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On the 5th April:


A drive north to Haresfield, near Gloucester, where in the weeds at the rear of a row of new houses on the outskirts of the village, there was a Slate-colored Junco, later reclassified as Dark-eyed Junco. A new bird for us and only the 3rd or 4th seen in Britain.

When we saw it, the bird mainly fed on wild grass seeds in the yet to become gardens, but according to villagers would readily come to bread. It was very active flying to roof-tops, fences and trees around the site.

Also seen in the area were lots of Yellowhammers, Bullfinches, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Sparrowhawk.


Another visit to the Cheddar quarry to see the male Wallcreeper, which was now almost in summer plumage.


A trip to Portland, where at Radipole Lake the best birds were 3 Bearded Tits, and the best on Portland were 16 Wheatears, a Puffin, 27 Common Scoter, 2 Corn Buntings, 2 Ravens and 15 Purple Sandpipers.


Co-leading a joint Wingspan/Ibis and Bristol Ornithological Club tour to Cyprus.


In Israel, three new birds and a new mammal today.









Photo: Arabian Babbler. 


A very early morning drive to Brixham, seeing a Barn Owl on the way. At Berry Head it was misty, but as it got lighter and the mist began to lift, on the perimeter of the old fort a large white bird began to appear. It cleared up quickly and we had excellent views of a

white phase Gyr Falcon, a new bird, which we watched for a long time. Later, on a look at the sea, we saw Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Shags, and on the way back to the car Yellowhammers and Meadow Pipits.

We returned via Dawlish Warren where on the sea there were several Red-breasted Mergansers, an Arctic Skua, 4 Common Scoters and a Red-throated Diver.


A trip to Chew Valley Lake where the best birds were Chiffchaffs, lots of Willow Warblers, 2 Water Pipits, 86 Goldeneyes, a Sanderling and a Ring-billed Gull.


Another evening visit to Chew Valley Lake to see the Little Bunting again, which I saw very well, also there, were 3 Water Pipits and an adult Ring-billed Gull.


A trip to Chew Valley Lake where I met up with Keith Vinicombe who had found a Chiffchaff singing a very unusual song, at first we thought it could be an Iberian Chiffchaff, but the bird and the song wasn't right, so just an odd Chiffchaff.

There were lots of warblers around this area, as well as the usual lake birds and a Bittern was 'booming' in the reedbed.






The Chiffchaff stayed in the same area and within a couple of weeks had changed its song to a normal Chiffchaff, we now thought that it could be an intergrade between Iberian and Common, as apparently this song is typical of birds from southern France.

Chiffchaff, unusual song - Nigel Tucker
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A visit to Cheddar Reservoir where there was a Slavonian Grebe coming into breeding plumage, also a distant Common Scoter, 12+ Great Crested Grebes and a few Coot, Mallard and Tufted Ducks.

Photos and video of Slavonian Grebe, also see here.

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