Monday, 2 January 2023

Year listing again

Every year I think this will be the year I don't make a year list and every year I'm proved wrong as the new year comes and my appetite to get out and start again is still there and this year is no different. I'd love a local patch that had a good variety of waders and some sea watching to keep me interested all year but being on the edge of London I always feel the need to get to the coast for the more favourable birding it offers.

My 2023 year listing started yesterday as I picked up the Jims and we headed north into Norfolk. Our first bird of the year was Barn Owl followed by Oystercatcher and Fulmar before we headed into Titchwell to rack up a few easy ticks and a couple a little more testing ones too. A stop at Brancaster eventually delivered a sighting of the Humes Leaf Warbler after having heard it for around an hour. We stopped at Holkham and scanned from the gate to find the Sea Eagle (IOW released bird G452) then the bird which is thought to be  being reported as Rough-legged Buzzard (A very very pale Common Buzzard) Then Great White Egret, Bewick's Swans and Russian White-fronted Geese were found before we moved on.

Our last stop was Stiffkey were we walked back towards Wareham finding both Marsh and Hen Harriers but our view of the Pallid Harrier was just too distant to be certain and with Dad having had enough walking for one day it remained too distant to tick. 

I ended the day on 82 species, a low count for day one but we'd given quite a lot of time to the Humes and trying to find the Pallid Harrier.

Today 2nd January I headed out locally alone over to the valley after first adding three year ticks in the garden with a fly over Lesser-black backed Gull, a Song Thrush and Ring-necked Parakeet. At the valley I added Jay before I reached the hide and I was lucky that the Bittern was showing as I entered the hide and gave good views until I left. A Sprawk and Little Grebe were seen before I left the hide and a Yellow-legged Gull sat on a post from the view point added another tick. There's been some talk of this gull locally but I think it's generally believed to be a YLG now. There's an adult Lesser-blacked gull with pink legs there too which is a bit odd and maybe has some Herring Gull blood too. 

Bittern at Lee Valley park

I walked around the lake and added Pochard and Greater Spotted Woodpecker to the year list. I was surprised not to add Water Rail and Kingfisher today but look forward to my first encounter with both at some point this year.

The 2023 total after two days is standing at 92

I got home to see news of the Little Swift in Eastbourne and as I made plans to travel for it I was  grateful for news that it had moved on so I didn't need to travel and this I suppose sums up this crazy hobby that I find so gripping.

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