and we heard a Grasshopper Warbler and a Bearded Tit.

At Ferrybridge there was a Little Tern and a Sanderling. On Portland there were 5 Wheatears, 10 Willow Warblers, 2 Stonechats, a Redstart, a Whitethroat, 20+ Corn Buntings, lots of Linnets and 2 Swallows. From the bill, the usual seabirds, plus 2 Sandwich Terns, 4 Gannets, 9 Manx Shearwaters, a Red-throated Diver and on the rocks 8 Purple Sandpipers.

We returned to Radipole, where we did see the Purple Heron, a new bird for us. First seen in flight, it landed by a stream where it caught an eel and stayed on view for sometime.

On an evening sea watch from the bill, we added c50 Common Scoter and a Black-throated Diver to the day list and there were now 10 Purple Sandpipers.


Above: Purple Heron, illustrations by Laurel Tucker.


A visit to Chew Valley Lake where there were a few warblers, but other than a Long-tailed Duck it was quiet. We drove to Stert, on the walk to the hides we heard a Grasshopper Warbler, saw 4 Grey Partridges and 2 Red-legged Partridges, 7 Yellow Wagtails, 8 White Wagtails and heard a Little Owl.

On the shore as the tide came in were 315 Shelducks, a Knot, 323 Curlew, c80 Oystercatchers, c30 Redshank, c150 Dunlin, an Avocet

29 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Little Stint, c20 Ringed Plovers and a Greenshank.


A visit to Nags Head reserve in the Forest of Dean where we saw 3 Treecreepers, 4 Wood Warblers hearing another 2, lots of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Pied Flycatchers, 12+ Nuthatches, 2 Marsh Tits, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers,

2 Hawfinches and only heard a Redstart.


An early morning walk through Leigh Woods where we saw 2 Hawfinches, 2 Nuthatches, 4 Marsh Tits, a Chiffchaff and a male Firecrest.

The Firecrest was singing like a Goldcrest and appeared to be paired with a female Goldcrest, First seen feeding together in the tree tops, where both birds were calling, exactly the same. After feeding the Firecrest started singing a Goldcrest-like song, only once did it intersperse a hint of Firecrest song. The female Goldcrest disappeared but the Firecrest continued singing until it flew off.


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, 1 new bird seen today.











Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. 


In Zimbabwe on a filming and sound recording trip, 1 new bird seen today.

Lilac-breasted Roller, calls - Nigel Tucker
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A visit to Chittening Warth where on the rough ground inside the dock area there were now 3 Little Ringed Plovers


A drive to Sand Point on a dull, drizzly day, then a walk over the hillside to Middle Hope, where there was a Chough feeding on the slopes on the northern side, the first one to be seen in Somerset in over a hundred years. The rings on its leg showed that it had come from the Gower population in South Wales.

Also seen were 50+ Swallows, 6+ House Martins, a Wheatear, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and a Garden Warbler.












Video of the Chough, also see here


On my drive to Slimbridge I saw a Swift near Cambridge, possibly my earilest date ever for this species.

My first stop was the Rushy Pen where there were 6 Black-winged Stilts.

Also seen around the site were 250+ Black-tailed Godwits, 50+ Avocets, 2 Redshank, 9 Ruff with a couple of them in summer plumage, a Snipe, 3 Common Cranes, 2 Little Egrets, a Peregrine, lots of Shelducks, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, lots of Blackcaps, a few Chiffchaffs, 3+ Cetti's Warblers, several Reed Warblers, a Willow Warbler, a Sedge Warbler, a Yellow Wagtail and lots of Wrens.




Photos: Right: Black-winged Stilt.


             Below: Snipe & Wren.




More photos here.



A visit to Slimbridge on a sunny, hot day. The grounds were fairly quite seeing 6 Common Cranes, lots of Shelducks, 40+ Avocets mainly on the 'Dumbles' scrape, a few Lapwings and lots of Blackcaps and good numbers of Chiffchaffs.

On the south lake, in with the Black-headed Gulls, were a pair of Mediterranean Gulls, an adult and a second summer bird which were seen copulating and holding a nest site. Apart from a few duck and lots of geese, some with goslings, the only other bird of interest was a Little Egret.










Mediterranean Gull pair. 

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