First of all a very happy new year to whoever reads blogs these days. The Christmas period has been a bit frustrating for me, there are ticks everywhere but it means a fair bit of driving and therefore lots of fuel. I have been very tempted with the Brunnichs Guillemot in Portland harbour, the White-billed Diver in Devon, Buff-breasted Pipit at Burton Marsh, Ivory Gull on the Humber and the recently found Arctic Redpoll in Worcestershire. Great birds for my life list but a lot of driving and lets face it the weather has been pretty rubbish, probably hence the great birds, but with lots of people visiting friends, family or the sales the roads are always very busy and the crap weather can lead to miserable driving. And then theres the fuel. I do have a birding buddy who I go out with but this is not that regular, that does make a difference on a long journey sharing the fuel. In fact we are both keeping an eye on the weather as Friday we are having a day out, at first it was to Rutland Water for the day however a few of the above birds could well be on the radar, I will tell more over the weekend.
To today and I would love to be out but the weather is pretty rubbish and I cannot drive due to the massive intake of alcohol last night therefore my year list will have to start proper tomorrow although I am keeping an eye on my feeders to see what comes in. Already I have had Blue and Great Tit, Robin, Wren, Dunnock and Blackbird. Easy birding. To be fair though I must not complain about the weather as this is the first January 1st that I have not been able to bird since I started birding in 1999, Ill take today on the chin and watch crap on the TV.
Whilst Im here I might as well catch up on the birding since Boxing Day.
27-12-13, Croxall GP.
I headed to the reserve to do a duck count. 474 Teal, 221 Mallard, 9 Great Crested Grebe, 83 Tufties, 89 Pochard, 12 Wigeon, 34 Coot, 3 Snipe and 6 Redshank.
75 Wigeon, 31 Coot, 19 Tufties, 111 Lapwing, 76 Golden Plover, Green Woodpecker and a Little Owl.
A trip over the border into Derbyshire to this great reserve. It is predominantly a summer reserve, great for warblers however it is always worth a visit anytime of the year. Birds noted were Bullfinch, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Tufties, Snipe, Merlin, Peregrine, Goosander, Gadwall and Shoveler.
Back down the A38 and I headed to Branston pits to see what was about. I noted 77 Coot, 62 Teal, 10 Gadwall, 8 Little Grebe, 15 Tufties, 1 only Pochard, 29 Mallard, 8 Wigeon, 1 Shoveler, 1 Little Egret, 17 Curlew and 5 Shelduck.
I spent the last hour back at old faithful and noted 18 Coot, 2 Goldeneye, 12 Tufties, 2 Teal, 79 Wigeon and 5 Redshank.
29-12-13 saw me do my favourite tour of the pits around Alrewas.
25 Mallard, 11 Great Crested Grebe, 17 Coot, 84 Tufties, 6 Goldeneye, 2 Smew (both redheads), 1 Pochard and 8 Teal.
Nothing special around the arboretum or Junction Pit so it was off to the regular patch. 27 Tufties, 232 Wigeon, 62 Teal, 3 Gadwall, 29 Coot, 800+ Lapwing, 2 Little Owls, 250+ Golden Plover and a bonus of 5 Ruff with some Lapwings.
30-12-13, Whitemoor Haye.
327 Wigeon, 27 Coot, 26 Tufties, 8 Mallard, 67 Teal, 1200+ Lapwing, 150+ Golden Plover and a Peregrine.
31-12-13, Whitemoor Haye.
229 Wigeon, 34 Coot, 19 Mallard, 19 Teal, 2 Goldeneye, 400+ Lapwing and 1 Little Owl.
That's 2013 all done and dusted. I ended up with 214 birds for the year, not bad for me but could have been better and I will definitely try harder this year. I didn't even tick Tawny Owl, heard a couple but none seen and thats the same with Bittern. Poor.
Anyway here's to 2014 and loads of birds.