August 2010

Slimbridge on 31st. I saw a juvenile red-necked phalarope, 3 spotted redshank, a greenshank, 2 green sandpipers, 12 curlew sandpipers, a ruff, lots of black-tailed godwits (below) and I photographed a juvenile cormorant gular fluttering.

black-tailed godwit



Back into the field locally at last - a visit to Chew Valley Lake on 30th produced about 5 little egrets, a green sandpiper, 4 common sandpipers, 2 black-tailed godwits, 2 redshank, a water rail, a sedge warbler and a kingfisher. Some of the juvenile alba wagtails demanded a second look, like this one that virtually lacked breast markings.

juvenile alba wagtail

I was in Prague between 22-28 August for the 15th International Bat Research Conference, and hardly saw any birds. It was the first time I had visited the city for 23 years (two years before the 'velvet revolution').

Prague Old Town clock

The annual flyover of the Red Arrows could be seen from our house on 15th. I recently discovered that a bird photographer who I met while photographing the kites at Gigrin Farm in January - Dickie Duckett - used to lead the Red Arrows. His web site is well worth a look.

Red Arrows

Red Arrows

Then it was a week in St Ives, Cornwall (7-14th). This was a favourite holiday spot when the kids were small, and it was fascinating to revisit with our now mid-teenage daughter Kiara. One great thing about St Ives - like birding - is that it appeals to all types. If you get bored with the great beaches, there are art galleries, quirky restaurants with tasty seafood, and quaint back streets like nowhere else. And some good seawatching of course. Top photo of Anna and me by Kiara (in photo below it). The 1D4 has relatively low noise at high ISO settings, making it good for night shots.

Anna and me, St Ives

Kiara, St Ives

St Ives

St Ives

St Ives

Em Gems

St Michael's Mount, Marazion

During the week I spent about 12 hours in total seawatching off The Island, and saw 11 Balearic shearwaters, about 3500 Manx shearwaters, 1 Cory's shearwater (rare this year), 1 sooty shearwater, 4 great skuas, 2 dark-phase arctic skuas, 15 common scoter, 2 Mediterranean gulls, 4 Sandwich terns and one distant auk. Although the winds were usually fairly light, they were often from a north-westerly direction which is good for seawatching off The Island. I also saw a pod of about 8 bottlenose dolphins (including 2 mother-young pairs), and a basking shark. Birds at Hayle RSPB Reserve included 2 black-tailed godwits, 2 whimbrel and a common sandpiper. A juvenile tawny owl called close to our flat above Porthminster.

Sammy the grey seal still frequents the harbour at high tide.

grey seal

I tried some wide angle shots of herring gulls.

herring gull

Photos below of great black-backed gulls, rock pipit and starling, taken with the 400mm lens.

great black-backed gulls

rock pipit


We stayed in London on 4 August. Between Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Camden Market I spent some time in Kensington Gardens on 5th, and took some snapshots with the S5. It is worth visiting with a DSLR and a telephoto lens in future - there are coots nesting in the Italian Fountain area, very tame herons and magpies, and lots of feral stuff including ring-necked parakeets, 40 red-crested pochards, and breeding Egyptian geese (juvenile on left with no eye patch).

Long Water. Kensington Gardens

grey heron


red crested pochards

Egyptian geese

Egyptian goose


Our holiday began in Glastonbury. I saw a bittern, great white egret, barn owl, marsh harrier and 3 green sandpipers at Meare Heath on 3rd, and photographed this juvenile black-headed gull at the Bishop's Palace Moat, Wells on 4th.

Ham Wall RSPB

black-headed gull

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