31st. Ramona and I went to Dartmoor Zoological Park, where I photographed this displaying peacock.
I stopped to see the ROSS'S GULL at Bowling Green Marsh on the way there and back, though only had my 400mm lens with 1.4x extender, and got a distant flight shot, showing the black central tail feathers and wing pattern. The bird seems to be still largely in first-winter plumage. I wonder if it's the same bird that I missed twice at Aberavon earlier in the year?
24th. Some good local birds for the Bank Holiday weekend. Black-winged stilt at Meare Heath, and a great reed warbler singing off Herriot's Bridge at Chew. Back to the levels on 25th, with a walk from the Natural England offices near Westhay to the tea room near Sharpham. The stilt was still present, as were 2 common terns, about 10 hobbies, and I had 3 sightings of marsh harrier, 5 of bittern, and 5 of great white egret. This young adder presumably overwintered after being born last year. Two hobbies were feeding along the Nailsea road at the S side of the Tyntesfield Estate in the late afternoon.
18th. Sedge warbler singing along the cycle track, Flax Bourton.
6th-9th. Abruzzo National Park, Italy. I was invited to talk at the Italian mammal Conference in Civitella Alfadena, home of my colleague Danilo Russo. It was my first time back in Abruzzo for a decade. Nightingales sang at night, and I saw common and black redstarts, Italian and tree sparrows, hooded crows, serin, hoopoe, cuckoo, and 2 golden eagles. I saw 2 Marsican brown bears on a walk into the mountains (there are only around 40 left now), and 15 wild boar while watching from a bear-watching spot. A black red squirrel ran in front of me above Civitella Alfadena. Photos with the iPhone.
First week. A lesser whitethroat singing along the railway line in Flax Bourton.