Saturday, 31 December 2016

Xmas birding

For the first time in a long while, I didn't spend Christmas back in Suffolk, meaning I missed out on one of the birding highlights of my year - a Christmas Eve hike along the Stour and Orwell. However, a trip back for my grandma's 103rd birthday on the 27th allowed me to snatch two brief trips out, bagging a Great Northern Diver and 3 Slav Grebes at Holbrook Creek and a Common Scoter on the Strand. Back in Newark, a Chiffchaff in a neighbours garden on Boxing Day was the best I could muster!

Today was a last day of patching for 2016. I had planned to go out yesterday as well, but as the fog didn't lift all day I power-washed the patio instead... Not expecting to add anything to my total (but remainign vigilant in the hope of a Merlin), I did some light reccy'ing for tomorrow, with a redhead Smew on Ferry Lane Lake best - hopefully it will stick!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Better luck at the landfill

After yesterday's complete failure at Cotham Landfill yesterday, I had a slightly more successful visit this morning, eventually finding a 1st W Caspian Gull. Once my feet had turned to ice blocks I had to give up.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Scaup but no Smew

At the weekend, Mark Dawson had a redhead Smew at Girton on the A1133 Pit. I had a look there today (mainly to do my WeBS count a few days late), butt couldn't find it; however, there is plenty of marginal willow for a Smew to hide in, so there's a fair to middling chance it's still there. I had more luck at Spalford Pit, where I found a 1st W female Scaup.

After Girton, I could only fit in a brief visit in to Collingham, checking Ferry Lane Lake without seeing anything of note. I'd had a trawl round the patch last Sunday (after a gap of two weeks), but again couldn't find much to write home about (although Cetti's Warbler and Water Rail were both being vocal). With second-hand rumours of a 'large brown owl' hunting along the floodbank (presumably a Short-eared Owl) and Waxwings (with Fieldfares) a couple of days before, seen by a dog-walker (via Mark Dawson) I'd been hoping for more...

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Derbyshire Dusky

Having seen the Ramsgate Dusky Thrush a couple of years ago I wasn't unduly panicked about seeing the one currently hanging out in Beeley, although it did seem like an idea to get it for insurance purposes just in case the latter doesn't survive a future review (what with those rufous feathers it was sporting...). 

So today was dedicated to achieving that objective. Well over two hours after arriving, the bird was finally pinned down in one of the fields behind the barn, where it showed for a prolonged period - albeit at some range. Whilst it had shown more closely in the orchards earlier in the day, I was glad I'd missed the worst of the chaos - although a collapsed drystone wall remained as evidence...

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Gulls - downs and ups

I wasted Saturday morning at Cotham Landfill; the tip wasn't working, and those gulls that were present were sat out of view on the plateau. I found somewhere to view them from, but all were Herrings and GBBGs. In the afternoon, I did the patch, without seeing much until the end. However, there was a 1st W Med Gull in the roost; the only large gulls were 13 LBBGs and 2 GBBGs

1st W Med Gull