On the 22nd February:
A Welsh weekend in the company of Roy Smith and Tim Cleeves.
Our first day was spent at Blackpill in Swansea Bay looking for a Ring-billed Gull which had been found by Keith Vinicombe a few days earlier.
Keith was at Swansea University at that time and joined us soon after we had arrived.
There were hundreds of gulls on the beach and the tide was out, but after a while Keith pick out the Ring-billed with a group of Common Gulls, he was good at this having found the first one for Britain at this site in 1973.
Eventually the gull moved closer to us at the edge of the flock and we had good views of it, through telescopes, at about 150 yards range, a new bird for us.
Also on the beach we saw 200+ Redshank, around 500 Dunlin, about 400 Oystercatchers, 10+ Turnstone, 20+ Grey Plovers, 50+ Ringed Plovers, 20+ Bar-tailed Godwits, 10+ Knot, about 100 Curlew and 10 Sanderling.
From Swansea we continued to the west coast of Wales and found somewhere to sleep.
Roy Smith, with the telescope, and Laurel serching through the gulls at Blackpill.
A repeat of the same weekend the year before, but, today we awoke in Llangrannog, again hoping to see Chough along the cliffs, but we failed to find any. We did see about 20 Ravens, a few Fulmars, a Grey Seal, 9 Shags and 2 Peregrines. On a nearby stream there was a Dipper and 2 Grey Wagtails.
We continued to Tregaron, where on a walk by the raised bog we saw 19 Buzzards, 8 Red Kites, a Great Grey Shrike, around 25 Ravens and 2 Willow Tits.
In Cyprus with John Potts, on a 6 day recce, by the time we left the airport it was dusk and on the journey west we saw a Barn Owl.
In Pakistan, in Karachi at a place called Ghizri Creek, 7 new birds seen today.
In Kenya, most of the day at Saiwa Swamp. 12 new birds seen today.
Photo: Black-headed Heron.
A drive to Nottingham, around the town centre we hoped to see a Cedar Waxwing and although it was seen, we were never in the right place at the right time. It was moving around with a flock of Waxwings and we did search through a flock of 108 birds, but didn't see it!
A visit to the Forest of Dean on a cold and windy day, where I saw 3 Goshawks, a Buzzard, a Peregrine, 4 Ravens, a mixed flock of 20+ Chaffinches and Greenfinches with at least 4 Siskins and 10 Bramblings. Also, lots of tits of 4 species, and, feeding on the ground in a field near to the Speech House around 80 Song Thrushes, 6 Mistle Thrushes and 20+ Redwings.
A late afternoon visit to Frampton Court Lake where there were a few duck, Mute Swans and Coot, also a male Goldeneye, c8 Cormorants, a Great White Egret and 2 Cattle Egrets flying across the lake and going into the woods behind.