I visited the Forest of Dean on 24th. First stop was New Fancy View, where up to 3 goshawks were in the air diplaying. A male crossbill was present. Two stock doves flew over, and many buzzards were in the air. The great grey shrike was easy to see (although distant) near Cannop ponds, sat on the top of a bush.
There were lots of interesting birds around Cannop ponds, including this marsh tit.
Below the upper pond there were many lesser redpolls and siskins feeding, and it was possible to get excellent views on the birds as they fed beneath the causeway. There were 6 goosander and at least 9 mandarins on the ponds, and the mandarin were displaying.
There were at least 4 hawfinches around the Parkend beech. An excellent selection of birds today: there were many raptors in the air including displaying sparrowhawks, buzzards, and goshawks (5 sightings - further birds over Cannop ponds and when watching the shrike). Two peregrines also flew over Cannop ponds.
A visit to Slimbridge on 19th to collect some automated bat detecting equipment that we've had in the field all winter gave me a few minutes to trial a Canon 100-400mm IS lens for flight shots.
The weekend of 17-18 February was again grey with flat light. I photographed the great northern diver and scaup at Cheddar reservoir.
The gull roost at Chew held about 6 Mediterranean gulls on 17th. There was also a bird looking like a hybrid between a black-headed gull and a second-winter Mediterranean gull (head of former, wing tips of latter), a common gull with Kumlien's gull-type primary tips, and a first winter bird showing some characteristics of a Caspian gull (head shape and colour, pale underwing, tertial patterns)!
10th February: An afternoon on the Somerset levels. At Catcott Lows there were good numbers of duck and lapwing, about 20 golden plover and a ruff. There were 8 little egrets between Catcott and Westhay.
The starling roost is now at Shapwick heath. Several hundred thousand birds descended at dusk, and there was also a ringtail hen harrier present.
On 3rd February I photographed a great crested grebe eating a perch at Chew Valley Lake. I saw 4 of the Mediterranean gulls and a distant adult ring-billed gull in the roost that was picked out by Keith Vinicombe.