Tuesday 27 December 2016


Good things seemed to come in twos in September, the latest month to be given the drive-by review treatment in my look back at 2016. Starting with two tickets to the Isles of Scilly for my youngest son and I to twitch a Cliff Swallow, with a point blank Lesser Yellowlegs making up a high quality American double for the day.
Cliff Swallow, St Mary's. Incredibly another was found in Suffolk later in the year but this was the smarter of the two ;-). Suffolk would have been cheaper of course - but not nearly as much fun! Bird of the month for September
Lesser Yellowlegs, St Mary's - my photo of the month for September
Seeing one Shrike always means it's a red-letter day, but two rarer members of the family in the same month was something to celebrate - especially when both the Woodchat (at Pirate's Cove near Weymouth) and the Lesser Grey Shrike (at Mountbatten near Plymouth) were so confiding.
Woodchat Shrike, Pirate's Cove
Lesser Grey Shrike, Jennycliff Beach
September produced some fine weather as well as some fine birds, and I made a few journeys to Portland during the month to look for migrants - the island can usually be relied on for seasonal scarcities like Rose-coloured Starling and Wryneck.
Rose-coloured Starling, Portland

Wryneck, Portland
Even Swineham had something to offer in September - an overdue patch tick in the form of a Great White Egret, and an approachable Kingfisher - common enough along the River Frome, but only rarely do they perch long enough for a photograph.

Great White Egret, Swineham

Kingfisher, Swineham
The final duo from September was extra special - my own sons, each seemingly taking an interest in wildlife photography. Rowan joined me on the trip to Scilly while they both tooled up with long lenses for a visit to Brownsea. I'm sad to report the passion for photography hasn't really lasted with either, but it was fun while it did, and may have sown the seeds of some future interest in this most absorbing of pastimes.

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