January 2009. A Cracking New Year!
Written by Jos   

Pine Grosbeak

The year just hours old, a Raccoon Dog scampered across the road. Dawn had just broken, a Middle Spotted Woodpecker appeared in a tree. While most the world still slept off celebrations, mine were just beginning - primarily with a flock of Pine Grosbeaks, a major rarity in the Baltic States. In a New Year excursion, taking in Latvia and Estonia and adding Hazel Grouse, over 800 Steller's Eiders, several White-tailed Eagles and rafts of seaduck that numbered in their thousands, it was already looking to be an excellent year in the making.

Later, White-backed Woodpecker on my feeders, a trip across to Sweden for Europe's eighth ever Yellow-browed Bunting, plus Oriental Turtle Dove and Hawk Owl, the month just got better and better!


Last Updated ( Sunday, 18 July 2010 )
Oman & United Arab Emirates. Introduction.
Written by Jos   

Little Green Bee-eater


A trip of contrasts. Chalk and cheese, eighteen days from 12-29 December 2008, four in the United Arab Emirates, the remainder in Oman. Throughout, amazing birds and stunning desert backdrops. Crab Plover, Grey Hypocolius, Yemen Serin, Socotra Cormorant, names that just conjure up the magic of this little travelled corner of Arabia. In a trip that exceeded my expectations, 5960 km of travel left me in awe of the birds seen in such abundance - tens of thousands of waders on the vast Barr Al Hickman tidal flats, Arabian specials in Dhofar, Desert Warblers and sandgrouse in the remote desert oasis, plenty more in the northern mountains.


Last Updated ( Friday, 10 April 2009 )
December 2008. Rain in Lithuania, sun in Oman.
Written by Jos   

What disgusting weather in Lithuania to start the month off, rain, rain and more rain!

Crab PloverIn the first days, I did see a wet and bedraggled flock of 40 Waxwings in the city centre and manage a quick visit to Baltoji Voke, but the rain and low temperatures did little to encourage further outings. Come the weekend of the 6th and 7th, however, I decided it was time to venture out again - not only would this be my last weekend in Lithuania of the year, but I had inklings that a good bird or two might be lurking on Dusia Lake in the far south. Velvet Scoters, both Red-throated and Black-throated Divers, large numbers of Waxwings, the trip was impressive.

With no change in the weather though, fortunately I left Lithuania on the 11th for sunny Oman - a very nice trip indeed. Perfect weather, brilliant birds and splendid desert backdrops. With Socotra CormorantYemen Serin and Great Knot as the primary targets of the trip, with Crab Plover, Grey Hypocolius and Eversmann's Redstart as much desired too, I criss-crossed this fantastic corner of Arabia for 17 days, seeing birds in abundance at every turn. Wonderful days from start to finish.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 28 March 2009 )
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