19th-21st. I was invited to speak at the annual meeting of the Swiss Society for Wildlife Biology in Lyss. The session was an interesting one - the first talk on 20th coincided with the partial solar eclipse which we watched the start and end of through eclipse glasses - a rubbish photo through the iPhone and glasses below. I watched the total eclipse in Cornwall in 1999, and although it was cloudy and raining as St Ives became dark it was spectacular and memorable. The partial eclipse was rather disappointing - even though the sun was visible, conditions remained rather bright. Then during my talk the audience became anxious as a smell of smoke filled the room. After just completing my fire warden refresher training, I paused the talk while the source was located - it was the wild boar roasting on a spit outside. I saw hawfinch, red kite and black kite in the area, and heard two singing short-toed treecreepers. I spent Saturday in Geneva. My host, Manuel Ruedi works on hybridisation, and uses photographs of the hybrid Aythya ducks on Lake Geneva to open some of his presentations. About 10 ferruginous ducks have appeared on the lake in recent years. The duck flock was now much reduced, though I did see a female tufted x ferruginous duck hybrid. A photograph of some red-crested pochards on the lake below.
12th-15th. The 4th Berlin Bat Meeting allowed another dinner amongst the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum. No birds of note other than the ubiquitous hooded crows.
8th. Two whooper swans and a female-type merlin at Steart WWT. A great white egret at Catcott Lows, and 2, or probably 4 at Westhay.
7th. Back to the Forest of Dean with the 500mm lens. I really like how the 1D4 handles noise - many of these hawfinch photos were taken at ISO 1000. I also had about 10 goshawk sightings at New Fancy View.
Coal tit and nuthatch
I also bumped into the Biking Birder, Gary Prescott, who is aiming to beat the British (and possibly European) record for the number of birds seen in a year while biking.
1st. Forest of Dean. I wanted to see the great grey shrike at Crabtree Hill (after failing on about 5 attempts over the last two winters), and hawfinch. I saw both, but wish I had taken the 500mm lens. The female hawfinch (with pale panel on the secondaries) was photographed using ISO 1600 from the car at Parkend Yews.