The start of a weekend in the Weymouth/Portland area, on Portland we saw a Merlin, a Kestrel, 17 Purple Sandpipers and the commoner seabirds, in fields edging the east cliffs there was a male Black-headed Bunting and a male Red-headed Bunting which we watched for some time, both new birds for us. It was strange that the Black-headed was accepted as wild, while the Red-headed was deemed an escape. Although the Red-headed has a more easterly range than the Black-headed, both have similar migration routes and both are prone to over-shooting.
From Portland we drove to Lodmoor where we saw 14 Little Terns, 2 Common Terns, lots of Swifts, a Sedge Warbler, a Little Egret and a Little Gull. At Chickerell there were 2 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whitethroat and several Greenshank and Sanderling.
Overnight at Cley, in the morning a look around the reserve seeing 10 Avocets, 48 Golden Plovers, a Ruff, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Short-eared Owls, a male Hen Harrier, 100+ Dunlin, Ringed Plovers, 8+ Common Terns, an Arctic Tern, 8 Common Scoters, 28+ Sandwich Terns, 6+ Little Terns, 4 Grey Plovers, 4 Yellow Wagtails, a Wheatear, 30+ Redshank, 50+ Shelducks, 6 Turnstones, 3 Greylag Geese, 4 Grey Herons, a Kestrel and a female Kentish Plover.
Then we went to South Weybourne where there were c30 Fulmars, 2 Whimbrels, 5 Wheatears and a Redstart. Back at Cley there only birds added to our earlier sightings were 8 Sedge Warblers, a Bearded Tit and hearing a Bittern.
In Tunisia, no new birds seen today.
Driving to North Carolina on a sound recording trip, no new birds seen today.
On a filming and sound recording trip to the Ukraine for a series called 'Living Europe'.
A new bird seen today.
White-winged Black Tern.
A visit to Chew Valley Lake where there was a Cuckoo, 6 Black Terns, a Little Gull, a Little Ringed Plover and a Dunlin.
With all the reserves on the Mendips and Somerset Levels still shut due to the foot and mouth outbreak, I went to Stock Hill seeing lots of Whitethroats, Willow Warblers and a few Chiffchaffs, then a female Goshawk flew over, a surprise for this area.
A visit to Severn Beach seeing a Merlin, c25 Kittiwakes and 2 Arctic Skuas.
A drive to Blagdon Lake to see a Squacco Heron. Great, reasonably close and prolonged views.
Also see here.
Also see here.
A return visit to Aust Warth on a hot day with lots of heat haze, where I heard the Grasshopper Warbler again, also seeing a Short-eared Owl, 5 Whimbrel, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Redpolls and a Sedge Warbler.
Photos of Short-eared Owl here.
Video of Short-eared Owl, also see here.
A visit to Slimbridge where there were lots of warblers including a Lesser Whitethroat, also 3 Common Cranes, 2 by one nest site and 1 near the South Lake nest, 1 Cuckoo seen and 2 more heard, there were 4 Avocets with 2 chicks, a Wood Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, c25 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Kingfishers and a 2nd summer Mediterranean Gull.
An early morning visit to Highnam Woods seeing a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, 2 Nightingales seen briefly in bushes with 2 more heard around a clearing. Then to Naghead where there were lots of common woodland birds, but none to get too excited about.
A visit to the farmland near West Kington, north of Marshfield, to see 3 Dotterel, good views of a bright, summer plumaged female and 2 males, one a bit drabber than the other, so probably a 1st summer bird. Also seen in the area was a Yellow Wagtail, lots of Skylarks, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Corn Buntings and 2 Yellowhammers.
From there I went to Nags Head in the Forest of Dean, where from the Lower Hide there were 3 Redstarts, there were lots of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps in the more open areas, and, a pair of Garden Warblers. The woodland was quiet, compared to years ago, and although a couple of people said they had seen a Pied Flycatcher, I and others didn't, also no Wood Warblers and only a few Nuthatches and Treecreepers.
Dotterels and a Redstart.