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On the 7th January: 


Overnight at Littleferry, in the morning the large raft of Long-tailed Ducks were just offshore and the Eider flock on the sandbank at the mouth of Loch Fleet, with it was the male King Eider, which was closer than yesterday and seen for much longer. We travelled north to Golspie, where on the beach were two Glaucous Gulls, an adult and an immature. We met up with Barry Goater and his friends, who the previous evening had found a male Pine Bunting amongst the finch and bunting flock that were feeding in the grass and bushes behind a row of cottages at the edge of the beach. This stunning bird, only the 5th British record, stayed with the main flock of around 150 birds, which was maded up of Twite, Lesser Redpolls, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Bramblings, Yellowhammers, 4 Reed Buntings, a Common Redpoll and a Chiffchaff. The flock, with the Pine Bunting, was present in the morning, but flew out of the village when they were disturbed, and only returned late afternoon.


Pine Bunting, watercolour sketches by Laurel Tucker.

Later we returned to Littleferry, where offshore, together with lots of Eiders and Long-taited Ducks was a large flock of Common Scoter, mixed in with them were Velvet Scoter and a male Surf Scoter, our second new bird of the day. We also saw a Red-necked Grebe there.


In Fontainebleau Forest, where a Middle Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Black Woodpeckers were both new for us.


The thaw had started and the temperature risen to around 7 degrees C, at Chew Valley Lake there were larger pools in the ice all across the lake, where we saw a Kingfisher, 2 Water Rails, 78 Goosander, 60+ Dunlin, a Bittern and a female Hen Harrier, the 4th CVL record. We continued to Blagdon Lake where we saw another female Hen Harrier, and thought it unlikely to have been the bird from Chew. Also there were 4 Bewick's Swans, 40 Wigeon, around 30 Goosander and 18 Ruddy Ducks.


In South Island New Zealand, along the Otago Peninsula where new birds were Pukeko or Australasian Swamphen, Welcome Swallow, Australian Magpie, Pacific Reef Heron, Australasian Pipit, Bellbird, Paradise Shelduck, Grey Teal, Black Swan and Sacred Kingfisher. 

  Variable or

  Black Oystercatchers


At home in Portishead where there were 2 Robins chasing each other around the garden. Also a male and female Blackcap, 9 Chaffinches, 8 Greenfinches, 2 Goldfinches and a fly-over Raven.


















Video: Female Blackcap also at




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