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FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT PARTICIPATED IN A WINGSPAN TOUR DURING 2016, THANK YOU FOR YOUR CUSTOM & YOUR COMPANY AND WE WISH YOU HEALTH AND HAPPINESS FOR 2017.

THE PROGRAMME FOR SPRING 2017 IS NOW ON MY

WEBSITE BUT HERE IS A PREVIEW



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

May 8th - 15th - Portugal - full


May 13th - 21st Bulgaria - £850

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

May 31st - June 8th. - Extremadura and Sierra de Gredos - £950

June 12th - 20th - Pyrenees and Picos de Europa - £1050


FLIGHTS NOT INCLUDED IN THESE PRICES



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Red-throated Bee-eater

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

Saturday, December 28, 2013

DORSET, HOOKE VILLAGE - DECEMBER 28TH 2013

A VILLAGE WALK

After an horrendous return journey to Dorset from Kent yesterday, which took 10 hours (we were stuck on the M25 for 5 hours) I was inclined to stay in bed all day.

However, the morning was an absolute beauty, with a clear blue sky and no winds, such fun. So I went for a walk in the village with my scope and camera. A pair of Common Buzzards called frequently and flew over me twice, as did a flock of Redwing and a single Fieldfare.

After an hour or so it began to cloud over so I returned to our bungalow and took some pictures in the garden, the feeders were very busy as usual. Then it rained!! No change.

pictures of the Marsh Tit which is now a regular to my feeders


Dunnock

Redwing

old faithful - the European Robin

Thursday, December 26, 2013

BOXING DAY - DECEMBER 26TH 2013

LEYBOURNE LAKES, KENT

A glorious sunny day, it would have been rude not to go for a walk over to the lakes. So I escaped the family festivities for an hour just before lunch.

I was hoping to sneak up on the Green Woodpeckers and get some shots of them feeding on the ground and it nearly worked but as I approached them a couple dogs and their walkers flushed the birds. I spent an hour or so trying to get close to them but every time I got near they spotted me first and off they went. I had to be content with 'in-the-tree-shots'.




Tufted Ducks showing the green sheen to their heads


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

CHRISTMAS DAY - 25TH DECEMBER 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY FOLLOWERS


LEYBOURNE LAKES - AYLESFORD, KENT

Although it rained for most of the day there were spells of blue sky and sunny breaks, they didn't last long.

A short walk across to Leybourne lakes produced a few species. I saw 3 Green Woodpeckers feeding on the ground but they flew up to the trees before I could get reasonable pictures. When I did finally get near to one of them the sun went in and the light was bad.

Species seen:   Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Canada Goose, Great Cormorant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Green Woodpecker, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Gull & Black-headed Gull.

Gadwall - male

Green Woodpecker


Leybourne Lakes


European Robin

Tufted Duck






Saturday, December 21, 2013

HOOKE WOODS - DECEMBER 19TH 2013

I took a short walk in the extensive woodland just North of the village of Hooke where we are staying for the winter. The woodland consists of many acres of Beech with stands of pine and some oak.



Not many species were recorded I did find a 'tit flock' with Long-tailed, Marsh, Blue and Great Tits. Further along the track I found a dozen Coal Tits feeding on the ground in the beech mast. Other species seen: Redwing, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Raven (2), Robin and Wren.


For a couple of hours after that I watch the feeding station in my garden and saw a lot more:

1. Blue Tit
2. Great Tit
3. Coal Tit
4. Marsh Tit
5. Long-tailed Tit
6. Dunnock
7. Great-spotted Woodpecker
8. Collared Dove
9. European Robin
10. Common Chaffinch
11. Eurpoean Greenfinch
12. House Sparrow
13. Common Starling
14. Common Pheasant
15. Common Blackbird
16. Wood Pigeon




All these species visited my feeders (or fed below them) during a two hour watch, it is amazing really as I  have only fed them for two weeks.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

FRIDAY 13TH DECEMBER 2013 - FOREST of DEAN - TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS

TWO BARRED CROSSBILL  IRRUPTIONS  - In June 2013 there were reports of up to 50,000 two-barred crossbills irrupting from West Siberian forests and vast numbers entered Scandinavia in late June 2013, the UK was set for a bonanza of this trumpet-blowing finch. The birds started hitting the east coast in July 2013. Prior to that the last invasion of Two-barred Crossbills into Britain happened in 2008, which I missed!

I was in Spain this summer and of course I missed this invasion too!  However there are still pockets of them about in the UK and today I set out to find the flock in the Forest of Dean.

Up to 18 of these brightly coloured beauties have been feeding on larch cones in this large forest for the last few weeks, I arrived at the site at 8:30am. it was cold, very dull and overcast, with showers of drizzling rain, how nice!

After walking for an hour or so I hadn't seen a single Common Crossbill  let alone one with bars! I did find a flock of chaffinches with several Bramblings, also a few Marsh Tits, Goldcrest, Fieldfare, Great spotted Woodpecker and Eurasian Nuthatch.

I met up with two other birders and collectively we had not seen a single crossbill. It was now approaching 11am and I was told by my friend Nigel that these birds always show around 11am. 

Moments later we were watching a flock of 15 Common Crossbills and then, dead on 11am a flock of five TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS dropped into a tree right next to us. Wow, what a beauty, four of them were males, they flew off and another group of five males dropped in, superb. The light was so bad, I used an ISO setting of 800 and still only got 1/60th second shutter speed, no wonder my pictures were so bad!



AT LAST I CAUGHT UP WITH THIS BOGEY BIRD AFTER YEARS OF FRUSTRATION.- HERE ARE SOME VERY BAD RECORD SHOTS BUT IT WAS VERY DARK, WINDY AND WET WHEN I GOT THERE






Tuesday, December 10, 2013

WINGSPAN IN THE GAMBIA - MORE GREAT PICS FROM VERN LAUX

African Jacana - juv.

Palm Swift

Palm Swift

White-throated Bee-eater

Northern Carmine Bee-eater

Dark Chanting Goshawk

Long-tailed paradise Whydah

Gabar Goshawk

Malachite Kingfisher

Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird

Red-billed Oxpeckers

African Fish Eagle

Northern Greyish Owl

Hammerkop

Painted Snipe - the colourful female in flight

female Painted Snipe

Monday, December 9, 2013

DORSET UK - DECEMBER 8TH 2013

LYME REGIS

We spent a lovely morning walking along the sea-front at the beautiful seaside town of Lyme Regis. One special feature of the small harbour is the famous 'Cobb' which is a concrete construction that protect the harbour and has been in existence since 1313, there is no explanation of how it got it's name!

The Cobb - you can see tiny figures walking along it


At the end of the Cobb a long row of concrete square blocks have been added for further protection and it is on these that one can find the enigmatic PURPLE SANDPIPER. There was just two of them when I looked today but one was all I wanted, they both sat fast asleep very boring really.

Looking back to Lyme Regis from the 'Cobb'

I also saw Rock Pipit, Great Cormorant, Herring Gull and a Razorbill fed in the bay, That was the sum total of my birding as I had to walk around all the shops with Dawn and the MIL (mother-in-law).
The coastal hills looking towards Charmouth - taken from the Cobb


Later, back in the village of Hooke I went for another walk at dusk, it was quite cold and misty and I was hoping for an Owl of any description. But all I found was a Grey Wagtail, Song Thrush, Pied Wagtail and a few Wrens.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

DORSET UK - DECEMBER 6TH & 7TH 2013

HOOKE VILLAGE AND SURROUNDING AREA.

We are now entrenched firmly in the heart of the Dorset countryside for next 3 months (on and off). Our location is Hooke not far from Beaminster, Dorchester and Bridport.

There are ,many birds in and around the village and for the last few days we have walked several country paths and bridleways. The best sightings have included: Water Rail, Yellowhammer, Goldcrest, Raven, Common Snipe, Redwing, Fieldfare, Stock Dove and my favourite so far, the Bullfinch.

The weather has been lovely, dry and windless but even when the sunshines the light is bad so digi-scoping pictures will be few and far between.

IMAGES OF THE DORSET COUNTRYSIDE