As suspected, there was no sign of the Junco all day, but come the 2nd the weather was almost perfect, though still quite breezy. And so it was no surprise that the Junco was refound again in the clearfell area beyond the car park mid-morning. We had to wait a few hours before it's next showing but once pinned down it was quite easy to locate thanks to its continual 'tikking'. Crossbill were numerous here, a male Hen Harrier flew infront of my car enroute and a Short-eared Owl was accidentally flushed from the clearfell.
Other in county highlights at the beginning of the month included Cattle Egret at Warblington, Ring-billed Gull at Walpole Park, and Sandwich Tern in Gosport (all 4th), Dan Houghton's Siberian Chiff-chaff at Newlands Farm (7th), finished with another look at the Junco, with Great Grey Shrike and Hen Harrier down the road at Bishop's Dyke (8th).
Emma and I then spent an enjoyable 4 days in Marrakech, Morocco with a couple of excursions into the Atlas Mountains etc, for a short break together. Not many birds were seen but Moussier's Redstart, White-crowned Black Wheatear and Laughing Dove were particularly nice even if they aren't that unusual out there.
However I was eager to return as the night before we flew out I was informed of an adult male Spanish Sparrow that had taken up residency at Calshot. Unbelievably, this was the second wintering mega to be found in Hampshire in as many weeks and so come the 13th, I was up well before the 'Sparrow's fart' waiting in anticipation of what would be a truly amazing county tick. An hour after dawn the bird showed briefly in the back garden before relocating to the hedgerow along the road where it showed ridiculously well. I managed one shot with my camera before the battery died. D'oh!! But enjoyed cracking views of this striking bird. No doubt he'll still be around when I return from Uni in the spring so I'll make sure my batteries are charged and will hopefully improve on my current effort: The rest of the day was spent birding with 1-2 female Black Redstarts in their traditional area around Fawley Power Station, 2 Black-necked Grebes were unusual for here just offshore. The Black-throated Diver was at Eling Tide Mill and a Whooper Swan joined the 6 Bewick's and 200+ Mute Swans at Harbridge. 2 hours in the hide at Ivy Lake eventually got me the Bittern as the light began to fade.