Saturday, 31 December 2011

December 2011

I knew way before the turn of the month that December was going to be a ridiculously busy month with a build up of orders at work leading up to Christmas, and uni deadlines that needed to be completed before I broke up. If anything was found that I 'needed', I probably would'nt have been able to find the time to go. I did however have one Saturday (11th) free, where I decided to hit the East coast again. A good day in all; starting with another look at the Greater Yellowlegs at Cresswell Pond before it departed to the North. Followed by a very obliging Desert Wheatear which in time, approached me to less than 10ft allowing fantastic photo opportunities - exactly what I wanted! Returning to the car park a self-found (1w) Glaucous Gull put in a very brief appearance before heading South, a Tundra Bean Goose was near Woodhorn and the remainder of the day was spent watching the regular Great Grey Shrike and 3-4 stunning Short-eared Owls hunt till dusk.Once home for Christmas (20th) I then had plenty of time on my hands so spent the rest of the month loyal to my home county (Hants) cleared up on a few decent local scarcities that had been knocking around a while. First of which was the Cattle Egret at Warblington (21st), Red-necked Grebe flying out of Chichester Harbour and Purple Sandpiper at Southsea Castle (both 24th). Between the 27th and 31st I visited the Pennington area, Blashford Lakes and Beaulieu Road Station multiple times recceing in preperation for the New Years Day bird race. Highlights included Marsh Harrier, Bewick's Swan, Egyptian Goose, Smew, Yellow-legged Gull, Hen Harrier, Goshawk, Dartford Warbler and Hawfinch. Undoubtedly the most unexpected bird was an adult drake Ferruginous Duck on Spinnaker Lake (Blashford) that showed well amongst Pochard on the last day of the year and was infact a county tick for myself.

Almost the last report of the 2011 was of a Dark-eyed Junco in the New Forest, photographed by a non-birder who had sent a photo to the county recorder to identify. It has been there for at least 7 days so fingers crossed this is relocated in the New Year!!

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