12th-23rd. Orlando, Florida with my daughters. My third visit to Florida and this was a holiday with no chasing rare birds. We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, which was superb. The hotel was well placed to allow my daughters access to the entertainment, while I could go birding in the grounds, which are an Audubon Reserve. I could watch fishing ospreys and alligators from my balcony, which had a great view. Most of the photos were taken around the hotel grounds, and nearby Shingle Creek. There were great photographic opportunities at the heronry at Gatorland too. A more detailed trip report, with extra photos will appear later.
View from the balcony.
A young alligator.
Raccoon and eastern cottontail
Little blue heron.
Great blue heron.
Sandhill cranes and chick
Osprey (first being mobbed by a blue-grey gnatcatcher) and least tern.
2nd - 6th. Teaching a field course at Orielton, Pembrokeshire. Bat numbers were down, with only 140 soprano pipistrelles in the warden's house, and around 70 lesser horseshoe bats in two roosts (the numbers in the boiler room have decreased from 175 to around 30 since the inefficient old boiler was replaced by a combi boiler). Photos of common (top) and soprano (below) pipistrelles below.
On a trip to Skomer I photographed razorbill, guillemot, fulmar and puffin. Puffin numbers were down compared with my last two visits. I saw a group of 8 choughs. The top panorama is of Skokholm and Skomer, the lower one of Broad Haven.
1st. Far from the madding crowd. Today's plans were too complicated to get to Dorset to see the short-toed eagle, so I spent the morning trying to photograph the Savi's warbler at Newport Wetlands. The bird sang at close range, but was always partly obscured by reeds. I also heard cuckoo, bearded reedling and lesser whitethroat.