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On the 3rd April:


A drive to Woburn, where in the woodland on the estate we saw 4 male Lady Amherst's Pheasants, a new bird for us, also seen were 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 10+ Nuthatches, 3 Marsh Tits, around 50 Pheasants and 10+ Muntjak, a new mammal for us.

We continued east to Milton Gravel Pit where there was a male Ring-necked Duck, another new bird for us, also on the pit were about 50 Tufted Ducks, a few Pochard, 10+ Coot, a Snipe and a Kingfisher.

At Thetford Chase we saw 3 male and 3 female Golden Pheasants, another new bird, they were digging in an ash-pan, one of the males was seen to herd the females being very aggressive towards the other males.

In Suffolk, at East Wreatham Heath we heard a Willow Tit, and saw a Brambling, a Tree Sparrow, 3 Reed Buntings and 6+ Yellowhammers.

Photos:                         Lady Amherst's Pheasant                                                                                         Golden Pheasant


A visit to Chew Valley Lake where on the lake were 20 Goldeneye and 2 Little Gulls an adult and a 1st summer, around the margins we saw 14 Chiffchaffs, 18+ Sand Martins, 3 Willow Warblers, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 4 Treecreepers and 2 Grass Snakes.

The best at Blagdon Lake were 2 male Scaup, 17 Ruddy Duck, 5 Pintail and a Barn Owl.

Photos:               Roy Smith at CVL Ringing Station.                                                                                    Chiffchaff.


A visit to Frampton, at the pools there were 2 Kingfishers, a Slavonian Grebe, a Red-necked Grebe now almost in summer plumage, c75 Tufted Ducks, 2 Little Grebes, 6 Great Crested Grebes, a pair of Mandarin Ducks, 3 Sand Martins, a Siskin

2 Redpolls, 5 Chiffchaffs, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 5 Fieldfares and a Green Woodpecker.


Then in the woodland we were shown Mezereon (Daphne mezereum) which apparently as a wild plant is rare.


From there we went to the estuary where there were 2 Short-eared Owls, 8 Redshank and a few ducks.


















Photo: Mezereon. 


In Israel, one new reptile today.



An overnight drive to Woods Mill Pond in West Sussex, to see a male Little Bittern, a new British bird for me. The bird, which was found exhausted on the coast several days earlier, had been cared for at a nearby field station and released on this small, reed-fringed pool. We had excellent views down to a range of 25-30 yards away, at one point it was seen to take a frog, carrying it to a dryer part to feed, which it did for about 10 minutes before returning to the edge of the pool.


A visit to Severn Beach on a very windy day, the first bird I saw was a Merlin flying south low over the water.

Then by the 2nd Severn Bridge there was a flock of around 80 Kittiwakes with a few gulls.

They were sat on the water being pushed by the incoming tide towards the bridge, as they got almost under the bridge they took off and flew several hundred metres back down the estuary and settled back on the water. This they did time after time, until finally they flew higher, not crossing the bridge, but headed back down the estuary.







A not great video of the Kittiwakes, YouTube doesn't cope well with wings or water.

Also see here.

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