27th. A great day out in Dorset, where we escaped the heavy showers. First stop was Radipole Lake, where we saw a juvenile Iceland gull, several bearded reedlings, a sandwich tern and the long-staying probably escaped drake hooded merganser, which was displaying in vain.
At Ferrybridge, we saw 6 ringed plover and 4 little terns. Portland Bill was quiet, with only Arctic terns, fulmar, gannet, kittiwake, 2 Manx shearwater, razorbills, guillemots and shags seen from a sea-watch. A confiding whimbrel rested on the rock face, and a very grey rock pipit with a prominent supercilium and white outer tail feathers was probably of the Scandinavian race littoralis.
There was a greenshank at Lodmoor.
26th. Some good birds amongst the showers on Meare Heath/Ham Wall - 2 marsh harriers, hobby, bittern, great white egret, kingfisher, 5 swift, garden warblers, a calling cuckoo and a little ringed plover. I stopped off to see the glossy ibis at Weston Sewage Works on the way home.
24th. Back to some haunts of my youth. In my teens/20's I spent many happy hours wandering around Craig-y-cilau near Crickhowell, and today went back today for the first time in more than 25 years. I saw tree pipits, about 20 redstarts and heard a cuckoo. No ring ouzels at Trefil quarries though, and no grouse on the Blorenge.
23rd. Sedge warbler, wheatear, and whitethroat at Barrow Tanks. Then a great morning at Northwick Warth. I watched a flock of yellow wagtails (13) and found an additional male blue-headed individual. The blue on the head was very pale, perhaps making it a hybrid blue-headed x yellow ('Channel') wagtail. Also present were 2 lesser whitethroats, whinchat, 2 wheatears, 2 white wagtails, a drake garganey and a little ringed plover.
22nd. Two summer plumage black terns at Chew and an Egyptian goose. The green-winged orchids are in good shape on the Parklands. Photo with the iPhone.
18th. Slimbridge. It was wonderful to see the cranes from the Great Crane Project sitting on eggs at Slimbridge. There are two pairs - one on South Lake, the other outside the Martin Smith Hide. The photos below are of the latter. The sitting bird is largely hidden incubating in the Juncus bed. I waited patiently for a couple of hours and witnessed a changeover at the nest, one of the birds chasing a Canada goose, and trumpeting when another pair arrived on the Tack Piece - the intruders were chased off. If the birds are successful, they will be the first to breed in the south west of England for about 400 years. A magnificent sight. Other good birds included about a dozen avocets, peregrine, two taiga bean geese, wheatear and nesting kingfisher.
A couple of water voles also showed nicely from the boardwalk, and at one time were confronted by a coot with chicks.
A shelduck below.
2nd. First swallow and willow warbler in Flax Bourton.