Monday, 2 January 2012
A SLOW START TO THE BIRDING YEAR.
I picked Marc up at just before 7.00 a.m. yesterday with hopes not too high regarding our day's total. Heathy had already had an unsuccessful search for Long Eared Owls and we decided to start the session at Oar Farm in the hope of connecting with the long-staying BEWICK SWANS. We passed Chris and Matt Hindle in the semi-darkness and managed to see the birds just before they flew out. Driving down to the towers we couldn't find the wintering BLACK REDSTART and strolled down to Cold Harbour with a few usual suspects found although we did struggle to find any Linnets. Fortunately, we added SPOTTED REDSHANK happily feeding in the Oyster Farm and managed to photograph a very obliging Stonechat. At Cold Harbour we had our customary coffee break, it's the law and met Alex and Julian Perry who had an early start and had found a few species we had missed notably Barn Owl and Buzzard. Strolling back we added a few new birds - Heathy heard a BEARDED TIT and we managed to find the BLACK REDSTART flitting around on the rocks by the towers. After a quick snack we strolled down West Brook valley adding Chiffchaff, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Goldcrest. We finished up at Minnis Bay where Matt and Chris had previously had a GREAT SKUA. 30+ Great Crested Grebe and a few Red Throated Divers were loitering on the sea. We failed to find the Bar-Tailed Godwit but as the rain came down more steadily the 3 SNOW BUNTINGS flew over our heads. Reflecting on the day it was obviously very different from last year with Shorelark, Hooded Crow and Lapland Bunting all available. However, a good day and here we go again with 180 species the target this year.