26th. Three penduline tits at Weston Airfield and sunset at Sand Point.
25th. Three grey partridge in a field next to the A36 near Salisbury.
21st. A nice flock of fieldfare at Woodford Orchard, Chew Valley Lake. Great-spotted woodpecker and tree creeper there too.
20th. Eglwys Nunydd reservoir for the first time in about 15 years. I watched the juvenile PACIFIC DIVER under the steel works blast furnaces. The bird does not have a chin strap (fairly usual in juveniles), though lacks the white patch on the flanks typical of black-throated diver. I was expecting to see my first bird of this species off Penzance, but have never been there at the right time, and the bird does not appear to have returned this year after becoming regular there.
18th. Full moon at the starling roost, Ham Wall. On my way back to Bristol around 23.00h I saw a barn owl fly over the road close to the newish roundabout on the A38, near Highridge.
Lichens on The Island.
Male black redstart in Barnoon cemetery, and this female/first winter next to the Barnoon Reserved Car Park.
17th. I walked up Chapel Carn Brea, then across Bartinney to the Iron Age hill fort at Caer Bran, then to the outstanding ancient village of Carn Euny with its underground fogou that contains phosphorescent moss. I also visited the well at Chapel Euny. A great walk, with few birds around apart from ca.20 golden plover and two peregrine sightings. Photos of Carn Euny below.
Yellow brain fungus or witches' butter (Tremella mesenterica).
16th. Great northern diver, 2 red-throated diver and a bonxie in St Ives Bay.
Black-necked grebe at Drift Reservoir. This chiffchaff was rather brown, but I didn't hear it call.
Great northern diver and one other diver in Mounts Bay, from Newlyn Harbour.
At least 22 purple sandpipers near the Jubilee Pool at Penzance at high tide.
Marazion - at least 50 sanderling, and surprisingly about 5 swallows feeding over the strand line.
I bought a Canon 11-24mm rectilinear lens for landscapes and plant photography. The rest of the photos from today were taken with it unless otherwise stated. The lens has exceptional picture quality, does great sun stars, and is excellent at dealing with distortion at extreme wide angles.
This one towards the Church of Paul with the 100-500mm.
Night time in St Ives.
15th. At least 5 great northern divers in St Ives Bay.
I spent several hours at Lelant Saltings on the Hayle Estuary arriving a couple of hours before hight tide. It was very similar to a day last year around the same time regarding where the gulls were. My phonescoped photos of the gulls were better than the ones I took with the R5 and 100-500mm with extender! Nine species of gull were present, including at least 3 yellow-legged gulls.
The adult ring-billed gull (presumably the same individual as last year) was one of the closest gulls at times.
Two adult Caspian gulls were also present. They always associate with the lesser black-backed gulls (as do the yellow-legged gulls) rather than the herring gulls.
14th. I headed to Cornwall for a few days. En route I saw at least 5 ring-necked ducks at Dozmary Pool on Bodmin Moor - up to 10 have been present recently. I also noticed a large bird on an exposed tree stump at Colliford Lake when I drove past - a white-tailed eagle from the reintroduction programme was photographed in a similar situation the following day, and I wonder if that's what I saw. I stopped off at Lelant Saltings during the late afternoon, though the tide was receding and I didn't see any of the specialties there.
I got the Swarovski phonescoping adapter for when I'm birding and not carrying my camera gear around. It seems to work very well with the ProCamera app (where you can change shutter speed, ISO etc.) , and takes some nice slo-mo videos. Cormorant at Backwell lake on 4th, goldfinch in the garden and jack snipe at Stratford Hide, Chew on 5th.