Please note that at the moment this site uses cookies
 for tracking purposes only.

Wildlife in and around the city of Bristol

The birds of



About me

Contact me

















October - November




Outer Hebrides

Scotland with BOC

Scotland Cairngorms































February 2





Dumfries & Galoway







Scotland & North east

Scotland - Cairngorms

April 2





Bristol and Avon Bird


2014 Achive

Due to space limitations I have had to archive the older blogs and leave out the photos.

River Exe

12th January 2014

We went on a coach trip to the River Exe with the BOC. We stopped to look at Exminster Marshes but due to flooding it meant we couldn't walk down to Powderham. After looking at Exminster Marshes we headed straight to Dawlish Warren. We did a bit of sea watching before lunch, there were Herring Gulls, Shag, a flock of Common Scoter and a few Velvet Scoters with white in the wings. All the Scoters were too far for photo and the sea was very rough. We ate our lunch in the coach out of the wind. In the afternoon we walked down to the hide, stopping to look out to sea, where we saw a female longtailed duck. It was quite close, but it dived a lot and was only visible for short spells. We couldn’t see the Boneparte’s Gull anywhere, which had been around for a few days, even though it had been reported that day, We dropped down the sandbank to the River Exe side, by which time it started to rain so quickly got to the hide. There were Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Knot, Grey Plover and a few Brent Geese. A small flock of Skylarks dropped in front of the hide along with a Rock Pipit. The tide was coming in fast and bringing the waders closer to us, but unfortunately it was getting darker all the time. It had been a very grey day and not good for taking photos and we had to walk back to the coach in very heavy rain. We were soaked!

Chew Valley Lake

19th January 2014

We went to Chew Valley Lake to look for the Pink - footed Geese that had been present since last November. On the way there we stopped at Portishead so I could tick Purple Sandpiper off my year list. They were all asleep, so I didn’t bother with a photo. I also saw a Curlew and lots more small waders. At Chew, we checked out the area at Heron's Green looking for the Geese. The pair were by the fence at the back of of the pool and wouldn't come any closer. There was a Little Egret fishing there. On the main lake we spotted some Goosanders resting on the bank. A couple of males followed a female into the water and it looked like they were starting to pair up. A 1st winter Common Gull was in a mixed flock with other Gulls. We also noticed a Redhead Smew was present with the Goosander flock. It had been asleep and we never noticed it before. It had a preen and a little swim, before going back to sleep again. A few Goldeneye swam into view. They must have been round the corner, but they always remained very distant. Some of the Great Crested Grebes started to display a little and there were also Little Grebes. We went to look at Herriott's Bridge where most of the Gulls roost including an Adult Winter Common Gull with the Black - headed Gulls. I couldn’t see the Med Gull that had been reported amongst them, but there was so many, It could have easily been there somewhere. On the other side were a few Pochards. The water was very high because of all the rain, so there was no Water Rail or Kingfishers. We went to the picnic site to see the Eygptian Geese for our year list. There were two feeding there and also quite a lot of Pied Wagtails. I wonder if they roost nearby.

Forest Farm

20th January


On my birthday we went to look at Forest Farm in South Wales, one of the best places to see Kingfishers. As we were walking up to the hide I spotted a Fox running around in the field and it started to run towards us. Then it saw a dog and headed off into a log pile. In the hide looking over one of the pools Moorhens were catching fish. After about an hour of waiting a Female Kingfisher appeared on a perch. She then had a preen to keep her feathers in tip top condition. We were hoping she might fish here, but she must have already eaten as she flew to a small perch close to the hide where she coughed up a pellet. Then it disappeared back to the river. On our way to the 2nd Hide we saw it briefly twice flying up and then back down the river again. In the next hide were Rabbits and 7 Common Snipe. In the field were several Jays and small songbirds like Great Tit and Robin. A dog ran though and all the birds disappeared. Back in the Kigfisher Hide, a Grey Squirrel was feeding in front of the hide. We walked along to look at the station and had to go over the river Taff. We saw a Pair of Goosander on the river from the bridge. Having heard the Short - eared Owl was hunting at Aust Warth at 1PM today we decided to pop in on the way home. We had hoped that the Twite might put in an appearance as well, but we only saw Reed Buntings feeding on the seed. Still there's plenty of time to see them for 2014.


1st February 2014

We went to the Slimbridge Festival of Birds to listen to a talk by Martin McGill about the birding highlights of Slimbridge last year. Afterwards we went to look for a Greenland White - fronted Goose that had been present for a few days amongst the European White - fronted Geese, not a very easy task as the birds were moving about. The Bank Voles were still about and showing briefly from the Willow Hide. There were loads of Waders flying around the Tack Piece and Dumbles which included Dunlin, Lapwings and Golden Plovers. The Wigeon were also in quite big numbers. Other Waders included a small group of Redshank. Sitting in the middle of the Tack Piece was a Peregrine Falcon. This Adult was not hunting so the  other birds were quite settled. Then a pair of Shovelers swam in front of the hide. There was even a small number of Pintails. A couple of Curlews decided to have a bit of fight. Eventually one bird decided to give up and flew off. One of the Coots had a very squeaky call as it swam towards the hide which made us laugh. We went up to the Holden Tower and there was still quite a lot of water about from the mornings high tide. There was a couple of Little Stint running about by the water trough. Back in the Rushy Pen there were three Redshanks standing at the edge of the water looking nice in the sunshine.

Forest of Dean

2nd February 2014

We went to the Forest of Dean to look for Hawfinches at Parkend by the cricket club. We stayed in the car, so that we wouldn’t disturb them and saw our first one perched in a small tree with no leaves rather than the Yew. Unfortunately, a car pulled up nearby with cycles on, and the people got out and started to put their bikes together and generally made a lot of noise, so the Hawfinch disappeared. As the morning went on, it got a lot busier with people and the birds stayed perched in the tall trees at the back. We went to Speech House to have our lunch and have a look on the log. We put some seed out and waited while we ate. There were Blackbirds, Robins, Nuthatches (fighting over the food), Coal Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Magpie, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush and Chaffinch. We heard a Jay fly in, but it didn’t come down to the log. We went to Nagshead, but the carpark was very busy and while we were there saw lots of dog walkers. We decided not to bother to walk around as last time it was not very good with all the dogs running around. I do love dogs, but I really cannot understand why people let their dogs off their leads in a nature reserve when they have the whole forest to walk them in. We went to Cannop Ponds to look for Mandarins for our year list, but there were none there. We saw some Little Grebes, Mallards andTufted Ducks. We heard a Raven calling and saw him perched up in the tree. In the next tree there were two Cormorants, which is the first time I’ve seen them there. We went to a couple of other usual haunts of the Mandarins, but still no luck. On the way home we even stopped at the Dean Heritage Centre to have a look. Still none. I wonder where they all are!

Aust Warth

3rd February 2014

We went to Aust Warth this morning to see the high tide coming in. We saw our first Short - eared Owl of the year flying up the severn towards Northwick. It was soon joined by another two flying by the new severn bridge. The water came in quite quickly and was soon going over the road. There were quite a number of Short - tailed Field Voles swimming for their lives to get to the bank by the road where we were stood. We also saw a Shrew that made it safely across. These were the lucky ones. Lots were being picked out of the water by Gulls and any that made it to any patch of grass got attacked by Crows. In fact, I saw several Gulls and Crows fighting over the unfortunate rodents. The Owls didn’t stay very long, as the water rose so quickly, but it was good to see them. When the tide started to go out and the road got clearer, we went to see if the Twite were around. They are being very elusive this winter and we only saw Reed Buntings.


4th February 2014

We went to Marshfield to see the Red - flanked Bluetail in the Shire Valley. The bird was perched on a tree and dropped to the ground occasionally to feed. Then it flew to another tree and perched briefly before flying over our heads. I couldn’t get a picture of its blue tail as the only time it had its back to us nicely, it was in deep shade. A lovely bird to see and I wonder where it came from. It seems the wrong time of year to be a migrant and I wonder if it had been here for some time. I would imagine it could easily be overlooked if you didn’t get a good view of it. It would be nice to think it was overwintering.

Marshfield and Aust

10th February 2014

We went to Marshfield today to have another look at the Red - flanked Bluetail as it didn't show us the bluetail last time. We first saw it up in the tree by the path then it flew down to the ground to eat a few of the mealworms that had been put out for it. It flew back up into the tree to digest it's food before flying back down for some more. It did this a few times until a Buzzard and two Ravens flew overhead and the Bluetail kept a low profile. As we were in the area we thought of looking for Corn Buntings. There was a lot in the bushes with some Linnets. We also saw our first Stonechat of the year perched on the hedge and ithen it ducked down when a pale Common Buzzard flew past. The Buzzard perched on a wall near the house. We popped into Aust on the way home and saw the usual Reed Buntings feeding on the log, but there was not much seed left and we had forgot to bring the seed, so we couldn’t put more out. Just along the road by the houses we saw our first Twite of the year. These Twite have certainly been very elusive this winter. What a brillant way to end the day!

Kent 14th - 16th February 2014

Cliffe Pools RSPB 14 February 14

We went to Kent for the weekend with BOC. It was a really yucky day on the Friday with torrential rain. We walked around the RSPB reserve in a continuous downpour, and even though there were lots of birds on the scrapes, it was difficult to see them. We did see the Avocets on the Thames Estuary and there was quite a number of Ducks, Geese & Waders. Despite the rain the Marsh Harrier was out hunting, but no other birds of prey on a day like this. After a soggy wet day we returned to the mini bus and headed for the King Charles Hotel in Gillingham to dry out.

Isle of Sheppey

15 February 14

We went to explore the Isle of Sheppey and the first port of call was Riverside Country Park and we had a quick look around. The sun was out, but we kept having heavy showers. There was a Ringed Plover and Grey Plover showing quite close, along with lots of other more distant waders. Chapel Fleet raptor view point was next where we saw two MarshHarriers flying around but no Owls. It was very windy so that could be why. Next stop was Leysdown on seato do a bit of seawatching and have lunch. There was a flock of

Black - headed Gulls flying around. A Turnstone was foraging along the beach. Two Common Gulls were also present. In fact when we drove past some of the fields there was a big flock of them. I never saw so many Common Gulls. The final port of call was Elmley Marshes RSPB . As we drove into the reserve we saw a Green Woodpecker beside the track. Further up were lots of Lapwings, single Golden Plover and Black - tailed Godwit mixed with the flock. A Common Snipe was partly hidden in the ditch. All the way along the flooded fields were flocks of Wigeon and Golden Plovers. A Little Egret was wading in the swallow pool and flew off over the path. We went to the hide where we saw some Shoveler, Teal, Turnstone and two Marsh Harriers. On the way to the hide we saw a Brown Hare running down the hill, across the path and into the reedbeds.


16 February 14

For the final day of the Kent weekend we went to Dungeness. We went to one of the hides to see the Smew. The Redhead Smews were swimming in the middle of lake with Gadwall, Goldeneye, Mallard and Teal. A Long - tailed Tit was flitting from branch to branch in front of the hide. A special bonus was an Adult Winter Little Gull which was flying and landing in the middle of the lake. We went to the viewing screen to see what was there. Only a couple of Coots and pair of Oystercatcher flew past. Someone told us that they had seen a Bittern fly over the hide, but we didn’t see it as we were in the hide at the time. Suddenly, a Marsh Harrier flew past behind the viewing screen, and a Green Woodpecker was on a telegraph pole, but it didn't stay for very long. We went to Dungeness Beach to look for the Glaucous Gull that had been reported. We saw Cormorants, and Kittiwakes and some saw Razorbill and Guillemot.

On the way back to RSPB Dungeness, we stopped to look at the two Black-throated Divers. We went to look for the Penduline Tits, which had been seen about 15 minutes ago, but they didn’t show. However we did manage to see Bearded Tits perched on top of the reeds. Another Marsh Harrier flew past. We started to make our way back to the road when a Great White Egret put in an appearance briefly. Finally we saw some Tree Sparrows at the cottage with Reed Buntings. Then back to the mini bus to commence the long journey back to Bristol.

A total of 95 species seen by most people during the weekend.

Forest of Dean

22nd February 2014

We went to the Forest of Dean to look for the Two - barred Crossbills, but first we popped into New Fancy to see some Goshawks displaying, albeit very distant. A few Common Buzzards and Ravens were in the area. Even though it was nice and sunny, the Goshawks were not displaying very much at all. We went along to Serridge Ridge near Brierly to look for the Two - barred Crossbills. There was a pair of Common Crossbills showing at the top of the tree, but the Two - barred Crossbills were hiding in the forest. We walked up to Crabtree hill and saw 2 more Common Crossbills, Song Thrush, Coal Tit, Robins and a Dunnock. At Woorgreens Car Park a Song Thrush was foraging for food on the floor as was the Blackbird, while a Redwing was sitting with another Song Thrush in a Hawthorn bush. We went to Cannop Ponds to look for Mandarin Ducks as we missed them before. We looked on the feeders which attracted Blue, Great, Coal and Marsh Tits, Nuthatch, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock and a Grey Squirrel. Also nearby was a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Treecreeper.There were lots of Mandarins swimming on the far side of the pond. I don’t know where they had been last time!

Chipping Sodbury 26th February 2014

We went to Chipping Sodbury to look for the Dipper on our local river. We walked up the Frome and saw a Grey Wagtail foraging on the bank. However we didn't see the Dipper on this occasion but I saw a Kingfisher briefly flying up the river. On the 16th when we were in Kent, Dad saw the Dipper perched on a concrete bunker by the Bridge, so we will keep our eyes open.

Great Barrington/Hawling

1st March 2014

We went to Great Barrington to look for the Hen Harrier that had there for a few weeks. There were loads of Red Kites and Skylarks. In the trees opposite the trig point was a Great Grey Shrike - too far away for picture this time. A pair of Red - legged Partridges ran through a gap in the hedge. Around this area was a good population of Ravens. We saw quite a few flying around and four of them seemed to be displaying. We went for a walk and saw two Brown Hares in one of the fields. One ran up the side of the hedge and the other one crouched down. Suddenly, the Female Hen Harrier appeared from nowhere being mobbed by a Carrion Crow. She flew over the hedge and landed in the other field. We wandered up to see if we could see her, but she flew the way she came and disappeared. We could hear the calls of Grey Partridges somewhere in the field behind us. This bird is in serious decline over much of Gloucestershire and the rest of Britian. Unfortunately, we could not see them. We will have to come back to this area and look for them. We finished the day off at Hawling and the first Bird of Prey of the evening was a Kestrel perched on stick. Next to put in a show up was a Barn Owl which was hunting for Voles and flew over the road twice. A couple of Roe Deer suddenly appeared in the field close to where the Barn Owl was hunting, they must have been hiding in the grass all that time. A Short - eared Owl came from nowhere and there was a spectaclular sight, Barn Owl and Short - eared Owl both hunting together. It was a shame that it was getting a bit dark for taking photographs. We enjoyed watching them in the twilight until they both disappeared from view, and so we left them both to their night-time hunt and made our way home.


8th March 2014

We went to Slimbridge to look for the Spoonbill. We started at the Rushy Pen. There were no Bewick's Swans in the pen, just Shelducks, Teals, Pochards and Pintails. We went to South Lake where the Adult Mediterranean Gull was present in the Black - headed Gull flock. This Adult was in stunning breeding plumage. Suddenly they all took off, although the Black - headed Gulls settled back down quickly afterwards, the Mediterranean Gull vanished and was not seen again during the day. Then we saw a Sparrowhawk fly over and land in the trees at the back of the lake. There was also two Oystercatchers feeding along the bank in front of the observatory. We popped to the Ziess Hide to see if the Avocets were there. The Rooks were gathering twigs for their nest building in the nearby Rookery. We went to South Finger to see the Kingfishers nest building but left it a bit late in the day so we only saw the birds on the feeders such as Jackdaws, Chaffinches, Reed Bunting, Blue and Great Tits,Goldfinches, Dunnock and Greenfinch. One of the wardens came in to tell everybody that the hides were closing, so we went back to the grounds. I had a quick check to see if the Med. Gull had returned at South Lake but no sign. I went to Martin Smith Hide where Mum and Dad were watching two Great Crane Project Common Cranes and the Spoonbill feeding on the Tack Piece. There was also Shelduck and Teal in front of the hide. At 16:45 the Spoonbill took off and landed in the Rushy Pen. It was joined by Pintails flying in for the night. After a last look at the Spoonbill, we saw it take off and fly back to the Tack Piece to roost all the while being mobbed by a Gull.

Durdham Downs

12th March 2014

We caught the bus to Durdham Downs in the city of Bristol to see the Peregrine Falcons displaying. When we first arrived the fog didn't really lift fully and so there was not much displaying. We could see one perched on the over side of the gorge in the mist. Very distant. The Carrion Crows were feeding on bits of bread on the ground. Common Buzzards soared on V shaped wings and were mobbedby other birds such as a Raven.

There was pair of Buzzards flying around the gorge. Two Goldcrests very briefly moved through the bushes and we saw 2 Jays in the area when we first arrived, but they are shy birds that keep themselves to themselves, except in the autumn when they look for nuts. We had a brief view of the Peregrine flying below us, but it disappeared. We walked alongthe path and saw a couple of Goldfinches calling in a tree and a Coal Tit was also singing in the middle of the city. A Kestrel flew past the viewpoint away from us and also a Sparrowhawk. Down on the River Avon, some Oystercatchers flew up. A Dunnock was singing from the nearby bush. Finally just as we were about to give up and go to catch the bus home, a Peregrine flew up from beneath us and circled around twice before heading for the city centre to hunt for Pigeons. It must have been sitting below us all that time. No display from the Peregrines today, just have to come back and try again another day.

London WWT

15th March 2014

We went to London WWT at Barnes with Chauffeurhire Coaches. Due to the traffic into London and stopping for 20 minutes at the services in Maidenhead, we didn't get to the Wetland Centre until 12 o’clock. We only had four hours so we started at Dulverton Hide. There was Gadwall, Redshanks in Summer Plumage, Canada Geese, 2 Little Grebes (or Dabchicks), Great Crested Grebe (all in Summer Plumage), Lapwings, Cormorants and also various Gulls. Two Wigeon were feeding on a small island. A sign that Spring is here were the Marsh Marigolds in full flower and 2 Comma Butterflies near the Wader Scrape Hide. From the hide another Summer Plumage Redshank. We were so busy looking up at some Ringnecked Parakeets flying over, that we didn’t see a Green Woodpecker on the path in front of us and it took off with a loud yaffle call. It flew to a tree, but didn’t stay there. On the boardwalk to Wildside Hide another Little Grebe in full breeding plumage swam towards the boardwalk and underneath us to the other side. The Ringnecked Parakeets were proving very elusive for a photo. Lots kept flying over, but none of them perched. At the feeders we saw a male Great Spotted Woodpecker and male Brambling very briefly before it took off with the Chaffinches. I didn't see it myself but Mum did. I hoped it might have come back, but I think there were too many people now as it had turned into a lovely warm day.

The feeders were now Parakeet-proof, so our hope of seeing them there was dashed. We could hear them calling out of sight but just could not see them. It sounded like it was coming from the carpark so we went back to the coach a bit earlier to see if we could see the Parakeets there. A few flew over, but one was perched a few feet away. It was a male, as it had a black neck ring which the females lack. I took a few pictures and then we hurried to the coach as everybody else seemed to have got back on. We weren’t late, but we were the last and as soon as we got on, we headed home. A really enjoyable day, but I just wish we had had longer.


16th March 2014

We went to Giltar Point at Penally near Tenby to see the Great Spotted Cuckoo that had been showing well for a few days. We were a bit worried if we would see it, as the previous day it flew to Caldey Island and was not seen until later in the day. We first saw it feeding on the ground and flew up into a small tree. It sat in amongst the branches for quite a while, giving us only the slightest view. Then it flew over us to another tree on the other side of the golf course. This was the tree that it had roosted in apparently. It flew to the ground and started to feed, and we had a good view of it from where we were. The local Magpies didn’t seem to like it much and they kept having a go at it. We saw it feeding on lots of large Caterpillars and even a small Lizard. It was past lunch time so we went to Skrinkle Head to have it and look for Choughs. There were loads of Fulmars nesting on the cliffs and flying around. There wasn’t any Razorbills or Guillemots. It might be too early for them, but there had been a lot of Auks washed up dead in the recent storms, so that might have been why. The scenery was lovely there and we thought we might come here again if we are passing. We didn’t see any Chough on the cliff top, but we did see two flying over the car park. They were too quick for me to photograph as I wanted to have a look at them through my binoculars. I always like to have a good view of birds and photos come second I’m afraid. Sorry about that!


23rd March 2014

We went to Aust to see if theTwite was still about. We saw a few Reed Buntings feeding on the ground and on the log. Then the Twite appeared singing on the fence and was feeding on the log. Then after digesting its

food the Twite came back and sang on the fence. After we went for a walk around Ruskin Mill. We saw a Grey Heron, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and some Grey Wagtails. We then went to Stroud to see if the Dippers had come back after all the work on the canal there, but we saw no sign of them, which was a shame as I always used to see them there when I lived in Stroud. We did see more Grey Wagtails. We drove back along the country lanes and saw a Brown Hare crouched down. We waited to see if he would move, but he must have seen us, as he remained motionless in the grass.

Slimbridge WWT

29th March 2014

We went to Slimbridge to see  what was about. From the Robbie Garnett Hide we saw 2 Cranes from the GCP and the Pale Greylag Goose. We went to the Holden Tower where the Barnacle Geese were resting on the Dumbles. A Chiffchchaff was in song on the Holden Walkway. In the Willow Hide were Reed Bunting, Blue & Great Tits, Greenfinches, Chaffinches and Goldfinches. There was still some Teal at Robbie Garnett. Back at Martin Smith Hide the Cranes were thinking about nesting here again. A Buzzard flew low over the Tack Piece. The Cranes then walked back on to the Tack Piece. They took off and flew around and landed further back, calling in response to another Crane flying over. The Avocets were repairing their nest in the Rushy Pen. We went to South Finger Hide to see how the Kingfishers were getting on with excavating the hole. A Grey Heron perched on the tree in front of the hide. Then flew to a low perch. The Male Kingfisher gave a fish to the Female. It was nice to see them back here nesting. There was Cetti's Warbler singing in  a small Elder Tree close by and showed well briefly but not well enough for photo. Never mind maybe next time. A Peacock Butterfly was basking in the sunshine. I saw my first Willow Warbler of the year perched in the bush close to the hide. We then went to South Lake where there were more Avocets and Teal. The Great Crested Grebe was full Summer plumage and I hoped that they might display, but no luck. Maybe it was too late in the season now for that.

Chew Valley Lake

30th March 2014 We went to take Nan out for Mother's Day at Chew Valley Lake. We went to Heron'sGreen where a pair of Goldeneyes were swimming in the bay. The Male was displaying to the Female but not feeling the joys of Spring yet. It was very quiet bird wise for Chew but in few weeks time, it will be alive with songs from Summer Migrants.

31st March 2014

We went to look for Dippers on a stretch of the River Frome. The Dippers have had a lot to cope with this year with the floods making the water levels so high. Happily, the rivers around Southern England are back to normal for this time of year and you are seeing a few birds about now. It was great to see this Dipper as it was feeding in the water and there was also a couple of GreyWagtails along the river.

Slimbridge WWT

2nd April 2014

We went to Slimbridge to look for the Water Vole, Taiga Bean Geese and the Hooded Crow. We started at Martin Smith Hide where a Wren was singing and claiming territory, but we didn’t see any Water Voles. A Grey Squirrel was at the Willow Hide on our way to the Holden Tower. At the Robbie Garnett was a small flock of Shovelers. Some Rabbits were in front of the Knott Hide along with an Oystercatcher foraging on the edge of the pool. There were Avocets starting to nest on the islands in front of the Holden Tower but no sign of the Bean Geese. We then went to South Finger to see the Kingfishers. A Cetti's Warbler was showing extremely well and I was able to get some photos of it in the small Elder Tree. We saw the Hooded Crow in the fields by the Kingfisher Hide, but it was distant. We went to the South Lake where an Adult Little Gull was doing several flight passes. It was easy to pick out as it was the only Gull with pure black underwings and a pink tinge on the belly and tail flanks. Lovely to see, very hard to photograph. Back at the Willow Hide we saw Goldfinches, Blue & Great Tits, Greenfinches and Chaffinches. There was a Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding on the tops of the Willow stumps, which was nice. We went back to Holden Tower where two Cranes were giving excellent views until they took off and flew to the 100 Acre. When we passed by the Willow Hide again, we saw a Brown Rat feeding on the seeds in front. At Robbie Garnett the Oystercatchers were doing their piping display with their head pointing to the ground. Before leaving, we had one last look for Water Voles and saw one briefly in the reeds. Next time hopefully they will be out in the open.

Slimbridge WWT

5th April 2014

We went back to Slimbridge for the morning, as we saw on the sightings the previous day that the Taiga Bean Geese were back. We went to Martin Smith where we just missed them. We saw them from Robbie Garnett Hide, but very distant. Then they flew off to the Dumbles. We went to the Holden Tower where they were right out on the Severn Estuary miles away. We decided to go to South Finger and the Cetti's Warbler was still showing well and singing in the small Elder Tree. The Hooded Crow was present in the fields, but still a long off. There was a Goldfinch nearer, feeding on teasel. The Kingfisher was posing on a branch outside the nest hole. Back at the Holden Tower we saw a Jay perched on a fence post. The first time I’ve seen Jay here. Then two flew past the hide. The Bean Geese were still quite distant, so we left. After a tip off about the Bean Geese being closer, I dashed back up to Holden Tower. The Male was sitting on the Dumbles and the Female was still feeding. After a while, both birds got up and started to walk away. But I managed to take a couple of photos. We also had a tip off that the Water Vole was showing down by the bridge, so I had a better view of them.These Voles are doing well at Slimbridge now. At least there are no Mink here!

Farmoor Reservoir

12th April 2014

We went to Farmoor Reservoir to see Red - necked Grebe in full Breeding Plumage. It spent quite a lot of the time in the SW corner of the reservoir fishing for Sticklebacks. This is the only Grebe species that doesn't nest in Britian, so Summer Adult birds are quite rare here. It seemed quite happy fishing here and came in close at times. There had been a report of an Avocet here, but we didn’t see it. Dad and I saw four Whimbrel flying over the reservoir westwards. We carried on walking around the reservoir. It was quite a long way. We headed towards the causeway, where some Yellow Wagtails had been reported. We saw lots of Pied Wagtails and there were also some Dunlin in Summer plumage, which was nice. On the way home we saw a Red Kite flying over a field. There was a layby near, so westopped to look at it and it flew right over our heads and across the road. Lovely bird!


19th April 2014

We went to Labrador Bay near Teignouth to look for Cirl Buntings. We saw them up in a tree when we first arrived. They were feeding on seed in a ploughed field. The Female has duller markings on the head whilst the Male had bright head patterns. It looked like the seed had been put out for them as there were quite a lot coming and going. We stayed there for a couple of hours watching them. It was out of the wind as well, so that was good. We were going to have lunch at Haldon Forest, but it was really busy there, so we went to Darts Farm instead. After having something to eat we went to Aylesbeare Common to look for Dartford Warbler. We’ve always been quite successful in seeing them here, but they’ve never stayed still enough to photograph. We saw our first one perched on a small bush and it flew onto a small tree, so I was able to take a couple of quick pictures before it flew away. I heard another Dartford Warbler singing, and we could see it flitting amongst the branches, but it never come on the very top sadly. Still, I managed a few photos.

Chipping Sodbury Common

21st April 2014

We went to Chipping Sodbury Common to look for Redstart and Whinchat. There were loads of Skylarks in full songflight. There was also a good number of Lesser Whitethroats and one showed itself on top of a tall bush. There were qite a few Linnets as well on the common. Dad saw the Redstart briefly through but I couldn't see it. After a while we spotted the Male Whinchat perched on a small bush. It flew onto a bramble bush and then back to the small bush. After a tip off about the Grasshopper Warblers in Wiltshire, we headed to Chippenham and looked around the scrubby land for them. Although we heard reeling, they were only giving us brief and distant views. Looks like it has to be early morning to see them singing. We'll try again. We went home through Marshfield where there were loads of Corn Buntings singing on the bushes, on the ground and on the fence posts. Corn Buntings are really doing at Marshfield and seems early evening is the best time to see them. During the day they seem to spend a lot of the time feeding and less time perching. There were quite a few Pheasants about, but not many Red-legged Partridge. No Grey Partridges again today, It looks like they are very scarce here now. We saw the pale Buzzard again and another normal coloured Buzzard was in a ploughed field looking for worms. We had a look for the Little Owl in the old barn, but no sign again of it. Maybe it has moved somewhere else now.

Rodborough Common & Breakheart

3rd May 2014

We went to Rodborough Common to look for Duke of Burgundy Fritillary. We saw a few Early Purple Orchids & Dingy Skippers on the wing. There was also Small Heath and Green Hairstreak. We saw our first and only Duke of Burgundy Fritillary perched in the grass. We went to Breakheart Quarry on the way home to look for Grizzled Skippers. There were at least three on the wing as well as the Dingy Skippers.

Slimbridge WWT

4th May 2014

We went to Slimbridge WWT to see the Spoonbill and the 1st Summer Little Gull. We started at Martin Smith where the Spoonbill in the stunning breeding plumage was very active in front of the hide. After seeing the brilliant performance of the Spoonbill we continued down the Holden Walkway. We saw a couple of Rabbits from the Stephen Kirk Hide. The Avocets were nesting on one of the islands which were viewable from the Holden Tower. When we went back to Martin Smith the Spoonbill continued feeding and preening in front of the hide. We then went to South Lake where we saw the 1st Summer Little Gull mainly in flight. However for couple of seconds it was swimming on the water with Black - headed Gulls. Also at South Lake was a Great Crested Grebe with a Juvenile. It was trying to ride on the back of the adult, but it was a bit big and kept sliding off into the water.

Slimbridge WWT

5th May 2014

We were on our way out to Chippenham to look for a Gropper when a tweet came through that a Bonaparte's Gull had been reported at Slimbridge WWT. We decided to go Slimbridge WWT to see it. We thought the bird had flown off somewhere else as was reported at 09:18 from the South Lake. But thanks to a tip off from a birder, we saw it was resting amongst the Black - headed Gull flock. Occasionally it got disturbed and got up, started to walk about a bit. This is an Adult Summer and it's hood is much darker than a Black - headed Gull's. Apart from the smaller size it also has short and paler legs. Suddenly,

all the Gulls took off including the Bonaparte's. Although the Black - headed Gulls came back, the Bonaparte's didn't until the afternoon. There was also a Common Sandpiper and one of Great Crane Project Common Cranes on South Lake.

Camargue 7th to 11th May

We had to leave early to get to Gatwick Airport to catch the Easyjet flight to Montpellier in Provance, South of France. After arrival at Montpellier we met up with the Naturetrek group. Minibuses loaded, we then headed to the hotel at Arles. On the way we had our first glimpse of Greater Flamingos, as well as Glossy Ibis, Black-winged Stilts and a brief view of a Hoopoe. At the Hotel there were Nightingales singing everywhere. While Mum was unpacking I walked around the garden and saw a European Swallowtail Butterfly briefly nectoring on the flowers. Mum had found a Lizard in our hotel room. It was a Wall Lizard which eats all the flies.

8th May 2014

The first full day in the Camargue began at Mas D' Agon which was a good place to see all sorts of birds. We stopped by a farm building where Stone Curlews have been seen. We did see one right at the back of the field and also Tree Sparrows. There was a frog on the road so I went down to see what that one was. It was a Marsh Frog which is brighter coloured than our Common Frog. We made sure it got safely off the road. We saw some Glossy Ibis in the field as well. The reedbeds were full of the sounds of Common & Great Reed Warblers. There were lots of birds flying over the road including Purple Herons and Little Egrets and a good number of Whiskered Tern flying around. We saw a Marsh Harrier quartering over the reeds. Another Bird of Prey appeared but in the form of a Short - toed Eagle. We also saw a Bittern, Black - crowned Night Heron & European Roller fly over the road. In a small reedy pond was another Marsh Frog. They seem common in the Mediterranean region. There were a few Black - winged Stilts and two Wood Sandpipers. We stopped by a fence and watched a few Purple Herons feeding in the water. Flying over the lake were some Black Terns and also White - winged Black Terns. Our next stop was a reserve called Parc Ornithologique where we had lunch. A Black Kite flew over with prey in it's talons. Nearby a White Storkwas on a nest with at least 3 chicks. In the afternoon we explored the area and the first was the heronry. There were a few Little Egrets and Grey Herons nesting. The star bird was the stunning Breeding Plumage of Cattle Egrets. Further up the path was a colony of Greater Flamingos. This is what the Camargue is famous for. The flock were feeding and preening in the water. In flight they have a pinky upper wing that gives it the name of the "Flying Sunset". A few Black - winged Stilts were present but commoner in other parts of the Camargue. A Red - crested Pochard was resting in the water. There were also several Dragonflies and Damselflies such as Scarlet Darter. There were lots of Yellow - legged Gulls about and a few Avocets on the lake and were briefly joined by four Black - winged Stilts. In a scrubby bush was a Male Sardinian Warbler which unfortunately didn't hang about long. I heard a Hoopoe calling, but couldn’t see it. Nightingales were singing all around and I had a glimpse of one singing at the back of the bush. Butterflies we saw included Green - veined White and Wall Brown and a very orangey Speckled Wood. Back in the hotel garden we caught up with a Scarce Swallowtail. That’s a new butterfly for me. The European Swallowtail was still about, but it wasn't cooperating and just kept flying around the roof of the hotel. The Wall Lizard was still foraging in our room and Dad managed to see it this time round. As it was a lovely evening we went to Les Alpilles to look for the European Eagle Owl that nests in the crags. We saw one bird flying out over the scrubland and then a couple of mintues later it flew back and perched silhouted agianst the dark sky. We heard Nightjar, lots of Nightingales & Sardinian Warbler. When we got back to the hotel later that night we found 2 Stripeless Tree Frogs climbing up the wall.

9th May 2014

We went for an early morning walk from the hotel. We saw a Nightingale and Cetti's Warbler briefly in the bush. 3 European Rollers [2 on the wire and another flew past]. Shame I didn’t take my camera! Melodius Warbler was singing and showed well in the bush and a Redstart perched on the fence.Then we made our way back to the hotel for breakfast. After we headed to Etang De Vaccares, where we saw a Short - toed Eagle and a Black Kite at Gageron. There was also an unexpected appearance of a Pied Flycatcher. It landed on the ground briefly and flew to the tree. Nearby another Marsh Frog by a pond. Further down the road was a good sighting of a Turtle Dove up in a tree. It's a pity that this now a declining species in much of Europe. On another tree was a Fan - tailed Warbler but it also known by another name of ‘Zitting Cisticola’. There was another Turtle Dove more distant and a White Stork on its nest. A Four Spotted Chaser was perched by the water. There were Common Terns & Cormorants on the lake. We went to La Capeliere next, where we saw Crested Lark, Tawny Pipit, Great White Egret, Black Kite, Fan - tailed Warbler Corn Bunting and some more Bee-eaters which we spotted from the minibus. We went down to the coast to see if there were any waders. We saw 2 Kentish Plovers on the shore. A Yellow - legged Gull walked along the shingle. There was a possible Spectacled Warbler that flew past but we couldn't relocate it. Not many waders about so we headed for Piemanson. We could see a ribbon of pink in the distance, these were hundreds of Flamingos. We continued on past the Salt workings where a dozen Slender - billed Gulls were gathered on the water. A Common Sandpiper was on the mud flats. More Avocets were feeding in the water sweeping their bill from side to side in search for small food items. A few Little Terns flying and perched on the mud. A few Ringed Plovers were there, as well as a Kentish Plover. A flock of Greater Flamingos flew around the beach. A stunning Breeding Plumage Curlew Sandpiper was a couple of yards from the roadside. This brick red pattern is also shared with the Red Knot but the bill is curved like a Curlew & Glossy Ibis. There were loads of Sandwich Terns on the island. A couple of Common Terns were also noted. A Little Gull was walking on the water's surface to the left of the Tern Colony. Further along some Turnstone in Summer Plumage and a Little Stint were foraging along the beach. There was quite a good number of Sanderling and a few a Dunlin at the end of the road.

10th May 2014

We had early start to head to La Crau before the sun creates too much heat haze. We stop along the way to watch up to a dozen Birds of prey soaring, most of which were Honey Buzzards. We saw a Short - toed Eagle perched in the tree on the way. At La Crau 2 Black Kites passed over head. In the Camargue, the Black Kites are commoner than Red and during our time there we saw only two Red Kites. Suddenly a Short - toed Eagle passed over head quite low and soared round. It also did a bit of hovering. A flock of Sheep were being moved into the hills after the Winter grazing and we had been watching the Short - toed Eagle for so long that we missed the Pin - tailed Sandgrouse that flew over us after being flushed by the livestock. An Adult Purple Heron flew over with the sun shinining on the purply grey wings. Another Black Kite flew over. On the bridge we saw a Male Banded Demoiselle. On the other side we saw a Beautiful Demoiselle and the very special Copper Demoiselle. Both of these were also Males. We were going to have a walk across the area, but it seems that you needed a permit now, so there was a change of plan and we went to Marais de Vigueirat instead. On our way we saw another Turtle Dove by the side of the road until it was flushed by a speedy car. On the approach road to Marias De Vigueirat we saw quite a few European Bee - eaters on fence and flyingaround with their distinctive call. One other thing you can't go to the Camargue  without seeing is the majestic herd of Camargue Wild Horses. The Adults are pure white and the Foals are brown. At the reserve, we had an unexpected bonus of a White Pelican flying high above the area. It was soon followed by a White Stork. We made our way along the boardwalk. At the very back of the pond was a Squacco Heron and a Cattle Egret was foraging nearby. There were also some Pond Terrapins. In the bushes behind was another Fan-tailed Warbler. A White Stork was bringing in some nesting material. In the tree by the water's edge was a Viperine Snake, which is a water snake. This snake hadround pupils, unlike our Adders which have slit-like pupils. (A bit like the eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings). We saw more Speckled Woods and another Four Spotter Chaser was perched within the reeds. A couple of Lizards were on the boardwalk as we were walking back. I looked them up in my Reptiles of Europe book. The first had a bit of green on it's body and rings on the tail so I think it was an Italian Wall Lizard, which has small population in Southern France but commoner in Italy and Scilly. The 2nd Lizard was browner and a plain tail which is typical form of a Common Wallm Lizard, is normally found on the Altantic coast of France. Back at the picnic site, a Fox was sitting in the sunshine and got up walked into the vegetation. On leaving we saw some Bee - eaters sat on the ground, but unfortunately I had the camera set on the wrong exposure in my haste. There were still some birds perched on the fences and I managed to get some pics at least, but not so good. There were also a few Cattle Egrets in the field with the Black Bulls, hence the name. We headed to Les Alpilles to look for Crested Tit and Cirl Bunting. We first saw Provençal Chalk - hill Blue which is not very different to our Chalk - hill Blue except a different flight period. In the grass we saw a Praying Mantis Empusa Pennata which is the strangest creature I’v seen. There was a Moroccan Orange Tip briefly on a yellow flower before flying off and a yellow Cleopatra butterfly. We were studying the Praying Mantis so long we missed the Subalpine Warbler. We only heard the call. Ah well! Just have to come back again one day. On the way back to the car park a Megarian Banded Centipede crossed the path in front of us. It must have been about 6 inches long! We heard aCirl Bunting singing in the woods but didn't see it. We did manage to see a Crested Tit after hearing its call but it was very active and it didn't hang around. On the last evening, Dad and I went for a walk down the track from the hotel. We saw a Painted Lady resting on the path. It was nice to see one on this side of the Channel. Let's hope it makes it to Britian. At the end of the lane there was a bridge over a stream where a Beautiful & Copper Demoiselle were resting on the reeds. In contrast to the La Crau pair, these two were Females. There were also a few Marsh Frogs in the area. And finally something a little strange, a Fish jumped out of the water and on to the Lily Pad. It finally jumped back in.


11th May 2014

On the last morning we went to Arles to drop some people off to look around the town. We continued on to Mas D'Agon for a last bit of bird watching. We stopped the minibuses when wen saw a snake in the road. It was a Montpellier Snake, but it had got ran over unfortunately. We stopped by the Stone Curlew field where we saw 2 Great Spotted Cuckoos flying over, shortly followed by a normal Cuckoo. In a another field three Glossy Ibis were joined by four Sqaucco Herons along the fence line. We to the viewing tower where a Cattle Egret was riding on the back of a Camargue Wild Horse. Also a Black - winged Stilt was wading in the pools behind. We started on our way back to Arles, but stopped at Mas D'Agon for one last time. Mum spotted a stunning Male Red - backed Shrike flitting along the fence line and on the post. I had a walk along the reed bed and found a Male Bearded Tit that had been killed by a car. Such a shame! We then headed back to Arles to pick the rest of our group from the town. After a picnic lunch back at the hotel we loaded up the minibuses and started to make our way to Montpellier Airport. On our way having last glimpses of Flamingos and Stilts. Mum saw a Black Redstart while we were stopped at some lights. We then caught 17:20 Easyjet flight back to Gatwick. After a trouble-free flight, we got back to Britain and made our way through customs and back to the car. What a great few days it had been. I can’t wait for the next visit!

In total I saw 107 birds (including 21 lifers) plus some new butterflies, and of course insects, mammals and reptiles. Many thanks to the Naturetrek leaders Ian Nicholson and Dave Smith.

Dyfi & Ynys - hir

18th May 2014

We went t o Wales to see how the Ospreys were doing this at Dyfi. Monty and Glesni took turns guarding the nest site. A few weeks before, there was huge drama of other Opreys around the site before Glesni's return. Happily they can now get on with incubating the eggs.Then Monty went off to fish in the estuary. There were a few Dragonflies on the wing including a Four Spotted Chaser. We spotted the two Water Buffalo doing a good job of grazing the reserve. We then went to Ynys - hir to look for 3 Summer Visitors of the Welsh Woodlands. These were Pied Flycatcher, Redstart and Wood Warbler. Because we couldn't get into the main car park as there were a special event on, we had to park in a field and walk across a small bridge to the reserve. We saw 2 Grass Snakes swimming across the water from the bridge. In a bare tree was a Whitethroat and Willow Warbler singing. By the Visitor Centre was a Male Pheasant with a very short tail. The Female was dustbathing under the feeders. We saw our first Pied Flycatcher down near the Heron Hide. It flew down to the ground twice but then disappeared. We saw the Redstart nesting in a natural tree hole. We only saw the Male first of all, but later we saw the Female briefly. A few Butterflies were on the wing such as a Green - viened White and Speckled Wood. I managed to get a very close view of a Garden Warbler which was competely unexpected and one of the usually more difficult Warblers to see. The Redstarts were still active around the nest hole. While Mum walked up to Canopy Hide, Dad and I carried on watching the Redstart a bit longer. On our way to the hide we spotted a Male Pied Flycatcher singing in the trees above the gate. At the Canopy Hide another singing Male Pied Flycatcher was on a perch right in front the hide. The last time I saw a singing Male Pied Flycatcher was at Nagshead in the Forest of Dean in May 2009. There waa also quite a number of Pond Skaters on the Dragonfly pool. We then went on to our B&B which is right opposite the Dyfi Osprey Project and you can see the nest from our rooms which have telescopes in them for that purpose.

Ynys - hir

19th May 2014

In the morning at the B&B I photographed a Male Great Spotted Woodpecker perched on top of the conifer branch from my window, which is something I don't see very often. We had breakfast watching the Osprey nest on Live Streaming. The B&B has everything for the Osprey fanatic! So Mum was happy! We went to back to Ynys - hir to see what else was about as we hadn’t seen Wood Warbler yet, which was unusual. There was a few Damselflies about, mostly Common Blue Damselflies and an Azure. A Sedge Warbler was singing from an exposed perch. A Wall Brown Butterfly was briefly observed before flying off and disappearing. We were going to go back to Dyfi, but the weather was turning a bit wet, so as we had no luck with Wood Warbler at Ynys - hir, we headed down to Dinas. The weather had certainly taken a took a turn for the worse and there were heavy showers and as we walked round Dinas, loud claps of thunder. Dad dropped Mum and I by the wood and he drove round to the car park, so we could meet by the board walk. We heard some Wood Warblers alright and saw three, but only briefly.

They were certainly difficult to see this year. We met up with Dad by  the river where there are usually Dippers breeding, but we didn’t even see any of these. Perhaps they are further up the river this year. We walked along the board walk towards the carpark, but only saw Nuthatch. No Spotted or Pied Flycatchers this year. Back at the car park we sat and watched a Marsh Tit and a Great Tit feeding on a log before setting off towards home. A good weekend, but the birds we usually see were not around in great numbers which was a little disappointing. But then that’s birdwatching for you! Some you win and some you don’t!

Slimbridge WWT

21st May 2014

We went to Slimbridge to see the Crane Chicks on the Tack Piece. We saw some House Martins nesting on the lock - keeper's house. A few Swifts were flying around and some Swallows flew under the bridge. The Cranes were viewable from the Martin Smith. Monty and Chris were feeding the chicks behind the reeds. Suddenly a Fox ran across the Tack Piece with a Rabbit in it's mouth. The Cranes and waders all kept a wary eye on him. It could have been this Fox that the Cranes chased away from their chicks a few days later. There was a pair of Gadwall in front of the hide. A Grey Heron was also doing a bit of fishing.We went to Zeiss Hide to see the Temminck's Stint. The wader was alongside the much larger Common Sandpiper along with some Avocets. We were given a tip off that the Crane Chicks were showing well from the Martin Smith. We had a brief glimpse them through the gap in the reeds being fed the Adults. We went to Robbie Garnett Hide where we saw another Gadwall or it could have been the same one from Martin Smith. A few Lapwings were wading in the water. Two Shovelers were having a bit of fight. We went back to Martin Smith to see if the Cranes were showing, but they were behind a bush. We went to the South Lake where the Black - tailed Godwits were feeding in front of the observatory. The other Crane pair were still incubating their eggs, but it does not look like they are going to hatch. When we got home later that day we found out that the Elephant Hawk Moth pupa that we had overwinted had

emerged. It is such a lovely moth and when it got active and dried off properly, we released it in the garden. We waited until it got darker and all the birds had gone to bed. It flew off strongly and we never saw it again. I must admit I had hoped it might stay around the garden for a little bit. That’s gratitude for you!!

Slimbridge WWT

25th May 2014

On Saturday we took Dad to Slimbridge to see the Crane Chicks. They were on other side of the gate and not showing very well so we went to look on South Lake. There was a 1st Summer Mediterranean Gull present with the Black - headed Gulls. A Green - veined White and a Red Admiral were on the Buddleia bush. Back at Martin Smith hide a Spoonbill had appeared in front of the hide. It was feeding well sweeping its bill from side to side in search of small food items. The Cranes brought their Chicks through the gate to safety of thick grassland and we had a few glimpses of them. After a while they went back behind the bush again. The Spoonbill continued to put on a performance. We saw it catch a newt, but not certain if it managed to swallow it. I hope it survived. Sadly the two Crane Chicks didn't survive to their 4th week. But no doubt Monty and Chris will try again next year and hopefully they might have more success. They are long lived birds, so have plenty of time to breed.

Haddon Hill

15th June 2014

We went to Haddon Hill to look for the rare Heath Fritillary. Unfortunately, we had picked the wrong day as there was a bike race on and a lot of roads were closed. We managed to get there eventually. The first creatures we saw were some Exmoor Ponies that graze on the heathland. There was a few Small Heaths and Tree Pipits. We spotted a Redstart perched in a tree briefly and a couple of Deer ran past which I think might have been Roe Deer. We saw a special Dragonfly of the heath, a Golden - ringed Dragonfly perched on the heather. A new Dragonfly species for me. We also saw a Stonechat perched on the gorse. We walked further on and there were a few Green Hairstreak Butterflies flying around. Down in the sheltered woodland we found quite a number of Heath Fritillaries in flight and some perched. Another new Butterfly for me. There was one perched on a branch that looked like it had just emerged as it was still drying its wings and posed nicely for photos. There was also a new Moth for me nearby - the Wood Tiger. By that time the race had finished and all the roads were open again. We decided to go to Woodbury Common to look for Silver - studded Blues, but sadly none were out yet. As we were walking back to the car, Mum and I saw a Roe Deer and it seemed quite unafraid of us as I took some pictures of it. It finished eating its leaves and wandered into the undergrowth. We met Dad by the car and he told me he’d found a few Small Pearl - bordered Fritillaries. I went back with him to have a look at them and took some photos. It was a shame we were too early for the Silver - studded Blues, we will just have to try somewhere else another time.

Fairburn Ings

21st June 2014

We popped into Fairburn Ings on the way up to Northumberland to have a look around. There was quite a few Tree Sparrows feeding on the feeders and on the ground and we also saw 2 Bullfinches feeding with the Sparrows. We had a bit of a walk around but we didn't have the time to walk all the way round. Quite a number of Blue Damselflies on the wing as well as a Ringlet basking with it's wings open. In the field was a Pyramidal Orchid. At another feeding station was a pair of Pheasants, Goldfinch and a Tree Sparrow. A view from another hide of some more Tree Sparrows and Sand Martins were flying to and from the sandbank. We finished with the last views of Bullfinch and Tree Sparrows at the visitor centre feeders. It’s a lovely RSPB reserve and we would like to have longer there another time. We continued our northbound journey to our B&B in Seahouses for the next four nights.

Kielder Water

22nd June 2014

We went to Kielder Water to see how White YA was getting on, after getting caught under the net last year at Blagdon. At Leaplish Waterside Park we saw the chicks and the female on the nest cam. White YA was sitting in the conifer trees on the other side of the water. He was only just visible in the telescope, only a white dot in the tree. The juvenile House Martins were in nests under the roof and adult was bringing food to them. There was a juvenile Swallow perched on the fence near the Martin's Nest. This one still had downy fluff as well as it's new Adult feathers. The others had lost the downy fluff. We drove up to Kielder Castle Visitor Centre and went for a walk to the Red Squirrel Hide and saw a flock of Siskins feeding on the feeders. We waited a while, but no Squirrels came. Perhaps they only come early mornings and evenings when it’s quieter. On the way back to the car park we saw a few Chimney Sweeper Moths. We decided to head home along the Forest Drive, which is a toll road with great views of the forest and moor. We saw a Spotted Flycatcher perched on a conifer and further on was a pair of Whinchats and a Tree Pipit on the moors. Back at Seahouses we sat watching a family of Common Eiders in the harbour.

Farne Islands

23rd June 2014

We had booked with Billy Shiels for the All Day Birdwatch on the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland. On leaving Seahouses we saw a Male Common Eider still in the middle of moulting. Unfortunately, due to the swell, we didn't manage to land on Staple Island. We did however sail around the island. There were Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwake and Shags and also had a special bonus of seeing a Guillemot chick in the water after leaping off the cliff. We sailed towards Brownman's Island where the Grey Seals have their pups in the Autumn. In the Summer they can be seen anywhere around the Farnes. Also a few Arctic Terns flying around the islands and a couple of Gannets flew past the island. As we couldn’t get onto the island, we headed back to the harbour and were told we would have longer on Inner Farne instead.We went back to Seahouses for lunch and a couple of Linnets were on the fence in the car park. We went back to the harbour to board the boat again to go over to Inner Farne. After arriving we saw quite a number of Arctic Terns that breed there. Some of the Chicks were still very small, while the larger Chicks were struggling to hide in the grass. The Adults were not happy and started attacking us, pecking and pooing! I had a bit of Tern dropping on me and Dad was covered in it. These droppings can cause damage to other birds wing feathers which is why there are no birds of prey on the Farnes. There were also a few Common Terns and 2 colonys of Sandwich Terns. When my parents visited the Farnes Islands in 1990, there was a Lesser Crested Tern which nested with Sandwich Terns.

Amble and Coquet Island

24th June 2014

We went to a location where we saw Little Terns nesting in a fenced off area. We saw them distantly from the Warden’s hut and no pictures of the Terns as they are Schedule 1 birds. Arctic Terns were present in the area as well as Linnet, Meadow Pipits and Reed Buntings. We followed the coast road down and found a Kittiwake colony at Howick. The weather today wasn’t as good as yesterday and we kept having rain showers so didn’t stay long and carried on to Amble to see if the boat to Coquet Island was running. Fortunately there was one at 14:00 and we were even luckier that we managed to get on. There is no landing allowed on this island, but you can view from the boat. We sailed around the island where there were Auks, Sandwich Terns, Arctic Terns, Common Terns and Kittiwakes and the rarest nesting Tern in the British Isles. The one that we wanted to see - the Roseate Tern. They nest in little numbered boxes and the Skipper told us what box to look at. We had some good views of them and that made another new bird that I’d seen this week. After the showers of the morning, the weather had turned out nice again and it was a very warm afternoon. The skipper of the boat told us about some Spoonbills that were nearby, so we headed down to Druridge Pools. No surprise, when we got there they were asleep. They only wake up briefly to preen or stretch and then back to sleep again. A Swallow was waiting outside the hide to feed the Chicks. Druridge Bay is another lovely beach and we saw a huge flock of Common Scoter on the water.

Bishop Middleham

Quarry/Bempton Cliffs RSPB

25th June 2014 It was a long journey from Northumberland down to Yorkshire. We stopped at a place called Bishop Middleham Quarry to look for Northern Brown Argus. It was very busy there as there was a field meeting on, but not as busy as it was a few years ago when Beeeaters tried to nest here. There was plenty of Butterflies and lots of Orchids, so we probably stayed longer than we should have. Before going to our B&B in Bridlington, we stopped at Bempton for a quick look around. More Tree Sparrows here on the feeders and in the nearby bushes. The seabird population is almost similar to that of the Farnes. Except for two birds that are special to the area: Fulmar and Gannets. The Gannets were nesting further along the cliff face and although the soft sunlight was good for photos, it was starting to fade, so we made our way to the hotel.

Bempton Cliffs RSPB/ Spurn

26th June 2014

We went to Bempton Cliffs in  the morning but the light was a bit wrong. The bright sunshine was nice on the birds in flight, but it cast harsh shadows on the cliff face. Lots of Gannets were bill fencing which is a bonding greeting. It was not just Adult birds, there was a 2nd year, 1st year, 3rd year & Sub Adult. No Juveniles yet. However, there were lots with new fluffy chicks. Lots of Meadow Pipits singing along with Skylarks. In the car park were two Bee Orchids. We headed down to Spurn Head for the afternoon, but sadly due to the flood last Autumn, part of the road was broken so we were unable to drive down to the lighthouse. We were told by the wardens that Red - veined Darters were flying around the pools. Sadly, there weren't any around but a

few Black - tailed Skimmers were on the wing. We had a quick look around Kilnsea where there was a few Avocets with chicks and a Greenshank. We returned to Bempton Cliffs for our last look at the Gannets and other seabirds as the sun sets. We were lucky to see a Barn Owl hunting over the fields before it disappeared into the setting sun.

Blacktoft Sands/ Old Moor

27th June 2014

We left our B&B in Bridlington to head down to Fotheringhay for two nights. We went to Blacktoft Sands to have a look around. We went to one of the hides where five Spotted Redshanks were in stunning breeding plumage. They were all asleep of course and as soon as two of them woke up, they flew off. We caught up with them at Marsh Hide. Their breeding plumage is black with white spots, so they really are Spotted Redshank, not like I’ven usually seen them. There was a few Marsh Harriers flying around despite the overcast weather. I had a brief glimpseof a young Sedge Warbler and also saw a Hobby fly over. It was a very nice reserve and again we will have to come again when we have more time. We also had a brief look around RSPB Old Moor where a Glossy Ibis had been present for a about a week. The weather had turned quite nasty now and the bird didn’t come very close, but we did see it fly. After a cup of tea in the cafe, we went to Broomhill Flash to look at the Black - necked Grebe that was there, then continued our journey to Fotheringhay.

Rutland Water

28th June 2014

We went to look round Rutland Water to see what was around. It was very quiet there, unlike when we normally see it when we go to the Bird Fair. We saw two Pheasants, male & female, from the Woodpecker Hide. We then went to the Tern Hide where a family of Egyptian Geese were feeding on one of the islands. A couple of yards to the left was a Lapwing with chicks. On the leaving the hide four Oystercatchers flew over and landed in the water. In the other hide we saw a flock of Soay Sheep that graze on the reserve. A Oystercatcher was perched on the wall outside the hide. En route to the hide, a Juvenile Pheasant ran across the track, it looked just like a roadrunner. It kept raining, so I expect he was a bit soggy. At the Heron Hide we saw some Common Terns flying around and a few Great Crested Grebe swimming. Also saw one on a nest. Near to the Kingfisher hide, there were lots of Blue Damselflies on the leaves. The 360’ Hide presented us with 2 Great Crested Grebes and Little Ringed Plover, also some more Soay Sheep feeding on the reserve. A few Emerald Damselflies around the reserve as well as a Large Skipper Butterfly. We went to Lyndon Reserve to see if the Ospreys were around. From the visitor centre we saw a Yellowhammer at the feeding station and a few Tree Sparrows. We saw an Osprey fly around twice and a Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker was feeding on the peanut feeder. We started to walk down to the Osprey hide. On the way there was a Large & Small Skipper perched in the long grass. At the Deep Water Hide a pair of Great Crested Grebes were feeding two chicks. We saw a Osprey at the end hide on the nest briefly before flying off. This pair  didn't breed this year at Manton Bay. This is a new male here as the usual male didn’t return from Africa. We saw lots of Peacock Caterpillars feeding on the Nettle leaves. A Willow Warbler was calling up in the tree. On the way back to Fotheringhay we saw a Brown Hare and a Red Kite flying over the village.

Glapthorn & Fermyn Wood

29th June 2014

We went to Glapthorn Cow Pastures to look for Black Hairstreak but we saw only Large Skippers, Ringlets and Comma. It seemed we missed out on the Black Hairstreak for this year. The peak time was a couple of weekends ago. Perhaps the heavy rain on Friday put an end to their flight period early, because there was two freshly emerged Females seen on Thursday 26th June. We went to Fermyn Woods to look for Purple Emperor. We saw a White Admiral feeding on the brambles. But the PurpleEmperor was going to be a tricky one. This time we are just a bit too early for them, they had been seen, but the weather was not too good. We'll try Savernake in Wiltshire again this year. We saw a couple of pairs of Hornet Moths perched in the grass by the track. As the weather was still quite showery, there was not much point looking for any butterflies so we started on the long journey homewards. A brilliant week!

Isle of Man 5th-9th July



We went to Isle of Man for 5 days with Chauffeurhire Coaches. We caught the ferry from Heysham to Douglas in the afternoon.

There were not many seabirds about, but we did see some Shearwaters and a Black Guillemot as we were docking at the Isle of Man.When we arrived at Douglas it was a short drive to the Empress Hotel which is right on the seafront.


On the Sunday we went to Manx Electric Railway which runs from Douglas to Ramsey. However we only went as far as Laxey to catch the connection with the Snaefell Mountain Railway. We aboarded car no 5 to take us to the summit. On leaving Laxey we had a glimpse of Lady Isbella the giant waterwheel. When we were approaching the only level crossing on the tramway there was statue of one of local Loaghtan Sheep. As we neared the summit, we saw a Hooded Crow and a Female Hen Harrier flying over the moor! After arriving at Snaefell, car no 1 prepared to depart for Laxey. We had a short while to look around before car no 6 arrived at the summit ready to take us back down to Laxey. Having arrived back at Laxey we had quite a bit of time looking around. Car no 22 had arrived from Ramsey. Unlike the Sneafell Trams the Manx Electric had these extra trailers. We were on the way to have better view of the Laxey Wheel when we saw car no 3 leaving Laxey en route to Snaefell Summit. Car no 1 entered Laxey station after decending from Snaefell. We decideded to catch a early tram back to Douglas on car no 7. On the way to Douglas we saw a sign for the Groudle Glen Railway at Groudle and further along we saw the train heading along the cliffs and thought itwould be nice to look at it, so we caught the next tram back to Groudle. We walked to the Groudle Glen Railway' s terminus at Lhen Coan to catch the train toSea Lion Rocks at the site of a former zoo. Sea Lion Rocks is situated in a picturesque location on top of the sea cliffs. When we were there they were setting up a for a filming crew. The locomotive that was in service was Sealion. We had a cup of tea and then caught the train back to Lhen Coan. We waited for the tram back to Douglas and it was a bit late, so the Ramsey tram arrived the same time. We had decided not to have dinner at the hotel because the weather was too nice to beindoors so just bought some chips for tea and sat on the cliffs where we saw a few Hooded Crows flying around and perching on the street lamps. From the promenade we watched the ferry arriving into the port of Douglas. A Gannet was also flying over the sea. Afterwards we headed to our hotel for the night.


On Monday we had a local guide with us for the two days telling us the history of the island. We went on a tour of the northern half of island with a visit to St Johns

for Tynwald Day celebrations which was to begin at 11:00. However, as it was busy and crowded, we decided to walk a bit of disused line between Peel & Douglas. We saw a number of Meadow Browns, Black - tipped Soldier Beetle,Small Tortoiseshell, some Juvenile Goldfinch, Rabbits, [including a very unusual hybrid type], Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Song Thursh, Robin, Common Spotted Orchid, Whitethoat, Meadowsweet, Cow Parsley, Juvenile Mistle Thrush, also Grey Heron and a Chiffchaff. In the afternoon we went to Peel to look around for an hour. We saw a Sandwich Tern flying around near the harbour which had started to moult into Winter Plumage. A few Fulmars flew past the bay. Just off the breakwater was a moulting party of Common Eiders. We did manage to see our first Black Guillemot sitting on the water quite distantly and flying up and down. A few Sandwich Terns were flying and fishing. Just as it was nearly time to go back to the coach we walked to the harbour marina where we had close views of a Black Guillemot fishing. When it caught a large crab it then flew off to eat it elsewhere. Looking a little bit out of place was a solitary Barnacle Goose with a few Mallards for company. The coach drove back over Snaefell Mountain on our way to Ramsey and we could see tram no 5 accending the bank. When we got to Ramsey it chucked down with rain, very wisely nobody wanted to get off. So in the end we made our back toDouglas a bit earlier. It was sunny here so we went for astroll along promenade towards the ferry port and harbour. There were four

Oystercatchers on the beach and many Herring Gulls. At the port we saw one HerringGull wrestling with a paper bag near the ferry terminal. From the bridge near the harbour marina we saw at least 4 Black Guillemot. One swam into the harbour and started fishing in amongst the boats. After spending a bit of time watching the Guillemots, we went for some tea before heading back to the hotel.


We went on a tour of the Southern half of the Island starting with a visit toNiarbyl, Dalby. We saw a few Choughs flying around and 3were perched on the nearby cliffs. One was feeding along the edge before flying off. A Hooded Crow also flew past the cliffs. Our next port ofcall was at Port Erin for a look around the town. We started at the Isle of Man Railway's Terminus. We sat to watch the train arrive while we had something to eat. The engine that was in service was no 12 Hutchinson built by Breyer Peacock in 1908. On arrival from Douglas the loco comes off the train to be fueled at the shed before backing onto the train for departure back to Douglas. We would be back there later for our ride on the train. Down on the beach we saw another Hooded Crow by a puddle. There seems to be more Hooded Crows than Carrion here. We still had time for a quick look in the Railway Museum at Port Erin. Two locos are on display, these are no 6 Peveril and 16 Mannin. The coach then headed to the Calf of Man. Well, to Sound Point which is as close you can get. There was quite a number of Grey Seals sleeping on the rocks.We saw few Choughs flying past and a Hooded Crow. There were some Sea Pinks, but they were past their best. I spotted my first Grayling of the year on a couple of stones, sadly it never opens it wings while at rest to show the orangey upperwing. We made our way back to Port Erin to catch our train back to Douglas. No 4 Loch built by Breyer Peacock in 1874 was the other serviceable engine to do the honours. We passed Hutchinson on a Port Erin service at Ballasalla Station. Near to Stanton Station was where the Fairy Bridge was, but we didn't see it. After we got back to Douglas, Loch shunted the carriages back to the shed and we headed back to the hotel. We didn’t go out for a walk tonight as we had an early night.


We got up early at 6:00 to have breakfast before catching the ferry back to Heysham. In the harbour we saw at least seven Black Guillemots swimming and diving for fish. It had been a brilliant 5 days and I really enjoyed myself. Even though it wasn’t a birding holiday, we saw quite a few nice birds.

Somerset Levels

27th July 2014

We went to Ham Wall in the Somerset Levels to see if the new visitor centre was built. Unfortunately, it was a huge disappointment to see that they hadn't even started! At Ham Wall RSPB there was quite a few Red - eyed Damselflies on the lily pads and the green algae. The Butterfly numbers were good Green - veined White, Small White, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, Painted Lady and my first Clouded Yellow of the year

which was chased off by a Common Blue Damselfly. Along the channel we saw a Female Emperor Dragonfly egg laying. This is something you don't always see unless you're really lucky. It had been a few years since we went to Greylake RSPB and saw a Spotted Crake, so we decided to see what was there. This time in the car park we saw a family of Spotted Flycatchers which included some Juveniles which soon will be heading to their wintering grounds in Africa. We watched them for a long time as we don't see enough of them. We went for quick walk around the reserve and saw a Brown Hawker [which didn't land] and at least 4 Black - tailed Skimmers. Near the car park by the bridge were a few Banded Demoiselles and a Speckled Wood. The Spotted Flycatchers were still in the area and the Juveniles seem to like sitting on a log. We went to look at Priddy on the way home, but being the end of the day the temperature went to about 10 degrees. So there was nothing about. Never mind!

Echo Lodge Meadows,

Ravensroost Woods &


3rd August 2014

We went to check out a site for Brown Hairstreaks at Echo Lodge Meadows. We saw a Purple Hairstreak perched on a leaf. It may look a bit worn but the Adult is a Female as it has a purple line on upperwing and the Male's upperwing is all purple. A Buzzard soared overhead. Due to long spells of dry weather, the bramble flowers have gone over quickly, so the Browns would have to start feeding on the top of trees. We then went to Ravensroost Wood to look there. Perched in the grass was a Female Common Blue Damselfly. There were plenty of Common Blues and Green - veined Whites. There was even a Migrant Hawker perched on the base of a tree. In the end we gave up the search and went to Inglestone to search for Violet Helleborine. There was still a few Silver - washed Fritillaries on the wing. Also a few Beautiful Demoiselles down by the river. Sadly, again due to the dry weather, there wasn't many Violet Helleborines and the only plants we found had gone over slightly. So had the Albino Broad - leaved Helleborine which probably won't flower next year disappointingly, but we will try again to find the Violet Helleborine next time in flower.

Rutland Water Thursday

14th August 2014

We went to Rutland Water for the annual Birdfair and to kick it off on the Thursday, we went on the Osprey cruise around Rutland Water with Simon King. There was still plenty of Swallows hanging around at Whitwell Harbour. Also on the shore was a couple of Pied Wagtails. We watched a few Common Terns flying past as we got on the Rutland Belle. Not long after we left Whitwell we saw our first Osprey flying over. Further along a Yellow - legged Gull flew away from the boat and landed on a post. On our way back round and by the dam we saw two more Ospreys flying over and a Great Black - backed Gull perched on a post. The boat then turned round and went back to where the Ospreys had flown and we had the spectacular sight of an Osprey plunge dive for a fish and it was successful. It flew off with the Gulls flying after it. It was a wonderful trip with Simon King and Tim MacKrill telling us about the Ospreys. The weather that evening was lovely, even though there was a quick shower as we boarded the boat (just to get the seats wet), it didn’t rain again. On our way back to Whitwell we saw a small flock of Egyptian Geese flying past and a Common Tern perched on a bouy. Dad didn’t come on the trip, but he saw some nice things on shore including a Muntjac Deer. He also saw one of the Ospreys by the dam. We then went to our Hotel for the night.

Rutland Water Friday

15th August 2014

The hotel we were staying was very nice and there is no set time for breakfast which is easier. When we went down I had a surprise seeing Bill Oddie having his as well. On the Friday we spent much of the day looking around the Birdfair. It was a strange start to the day. First Mum saw a Rabbit in the car park and was worried it might get run over as the cars were still coming in. She picked it up and put it in the hedge. Poor thing had myxomatosis. We first went to BAWC stand to see Findlay Wilde’s giant Hen Harrier and while Mum was taking a photo of me by it, a man close by collapsed and fell face down into some water. Dad and a man from the stand managed to pull him out and then got the first aiders to look after him. There seems to be even more marquees and stalls and you really do need three days to look at everything and go to lectures. At 14:00 we went to a talk by Simon King called "Mini Eden - Bringing Life Back to Wild Meadows”, which was about his new property and the work he’s done to encourage wildlife. Afterwards Mum went to the Zeiss stand to buy his calendar and get it signed, I also asked him to sign my programme too. We tried to see the Bill Oddie talk about Malta, but two people came to join the couple in front of us and we just missed out getting in because of them. One of them was none other than Chris Packham, so I forgave him! (Mum didn’t!) Later we went to one of the marquees where Chris Packham was doing a book signing. I also asked him to sign my programme. In the evening we did a bit of birdwatching and went to the Osprey Hide, where we did see a Osprey very distantly. A Little Egret was fishing close to the hide and a Kingfisher perched on the post. It dived into the water, caught something and it flew off. There was a Green Sandpiper feeding on the mud. We went into Oakham to get something to eat and afterwards headed back to the birdfair, to the Events Marquee where Chris Packham gave a talk at 19:30 called "The Beautiful and the Damned”. It was very good.

Rutland Water Saturday

16th August 2014

On the Saturday we went to a talk by Dave Sexton about "Springwatch - in the beginning". It was about the time when they filmed the White-tailed Eagles on Mull with Simon King. That was when Bill Oddie and Kate Humble also presented the programme. I must admit that I did like those three presenting it. In one of the marquees some volunteers were showing visitors a really special Moth called a Death's Head Hawkmoth. The first one I’ve ever seen in my life. In another marquee, Bill Oddie and Mark Avery were book signing and I asked them if they would sign my programme as well. Afterwards we went to the Redshank Hide where we saw two Hobby’s chasing the Swallows. Then on to the Grebe hide where we could see the Sand Martin bank better, but not much else there, so we went to the Osprey Hide and we saw 3 Green Sandpipers. From the Dunlin Hide we saw a few Common Terns cruising back and forth. There were lots of Eygptian Geese on the bank. Two Eygptian Geese were perched on an unused Osprey Nest. We went back to the birdfair for a talk at 15:00 “Bird Brain” hosted by Bill Oddie. Very enjoyable and an hour later, we stayed for a talk by Mike Dilger. There was another talk with Bill after we were going to see, but it was a bit hot in the marquee, so we decided to to the Lyndon reserve to look for Ospreys. We saw the female, now called Maya, on the pole by the nest and she flew up and chased a Buzzard off the other post. The male flew past and looked like he might be fishing, but he didn’t dive at all. Shortly afterwards, he landed on the nest. Nearby a Grey Heron was wading in the shallow water amongst the reeds. (This was where the Spotted Crake turned up a few days after the birdfair, giving lovely views. Darn it!)

Rutland Water Sunday

17th August 2014

We went to a talk by Paul Eele at 9:30 called "Birding RSPB Titchwell." Which was very interesting and showed  all different species of birds including the Sammy the Black - winged Stilt. We went into one of the marquees where Mike Dilger was doing some book signing and he signed my programme. The next talk I wanted to go to was Johnny Kingdom. The title was called "Exmoor Escapades”. Johnny didn’t have a stall this year and I’d only seen him walking about the birdfair. On the way there we walked past Bill Oddie and Mum asked him for a photo. Johnny Kingdom’s talk was very funny and enjoyable, and afterwards I went to buy his  new calendar and got it signed. I also asked him to sign my programme and his wife, Julie gave me a photo with his autograph as well. Afterwards we decided to do a bit more birdwatching. From one of the hides we saw some Eygptian Geese, Common Terns & Lapwings. We went to Shoveler Hide to see what was there and was surprised to see a nice Male Shoveler in eclipse plumage. Outside the hide was a Red Admiral Butterfly. From the Crake Hide (no Crakes!) we saw a family of Great Crested Grebes, Mute Swans and Tufted Ducks. Also a Little Grebe or Dabchick in Juvenile plumage. One of the Tufted Duck chicks climbed on its mothers back and sat there preening itself. It looked so cute! It had been a really good birdfair. There were a few more talks I would have liked to go to, but they clashed with others and I would have liked to meet David Lindo again, but kept missing him on his stall. Never mind! I now look forward to the 2015 Birdfair.

Dyfi/ Nant yr Arian 23rd

August 2014

We went to Dyfi Osprey Project to see Monty and the Juveniles before they head off back to Africa. The female, Glesni had already left. Along the boardwalk we saw a lot of Common Lizards including a few without tails and a Common Darter. A Juvenile Robin, which was just beginning to get it's red breast was sunbathing on the boardwalk. In the far distance on a telegraph post was a Juvenile Female called Deri. The Juvenile Male that was on a perch above the nest was Gwynant. After a couple of minutes he flew off to join Deri on the telegraph post. No sooner had we got back to visitor centre than Monty returned with a fish and fed Deri on the nest. Further down the road was a new viewpoint overlooking the river Dyfi and you could see the Observatory in the distance. There were lots of Goosanders on the bank but sadly they flew further back and we just saw a few swimming down river. We got to Nant yr Arian a bit late and just missed the Kites being fed. They were lots of Red Kites flying around but none were perching. The reason why was that all the larch trees had been cut down because of the larch disease. After they finished the food the Kites soon disappeared, but a few stayed around the area. I missed the white Kite, unfortunately, but Dad saw it briefly. It was not as good as it was, which is a bit of a shame. On the feeders there were Siskins, Chaffinches, Greenfinches and House Sparrows. Finally in the car park were a couple of Carrion Crows with a Juvenile. We then made our way home.

Frampton & Northwick

Warth 30th August 2014

We went to Splatt Bridge at Frampton on Severn to look for the Marsh Sandpiper. We eventually picked it out feeding with the much larger Greenshank. It was lucky we went to see it as the bird disappeared overnight. It was a bit distant for photos, but I got a record shot. We went to Northwick Warth to look for another Sandpiper of the Tringa family. When we first got there, we were told it had not been seen for an hour.While we were waiting we saw a Whinchat perched above the reedbed and some Yellow Wagtail feeding amongst the cattle with a Pied Wagtail. A Wheatear was out on the flash but I didn't see it. The Sandpiper which we went to see was a Wood Sandpiper and at last it flew in. This was a Juvenile bird on it's way down south. The Juvenile Waders are certainly more confiding and approachable birds. Adults are more wary and tend to keep their distance. The last time I saw a Wood Sandpiper was distant blob on the Tack Piece at Slimbridge in 2012. I had an enjoyable time taking pictures of it as it took no notice of all the people. Lovely bird!

Slimbridge & New Passage

31st August 2014

We went to Slimbridge to book for the Landrover Safari. We had a quick look in the Rushy Pen and saw both Common and Green Sandpipers. Not often you get a chance to see both Sandpipers together. Wewent back to the foyer and boarded the trailer for the Safari. We didn't see much on the reserve except for Whinchat, Clouded Yellow (which didn't land, neither did the Brimstone that it was chasing), a brief view of two Garganey, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Kestrel, Curlews, Grey Heron, Yellow Wagtails flying over & Shelducks. I had hoped for Hobby or Marsh Harrier but not today. While we were on the Landrover Safari, Dad was watching a Kingfisher and Marsh Harrier from the Knott Hide. Grrr! We had a quick look at South Lake, but again not much there. Mum saw on Twitter that a Wryneck was seen at New Passage so we decided to look on the way home. As we were walking back past the Waderscape, we spotted some juvenile Swallows perched on a beam and the adults kept coming back to feed it. When we got to New Passage the Wryneck was partly hidden and sat on the wall for couple of minutes to sun bathe. It had been feeding on the ground and I hoped it might come back down again. Sadly my last view of the Wryneck was as it flew off at 15:20 and hid itself. We couldn’t really stay much longer as Dad had some work to do, so we left it at that. It came back later in the day but it was not reported the next morning. Still, it least I saw it.

Cornwall 13th - 16th

September 2014

Saturday 13th September

We went to Cornwall for a couple of days as we haven't been there for 11 years and for Dad's birthday. We stopped at St. Agnes and saw two Northern Wheatears by the roadside. We had abrief look around before driving around to Chapel Porth to look at the old tin mines. We then went to Porthtowan to see how much it's changed since 2003. Quite a bit, was the answer. We to went Hayle RSPB but the tide was out so there wasn’t many birds in front of the hide. We saw a Kingfisher perched on the telegraph wires and it flashed past a couple of times. There is a lot of building going on in Hayle and we couldn’t get to Carnsew Pool so we went for a look at Copperhouse Creek where we saw an obliging Little Egret, Redshanks and a Oystercatcher. We drove further up the road and we saw a small flock of Common Sandpipers foraging on the estuary. Never seen so many at one time. There was also a Curlew. We then headed into Redruth to go the restuarant we always used to eat at, but it had gone a bit upmarket for us. We decided to just get some chips for tea before going to our B&B near Truro.

Sunday 14th September

The B&B was lovely, withPeacocks and Guinea Fowl in the garden. We headed to the Lizard to look for Cornish Choughs and we started at Kynance Cove to have a look around. We didn't see any Choughs but we saw some Meadow Pipits along the way and the scenery was lovely. We drove up to Lizard Point to see we would have any luck there. We saw a Grey Seal swimming lazily in the bay, it even enjoyed having a snooze at one point. There were a few Turnstones on the beach so I went down for a closer look and a Rock Pipit was foraging in the seaweed. Suddenly we heard the Choughs fly over which Mum and Dad saw [but I missed them the first time round.]We went back up to the watchpoint and sat there having a cup of tea. The Choughs flew around a few more times and went into the crevice that they nested. These were my first Cornish Choughs I've seen! On the way back to the car park we saw a Juvenile Raven perched on the cliff having a good preen. We headed to the RSPB Marazion Marsh to look for the Pectoral Sandpiper which is regular vagrant from Amercia. This was a Juvenile and hid much of the time in the reeds but it gradually ventured out slightly.  Unfortunately, being late in the day the light was awful. Still, I was quite pleased with seeing one and I got a few pictures of it. On the way back through the marsh there was a Male Southern Hawker roosting on a twig. We checked the beach for any more Autumn waders that might have come in. There was a small flock of Sanderlings feeding along the edge of the waves. These delightful Waders must have a lot of energy as they keep running back and forth like clockwork toys. Marazion Beach stands in the shadow of St Michael's Mount. The causeway to St Michael's Mounts is only visible at low tide. On the way back to the car we spotted a 2nd Winter Mediterranean Gull with the Black - headed Gulls. The 2nd year is made easier by the fact it has black and white tail marks. We made our way back to the B&B for the night.

Monday 15th September

We started at Hayle RSPB looking over Ryan's Field as it was high tide. A Common Sandpiper foraged along the bank in front of the hide. We saw the Kingfisher perched on the wire and judging by the orange base to the mandible showed that it was a Female. After a while it flew off but there were still a few birds about including Black - tailed Godwits and Ruff. We continued on our way to Lands End and as we were passing through through Marazion, we stopped to have another look at the Pectoral Sandpiper but it was much more hidden feeding with a Dunlin. Unfortunately it didn't venture out into the open that day. We went to Porthgwarra to look around. There were plenty of Gannets flying past and diving but not much else, probably because of the high wind. A few Shags flew past the headland and a Wheatear was on the cliff, perhaps waiting for the winds to change before heading to Afrcia. We then went to Cape Cornwall where we hoped we would see more Choughs. There weren't any sadly but did have a Hobby flying around a couple of times. Also another Falcon, a Kestrel. We didn't see a single Peregrine Falcon down here, which was unusual. Like the Wheatears, the Hobby will be heading south to Africa as soon as the winds change. We saw some Ravens flying past. A family of Meadow Pipits were foraging around the area for insects and a Red Admiral was feeding on some dung. We saw plenty of Stonechats around. There were a few Males, Juveniles and Females. Also en route to Africa was a Juvenile Whinchat which was present with the Stonechats. We saw the Whinchat again perched on a Cow Parsley. It then dropped down as the Hobby swooped past again. While I was by the wall taking photos of the Whinchat and Hobby I noticed a black and orange insect. It was a Ichneumon Wasp. It was the first time I had ever seen one and reminded me a little of a Sand Wasp, same family group. We finished the day at Bottalick where there are disused mine shafts dotted around the area. There were a lot more Wheatear waiting to head across the Channel. I saw a Juvenile perched on a Cow Parsley with a bit of it's downy Juvenile plumage still sticking out of the back. A little Wren popped out on top of a bush briefly. Then we made our way back to the B&B.

Tuesday 16th September

Our final day in Cornwall began in Hayle at Ryan's Field. A Grey Heron & Black - headed Gull was wading in front of the hide as the tide rose up. Suddenly a Male Kingfisher flew past and landed on a post in front of the hide. The Male has an all dark bill compared to theFemale. A couple of Grey Herons flew past the hide including a Sub Adult bird. Once the tide was in the other Grey Herons and Little Egrets waited on the salt marsh near Lelant Saltings Station. We walked to the wall barrier between the estuary and Ryan's Field having been giving the tip off about a Curlew Sandpiper. We didn't see it but saw a Little Stint foraging right

along the edge of Ryan's Field. Two Kingfishers were sitting on the bank on the far side. We walked back to the hide for the last look around. The Kingfisher returned to the post in front but the sky was bright and not good photographic condition. We went for a cup of tea before heading to Marazion for the final time. The Pectoral Sandpiper wasn't there that time in the marsh as the RSPB volunteers were busy working in the area. We went to look for the Sanderlings again on the beach. They were very flighty and didn't stay in one place for long. In the the end they all flew further up the coast. There was also a Wheatear and a Ringed Plover. We saw a small wader fly towards the bridge over Red River. We saw it emerge from under the bridge and wondered if it wasithe Pect. However, Pectoral Sandpipers have yellow legs, this wader had black legs and white braces down the back. We decided that this must be a Juvenile Little Stint. It took no notice of us at all. We had a wonderful weekend and the weather wasn't too bad either (not like the Cornish weather we remember!)

Chew Valley Lake/ Sand

Point 22nd September

We went to look around Chew Valley Lake starting at the Stratford Hide. A Juvenile Marsh Harrier flew past the hide. We were given a tip off that a Great White Egret was seen flying towards Stratford Island which was viewable from Herriott's Bridge so we went round to Herriott's to have a look for it. It was feeding near the edge of the reedbed, so I had stand on the railing to get my pics. After a little while it flew back towards the island where it landed with a few Little Egrets. We then went to look for the Red-backed Shrike at Sand Point. The Juvenile/1st Winter had been present for few days feeding on insects. We went along the lower path so we could look up the bank. We were lucky as the bird was perched on the nearest bramble bush and showed extremely well for long periods. After a while the bird disappeared and then we made our back to the car park.

Chew Valley Lake 11th

October 2014

We went to Blagdon to look for the Black - necked Grebes that were reported in front of Woodford Lodge and by the dam. But didn't see them. We went to look around Chew Valley Lake and at Herriott's Bridge we saw a Egyptian Goose and a Great Crested Grebe which had moulted into Winter Plumage. We went to have a cup of tea in the cafe as the weather had taken the turn for the worse. While we were there we saw an Osprey flying away from us towards Villice Bay. So we had a quick look back at Herriott's Bridge to see if it turned up there. Suddenly a Kingfisher appeared on the tree by the bridge and dived into the water. Then it perched on the reeds at the far end of the channel with a fish in it's beak. Afterwards it flew back towards the main lake. I also saw & heard 2 Bearded Tits fly into the nearby reedbeds but they didn't sit on top, which was a shame. It’s been a long time since I had a good look at a Bearded Tit.

Portland & Radipole Lake

12th October 2014

We went to Portland to look for the Rose - coloured Starling in Reap Lane as I dipped out on the Berrow bird. The problem was that all the Starlings were very mobile. We saw it briefly on the ground feeding with Common Starlings but then they all took off when a tabby cat jumped out at them. We did see it well on the roof of the houses but the light was appalling. Still although it was Juvenile it was another new bird for me! We went to have a look around the bill. We saw a Kestrel, Rock Pipit, lots of Stonechats and a Raven which was perched on one of the beach huts. Also saw two flocks of Dark - bellied Brent Geese arriving to spend the Winter. We had a look in the Bird Observatory garden and saw a bird in the mist net which looked very yellow. We told one of the ringers and he got it out and showed us that it was a Chiffchaff by the indent on the sixth primary feather on the wing. We went to Radipole Lake for our final port of call. As it was very windy we were not expecting to see any Bearded Tits, although I did hear their pinging calls, a small family of Long-tailed flew across the path. At the North Hide we were entertained by the appearance of 3 Marsh Harriers and one of them landed on top of a small bush. This was a Juvenile as it had gingery crown. Suddenly, the heavens opened before we had to make our way back to the car park. We went back to the Discovery Centre where we saw a Little Egret, Black - tailed Godwits, Kingfisher & several Mediterranean Gulls. We then had to make our way home through the traffic jam on the outskirts of Weymouth.

Budleigh Salterton &

Powderham 25th October


We went to Devon to see what was about. We popped to the Otter Estuary near Budleigh Salterton to see if the Grey Phalarope was still present. We first saw it feeding in the small channel and foraging along the edge into the main channel. This 1st Winter bird has been showing there for a week and didn’t seem worried about the people there watching him. It moved further along though when a dog jumped into the water and some children started throwing stones in. There was a Black -tailed Godwit feeding nearby which looked huge compared to the tiny Phalarope. As Aylesbeare Common was nearby we went for a walk to see what was about. It was very quiet there. The cloudy conditions made it a bit chilly and the Dartford Warblers must have been keeping their heads down. We did see a couple of Stonechats both on the gorse and on the track briefly. There was also still a few Fungi on one of the trees which I think were Bracket Fungi. We had a quick look at the new hide at Bowling Green Marsh before going to Powderham Castle Deer Park to look at the Fallow Deer. The rut had finished now and there weren't many Adult Bucks about, just a few Does and Prickets which are young Bucks in their 2nd year that haven't got their full antlers. We had a quick look at the Exe, but the tide was out and the birds quite distant. We saw a few Brent Geese but no Avocets yet. There is a new bridge going over the railway that’s nearly finished. Next time we are down for the Avocets and Geese, it should be finished.

Steart Marshes WWT 27th

October 2014

We went to Steart Marshes WWT to search for the Pallid Harrier that had been present for a few days. From the viewpoint near the Mendip Hide we saw a Great White Egret that had been there for a while as well. But the bird was very distant for a photo. We were walking towards the breach alongside the River Parrett when I spotted a pair of Stonechats on top of some tall bushes. Because it was windy I had a good opportunity to photograph a Male Stonechat hovering like a hummingbird. Further up a Little Egret flew by past. We got to as near the breach as possible and waited for the raptor to appear. We saw another pair of Stonechats near the path. There were some waders on the Parrett estuary including some Avocets, also Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank and Oystercatcher. A Kestrel was hovering in search of prey and then landed on the post briefly. Suddenly Dad spotted the Pallid Harrier flying left and right quite distantly. Then it flew past again a little bit closer but still distant for a photo, although I managed a couple of record shots. After that we lost sight of it. We thought it might had caught something and was feeding on the ground, when all of sudden it reappeared from somewhere and was being chased by a Carrion Crow, but instead of chasing it towards us, the Crow chased it further away.

We were heading back to the car park when Dad and I spotted the Great White Egret together with Little Egret and Grey Heron. There isn't many places where you can photograph two species of Egret and a Heron. The Great White Egret flew and landed in the middle of the lake where we left it to continue feeding. We went back to the car and drove down to the other carpark. On the way we saw a Merlin perched on the fence, but couldn’t stop for a photo. We walked up to the viewpoint and had another view of the Harrier before it flew off over to the estuary. We went home after a quite successful afternoon. I can see the reserve getting even better in the future when things get more established. I will be back again.

Great Grey Shrike at

Marshfield 28th October


Before I went to work, we went via Marshfield to see the Great Grey Shrike that been found the day before by Martyn Hayes of South Gloucestershire Birds. We went to Rushmead Lane and there were lots of other people we knew there with the same idea. I managed to see it perched on the furthest bush a couple of fields, very distant! We went back again on the way home but the light was starting to fade by then so my record shots weren't that great, although I was quite happy with one I got and of course the main thing was that I’d seen it.

Slimbridge WWT 3rd

November 2014

We went to Slimbridge WWT to see if any winter wildfowl had come in yet. We started at the Rushy Pen where there were quite a few Pintails, Teals & Pochards. We then went to look at Willow Hide to see if any birds were on the feeders. We only saw Great & Blue Tits plus a very nice Dunnock. We also saw two Cranes from GCP feeding on the Tack Piece from the Robbie Garnett Hide. The male Teal are now in superb breeding plumage and were feeding in front of the hide. From the Holden Tower we saw flock of Dunlin fly past and over the Dumbles. A massive flock of Wigeon were feeding below the hide by the Knott Pool. Suddenly the flock were disturbed by something but what? The answer came from right hand side of the hide and landed on the post. It was a Male Sparrowhawk. Then he started looking in the bushes for small birds and finding none he took off. There were three more Cranes on the Dumbles and they were joined by the other two from the Tack Piece. One of the Cranes flew past the Holden. Back at the Rushy a few of the Pintails were foraging along with a few Black - headed Gulls. When I was walking back to the cafe I flushed a Grey Wagtail and it landed on the far side. But still no Bewick's yet.

Marshfield 22nd November


After a dull, dreary morning, the weather picked up a bit so we went for a drive around Marshfield in the afternoon. The sun even came out for about an hour which was nice. We saw Pheasants, Kestrels, Red - legged Partridges, Buzzards & some Stonechats. The best highlight we had of the afternoon was a sight of some Fieldfares and a Redwing feeding on Hawthorn berries. Some of the Fieldfares were drinking from the puddles on the road.

Sharpness & Slimbridge

WWT 24th November 2014

We went to Sharpness to look for the Black Redstart. We also saw a Wren, Grey & Pied Wagtails. We managed to locate the Male Black Redstart on top of the Ned West Building with a Robin. We also saw it perched in 2 of the trees. In the afternoon we went to Slimbridge WWT to look for the Pink - footed Goose. In the Rushy Pen we saw our first few Bewick's Swans that had arrived from Siberia of the Winter. Mum spotted a Kingfisher hovering at the back of the pen and we saw it perched but a little bit distance for a photo. There was other Wildfowl as well such as Moorhens, Coots, Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Teals & Pintails. From the Willow Hide we saw Blue & Great Tits, Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch and I saw a Bank Vole very briefly. There was a Wren foraging on the trunk of a tree but was disturbed by a flock of Greylags flying over. The Cranes were calling on the Tack Piece. We went to Holden Tower where we saw the adult Pink - footed Goose sitting on the Dumbles by itself. Later it was foraging between the Canada & White - fronted Geese flocks. We also saw 2 Little Stints with a Dunlin by Middle Ground Pool and a Peregrine Falcon out on the Estuary. We went back to the feeders and Mum spotted a Female Reed Bunting and she called me to have a look. It was perched on a reed before going on the feeder. Mum also spotted a Warbler moving through the reeds at the back. It was a Cetti's Warbler which was nice to see. I hadn’t seen one for a while. (Even though I hear them quite often, they don’t always show themselves.) Afterwards we made our way back to car park.

Forest of Dean 29th November 2014

We went to the Forest of Dean at Crabtree Hill to look for the Great Grey Shrike. We first saw it perched on a conifer tree then it flew to a small tree by the path. When it flew off we sat stood a couple of metres from the tree and waited. It flew back on the tree and gave excellent close views. It then flew and landed on some twigs at ground level, giving us an lovely view. At one time it even flew towards us and landed briefly on the path which I missed. Cracking bird, wonderful sunlight!

Bristol & Chew Valley Lake

30th November 2014

We went to Bishopton near Bristol to look for the Adult Rose - coloured Starling that had been present since 13th November. I saw it fly round a couple of times before dropping down into a bush. The bird spent most of the time sulking in the bush which is a not a typical behaviour for a Starling. Suddenly it was disturbed by somebody getting too close and it flew off. It was disappointing for the other birdwatchers that had to wait for another 3 hours until it was seen again. We, however decided to go to Chew Valley Lake to see the Great White Egret and Great Northern Diver. We started at Herriott's Bridge where the Great White Egret was showing really well in the glowing sunset catching perch in the channel. This was a fantastic view of the Great White Egret, best that I've ever seen. A Kingfisher appeared briefly for a couple of seconds before heading back out to the main lake. After success at Herriott's, we continued to Woodford Lodge. There were quite a lot of people there and the Diver was nowhere to be seen. We saw a couple of Little Egrets fighting on the jetty and we saw 2 Redpolls mixed with the Goldfinch flock. A flock of Long - tailed Tits were flitting in the branches of a tree as was a Chiffchaff. Then the Juvenile Great Northern Diver swam along the shoreline. It had been present since November 10th and was still feeding well on fish. Also present were a couple of Goosanders and GreyWagtail. There was a Bittern reported from Heron's Green, but it was starting to get dark, so we'll have to come back for that another day.

Brean Down Cove

6th December 2014

We went to see the Black Redstart at Brean Down Cove. We couldn’t go until the afternoon because Mum had to sort out the Hedgehogs first. When we got there we had a bite to eat and the local Robin came looking for some crumbs. We put a little on the seawall for him. We walked along the beach where we saw a RockPipit foraging around the stones. We saw a Male Black Redstart briefly by the cove before flying off. We sat down to wait for it. First it was a Pied Wagtail that appeared and then the Male Black Redstart came down. I was sitting on one of the rocks minding my own business when a Male Black Redstart suddenly appeared from nowhere and hopped closer and closer to me. Also we were entertained by a Rock Pipit and a Female Stonechat. But it was the Black Redstart that was the star attraction at Brean Down. Even though we didn't see the tailless Female, The Male put on a excellent show for us.

Portland Bill 13th

December 2014

We went to Portland Bill to see the Barred Warbler that had been present since the 6th and we saw it feeding in the Observatory garden. The 1st Winter bird spent much of it's time during the last few days feeding on apples and chasing the other birds off the feeders. Other birds such as Goldfinch, Blackcap, Greenfinch, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Blackbird and Chaffinch came back to the feeders after the Barred Warbler had disappeared into a bush to digest it's food. After a while the Barred Warbler would return to the apples but first chase all the other birds off again and he chased them off each time he appeared. We were thinking that if he kept this up, he would run out of energy to continue his migration back to Africa. I had good views of it unlike the Barred Warbler at Splatt Bridge, Frampton last month that we went to see. We did just see it but didn't tick it because it was really a blob in a bush by the reedbed. This bird was also a bit vocal and it reminded me of a Dartford Warbler alarm call, which is another Sylvia Warbler. We heard someone mention "Purple Sandpipers down by the bill" so we thought we'll go and find them as Mum hadn’t got one for this year. I spotted a pair on the rocks and foraging along the coastline by the bill. They kept being pushed off by the waves so they were always keeping watch on the tide. We went to look for the Little Owl in the quarry, but it wasn’t showing so Dad and I left Mum there and went for a walk along the coast looking for Black Redstart, but didn't see any. We then had lunch back in the car while waiting for Mum. However Mum was watching a Little Owl in the quarry hole. Grr! And she had pictures and video! But luckily, as we were leaving, Dad stopped the car and we looked over to see the Little Owl was sunning himself at his hole. Dad quickly parked the car and we both ran over and I managed to get a few shots - not brilliant mind. Dad, on the other hand only just arrived after the Owl had scuttled back into his hole. We waited until 15:35 and during that time he appeared briefly at another hole entrance. Oh well, we’ll look again next time.

Slimbridge WWT 23rd

December 2014

We went to Slimbridge WWT to see if the Bittern was showing at the Kingfisher Hide. It spent much of time hidden in the reeds and was very elusive, but we had a few glimpses of it. We then went to the Willow Hide to see if the Water Rail was showing at all. We spotted it on the other side of the water and swam across. It then showed well posing in the reedbed edge for a couple of minutes before disappearing back in. It showed itself a few more times for us, but it was a very cold and windy day and we left him to it. Hopefully we might see him there again during the Winter. It certainly is a fantastic bird to see at Slimbridge.

Chew Valley Lake 25th

December 2014

As the weather was nice today we decided to look around Chew Valley Lake. Although Woodford Lodge was closed until 29th. We started down by the picnic site where I spotted the long staying Red - breasted Goose resting on the point from the dam. This bird is likely to be an escapee but still a nice bird to see. It spent most of the time asleep unfortunately, and only woke up occasionally to look around. There was also a pair of Egyptian Geese with some other wildfowl. We then went along to Heron's Green Bay to see what was about. A pair of Great Crested Grebes were doing the head shaking display even though they were still in Winter Plumage. Even some Mallards were doing head pumping display. Suddenly the Red - breasted Goose flew over and circled around, then flew back towards the picnic site. We popped to have a look at the Stratford Hide where a few Little Egrets showed well. We also surperb views of 3 Goosanders in front of the hide. There was not a lot at Herriott's Bridge but the usual Gulls and Wildfowl. A few Common Gulls were present in the flock. On the way back through, we drove down to Moreton where we saw a pair of Roe Deer and a Buzzard perched in a tree. As there were no feeders at Moreton Hide, we headed back to the picnic site to look for the Red - breasted Goose again. The Egyptian Geese were present at the edge of the water and there was also a few Common Gulls roosting with Black - headed Gulls. No sign of the Red - breasted Goose though.

Devon 28th December


We went to look for the Penduline Tit and the Black Brant around Devon. We started at Darts Farm RSPB to look for the Penduline Tit but it had not been seen. There was an enormous flock of Dark - bellied Brent Geese feeding in front of the hide as well as some Black - tailed Godwits. The Black Brant was right at the back of flock and was difficult to see at times as the flock was always moving. After a while, the flock took off with some landing further afield and some heading out to the estuary. There was also Linnets, Chaffinches, Chiffchaffs, Stonechats, Skylarks and a Kingfisher fishing briefly. Afterwards we headed off to Labrador Bay RSPB to see if there were any Cirl Buntings about. A flock flew over the car park, disturbed by a Buzzard and 2 Peregrines. We had a quick walk about and saw none, but we did see three by the car park. We decided to have a look at Broadsands. The Yellow-browed Warbler was not to be seen and we only saw a couple of Cirl Buntings hiding in the bushes but they weren't feeding on the seed, due to some people playing on their bikes and spooking them. The Pheasant was the only confident bird that seemed happy enough to feed on seed right in front of us.

Cheltenham & Hawling

29th December 2014

We went to Pittville Park in Cheltenham to see the long - staying Dartford Warbler which was still present at the wild flower meadow, Tommy Taylor's Lane. The Male was feeding alongside the Stonechats in amongst the dead flowers and was flitting about. Then we went to Hawling to see the Short - eared Owls hunting over the farmland. There was even a bit of territorial dispute between two birds fighting with their talons out. They put on a fantastic show for us during the afternoon up to about 15:45, when they disappeared from view.