April 2007

Between 16-23 April I was in Belize on a bat echolocation workshop. We caught a wide range of bat species, and saw some superb animals. Lots of American migrants were passing through. We were based at Lamanai Outpost Lodge, which was excellent - the open air restaurant looked over the New River lagoon, and the Mayan remains were walking distance away. By clicking on the thumbnails below, you can access slideshows of the trip. Press the 'Home' icon to return to this page. A trip report is available in pdf format here

Bats Flowers Insects etc.

The signpost below was at the airport pharmacy - everything you need for a good holiday?

pharmacy sign

My only chance to witness the glossy ibis invasion around Slimbridge was on the afternoon of the 29th. At least 8 of the 17 birds were feeding at Saul Warth. The birds were backlit, making it very difficult to take portraits, so some silhouettes are below. Also present were the male marbled duck and a lesser whitethroat. There were about 75 bar-tailed godwits, a grey plover and an avocet on the coast at Fretherne.

glossy ibis

glossy ibis

glossy ibis

Red kite and my first swifts of the year along the M4 near Reading on 24th.

A couple of ring-necked parakeets at Heathrow airport on 15th.

Chew Valley Lake held 4 little gulls and 2 house martins on 14th. I also saw 2 little ringed plovers at a nearby site. Having failed to see MARBLED DUCK in Mallorca, I caught up with the male at Saul Warth in Gloucestershire on 10th on my way to a meeting in Loughborough. The timing of arrival of this bird and its elusive character make it a good candidate for a wild individual. I heard my first swallow in Flax Bourton on 8th, seeing one in Dorset the next day. I heard my first willow warbler of 2007 at Ringstead Bay, Dorset on 9th.

Summer migrants are delayed reaching Britain at the moment, because the weather is poor in Iberia, as we witnessed on a holiday in Mallorca in the first week of April. These swallows were caught out in heavy rain. White feathers show through their wet outer coat.


Birding was mainly limited to early morning cycle rides into S'Albufera.


We stayed in a villa right on the edge of the reserve, and it was possible to see most of the specialities from the garden.

view from the villa

New birds for me were moustached warbler, Audouin's gull, and crested coot. For more Audouin's gull photos, click on the image.

Audouin's gull

Crested coot and chick

Other birds included purple gallinule.

purple gallinule

Herons were well represented, including grey heron, purple heron (photo below), night heron, little egret (photos), cattle egret, and great white egret.

purple heron

little egret

little egret

My favourite bird of the trip was the little bittern. I only saw these on my last morning cycle in the reserve. I stopped near the reserve mound, and saw a strange small object perched in the reeds along a channel. Closer inspection showed it to be a female little bittern, and a male was close by. Click on the image of the male for more photos. I'm not sure if they were more surprised to see me than I was to see them. Fantastic views of an elusive bird.

little bittern

To see other Mallorca bird photos, click on the sunglasses below.