July 2014

26th-29th. Halifax, Nova Scotia to do a PhD examination at Dalhousie University. On 27th I walked around Point Pleasant Park. On 28th I accompanied Hugh Broders setting up bat detectors in forest near Liverpool. We stopped at Mahone Bay and Chester on the return journey. I didn't take any big lenses.

Halifax harbour

The main news concerned how bats have almost become extinct in much of NS because of White-Nose Syndrome. There were only 2 widespread species - Myotis lucifugus and M. septentrionalis. Hibernacula that contained thousands of bats now have under 10. Locals that I spoke to had not seen a bat in the last 2 years. The fungus has just been reported in Cape Breton in the northeast of the province, so large scale wipe-out seems inevitable, at least for the near future.


I saw several red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) at Point Pleasant Park, and a mink at Chester. The bird list was: common loon, double-crested cormorant, great blue heron, mallard, green-winged teal, eider, sharp-shinned hawk, osprey, American herring gull, great black-backed gull, Arctic tern, feral pigeon, mourning dove, ruby-throated hummingbird, northern flicker, pileated woodpecker, red-eyed vireo, blue jay, American crow, common raven (H), black-capped chickadee, American robin, starling, black-throated green warbler, black-and-white warbler, northern cardinal, song sparrow, dark-eyed junco, common grackle, American goldfinch.

24th. Quail singing in cereal fields east of East Dundry at about 21.30h.

23rd. Nightjar still churring on the Mendips.

15th. Barn owl and a brown hare in the evening at Portbury Wharf.

Dreadful photo - but the first wild boar I've seen in the Forest of Dean (13th). At least one adult and two piglets present from the Lower Hide, Nagshead. I also saw a kingfisher and 2 silver-washed fritillaries. No flycatchers though.

wild boar

My last-but-one twitch attempt was unsuccessful. After landing at Gatwick early on 23 June, I thought I'd nip to Ashdown Forest to see the short-tailed eagle that had roosted in the same place there for a week. Of course it disappeared that day. It relocated to the New Forest, where I went to see it on 2nd, only to miss it by 3 hours. I did see several Dartford warblers and silver-studded blues around Pigs Bush, and heard a grasshopper warbler.

The next one was better - the Cheltenham BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON on 8th. I've seen these birds in lots of countries, but never before in the UK (apart from one at my sand martin study colony when I was a PhD student, which was almost certainly from the colony at Edinburgh Zoo at the time). I got lucky with the Cheltenham bird, which ventured into the open on occasion.

black-crowned night heronblack-crowned night heron

black-crowned night heron

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