Thursday, 9 July 2020

Portland Shearwaters (09 July)

Thursday 09 July. I'd planned to get up at 05:00 but woke at 03:30 feeling wide awake. I left home at 03:45 and arrived at Southwell just before 07:00. The journey would have been quicker if I'd spotted a diversion sign coming into Chichester, most of the M27 hadn't still been restricted to 50 mph and I'd not taken a wrong turning coming into Weymouth. Seeing a space in Southwell and with no early news on the bird I parked and walked along the East Cliffs to Portland Bill. On arrival I was told that the Yelkouan was almost certainly on the sea with the rather loose, distant Balearic flock but wasn't easy to pick out. I joined about 50 others and started scanning. After a tense half hour the flock came closer and the bird started to be seen, even by me although initially it was tough. Slowly I got my eye in and several times saw it on the sea where it stood out being smaller, slimmer and more contrasting than the Balearics. Sometimes when it flew I could see detail on the underwing and its long trailing legs but it was hard to see the vent as fight views were generally brief and often head on as it flew directly towards us before landing on the sea, diving, disappearing in troughs and quite rapidly drifting further out. Later 4 Manx joined the flock which made it harder picking out the Yelkouan on the sea although in flight they showed no moult. On one occasion I briefly had all three shearwaters in a row although they weren't close. I took about 200 speculative photos - the birds were too far out to see any detail through the viewfinder and even if in shot may have dived or been in a trough. The Yelkouan might be in some of these images but not identifiably. I was just pleased to have seen it reasonably well through my telescope and end what seemed like a long run of painful Portland dips. While at Portland I saw the Yelkouan, possibly two but hard to be sure without photos to confirm perceived differences, at least 4 Manx and 75 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Razorbills, 20 Guillemots, 20+ Gannets, a Great Skua, a Shag and 6 Rock Pipits. Back home 'our' Herring Gull chicks were on the roof and 5 Swifts were seen over the garden in the evening. A selection of photos taken at Portland follow. Hesitant rather than accurate captioning is the best I can do with most of them
Mediterranean Shearwaters and Herring Gulls in a feeding frenzy off Portland Bill
this is about as close as they came, usually they were much further out
with a Manx centre right?
not sure about this one
pale Balearic?
Manx top right?

Manx with Balearics
one or two Manx?
this might have been the Yelkouan Shearwater?

Gannets off Portland Bill

one of our two Herring Gull chicks
Wednesday 08 July. I took Cooke to the Adur where we saw Swift, Stock Dove, 2 Oystercatchers, 100 Black-headed Gulls including 4 juveniles, Grey Heron, 3 Little Egrets, Sparrowhawk, 2 Sky Larks, 6 Swallows, 4 House Martins, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, 2 Meadow Pipits and 5 Pied Wagtails. Back home the adult and 2 Herring Gull chicks were on the roof behind us. News of a Yekouan Shearwater amongst a lingering flock of Balearic Shearwaters off Portland Bill was tempting but my record chasing birds at Portland is not at all good and I didn't fancy a stressful drive down during the day with the added worry of looking into any afternoon/evening sun. With it still present early evening I decided to go the following morning and packed a few things in the car.
Oystercatcher on Ricardo's roof

footpath beside Adur/Airport closing again
juvenile Black-headed Gull on the Adur
another juvenile Black-headed Gull on the Adur

Herring Gull chicks on the roof
Tuesday 07 July. Megan and I took Cookie up to Mill Hill where we saw 2 Stock Doves, a Buzzard being dived upon by 2 Kestrels, Jay, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroats and a male Yellowhammer and heard Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sky Lark, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Later we saw 2 Oystercatchers and 2 Greenfinches along Southwick Canal while back home both adult Herring Gulls and their 2 chicks were on the roof behind us. At least 5 Swifts were over the garden in the evening.
Marbled White on Mill Hill

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

TRIP INDEX by year

The following lists and gives links to the relevant blogs of all the foreign birding (and some family) trips that I have been on. It is ordered by year with the most recent year first. Blogs of the older trips use scanned slides, some having degraded badly with age, or digitised prints of varying qualitySome use photos taken by those I was with. These are usually easy to tell as they are significantly better than mine and are acknowledged in most cases. Many of the older blogs are based on my unreliable memories where my notes are very lacking in detail, other than the birds seen, something I now greatly regret. The blogs were initially done to find a 'home' for boxes of old slides which I had not looked at for years, my dad giving me his slide scanner providing the necessary impetus to digitise them. Doing these blogs has brought back many very happy memories, and a few sad ones. I’ve been very fortunate in having various like-minded friends whom I have usually been able to travel with. Sadly an increasing number are no longer with us including. The Covid-19 Lockdown has given me the opportunity to fill in all remaining gaps so, until I can travel abroad again, the following list is complete.
Kagu, New Caledonia August 1998 (digitised print originally taken with an instamatic).  One of my current all-time top four birds. Giant Pitta (1987), displaying Wilson's Bird of Paradise (1993) and displaying Western Parotia (2013) are the others.
2020: MYANMAR (January)
            SPAIN Fuerteventua (February)
2019:  SRI LANKA (January/February)
             NORWAY (and FINLAND) (March)
             (BALI and) BORNEO (August)
             FRANCE Somme (September)
2018:  ECUADOR (February)
           FRANCE Somme (May)
           NORTHERN PERU (June/July)
           SPAIN Mallorca (September)
            MADAGASCAR (October)
2017:  JAMIACA (February)
           TRINIDAD and TOBAGO (March)
           GUYANA (March/April)
           MONGOLIA (May)
           FRANCE Somme (September)
           NORTHERN GREECE (October)
            BOLIVIA (November)
2016:  CALIFORNIA (January)
           MEXICO (February/March)
           NORWAY (May)
           FINLAND (May/June)
           JAPAN (June/July)
            FRANCE Somme (September)
           GHANA (October/November)
2015:  ECUADOR (January/February)
            ARIZONA (April/May)
            INDONESIA Lesser Sundas (August)
           FRANCE Somme (August/September)
           BRAZIL (September/October)
2014:  SPAIN Extremadura (April)
           COLOMBIA (July/August)
          FRANCE Brittany (September)

2013: CORSICA (May)

          INDONESIA West Papua (August)

          FRANCE Normandie (September)

2012: TURKEY (June)


          Nemrut Dagi

          MALAYSIA Sarawak & Sabah (July/August) 

          FRANCE Somme (September)

2011: ETHIOPIA (February)

          TAIWAN (April/May)

2010: CHINA (May/June)
          Shanghai (Spoon-billed Sandpiper), Wuishan, Fuzhou & Xiaolongmen

          Xi’an & Yangxian (Crested Ibis)

          Pingtai (Jankowski’s Bunting)

           UGANDA (June)

2009:  VIETNAM (April)
          Cat Tien & Da Lat plateau

2008:  PHILIPPINES (April)

           NAMIBIA (July/August)
2007:  INDIA Eaglenest (April) 
2006:  PAPUA NEW GUINEA (August)

2005:  TEXAS (April)
           INDONESIA Sumatra & West Java (July)
2004:  CUBA (April)
            PAPUA NEW GUINEA (June)
2003:  JAPAN (January)
           CAMEROON (April)
2002:  CHILE (April)
           GAMBIA (November)
2000:  CHINA Quinghai (June)
1999:  ECUADOR (August/September)

1998:  AUSTRALIA and NEW CALEDONIA (July/August)

1997:  VIETNAM (March/April) 

1996:  PHILIPPINES (April)

           NEW ZEALAND (August)   

1995:  MADAGASCAR (August)

1993:  INDONESIA Irian Jaya (August)

1992:  INDONESIA Sulawesi and Halmahera (August)
1991:  SOUTH AFRICA (August)

1990:  ARGENTINA (August)

1989:  ICELAND (June)               

1988: THAILAND (March/April)
           BRAZIL (July/August)

1987:  MALAYSIA Sabah and Peninsular (July/August) 
1986:  AUSTRALIA Queensland and Northern Territory (March/April)
           ECUADOR and VENEZUELA July/August 1986
1985:  COSTA RICA and PANAMA (July/August)

1984:  PERU (July/August)

           BOTSWANA (December-January 1985) 

1983:  KENYA (July/August)

1982:  MALAYSIA Peninsular (January/February)

           THAILAND (February)

            NEPAL (March/June)
          Jomson Trek

          Everest Trek

          Langtang Trek

           INDIA (June/July)


           VENEZUELA (December-February 1983)

1980:  CANADA (May)

            THAILAND (December-January 1981)

1979:  ISRAEL (March/April)

           CANARIES (June/July)

           NEPAL (November-January 1980)

1978:  THAILAND (December-January 1979)

1977:  MOROCCO (April)

           KENYA (December-January 1978)

1975:  CARMARGUE (May)
          included in The 1970s: Camargue, Shetland & Scillies in 1975 blog

1974:  MAJORCA (October)
          brief mention in The 1970s: finding my feet - 1974 blog