On the 8th February:
The day started at Portland Bill sea-watching, seeing 10 Gannets, lots of Guillemots, 5 Razorbills, Fulmars and 4 Eider. Around the 'Bill' area were Linnets, Goldfinches, Greenfinches and a male Black Redstart. Leaving Portland we then made a stop at Weymouth Harbour, where we saw 22 Red-brested Mergansers, 4 Slavonian Grebes and a few Turnstones and Dunlin.
At Radipole Lake we saw the 2 Avocets again and lots of the commoner ducks, 8+ Snipe, a Little Gull and a Water Rail. We continued to Lodmoor, but only saw a few Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits, a 2 more Water Rails.
On a mild, misty day we were at Combe Valley on the Berkshire Downs, west of Newbury, scanning the area for a
Rough-legged Buzzard, which eventually put in an appearence and we had good flight views of the 1st winter bird. We also saw 4 Common Buzzards.
Later we went to Compton, north of Newbury, and on a walk along the old railway line we saw a Great Grey Shrike,
3 Short-eared Owls, 2 Kestrels, 6 Corn Buntings, a Sparrowhawk and a
Drawing by Laurel Tucker.
In The Gambia, a boat trip inland on the Gambia River to Tendaba. 16 new birds and 2 new mammals seen today.
Photo: Pied Kingfisher.
In Kenya, in the Masai Mara, 8 new birds seen today.
Photo: Thomson's Gazelle.
In North Island New Zealand on Little Barrier Island. 1 new bird seen today.
Photo: North Island Robin.
A visit to Catcott with the new camera, lots of duck including 200+ wigeon. Then to Westhay where there were 2 Buzzards, a Cetti's Warbler seen with at least 5 more heard, a Peregrine, 100+ Fieldfare, 20+ Redwings, at least 4 Water Rails heard and a Short-eared Owl. Video results OK, but need more practice.
A drive to the north Norfolk coast, to Snettisham, to record the waders on The Wash, this time for the RSPB film 'Waterlands'. By the time I got there, I only had time to get to the old gravel pit, that the Knot flock used at high tide, and run out cables for the microphones.
But, I did see a Short-eared Owl and a Hen Harrier.
A return to Brimsham Park in Yate where this time I saw 4 Hawfinches with other finches, and 2 fly over Ravens.
Video: Hawfinch feeding on ground.
Also see here.
At home in Portishead where there was still snow on the ground, in the garden I saw 2 Bramblings, a male and a female, which stayed until the 14th. Also, throughout the month, at least 4 Blackcaps, seen most days with 2 males seen together on several days and 2 females together on one ocassion.
A drive to Chew Valley Lake in the hope of seeing a Ring-billed Gull which had been seen on the previous two days, but unfortunately it didn't show.
From the 1st picnic area I saw a female Scaup, a male Common Scoter and a few othe ducks including a male Goldeneye. On the Dam a pair of Egyptian Geese were displaying and by the bank on the far side was an adult Yellow-legged Gull. Lots of Black-headed Gulls and a few Common Gulls came in to rest on the posts and rails during the day, but not the Ring-billed, later, crossing the Dam I saw a Water Pipit.
From there I went to Herriott's Bridge where, on the lake side, there were 3 Bewick's Swans and 2 males and another female Scaup in amongst the raft of ducks, also 2 Chiffchaffs in the reeds.
Then I went to Green Ore and eventually had a brief view of 2 Tree Sparrows, there was also a flock of 40+ Redwings.
Photo: Common Gull.