I departed back to Uni in Cumbria on 21st where birding instantly took a back seat; the usual story. Before the month end I managed one day at Caerlaverock WWT (Dumfries) to film landing Whooper Swans that also yielded a drake Green-winged Teal on the Folly Pond.
Thursday, 31 January 2013
A new year starts with another bird race. Not the best we've ever done on January 1st with a number of common species that were still missing by early afternoon. Unfortunately once we had dragged ourselves away from the coast we knew it was pretty much game over and subsequently gave up afterwards. 111 ended up being our total. Most frustrating was a possible Red-necked Grebe off Normandy Marshes that was simply too distant to confidently ID. But as is always the way, once the bird race is over the next few days are typically productive; the Glossy Ibis returned from Stanpit (Dorset) to Bickerley Common (3rd) to join the also returning Great-white Egret. A Black-necked Grebe reappeared on Ibsley Water and the Bittern eventually gave itself up on Ivy Lake; not that any of these species were co-operative during the race. On the opposite side of the county 2 Scaup were at Hayling Oysterbeds with a dozen Black-necked Grebes in the harbour, with a further selection of seabirds off Sandy Point later that morning (4th). Presumably the same Red-breasted Goose I found at Needs Ore last winter returned as an adult to Farlington Marshes with the Brent (also 4th). A male Hen Harrier at Beaulieau Road Station (5th) was nice, as indeed was the suspiciously 'tame' redhead Smew in Romsey (6th). A good day out was had in the north of the county (7th) that yielded a number of scarce county residence; all of which I'll withhold for obvious reasons. The returning Ring-billed Gull was yet again at Walpole Park (9th); the Ibis still at Bickerley Common and Red-breasted Goose again at Farlington (both 10th). By now I had pretty much mopped up every bird species in the county.