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On the 30th April:


A visit to Ashton Court where we saw a female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, a Green Woodpecker, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Nuthatches, 2 Blackcaps, a Whitethroat, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, a Treecreeper and lots of Linnets.


A day trip to the Isles of Scilly, to St. Mary's to see a reported Isabelline Wheatear, but as news filtered through we learned that the identification was not definite.

We saw the bird on Porth Cressa beach and it did look odd, initial impressions were of a large very white looking wheatear that was puffed out and hunched as we watched it face on at about 10 yards range. It took little notice of the 6-8 observers, whose numbers later increased to around 20. It seemed to have something wrong with its right leg, as when it stood it would hold it up, but it ran around without any trouble and seemed to feed well on sand flies, after bursts of activity it would stand or crouch motionless for 15 minutes or more.

The white upper-tail coverts appeared long, extending to the the dark tail bar - perhaps obscuring the top part of it, the central tail bar was blackish, with the terminal band sooty, The bar appeared short at first, even in flight, but with better views it showed as a Northern Wheatear.




Photos: The female Northern Wheatear.

Also seen at Porth Cressa was a White Wagtail, a Whimbrel, 10+ Common Terns and an Arctic Tern.

Later we took the boat to Tresco, where on the 'Great Pool' we saw a male Black Duck, a new bird for us, so the trip wasn't wasted. Also 3 Whimbrel, 2 Wigeon, 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Bullfinches and a Yellow Wagtail.

On the way back to St. Mary's the boat stopped at Samson where there were masses of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, lots of Turnstone, 13 Purple Sandpipers, 13 Sanderling, a Dunlin, a distant possible Roseate Tern and a Bobwhite Quail.


Back at Frampton again, on the estuary was a Spotted Redshank, 7 Redshank, c60 Dunlin, a Greenshank, 2 Black Terns, a Swift, 12 Swallows, 3 Yellow Wagtails and by the canal a Turtle Dove.

At the pools we saw 10+ Willow Warblers, 6+ Chiffchaffs, 7 Blackcaps, 3+ Great Spotted Woodpeckers, lots of House Martins and Swallows, 15+ Yellow Wagtails, a Tree Pipit, 3 Ruddy Ducks, a Green Woodpecker, a White Wagtail, 2 Garden Warblers and a Nightingale.


On a bright, sunny evening we drove north of Gloucester to Ashleworth Ham where there was a male Blue-winged Teal with a few other ducks, also a few waders including at least 6 Snipe which we watched 'drumming'.


A weekend at Portland, our first stop was Ferrybridge where there were 14 Little, 2 Common and 3 Sandwich Terns, 60 Dunlin, 26 Turnstone, 6 Ringed Plovers, a Greenshank and 3 Wheatears. Portland was quite so we went to Pennsylvania Castle where we saw a Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Green Woodpeckers and a Yellowhammer.

At Radipole Lake we saw 4 Cetti's Warblers, 10 Reed Warblers, a Wood Warbler, a Garden Warbler and several martins, Swallows and Swifts. An evening seawatch at Portland produced 5 Gannets, a Guillemot, 20+ Kittiwakes, 2 Fulmars, 5 Arctic Skuas, 3 Sandwich Terns and a Manx Shearwater.


Leading a Wingspan/Ibis Bird Tour to Spain. 


In Tunisia, no new birds seen today.


In Maryland, at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on a sound recording trip, 1 new bird seen today.


Dawn at Minsmere, to record the dawn chorus, with Nightingales and lots of warblers and tits singing, including Reed Warblers, Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, a Bittern was heard, also seen were 2 Marsh Harriers, a Woodlark and a Muntjak.


A visit to Chew Valley Lake where the best were 15 Common Terns, a Dunlin and a Cuckoo, from there a drive onto the Mendips and at Black Down there were 4 Stonechats, Meadow Pipits, 2 Tree Pipits, 2 male Dartford Warblers, Willow Warblers, a Whitethroat, 3 Kestrels and a Buzzard.


On a filming and sound recording trip to the Ukraine for a series called 'Living Europe'.

1 new mammal, 1 new reptile and 1 new amphibian seen today.











Steppe Marmot. 


With Greg Budney at Westhay were we saw or heard 8 species of warblers, including Garden and 6 Cetti's, also saw 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Cuckoos, Ravens and Buzzards. At Catcott Lows, the best was a male Garganey, 2 Wigeon and another Cuckoo.


A trip to Shapwick where on Meare Heath there was a Hudsonian Godwit, only the 3rd one to be seen in Britain, it was with c80 Black-tailed Godwits, 9 Whimbrel and a Dunlin. Also in this pool was a male Garganey, a Great White Egret, a Little Egret and a Bittern flew from the reedbed. 


Photo and video of Hudsonian Godit, also see here.

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