An afternoon dash to
Fagbury Cliff once again for an Arctic Warbler that did not show but there was fair
recompense with lots of other Warblers, two Red-backed Shrikes, Icterine
Warbler and a smart Bluethroat. [Eds: my notes mention a ‘funny bird’ with the ‘Brown
Fly?’ afterwards… I honestly have no recollection of this!]
A Woodcock flew up from the planted borders of Chadwell Heath Tesco
while I was at the traffic lights.
[Eds: not sure what
happened to October!]
After an agonising
week of waiting I at last got the chance to head down to Winspit in Dorset for
the near mythical Red-flanked Bluetail. [Eds: how times change]. Fortunately it
was still present and hopped around in front of Roy and I in the autumn
undergrowth in this delightfully secluded valley.
The sun was out and
it was pleasantly warm and I never thought I would see a Bluetail I the
UK. There were lots of Chiffchaffs,
Blackcaps, Goldcrests and a strange Acro that was later identified as a Marsh
Warbler. Ravens, Buzzards and Peregrine were all seen overhead and a few
Butterflies were still on the wing.
Back to Fagbury with Peter G where we found a flock of ten Blackcaps
(and saw 15), a tardy Garden Warbler, ten Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and two Firecrests
before heading to Landguard where superb views were had a delightful Pallas’s
Uni fieldtrip to
the Cheviots. It was a great few days as we investigated glacial landforms in
the rolling landscape. Peregrines,
Buzzards and Ravens were encountered along with Dippers and Red Grouse but the
real surprise was an immature Golden Eagle cruising over the top of Cheviot
itself. My first Golden Eagle away from
A single Long-eared
Owl had returned to Dagenham Chase for the winter. Always a joy to see.
Uni fieldtrip to
Tunisia. [Eds: A truly amazing week and
my first visit to Africa so there were many new birds with Maghreb – was Mourning
-, Black, White-crowned Black and Red-rumped Wheatears, Tristam’s Warbler, Laughing
Doves, House Buntings, Temminck’s Horned, Desert and Hoopoe Larks, Moussier’s Redstarts
and Brown-necked Raven off the top of my head.
|Blue Rock Thrush
|Temminck’s Horned Lark
The scenery was
stunning and I was good enough and interested enough in my studies out there to
get away with always having my bins around my neck and unafraid to use them!
|White-crowned Black Wheatear & Blue Rock Thrush
The paintings are
some of a series of 12 that I did in just one evening and night when the muse
struck just into the new year - they were quick and impulsive. I remember waking up and seeing them stuck up
around my room and wondering how that happened. I am not sure where the missing ones are but will add them if I find them. May the Muse grant me another chance again soon]
A female Lesser
Spotted Woodpecker in my Ilford garden was the first for a few years.
Blackcaps arrived for the winter in the garden and there was still just one
Long-eared Owl over Dagenham Chase.
An adult Yellow-legged
Gull at the Chase was a good end to the year.
[Eds: A yo-yo
birding year and my notes say ‘Phew – I can start again afresh for 1994’.]