26th of October 2013.

Pitsford Reservoir.

Following recent Twitter reports of Great White Egrets at Pitsford Reservoir, I decided to take an afternoon drive and managed a few hours before it began to get dark. Upon arriving at the causeway, I scanned the banks and quickly saw my first one in the good company of a Grey Heron and a Little Egret. A long record shot was my first instinct in case they decided to go their separate ways. As luck would have it the trio stayed together long enough for me to make my way to the fishing boats jetty area. With the fisherman's shed providing perfect cover between me and the birds (ensuring I did not disturb them) I simply stepped to the right and snapped the following record shots!

Later as the Great White Egret made its way to the far bank it was continuously mobbed by Carrion and when finally finding a bank away from the Crows, the bird was then assaulted by a Grey Heron!

As I scoped the area the following birds were also seen, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler,Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Feral Pigeon, Wood pigeon, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Wren, Blackbird and Starling.

5th of October 2013.

Lundy Island.

Species seen 40.

Arriving at the Ilfracombe Landmark Shore Office at 09.00am I collected my ticket and soon boarded the MS Oldenburg on a beautiful warm and sunny Autumnal morning. Today I had the privilege to represent Marine Life as a Lundy Wildlife Officer for the trip. Black Headed and Herring Gulls, Pied Wagtails and a single Green Woodpecker were seen while the crew made ready for leaving.

We slipped our berth from Ilfracombe harbour and were soon out and heading westwards towards Lundy. The sea state was calm with a gentle breeze.
Once the ship was under way I made my way around the decks introducing myself to many of the passengers and offered assistance on passage for Marine and Bird species identification. I also let many know what they could expect to see on Lundy.

Sadly there were no Cetaceans seen during the outward and return journeys.

Birds during both sea crossings were Gannet, Great Skua, Oystercatcher, Great Black Backed Gull, Lesser Back Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Cormorant, Shag, Goldfinch, Linnet, Swallow, Curlew and Little Egret.

While walking on Lundy to half way wall gave sightings of hundreds of Swallows feeding over the fields. I spent some considerable time sea watching between “Needle Rock” and “Devils Chimney” a fabulous spot for lunch and to also watch for sea animals. Birds seen were Raven, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Starling, Linnet, Wheatear, Goldfinch, Robin, Spotted Flycatcher, Wren, Pied Wagtail, Goldcrest, Willow Warbler, Dunnock, Wren, Blue Tit, Kittiwake, Cormorant, Meadow Pipit and Skylark.

Animals encountered on the Island were Highland Cattle, Wild Goats and Lundy Ponies.

Marine animals were two Grey Seal pups resting on one of the beaches.This one was located while returning to the landing bay.

Due to the tide we returned and arrived in Bideford at 18.00 hours while sailing on the estuary species seen were Redshank, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black Tailed Godwit, as well as the usual Gulls.

I thanked the Captain and crew of MS Oldenburg for their help and assistance while onboard, birding from the bridge of a ship is really a great way to spend the crossing and I look forward to being able to do it again next season.