Sunday, 1 January 2017

Wet start to 2017

We headed down to Dunge today as the weather guys forecast a little less rain in the south than further north although you wouldn't have noticed as it was grey and wet all day with a cold wind coming in off the sea too.

I picked up a Marsh Harrier as my first bird of the year before setting up for an early sea watch where conditions were poor with a sea mist hampering views. We did however pick up Red-throated Divers and a single Great Northern along with plenty of Gannets and Guillemots. Two Razorbill were a little harder to find but eventually gave themselves up to the scope between the waves and the sea also had good numbers of Great-crested Grebes and Cormorants. Three Brent Geese flew up and two Common Scoter flew down before two Great Skuas came in close to the shore bullying the Gulls. Turnstone and Oystercatcher flew down and we picked up the usual gulls too although the expected Kittiwake eluded us. As we packed up to leave another birder drove up and asked if we'd seen the Glaucous Gull which we hadn't so we followed him to the other end of the point were the Glauc was still sitting on the water to give an unexpected tick. At the fishing hut we managed to find both the adult and 1st winter Caspian Gulls.

At Lade we found the Slav Grebe but couldn't locate the Stonechat despite a good search in the rain along with a few other year listers. One guy gave nearly five hours up today without success despite the bird being reported three times between 9am and 2pm.

On the reserve the ticks included Tree Sparrow, Ring-necked Duck, Smew and Water Rail whilst a trip to Horsebones farm delivered Bewick Swan.

The days total reached 74 which was a real struggle in challenging conditions but at least we're up and running and looking forward to what the year will bring.

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