On the 21st February:
The start of a Welsh weekend, with our first stop at Blackpill hoping to find an unusual gull amongst the thousands of gulls in Swansea Bay, but that wasn't to be, the best we could do was a single Kittiwake. Looking through the waders was more productive, seeing around 120 Bar-tailed Godwits, 200 Oystercatchers, 50+ Curlew, 20+ Redshank, 500+ Dunlin, lots of Ringed Plovers, 30 Knot, 20 Grey Plovers, 6 Sanderling and a few Turnstones. At the top of the beach we saw about 25 Meadow Pipits, 20 Linnets, 30+ Chaffinches and a Brambling.
An overnight drive to Fishguard arriving in the early hours of the morning, we managed an hours or so sleep in the car before boarding the ferry to Rosslare and our first visit to Southern Ireland.
Our first stop was at Wexford Slobs, an area of mainly fields which could be driven around, to view the geese. Here we saw 1640 Greenland race White-fronted Geese and 2 Snow Geese, one white phase and one blue phase, 170 Wigeon, 10 Brent Geese, a Pink-footed Goose, 2 Barnacle Geese and 5 Blue or Mountain Hares. There was also a hybrid Snow x White-fronted Goose. Waders were also present, most noteworthy 15 Bar-tailed Godwits and 140 Golden Plovers.
From Wexford we drove to Ballycotton, much further than we had thought, and decided that Irish miles were much longer than English ones. Arriving at the lake we immediately saw the bird we had come for, an American Coot, not the most stunning bird but the first one to be seen in the British Isles, so, was new for all of us.
Ballycotton was an excellent place for birds and on the lake, marsh and beach we also saw 5 Whooper Swans, 3 Pintail, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Chiffchaff, 18 Sanderling, 100+ Dunlin, 8 Bar-tailed Godwits, 6 Knot, a Greenshank, 10 Hooded Crows, a 2nd winter Iceland Gull, an adult Mediterranean Gull and 2 Chough.
Spending more time than we should have here, we had to return to Rosslare quickly, in fact we only just made the ferry and were the last car to board.
First full day in Pakistan, in Karachi, along the coast 12 new birds and Green Turtles, which were new.
Photo: House Crow.
In Kenya, first at Mumias Bridge then near Saiwa. 2 new birds seen today.
Photo: White-browed Sparrow Weaver.
On my way home from North Norfolk, I stopped at Santon Downham where there were lots of woodland birds and 3 Muntjak.