An overnight drive to Hastings, where we clambered over the rocks on the beach at around 6.45am on a clear, sunny morning to see a summer plumaged male Wallcreeper, a new bird for us.
The bird was on clay cliffs about 100 feet high, keeping mainly to areas with cracks and gullies, one place with a trickle of water attracted it, as at one stage it flew for a distance of around 350 yards only to return to this spot 15 minutes later.
The bird made quick movements up and sideways on the cliff face, constantly flicking its wings to reveal white spots and flashes of carmine. It twisted and wryed its neck to insert its bill into crevices, one one occasion it swallowed a very small yellow snail and was also seen taking small spiders.
Also seen on the beach was a Black Redstart and 2 Purple Sandpipers.
Later, we went to the ARC Pits at Dungeness where there were a few ducks and waders and an adult Mediterranean Gull.
At Lade Gravel Pits there was a summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe and a 1st summer Little Gull. We continued to Stodmarsh where we saw a Glossy Ibis, another new bird, a Green Sandpiper, a Yellow Wagtail, a Cetti's Warbler, 2 Redpoll, 2 Grey Partridges, 4 Golden Plovers and a Little Owl.
Photos: Wallcreeper, illustration of Wallcreeper by Laurel Tucker.
This bird wintered in a quarry in Cheddar, Somerset, but was kept secret, 4th British record and only the 2nd to occur this century.
A drive to Portland where there was an Alpine Accentor, a new British bird for us, and only the 7th recorded.
Also on Portland we saw 3 Wheatears, a Goldcrest, a Firecrest and a Black Redstart.
On the sea there was a Gannet, 15+ Razorbills, 50+ Guillemots, 2 Puffins, a Fulmar and on the rocks 15+ Purple Sandpipers.
Then we drove to Portland Harbour where there were 106+ Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 Sandwich Terns,
3 Slavonian Grebes, a Great Crested Grebe, an Eider, 2 Common Scoter and a Black-throated Diver.
At Lodmoor we saw 4 Little Gulls, an adult and 3 sub-adults, a Cirl Bunting, 10+ Snipe, 2 Redshank,
16 Water Pipits, a Yellow Wagtail, 4 Sand Martins, a Sparrowhawk and 6 Grey Herons.
Our last stop was Radipole Lake where the best were 53 Snipe, c60 Teal and 6 Bearded Tits.
Photos: Alpine Accentor.
Dave Holman, Martin Cade & others at
A drive to Saltfleetby in Lincolnshire where there was an Arctic Redpoll, a new bird for us.
Also seen were 2 Redpolls, 5 Linnets, a Willow Warbler, a Kestrel, 2 Grey Partridges, 2 Tree Sparrows, a Snipe, a Yellow Wagtail and a Merlin.
Drawings by Laurel Tucker.
Leading a Wingspan Bird Tour to Spain, a new bird seen today.
Co-leading a joint Wingspan/Ibis and Bristol Ornithological Club tour to Cyprus.
In Israel, one new bird seen today.
Photo: Mourning Wheatear.
A day out sound recording in northern Somerset, starting at Ebbor Gorge where along with the usual woodland birds there was a Garden Warbler, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Treecreepers, a Raven and 3 Buzzards.
There were 2 pairs of Green Woodpeckers quite close together, they were very vocal and flying around to different perches, so probally too close to each other, and I heard calls that I had never heard before, looking it up later in BWP it describes them as 'threat calls' which would fit in with the situation.
Then I went to Westhay where the best were 6+ Willow Warblers, 5 Goldeneyes and a Black Swan, at Catcott Lows were 4 Ruff and a Whimbrel, then finally to Cheddar Reservoir where there was a Goosander, 4 Scaup and a Little Gull.