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Jan 15th - 28th. - Sri Lanka. £1750

Feb 12th -27th - Costa Rica - full

Mar 20th - 30th Morocco - 10 nights. - £1190

April 5th - 12th - Andalucia migration tour. - £750 - 2 places

April 16th - 24th - Coto Donana & Extremadura - £950 - 2 places

April 29th - 6th May. - Lesvos - £875

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May 13th - 21st Bulgaria - £850

May 23rd - 30th - Andalucia birds and butterflies - £750

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Red-throated Bee-eater

Red-throated Bee-eater
join us for a fantastic tour of The Gambia this November

Friday, December 28, 2012

DECEMBER 28TH 2012 - SOMERSET LEVELS



James (my son) and I went out for a full-on birding day to the Somerset Levels, Cheddar reservoir and Chew Valley Lake. It was again, dull overcast and wet. many areas of the levels were inaccessible and huge areas were flooded. We set off from North Perrott (near Crewkerne) at 7am and arrived at Ham Wall car park at 8am. it was just getting light. This Great White Egret was one of the first birds on our list.

GREAT WHITE EGRET

However we did manage to find 69 Species and a couple of good birds to add to James' list (he was after 100 species during the Christmas week - he now has 102).

WHOOPER SWANS - 2 of 10 seen today




LESSER SCAUP 1YR MALE AND FEMALE GREATER SCAUP

IST YEAR LESSER SCAUP

 


1. Jackdaw
2. Blackbird
3. Carrion Crow
4. Black headed Gull
5. Water Rail (call)*
6. Mallard
7. Mute Swan
8. Northern Shoveler
9. Teal
10. Wigeon
11. Great Egret*
12. Little Egret
13. Grey Heron
14.  Common Gull
15. Lesser black backed Gull
16. Blue Tit
17. Siskin
18. Chaffinch
19. Greenfinch
20. Rook
21. Song Thrush
22. Magpie
23. Northern Lapwing
24. Snipe
25. Great Tit
26. Goldfinch
27. Pintail*
28. Marsh Harrier*
29. Cetti's Warbler* (call)
30. Jay
31. Long tailed Tit
32. Redshank
33. Robin
34. Starling
35. Dunnock
36. Wren
37. Great Cormorant
38. Ruddy Duck*
39. Whooper Swan*
40. Tufted Swan
41. Goldeneye*
42. House Sparrow
43. Kestrel
44. Buzzard
45. Song Thrush
46. Fieldfare
47. Redwing
48. Coot
49. Moorhen
50. Pied Wagtail
51. Scaup*
52. Lesser Scaup*
53. Pochard
54. Chiff chaff*
55. Yellowhammer*
56. Great crested Grebe
57. Little Grebe
58. Raven
59. Wood Pigeon
60. Collared Dove
61. Great spotted Woodpecker
62. Golden Plover*
63. Ruddy Shelduck
64. Herring Gull
65. Green Sandpiper
66. Stock Dove
67. Feral Pigeon
68. Gadwall
69. kingfisher

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

DECEMBER 26TH - 2012

A BOXING DAY JAUNT  -  BLACK HOLE MARSH  -  SEATON SEAFRONT  -  THE COBB LYME REGIS


62 species seen.

I can't believe I agreed to getting up early on another foul wet and windy day, but I did it and enjoyed every minute. It was quite calm at 7am as we left the house and dry too!

 We arrived at Black Hole Marsh and spent a couple of hours racking up a good list of species, nothing special but great views of Common Kingfisher, Green Sandpiper, many Curlew, Teal and Wigeon.


A bright bird photographed in very bad light


At Seaton Sea-front we looked out over a tormented, dull grey sea sitting below a dull grey sky, it was now windy and drizzling with rain and it was hard to tell where the sea ended and the sky began.  However, we saw a good number of species: Northern Gannet, Kittiwake, Shag, Guillemot, Razorbill, Great Crested Grebe, Oystercatcher and despite the weather there were lots of people out and about.

I don't know how these Purple sandpipers managed to stay on the rocks it was so windy



Lastly we ventured into Lyme Regis and walked along the sea-wall called the 'Cobb'. It was very, very windy and sea-spray was breaching the breakwater. On the sheltered side we found several Rock Pipits flitting about in the min-harbour and on the rocks we found 7 Purple Sandpipers, our target species. We didn't stay long as we were wind swept and wet so after a quick look we returned to the car and drove straight home. On the way back we added Raven to the list.




Tuesday, December 25, 2012

DECEMBER 25TH 2012 - CHRISTMAS DAY

MERRY CHRISTMAS

NORTH PERROTT EARLY MORNING WALK

My son James is over for christmas and he got me up early and 'forced' me to go birding at 7:30am. It was dull and overcast with light rain - how lovely!!

MIND YOU THE BIRDING WAS GOOD WITH PLENTY OF BIRDIES ABOUT!





We soon amassed a nice little list with the likes of Green Woodpecker, Siskin, Redpoll, Brambling, Redwing, Fieldfare and lots of Common stuff. There are no pictures because of the dull, wet weather but hey, ho we were out out christmas.

1. ROBIN
2. JACKDAW
3. BLACKBIRD
4. SONG THRUSH
5. WREN (HEARD)
6. PIED WAGTAIL
7. ROOK
8. GREEN WOODPECKER
9. FIELDFARE
10. REDWING
11. MISTLE THRUSH
12. CHAFFINCH
13. BLUE TIT
14. COMMON BUZZARD
15. SISKIN
16. BRAMBLING  (3 in the flock of 100+ chaffinches)
17. REDPOLL (2 in a flock of 30+ Siskin)
18. CARRION CROW
19. WOOD PIGEON
20. STOCK DOVE
21. GOLDCREST
22. DUNNOCK
23. BLACK HEADED GULL
24. HERRING GULL
25. GOLDFINCH
26. GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER
27. COLLARED DOVE
28. GREENFINCH
29. EURASIAN STARLING
30. GREAT TIT

Sunday, December 23, 2012

IMAGES OF THE GAMBIA NOVEMBER 2012



click on the images for  a larger version
The odd looking and aptly named - White-crested Helmet Shrike

Malachite Kingfisher

male Pygmy Sunbird

Black-winged Northern Bishop


A few pictures of the Rufous crowned Roller - these pictures do not do the bird justice




Widow Dragonfly

Saturday, December 22, 2012

DECEMBER 21ST - NORTH PERROTT, SOMERSET

A break in the bad weather gave us a beautiful, bright sunny morning over Somerset. I took the opportunity to grab a quick walk over the fields to the next village Hazelbury Plucknett - great name eh?

I am becoming obsessed with taking pictures of Redwings and Fieldfares - partly because of a childhood dream.  When I was lad in the fifties & sixties I had my observers' book of Birds and I really wanted to see these 'rare' winter thrushes, they shown in black and white in the book, if my memory serves me correctly. They looked so exotic and nothing like the common thrushes, I had to find them. It was years later that I actually had good views of them.

I also saw: Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Common Buzzard, Mistle Thrush, Long-tailed Tit (eating fallen fruit - apples). lots of Chaffinches 100+ (not a single Brambling in with them), two Ravens mobbing a Buzzard.

The highlight of the walk was finding a horse paddock packed full of birds - yes you guessed; Fieldfares (274), Redwings (56), blackbirds (6), White wagtail (1), Jackdaws, Rooks and a Crow.


CLICK ON ANY PICTURE FOR A LARGER IMAGE








Sunday, December 16, 2012

DECEMBER 16TH 2012 - LYME REGIS, DEVON, UK

It was a beautiful morning, clear sky and not too cold. We didn't see too much of it but we go out at 10am and set off to the coast at Lyme Regis which is just over the border in Devon.

The famous break-water at Lyme Regis is called the Cobb and it is a great place to see wintering Purple Sandpipers. We parked near the Cobb and walked along the top of it and even though the sea was relatively calm, waves were splashing some 15 meters into the air and over the top of the Cobb. We moved down to the lower level (shwon below on the left of picture 1) and on this sheltered side we found 5 Purple Sandpipers and 4 Turnstones.
Part of the Cobb, the Purple Sandpipers were on the sandy beach area on the left. Waves were coming right over the top where the people were standing.
Looking back into town from the Cobb showing the small harbour where the Rock pipits were

The Jurrasic coast of Dorset in the background

Taken from the park on the hilklside of Lyme Regis


In the small sheltered harbour we saw many Pied Wagtails and a few Rock Pipits, they were all fly-catching from perches on the boats.

Two dodgey pictures taken through my bins of Purple Sandpiper



After a nice cup of hot chocolate we walked into the main street and it began to rain, After 30 minutes of sheltering in doorways and a hail storm we walked back to the car and drove home.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

DECEMBER 15TH 2012 - BLACK HOLE MARSH

I joined the South Somserset RSPB Member's Group on their last field outing of the year. We  met in the car park at the entrance to Black Hole Marsh, Seaton, Devon which is part of the Axe Estuary Wetlands. between the hour of 9am and 3pm I recorded 50 species.



The whole area is a series of hides and walkways which overlook the flood meadows of the River Axe, some of the pathways were actually flooded. We set off as shown below,  stopping to watch Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrest & Blue Tit in the hedges whilst a Common Snipe flew over the path in front of us.

There were several Common Pheasants in the fields but unfortunately a hunter was in an adjacent field shooting them!






Because the water level was so high many of the pools were devoid of bird life, we did see Redshank, Dunlin, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler and Little Grebe. In the distance we could see many Lapwings, good numbers of Curlew, a flock of Black-tailed Godwits, Canada Geese and lots of Wigeon.



Redshank


We took lunch in the visitor's centre and from there we found this Green Sandpiper and not much else. Further along the board walk we got closer to the meadows where all the godwits and curlews were, ther whole area was covered in birds.
Green Sandpiper
On the way home some rain came in from the southwest and this complete rainbow was visible for 30 minutes - in the meantime I was listening the radio and my football team ASTON VILLA were beating Liverpool 0-3, a great end to a lovely day.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NORTH PERROTT - DECEMBER 12TH 2012

NORTH PERROTT LOCAL WALK


Its really great to get out in the afternoon sunshine although it is still very cold. A British farmland landscape looks barren, grey and lifeless but we all know that's simply not true.


Farmland Birdlife is just as prolific as it is in the summer with many visiting birds on show and within a short space of time I had seen:

1. Blue Tit
2. Jay
3. jackdaw
4. Carrion crow
5. Common Buzzard
6. European Robin
7. Redwing                (I counted 48 in the first field I came to)
8. Blackbird
9. Fieldafre               (about 10 were with the Redwings and 20 more in an orchard)
10. Great Tit
11. Great Spotted Woodpecker
12. Chaffinch
13. Pied Wagtail
14. Siskin
15.Herring Gull
16. Rook



CLICK ON ANY IMAGE FOR A LARGER PICTURE


Fieldfare - high up in an alder tree



Jackdaw

The ROOK -  Another bird I miss whilst I am away in Spain
Typical poses of the Siskin - these were very high up in the alders