Saturday, 11 January 2020

Birding in 2020

Hope you all had a good Christmas and we wish you all a Happy New Year with plenty of  great birding and wildlife experiences.

I hadn't realised we had gone so long without updating the blog, though I have to say the end of 2019 didn't give us very much in the way of new species. Also with Jackie being somewhat hampered with her mobility our year list was a little less than it has been for years.  So it's not surprising that Jackie decided this year we would make more of an effort to see a larger number of birds.  

As usual, like many birders, the 1st of January is the start date and it's a full on birding day.  Though this year the weather started fine and deteriorated in the afternoon but by that time we had headed towards home, we had a list of 70 species so not a bad start to the years birding.  

Unlike the winning bird race team which put in some real effort and saw 129 species a few days later we do take things a little more sedately.  We usually challenge ourselves to try and see 100 species in the first week of the new year but this year we ended the week needing five species but managed the 102 by the end of the eighth day so not too bad.  Now thinking about things we didn't visit that many locations so if the weather had been better on the 1st we would have finished with a better total.  The location we visited were Maiden Castle, Camp Road Wyke Regis, Osprey Quay, Chesil Cove, Portland Bill, Radipole, Lodmoor and Waddock Cross cressbeds then back to Norden when the rain came in, so it was a quick pop to Arne for coffee and to checkout the feeders.  Our highlights of the day were Great Northern Diver in Portland Hbr, 4 Red-throated Diver flying past Portland Bill and a pair of Black Redstart at Chesil Cove.
Awful crpped flyby shot four Red-throated Diver pas Portland Bill
On the 5th we decided to return to the Weymouth area but due to a traffic took a back route via Tincleton which turned out beneficial as we found a Cattle Egret amongst twelve Little Egrets in a cattle field at Bockhampton.  This kind of started our day as it turned into a heron species day as from Tincleton we headed down to Abbotsbury Swannery, then along Barn Road to Langton Herring and checked off two Great White Egret feeding in a grass field. Then on to Ferrybridge and yet again once we arrived at Lodmoor the weather closed in so we ended our day early yet again.
Imm. Cattle Egret Bockhampton © Nick Hull
The next outing was leading a group at Studland on the 7th starting at South Haven and Shell Bay then looking into the harbour before heading up to the Brand's Bay Hide.  The day left us four species short of our hundred challenge highlights were Slavonian Grebe, Black-necked Grebe and Firecrest. 

Next day (8th) we had another group this time at Blashford Lakes by the end of the morning we hit 102 species. Adding Greylag Goose, Long-tailed Duck,  Goldeneye, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and  Siskin.

Though there is at least another 30 species out there to get. In the evening we joined the Birds of Poole Harbour event and added Jack Snipe and Woodcock, two very nice birds to add to our year list.
Terry Elborn (SRG) Paul Morton (BoPH) plus Common & Jack Snipe © Nick Hull
Aging of Woodcock being carried out and explained © Nick Hull

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