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On the 21st May:


A weekend in the Weymouth/Portland area, we started at Radipole Lake, but the Little Bittern we had come to see had gone, nevertheless we did see 2 Cuckoos, 9 Turtle Doves, a Little Tern, a Common Tern, 2 Kestrels, a Little Ringed Plover, lots of Reed and Sedge Warblers, a few Whitethroats and heard several Grasshopper Warblers.

From there to Ferrybridge where there were 5 Sandwich, 2 Common and 2 Little Terns, 3 Dunlin, 3 Sanderling and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits.

We continued to Portland, where on a seawatch from the bill we saw c60 Gannets, 30+ Kittiwakes, c25 Fulmars, Guillemots, Razorbills, 

3 Puffins, 4 Manx Shearwaters and a Risso's Dolphin, a new mammal for us. By the bill there were 4 Wheatears and a White Wagtail.

We returned to Radipole Lake where there were 4 Bearded Tits with lots more heard, 4 Little Terns, an Arctic Tern and 2 Common Terns.


Overnight near Minsmere, in the morning we went to Hinton Hall where we saw a male Red-backed Shrike and 2 Turtle Doves. Then to Kessingland where there was a female Dotterel, 8 Ringed Plovers, 3 Stonechats, 2 Red-legged Partridges, a Wheatear, 2 Sandwich Terns and several Tree Sparrows. Later, a drive north to Cley where we saw a Spoonbill, a Marsh Harrier, 5 Avocets, a Greenshank, 2 Fulmars and a female Bluethroat. On the drive home we stopped at West Wycombe Hill seeing 2 male Yellowhammers and 2 male Cirl Buntings, this must have been as far north as this species ever got in England.


In Ontario, 2 new birds, a new mammal, a new reptile and a new amphibian seen today.










Red-winged Blackbird. 


Leading a Wingspan Bird Tour to Point Pelee in southern Ontario.


A change of location and a fast drive west to Blunham Gravel Pits near Sandy for a Collared Pratincole, a new British bird for us.

Later, we returned to the planned route and visited the Poplar woodland at Lakenheath, where we saw 9 Cuckoos, 6 Blackcaps, 7 Whitethroats, 4 Golden Orioles, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 4 Garden Warblers and a Woodcock.



Photo: Collared Pratincole.

Collared Pratincole drawings by Laurel.


We were in Pagham, where on the beach there was a male Trumpeter Finch, a 2nd British record and a new bird for us. Also seen in the area were 2 Cuckoos, Grey and Red-legged Partridges, 10 Brent Geese, Little and Sandwich Terns, an Osprey and a Hobby.


An amazing day on Skomer Island, the island was carpeted in Bluebells and Red Campion under a clear blue sky.

The highlights were auks with plenty of Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills. Other seabirds seen were Kittiwakes, Fulmars and 3 Gannets, also a large colony of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

There were several Wheatears, Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers, Skylarks, Meadow and Rock Pipits, Linnets, Wrens, 2 Reed Buntings, 5 Ravens and 3 Chough.

A Short-eared Owl was seen near and over the reedbed in the centre of the island, where it mainly hunted and it was seen to catch 2 voles. It carried its prey back to a nest in the reeds, as it approached it hovered transfering the vole from its talons to its bill and then dropped the prey into the nest. The owl then settled on the ground some 15 yards away from the nest, it stayed for about 15 minutes before resuming hunting.










Short-eared Owl. 

Bluebells on Skomer

Red Campion on Skomer


A visit to the Welney Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust reserve where the highlights were a Cuckoo, a Little Ringed Plover, a Sandwich Tern and a Marsh Harrier.


In the Russia Far East, 1 new bird seen today.


A day out with Roy Smith who was visiting from Ontario, we started on the Mendips seeing a Little Owl and a Wheatear, then to Westhay where there were 5 Whimbrel, a Common Sandpiper, lots of warblers and a Cuckoo. At Catcott Lows there was another Wheatear and a male Marsh Harrier, in Cheddar Gorge we saw a pair of Peregrines, with our last stop north at Inglestone Common where we saw another Little Owl, 2 Nightingales and heard Tawny Owls and a Fox.






Nightingale song.

Nightingale - Nigel Tucker
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On a birding holiday to Turkey. 1 new bird seen today.


A visit to Combe Hill Meadows, a place new to me, pleasant walk by the canal and across yellow fields of buttercups. There were Sedge Warblers everywhere by the canal, also lots of Blackcaps and a few Chiffchaffs, with a Cuckoo calling in the distance.

Combe Hill Meadows, 21_5_19.jpg
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