Welcome to my online wildlife diary, which I update from time to time with sightings, thoughts, comments and photos relating to birds, and nature generally. I am based in Gloucestershire but like to visit other counties, especially Norfolk, and like to visit foreign shores too.
Bonaparte's at WWT
Monday 5th May 2014
Adult summer Bonaparte's Gull, South Lake, WWT Slimbridge
It didn't start well. I arrived at c 9.18am South Lake hide seconds, approximately ten, before it flew off. Gutted. The Little Gull was there again; and a first-summer Mediterranean Gull. I got some consolation in a male Garganey on the Bottom New Piece, a Greenshank on Top New Piece, and a Little Ringed Plover on the Rushy. Still no more news. The BONAPARTE'S GULL waited until I had given up, and was in my way home, before turning back up on South Lake. Quick 'U' turn. Got past a tractor convoy on the A38, an oncoming caravan on Kingston Road, long queue at WWT reception, and crowded boardwalk. Finally, arrived at the hide, and it was still there. Phew! A couple of record shots here of it asleep. It stayed asleep like this for some time, popping it's head up very briefly, then back to sleep. It then flew off again. And relax! The phone-scoped photo below gives a size comparison with the nearby Black-headed Gulls (very impressed with the camera on my new S4 by the way).
And here's a much better photo by Paul Taylor showing the gull in all its glory:
Tuesday 11th March to Friday 14th March 2008 The main highlights of our holiday in Venice last week were the stunning views, the food, the wine, the music, the architecture, the weather - in other words, Venice itself. It wasdefinitely a non-birding trip, but there were some interesting birds seen - besides the large number of Feral Pigeons for which bags of grain are still sold in Piazza San Marco.
Tuesday 11th March We arrived in San Marco airport after a one-and-a-half hour flight from Gatwick, and took the Alilaguna waterbus across the lagoon. At the airport quayside, the first birds were Italian House Sparrows(above), Yellow-legged Gulls and Black-headed Gulls. On the hour-long boat-ride to Venice I saw 15+ Garganeys, a Great Crested Grebe, two Oystercatchers, four Little Egrets, two Great White Egrets, a Hooded Crow plus several Magpies, Yellow-legged Gulls, Cormorants, Black-headed Gulls and Mallards. We took a walk in the afternoon taking in the Riva Degli Schiavoni, (the lagoon…
A superb morning with Andy and Mark was spent on the Somerset Levels (photo above of Shapwick Heath). The showers coming in on the brisk westerly wind mostly missed us, and the sun shone for just about the whole time, although that wind kept the temperatures chilly. We managed to note 61 species between us, the highlights being:
Photo above from Noah Hide, Shapwick Heath
Marsh Harriers - three in the air at the same time (poor record shot below!) Sand Martins - c30 Swallow - two, my first of the year
Photo above of Little Egrets at Meare Heath Garganey - a lovely drake Little Egrets - 12
Ham Wall RSPB Bittern - this was the star bird, Mark caught a snatch of booming at midday, though distant, and after a little wait I had a glimpse of the bird moving a short distance in the reed-bed. We walked round to get closer, and soon the bird performed by giving several bursts of its booming call, each several minutes apart. This is the first time hearing…
Sunday 29th June 2008 I spent the day at Brandon Marsh, in between taking my youngest daughter and some friends to Drayton Manor. Brandon Marsh, near Coventry in Warwickshire, is always a good day out and with the birding typically quiet for late June, insects and flowers were the main interest. Bird highlights included plenty of singing warblers still with Blackcap, Whitethroat, WillowWarbler, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler and Cetti'sWarbler all in evidence, plus several pairs of breeding Common Terns with young, two Green Sandpipers, two Redshanks, four Oystercatchers and a Ringed Plover. Insect highlights included Common Blue, Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies, Black-tailed Skimmer, a Beautiful Carpet moth, Comma, Ringlet and Meadow Brown butterflies and the hover-fly Volucella pellucens. Botanical interest included Common Spotted Orchid, Fringed Water-lily, Common Centaury, Marsh Thistle and Marsh Woundwort.(Photos, from the top: Azure Damselfly, Beautiful Carpet, Common Centaury, F…