On the 25th January:
A warm, calm, sunny day with our first stop at Leigh Woods, where there were lots of tits including 4 Marsh Tits, on a walk through the woodland we saw 2 Treecreepers, 6 Nuthatches, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Jay and 2 Goldcrests. We continued to Portishead, where on the beach were 11 Reed Buntings and several Meadow Pipits and Skylarks, on the mud were 6 Redshanks and several Curlew, in the spartina grass there were 12 Snipe and 3 Jack Snipe. At Clevedon Harbour we saw a few Redshank, a Turnstone and 200+ Dunlin. We then drove to Exminster Marsh where there were 800+ Dunlin, lots of Redshank, a few Grey Plovers and 22 Avocets. At Dawlish Warren, in with about 300 Common Scoter, was a male
Surf Scoter, also 9 Eider, a male Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Slavonian Grebes, 5 Wigeon, 3 Razorbills and a Red-throated Diver.
Drawing by Laurel Tucker
In Tanzania, on the Serengeti, visiting various habitats, comprising acasia woodland, short-grass plain, lake and marsh, 12 new birds seen.
Photo: Chestnut-banded Plover.
On Brother's Island, New Zealand, in a force 8 northerly gale with frequent rain showers.
7 new birds today, all seabirds.
Photo: Juvenile White-fronted Tern.
A drive to Taunton and after finding somewhere to park, a walk, with the new video camera along the canal. On the water were several Mallard and Moorhens, 2 Mute Swans and in a line of tall willows on the opposite bank I saw 2 Chiffchaffs, one of which could have been a siberian.
Then a bit further along the canal I heard and then saw the Dusky Warbler, the bird I had come to see. A very active, noisy little bird which was on view for most of the next couple of hours. I spent a lot of time trying to get some video of it as it moved quickly from one spot to another, and although what I filmed was OK, I realised that I needed a much better tripod, heavier and more stable and that I needed a bigger lens.
During this time I also saw 4 Redwings and a flock of around 20 Redpolls.
Video: Also at Dusky Warbler , bird along
canal at Taunton.
In the garden, in Portishead, a Sparrowhawk was seen perched on top of the hawthorn bush, which had 3 House Sparrows trapped inside it. The hawk jumped and hopped around on the top of the bush hoping to push the sparrows to the sides, when one sparrow did come close to the edge of the bush, the hawk attempted to catch it by swooping down and along the sides of the bush, it did this several times without success. It then tried to catch a sparrow by hopping through the bush, but the sparrows still evaded it. After landing back on top of the bush the hawk then flew up to the nearby plum tree, at this one of the sparrows flew out of the bush and the hawk pursued, but failed to catch it, during which time the other 2 sparrows escaped. The hawk returned to the plum tree where it sat for several minutes, staring at the bush, before flying off. The whole episode lasted about 10 minutes.
Photo: Hawthorn bush, Quantock Road garden.