March 2013

31st. After visiting relatives in South Wales, it was a 10 minute drive to Bryn Bach Park in the town where I was born, Tredegar. I've never had a great desire to go back there, but thought I'd pay Gwent's first lesser scaup a visit. It wasn't showing as well as it had been over the last few days, and here's a snap with the 400mm lens and 1.4x converter.

lesser scaup

30th. A wheatear around the old storage tanks, Flax Bourton.

17th. Ham Wall in the morning - the pied-billed grebe showed eventually, the drake ferruginous duck was asleep nearby, a water pipit was on the reed islands, 2 marsh harriers quartered the reeds, bitterns booming and several sand martins flying about.

16th. Chew Valley Lake - a redshank on Heron's Green Pool, chiffchaff singing at Herriot's, little egret here too and the first-winter yellow-legged gull showing well at the overspill.

yelloe-legged gull

Yellow-legged gull

10th. I decided to go to the Severn Estuary on a dreary and cold afternoon. First stop was Severn Beach to see the snow bunting found there yesterday. Despite careful looking myself and two others couldn't find it. It's so easy to walk past snow buntings! I then travelled to Aust Wharf to catch up with the two twite that have been there for some time. I had brief views as they landed in a blackthorn bush. I headed back to Severn Beach, and at 16.45h two birders found the snow bunting creeping along the base of the sea wall. I put the camera ISO to 640 or 800 and got the shots below.

snow buntingsnow bunting

snow bunting

snow bunting

snow bunting

5th. Six ravens together over Flax Bourton.

On the evening of 28 February I arrived at Schoenefeld Airport in what used to be East Berlin, and stayed at an airport hotel that was austere and soulless. I had raging toothache and shared a flight with a teenage school group and a stag party, so my initial impressions of Berlin were not favourable. Next morning I travelled to Sleglitz and to the International Berlin Bat Meeting about 'Bats and the Anthropocene'. My toothache settled and I warmed to Berlin. We had an amazing conference dinner in the dinosaur hall at the Naturkundemuseum, under the biggest dinosaur skeleton in the world (Brachiosaurus) and in the same room as the holotype of Archaeopteryx.

Berlin NaturkundemuseumArchaeopteryx

On 4 March I took some time out in the Botanical Gardens. There are hooded crows everywhere in Berlin. On a sunny afternoon I saw siskins, 2 hawfinches, counter-drumming greater-spotted woodpeckers, white-headed long-tailed tits, and a raven overhead. I tried to lure a fairly tame red squirrel with a fruesli bar so I could photograph it on my iPad.

red squirrel

red squirrel

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