After a very succesful trip to South Africa with a total of 380 species seen my next trip abroad was a week later. I took a tour to the Oman with 208 species which included a Black Drongo in the desert on a farm as we looked for Sandgrouse. In fact I found all 4 types of Sandgrouse and thanks to a tip a decent flock of Golden Grossbeak. I have also been to Frampton Marsh and Slimbridge in December with lots of duck and geese. More importantly I have been busy with SPTA West as I am now the Chairman of the Conservation Group so quite a few meetings to say hello to people. I led a walk at the end of November around Fish Hook and saw 6 Woodcock. There were also quite a few Coal Tit and Goldcrest besides the numerous corvids and pigeons. There were also decent sixe flocks of Fiedfare with some Redwing mixed in. Only 16 species were recorded. In December however the wind was much stonger as we walked on the western edge by Bigbury Wood and Bishopstrow Down. The wind was very strong and most birds kept their heads down. There were however large flocks of Starling, Fieldfare and smaller flocks of Goldfinch and Linnet. A female Great Spotted Woodpecker did not seem to mind the wind at Bigbury Wood. Even in the deep gorse that provided shelter the only bird regularly heard was Blackbird. At least 19 species were recorded that beat November's sorry tally. The next day whilst on a survey at Bridge Site 3 a ringtail Hen Harrier flew right past heading west. There was also a Barn Owl hunting as well as a Buzzard displaying. The majority of birds were however corvids including 2 Raven. At home there seems to be a paucity of birds though the Coal Tit is frequently seen besides the normal suspects. Even the Starlin mumuration at Gore Cross is disappointing with numbers in thousands rather than tens of thousands. There is even only small numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plover. We require some cold weather across the country and NW Europe!