Sunday, 4 January 2015

Christmas Birding

Christmas 2014 duly arrived and the weather turned dry and clear and cold which at least meant some nice walks to burn off all the excesses of the season.

Prior to Christmas an adult ring billed gull was found on the boating lake at Goodrington in Torbay and so I headed off to have a look for it on the 23rd but I was out of luck. I did however have a nice walk along the coast from Goodrington to Broadsands, my first ever visit there, and I managed some very nice views of an occassionally noisey yellow browed warbler (my 4th of the year) that has been showing well in bushes by the car park for a while.

 Male Tufted Duck, Goodrington
 Male Mallard, Goodrington
 Female Mallard, Goodrington
Mallards, Goodrington

A walk around Burrator drew a blank for reported crossbills and the best birds on a walk around Stoke Point were around 100 golden plover feeding in fields and flying around calling, having been displaced by the frosty weather.

And so my original plan for 2014 was to look for new birds and birds I have only seen once or twice but it went out of the window when the year started so well with an excellent day out at Brixham where I saw white billed, great northern and black throated divers, red necked grebe, purple sandpiper and black guillemot, and so I decided to try and see 200 birds in England in the year instead. And I finished the year on 213 - not bad at all - although that total does include a great skua that I saw from the ferry between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, a ruddy shelduck (at best feral, at worst an escape), and less than ideal views of Arctic skua, barn owl, ring necked duck, bearded tit, Temminck's stint (a life tick), Ross's gull, hoopoe (a UK tick) and tree sparrow. I also had brief but good views of a dusky warbler (another life tick) but all in all it has been an amazing birding year although it has been exhausting at times.

 Who knows what 2015 birding will bring?

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