May 2014

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?

Ross's gull

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.

great white egret



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.

Abruzzo National Park

Civitella Alfadena

Abruzzo National Park

Abruzzo National Park

Over the Alps

First week. A lesser whitethroat singing along the railway line in Flax Bourton.

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