June 2008

On 29th we went to look for the bitterns breeding in Somerset for the first time in 40 years. Two females have bred with a polygynous male at Ham Wall RSPB reserve, and one of the females is still making regular flights to provision her brood. Around 14.30h we saw the female twice, as she flew from the nesting area over the track into a reed bed south of the track. The photos were rubbish, but it was great to see this bird back in carefully restored habitat during the breeding season.


Between 11-18 June I was in Orielton, near Pembroke teaching a field course. Some of the highlights can be seen by clicking on the grey heron below.

grey heron

On the way to Pembroke, I stopped to see the putative American herring gull at Chew on 11th. Four pages devoted to this bird can be accessed by clicking the image below. Its identification was solved using DNA sequencing - results given here.

American herring gull?

Highlights at Chew Valley Lake on 9th included a female goldeneye with 3 ducklings. I saw a male ferruginous duck in Avon on the same day.

I am involved in a research project investigating how moths detect and respond to echolocating bats in nature. To catch moths for our experiments, I'm setting a moth trap in the garden. A few of the first catches can be viewed by clicking on the poplar hawk moth below.

poplar hawk moth

Between 3-5 June I was external examiner at the University of Aberdeen. Few birds of note other than the urban oystercatchers.

On 2 June I visited Marshfield. There were at least 7 singing male corn buntings present, and lots of other arable farmland birds including 10+ red-legged partridges, yellowhammers, stock doves, linnets and skylarks. A male quail was singing W of the road to West Kington.

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