On the 12th July:
A trip to Beaulieu Road in the New Forest where birds of note were several Tree Pipits, 2 Woodlarks, 2 Hobbys, Marsh Tits and we heard a Nightjar.
Still on the ferry to Shetland, we began a sea watch about 5.30am seeing 70+ Puffins, terns, 5 Gannets, 9 Great Skuas, a Manx Shearwater, a petrel and as we neared Lerwick Harbour 2 Black Guillemots, a new bird for us.
In Lerwick we took a bus north, on the way seeing 3 Red-throated Divers, Hooded Crows, Eiders and Wheatears. From the ferry between Mainland and Yell we saw 3 more Black Guillemots. Crossing Yell there were 6 Twite, a Ringed Plover, Oystercatchers and Rock Doves.
The bus trip ended at the next ferry, to Unst, but luckily we were on the same crossing as the post van and the driver offered to give us a lift as far north as he was going. From the ferry we saw 100+ Puffins, 4 Arctic Skuas, Arctic Terns, a Great Skua, 5 Shags and 2 Red-throated Divers.
On the drive north there were more Twite, Wheatears, Hooded Crows, Bonxies or Great Skuas, Arctic Skuas and lots of Whimbrel. The postman dropped us off within a mile or so of Hermaness, so we began to walk to the seabird cliffs, crossing the moorland there were lots of Arctic Terns and Arctic and Great Skuas ready to 'bomb' us. Reaching the cliffs we could see 1,000's of Gannets and Puffins, and, 100's of Guillemots, Razorbills and Fulmars.
Then on a ridge in-front of the main cliff-face where the Gannets were nesting we saw the bird we had come for, a Black-browed Albatross, a new bird for us all.
We were able to look across and slightly down on the bird from the cliff top at about 150 yards distance, it was first seen asleep, but, it did wake up, standing up several times and displaying or showing aggression towards nearby Gannets, by stretching its neck, lowering its head and sometimes bill-clattering. The bird also preened for at least half an hour, wing stretched and remained standing for a long period with its tail cocked slightly upwards.
Later, we returned to the main road, trying to avoid the 100's of Arctic Terns, where we hitched a lift with a local person to the hostel in Uyeasound in the south of Unst.
Drawings of Black-browed Albatross by Laurel Tucker.
Black-browed Albatross at Hermaness, in centre of photo.
A day at Chew Valley Lake seeing 156 Lapwing, 8 Green Sandpipers, 10,000+ Swifts, Swallows, House and Sand Martins, a Grass Snake, a Fox cub, a Spotted Redshank in full summer plumage, a female Ring-necked Duck, a male Scaup, a Kingfisher, 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a Common Sandpiper.
A visit to Chew Valley Lake where there was a Yellow Wagtail, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Goosanders, lots of other ducks and geese and 17 Common Scoters, 16 males and only 1 female. From there we went to Velvet Bottom on the Mendips seeing lots of Yellowhammers, a Marsh Tit, 9 Redstarts - 4 males, 3 females and 2 juveniles, a Garden Warbler and 2 Spotted Flycatchers. At Cheddar Reservoir there was another male Common Scoter.
On a sound recording trip to the Picos de Europa Mountains in Northwest Spain.