Quiet at Chew on New Years Eve except for a kingfisher and an impressive starling roost.
I went looking for some brambling flocks in the Monmouthshire beech areas on 29th. I saw a few small flocks around Pantygasseg (between Newbridge and Pontypool), and more birds at Manmoel, including one flock of at least 200.
Cheddar reservoir on 24th: female scaup, 2 black-necked grebes and a male red-crested pochard.
A male peregrine flew through Flax Bourton on 19th. Raven on 23rd, and my wife saw a barn owl along the cycle path at dusk on the same day.
On 17th I went looking for some quality rarities. The first target was the juvenile white-tailed eagle near Andover. The bird was colour ringed in the summer in Finland or Sweden, and has been present on the Hampshire/Wiltshire border for several weeks. We arrived at the viewing point just after the sun broke through the clouds at 09.30h, to be told by the only 2 other birders present that the WHITE-TAILED EAGLE had just landed. The bird was about a km distant, but we had good scope views of it dwarfing the corvids in the same field. It flew twice, once only to land again, the second time at about 10.30 when it flew off south, hounded by corvids and once having a scrap with a buzzard. Some record shots below.
There were a couple of blackcaps at the viewing area. We then drove to West Wittering in West Sussex, where an adult RED-BREASTED GOOSE was present among the 1000 or so dark-bellied brent geese.
An adult black brant was also in the flock - difficult to find at first, but when spotted the white flanks were very prominent.
Juvenile (top) and adult black-bellied brent geese below. We also saw a sanderling.
Five female/juvenile velvet scoter and a juvenile great northern diver at Chew on 16th.
At least one blackcap in Flax Bourton in the first week of December. Two ravens on 10th.
The strong winds on 2nd didn't produce an influx of seabirds at Severn Beach: at lunchtime the only bird of note was a remarkably late adult Arctic tern that flew close offshore.
Blagdon Lake, 1st: 1 Egyptian goose with the flock of Canada and barnacle geese, 1 little egret, 2 goldeneye and a goosander.