It didn't bother with day racing on New Years day this year, but planned a two day stint in Norfolk from the 2nd with Dan Houghton and Alan Butler. It took all day but we eventually saw the Lesser White-fronted Goose at Cantley with Taiga Beans in fading light. The 2nd day in Norfolk was much more enjoyable but no sign of the Harrier to start off with. An Iceland Gull at Brancaster Staithe, Snow Buntings at Titchwell, 2 Rough-legged Buzzards at Holkham Pines and drake American Wigeon at Cley East Bank. And finally a quick dash back to Thornham Marshes at dusk got us the views of the Northern Harrier we wanted - you wouldn't think so looking at the photo!!
My first outing in Hants was to the west for a Ring-necked Parakeet which was a cheap county tick. As I was nearby I stopped in at Cutbridge for the Lapland Buntings and Downton for the juvenile White-tailed Eagle. Unbelievably this is the second individual in the county in less than 4 years!!
Late on the 13th I received a call from Josh Jones telling me to look at the images on Dominic Mitchell's Blog of a large Gull he had photographed that day. Alarm bells started ringing as I agreed it looked good for a Slaty-backed Gull. Although Gull experts may find one or two things wrong with it, I still think it is within variation to be the real deal. So the next day saw me up early scanning the gulls at Rainham Marshes. I hadn't been there too long when I got my first flight view of it. Another hour passed and it appeared again, settling on the dump where everyone there obtained decent scope views.
I was back in Hants again at the end of January for filming with the BBC to feature in their regional edition of 'Inside Out'. They wanted footage of the White-tailed Eagle and so thats what Simon Ingram and I gave them...eventually. Also that weekend was Bittern at Blashford Lakes, 2 Scaup at Titchfield Haven, 50 Waxwings in Totton, Red-breasted Goose off Solent Breezes, Ring-billed Gull at Walpole Park and Black Redstart at Sandy Point.