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Here are some of my more memorable (it doesn't get any more exciting than this) birding experiences.

Your comments are most welcome!

Tour of South-Western Spain: 3rd-15th April

This proved to be a hugely memorable trip with my birding buddies Pete Blanchard, Paul Hazell and Dave Soons.

Following lengthy car and ferry trip, we arrived at our initial destination Rivierra, Mihas Costa, late on Tuesday 5th April. It was pretty much solid birding for the next 10 days:

  • Wednesday 6th visited Rio Guadalhorce, Malaga – photographed Lesser Kestrels. Bee Eaters, Black-necked Grebes, Little-ringed Plovers, Black-winged Stilts, Booted Eagles and many more...

  • Thursday 7th visited El Chorro – photographed Crested Tits, Black Wheatears, Griffon Vultures and many more...

  • Friday 8th - 9th April moved to Tarifa to view the Northbound migration - photographed Short-toed Snake Eagles, Griffon Vultures, Kentish Plovers, Wheatears, Crested Larks and many more

  • Sunday 10th visited Donana National Park...an awesome place for birding - photographed Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Grey Shrike, Azure Magpie, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Squacco Heron, Black Kites, Red-rumped Swallows and many more...

  • Tuesday 12th April moved to Osuna area and visited the centre at Fuente de Peidra -  photographed Crossbills, Serin, Hoopoe, Montagu’s Harrier and many more...

All-in-all a fantastic trip and apart from some unsavoury wind action on the part of our senior tour member, a trip never to be forgotten!

Short-toes Snake Eagle

Short-toes Snake Eagle

 

 

Trip to the Forest of Dean - 17th March 2016

It was an early start, leaving home at 06:00 to pick up Pete Blanchard and driving to 3 birding sites in the Forest of Dean: Fancy View, Crabtree Hilland Cannop Ponds.

Although, a stunning view of the Forest of Dean can be had from Crabtree Hill, we didn't manage to see any of the reported Goshawks...maybe we were there too early. We took some good shots of Mistle Thrushes. Song Thrushes and nesting Long-tailed Tits and spotted some Bullfinches near the car park.

Following a significant trek from the cat park at Speech House to Crabtreee Hill we were soon rewarded with a sighting of the reported Great Grey Shrike. The shrike spent much of the time hunting and Pete and I managed a few fairly close up shots of the reported Great Grey Shrike at Crabtree Hill.

A brutal bird but handsone nonetheless!

We then travelled a few miles to Cannop Ponds to find out whether the mandarib ducks were present. Unfortunately they weren't about but we managed some shot's of Marsh Tits at the feeding station.

On the way home we visited Pilning Wetland and Portbury Warf Nature Reserve. We didn't manage any photographs because of the failing light but we did see some fieldfare and a couple of Little Owls.

Another great day out!!

 

 

The First BIG Year Bird Garden - 15th March 2016

I had my first real insight into the value of creating bird gardens in care homes with the opening of the first at Avon Court Care Home in Chippenham.

Some of the residents and staff at Avon Court Care Home enjoying their new bird garden.

Some of the residents and staff at Avon Court Care Home enjoying their new bird garden.

The residents really love being able to sit out and watch the birds!

A big thank you must go out to my colleagues, friend and family for helping to build the fund through sponsorship. I have already photographed over 80 bird species this year and the fund stands at over £2000.

I'm having a wonderful experience traveling the length and breadth of the country, but it also amazing to contribute to bird conservation and help other people, who may not be quite so able, to enjoy birds as much as I do.

There is still time to offer your support, by letting me know when you spot a rare or interesting bird or by making a pledge or donation via my website:

www.phigowerbirdphotography.com

Thank you!


Trip to Weymouth 13th March 2016

Spent the night away in Weymouth with Tarn, Ange and Charlie and Fin with the purpose of finding the Pallas's warbler reported at Portesham. After a hearty meal and some local entertainment we hit the sack at around 11:00. I was up early on Sunday with Charlie and set off for Portesham. We met another birder at the sight and thankfully he quickly spotted the bird, but it proved very difficult to photograph as it flitted from leaf to leaf (I now know why they call it the Pallas's Leaf Warbler)

Frustrated we popped back to the B&B for a full English and then returned for the Pallas's Warbler. Within 5 minutes we had captured the bird and departed for Portland Bill.

Pallas's Warbler at Portesham.

Pallas's Warbler at Portesham.

At the Bill we photographed a Raven, Herring Gull and Skylark and some poor unusable Guillemot shots. We then went into Weymouth and parted company as Tarn and the boys wanted to sample the arcade delights of Weymouth and I wanted to captured the Marsh Harrier at Radipole Lakes. Both parties end the day completely satisfied.

Another stonking day out!!