A crazy day for an Oxfordshire-based birder... The common nighthawk is a super rare sighting for the UK, with less than 25 observations of the species in the country ever, and importantly always on coastal sites or off-islands not the mainland. This guy should be on his migration between the US and South America, so it's safe to say it's a little lost. Being a primarily nocturnal species, this individual was happily napping on a garden fence for ~6 hours before heading off to who-knows-where at dusk, but not without attracting 600 birders from all over the country first! Special thanks to the home-owners for allowing access and suggesting a charitable donation from the twitchers, raising over £4000 across the day split between a local wildlife hospital and Spinal Injury Unit.
This was one of those days that you always hope for as a birdwatcher. At Farmoor reservoir, both a dunlin and little stint could be found foraging together on the fringes of the water. When you read up on these species, they seem quite tricky to set apart from one another - so when the opportunity came to view them side-by-side in the field I was very excited! As can be seen, the little stint is a smaller bird, with an overall slightly more rounded appearance and less mottling on the belly. The dunlin's slightly longer and down-curved bill also seemed much more obvious when next to the little stint's short, straight and stubbier one.
I've been down in Portland, Dorset on a field-trip with the rest of my research group. Unfortunately, there has been fairly persistent rain making it hard to catch and ring birds! However, it was nice to be able to take a trip into Weymouth and do some local birding, including this black-tailed godwit and five new species for my year: European bee-eater; curlew sandpiper; green sandpiper; great white egret and balearic shearwater.
A blog of my ideas, photography and research of the natural world.