April 2009

We had a family holiday in Cyprus on 8-16th April, staying at Pafos. I did all of my birding locally during the early morning or late afternoon, by foot or on a bike hired from a dodgy Russian guy (the first bike lost a pedal several km from base - cycling with one pedal is not recommended!). Click on the bee-eater to see the photos. I travelled light, and all of the bird photos were taken with a Canon 50D and a 400mm f5.6 lens, occasionally with a 1.4x teleconverter. Cyprus in spring can be excellent - many birds in fresh breeding plumage moving between Africa and Europe use it as a staging post for migration as they cross the Mediterranean. The calls of flava wagtails overhead were omnipresent, and a different group of migrants would be on the ground each morning. One morning might bring lots of nightingales, the next many lesser whitethroats, for example. The trip birdlist is here.


Failed attempt to see the subalpine warbler at Uskmouth during the evening of 28th. We did see a swift, and whimbrel, and heard a cuckoo.

2 sedge warblers, Claverham Drove seen during a bike ride, 26th.

Black-tailed godwit, 2 little egrets at Chew on 25th.

Eagle owl mobbed by jackdaws, magpies and guls, conifers at Bristol Grammar School, University Road 24th.

Whitethroats singing in Flax Bourton on 20th.

Highlights at Shapwick Heath on 18th were 2 hobbies, 4 little ringed plovers, 11 ringed plovers, 60 black-tailed godwits, 2 white wagtails, and reed warblers.

On 5th I walked in a Mendip area that is usually good for Dartford warblers, and saw or heard none. I wonder if they've been hit by the hard winter, when birds were pushed to unfamiliar lowland areas such as Flax Bourton and Barrow (where the bird was killed by a predator). I did see a northern wheatear, heard a willow warbler,and found an oil beetle. My first house martin of the year flew over Flax Bourton.

January 2009February 2009March 2009May 2009June 2009July 2009August2009.htmlSeptember 2009October 2009November 2009December 2009