31st. We stopped off at Holywell Bay on our way to St Ives. The bay is picturesque, with views of Gull Rocks which formed a background for much of the BBC series 'Poldark'. We walked north onto the Kelseys to see the ISABELLINE WHEATEAR that has been here for some time. A pair of choughs flew past too.
Hetty's photos were better than mine.
Fulmars are back at their nest sites.
29th. Great day out with Kurt Vickery. We saw the drake American wigeon at Shapwick, and an otter with an injured eye walked right past us.
We saw the redhead smew and mating goldeneyes from Heron's Green, Chew Valley Lake.
The drake ring-necked duck showed well at Blagdon Lake, and we had great views of a strong candidate for a Siberian chiffchaff amongst about 5 common chiffchaffs.
28th. Highlights from the RSPB Garden Birdwatch were 2 blackcaps (male and female) and 2 coat tits.
23rd. Slimbridge Wetland Centre. Scaup, mandarin, kingfisher, cranes, and >100 Bewick's swans and white-fronted geese. Pochard and Bewick's swans below.
22nd. Drake long-tailed duck still at Barrow Tanks (no. 1).
Photo by Hetty.
Bracket fungi around Henbury Golf Course. Turkeytail Trametes versicolor above Stereum hirsutum?
21st. Firecrest, goldcrest and a couple of unidentified crests on Clifton Downs. Stinking hellebore there too. Chiffchaff in Westbury Park.
19th. Compton Dando sewage works to see the HUME'S LEAF WARBLER. The first record for Avon, and a first for me. The bird looks very grey, especially when not in sunshine.
4th-8th, Cornwall. Although I saw some nice birds, mainly gulls, I missed American herring gull (Newlyn), ring-necked duck (Helston) and amazingly a black-browed albatross that flew close to St Ives Island on a day where I went to Newlyn!
7th. Greenfinch, meadow pipit and rock pipit at Marazion.
Ring-billed gull, adult and two first-winter Caspian gulls at Lelant Saltings.
6th: Still good numbers of common dolphins and a couple of harbour porpoise in St Ives Bay. I counted 23 purple sandpipers before high tide near the Jubilee Pool in Penzance.
5th: Newlyn Harbour. Kittiwakes feeding on fish scraps.
A first-winter glaucous gull flew in, landed near a first-winter Iceland gull and then sat next to it.
First-winter Caspian gull also there. Is that a yellow-legged gull alongside it on the right? Retrospectively, I think they may both be yellow-legged gulls from their forehead shapes.
I stopped off at Lelant Saltings for high tide on 4th and saw 9 gull species, including 4 yellow-legged gulls. I did some digiscoping.
Caspian gulls included a first-winter bird.
Two adults (including the Polish yellow colour-ringed bird P:T22).
What looked like a third-winter bird.
The adult ring-billed gull is still present.
2nd: Picnic in the Forest of Dean with some low-key birding. Few birds around Crabtree Hill. We saw a small group of fallow deer crossing the road near Speech House.
I saw 215 bird species in Britain in 2022 - pretty decent by my modest standards. The only new British birds for me were Baikal teal, roller, and Caspian tern. My best experiences were on the Island at St Ives, where I saw 5 shearwater species (Manx, Balearic, sooty, single great and Cory’s), 3 skua species (Arctic, pomarine, great), 2 petrels (including a big influx of Leach’s after NW winds), grey phalaropes. snow bunting, a confiding male black redstart, golden plover, and most remarkably the water rail during the December cold snap. This was one of my favourite birding experiences of the year given that I don't know of one being seen there before, after also watching the accompanying cetaceans and other wildlife in sunny, still crisp weather following a splendid lunch at Porthmeor Beach Cafe. Other great wildlife seen from the Island included common, bottlenose and Risso’s dolphins, harbour porpoise and Atlantic bluefin tuna. A badger walked onto the Island one night. Other St Ives highlights included finding a violet sea snail at Porthmeor, and the mass wash up of moulted spider crab carapaces in the harbour. Other very nice bird sightings around Cornwall included ring-billed, Caspian, glaucous, and Kumlien's’s gulls, Montagu’s harrier, lesser yellowlegs, and woodchat shrike. The purple viper’s bugloss and corn marigolds at Boscregan Farm were spectacular. We had a splendid long weekend in Norfolk and I saw my first Chinese water deer, and enjoyed seeing red-breasted goose, shore larks and snow buntings with great company. Around Bristol the long-staying brambling in the garden was great, and we watched three juvenile peregrines in the Avon Gorge. A first winter ring-billed gull at Chew was the first there in a while, and the drake long-tailed duck at Barrow was almost in full summer plumage before it left in April, and I got COVID. We joined the WWT and saw glossy ibis and collared pratincole at Slimbridge. Watching three dotterel on Cleeve Common was one of the birding highlights of the year and we were oblivious to knowing that the Queen had just died. My field course had to be reorganised now that Orielton has closed, and I did a crash course in marine biology to teach a course at Dale Fort, which was enjoyable and we were back on Skomer again for the first time in four years. Other highlights included seeing sand crocus, spotted crake, spoonbill and cirl buntings on a day out in in Devon, watching a female brown hairstreak laying eggs at Arundel, and doing high speed flash photography of bats, including seeing and photographing my first Alcathoe bats. Still no trips overseas. Although day-to-day life has largely returned to normal, COVID still catches people out quite frequently, and my younger daughter was one of the last people I know to catch it just before Christmas.