On the 20th September:
Our last day in the Weymouth area, we started at Portland seeing a Wryneck again, then learned that a skua had been seen on the beach at Dawlish Warren. We decided to go with Chris Heard and Martin Cade, but we had to go to Weymouth first to get permission from Martin's Mum, he was only young at this time!
On the beach at Dawlish Warren we saw the skua, it was a sub-adult Long-tailed Skua, a new bird for all of us and for Laurel and I our first skua. Also seen there, was a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel, 500+ Oystercatchers, 20+ Wigeon, 12 Eider, Curlews, Common and Sandwich Terns.
Overnight on Portland, in the morning a look around the bill only produced a couple of warblers, 3 Wheatears, a Stonechat and 5 Corn Buntings. At Radipole Lake there were 4 Little Gulls, a Water Rail, 2 Little Stints and lots of Bearded Tits.
A drive to Portland to see an immature Yellow-breasted Bunting, a new bird for us. We saw it in stubble fields near the Eight Kings Quarry, but when in the stubble it couldn't be seen, it had to be flushed into the bushes at the edge of the field to get a view. Then the bird would drop down and crawl back into the stubble and disappear, the best view was when it came out into the open to feed along a track for 4-5 minutes.
Later, at the Observatory we were shown a Leach's Petrel which had been brought in exhausted.
Immature Yellow-breasted Bunting, drawings by Laurel Tucker.
An evening visit to Chew Valley Lake, just to the Twy-cross area, where there was a Wilson's Phalarope, 7 Spotted Redshank, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 6 Dunlin, 2 Green Sandpipers and 33 Wigeon.
A visit to Cheddar Reservoir where there was a Wilson's Phalarope, different to the Chew bird, also seen was a female Ring-necked Duck, a Common Sandpiper, 11 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plovers, 7 Ruff, 4 Spotted Redshank, 4 Greenshank, a Black Tern, 2 Sandwich Terns, 2 Ruddy Ducks, 10 Pintail, a Red-crested Pochard and a Kingfisher.
Then we went to Berrow seeing c200 Oystercatchers, 120+ Ringed Plovers, c800 Dunlin, c20 Sanderling, 55 Knot, a Curlew Sandpiper and a Little Stint.
On the way home we called in at Herriott's Bridge at Chew Valley Lake where their Wilson's Phalarope was on show, also seeing 6 Sandwich Terns.
Drawing of Ring-necked Duck by Laurel Tucker.
A visit to Cheddar Reservoir where the best was a Black Tern, a Red-crested Pochard and 3 Common Sandpipers. At Chew Valley Lake there were 12 Black Terns, an Arctic Tern, 3 Spotted Redshank, 8 Ruff, a Common and 2 Green sandpipers and 2 Marsh Tits.
Leading a Wingspan tour to Turkey, no new birds seen today.
On a filming and sound recording trip to Zimbabwe, 3 new birds seen today.
A visit to Severn Beach seeing a Pomarine Skua, 3 Manx Shearwaters and a Common Tern.
An early morning visit to the RSPB Greylake Reserve seeing a Spotted Crake, 2 Water Rails, lots of Chiffchaffs, Cetti's Warbler, a Little Egret and a Green Sandpiper. Then to Steart for a White-rumped Sandpiper which I missed by a few minutes! I did see 10 Black-tailed Godwits, a Knot, 5 Avocets and 5+ Little Egrets.
On the way to Looe in Cornwall, I stopped at Jennycliff near Plymouth, where in the scrub along the cliffs was an adult Lesser Grey Shrike, also seen were 2 Mediterranean Gulls and a Little Egret.
Lesser Grey Shrike