Our first time in Scotland, travelling with John & Kate Rossetti and Detlef Davis, beginning the trip along the Solway at Caerlaverock, where we saw our first wild Barnacled Geese, a flock of around 5000 including two albino birds, also 100 Pink-footed Geese, about 500 Golden Plover and a Merlin.
In southern France and a drive west to the Camargue, new birds were a group of 30 Cattle Egrets.
A mild, dull, misty day at Chew Valley Lake where there were plenty of duck on view, including 6 Goosander and lots of Ruddy Ducks, one male already in summer plumage, but the best bird on the water was a Red-necked Grebe. Over the reed-beds we saw a Hen Harrier, Bittern and Short-eared Owl, while near the water a Grass Snake was seen. Lots of small birds in the surrounding field and hedgerows, including a flock of around 200 Fieldfares.
A visit to the pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works to see a male Ring-necked Duck, there were also good numbers of other wintering ducks and at least 3 Chiffchaffs.
At the nearby Seabank pools filmed Goldfinches feeding on alder cones, a Wren in the reedbed and a Blue Tit feeding on the tiny seeds of reed-mace.
At New Passage there were lots of waders,
including around 1000 Dunlin, 7 Black-tailed Godwits and over 100 Lapwing, also about 400 Wigeon, a Little Egret and a male Merlin.
Video of Blue Tit on reed-mace. Also at here.
The day started well with a Peregrine over the garden.
Then a 2-3 hour drive south to Brixham harbour to see a White-billed Diver, which I missed by an hour, and although there were claims that it was still in the harbour, it was clear that it had moved out to sea.
Still, there were plenty of other seabirds to see, the best being a Black Guillemot, a Red-necked Grebe, around 20 Great Northern Divers
5 Black-throated Divers and 4 Red-throated Divers.
Towards evening from the scrub above the last area I visited around the harbour, a Cirl Bunting started singing but didn't show itself.
Video of Great Northern Diver eating crab and diving. Also at here.