2 Jan 2010

Happy New year.

Well 2010 is here. A late night celebrating with the family whilst having a barbeque meant the early hours of New Years day were spent tidying up the debris. Great fun but bitterly cold.

Spending a couple of hours in the garden enabled me to log a good number of species both within the confines and flying over including 3 Bullfinches on the sunflower hearts, Sparrowhawk & Pied Wagtail.

Most of my birding was done locally with some real surprises - as usaul the stubble fields were heaving with the usual suspects but 10 Skylarks were  fantastic local total. Nearby a cold weather movement resulted in 300+ Lapwings on the winter wheat but best of all there were 5 Golden Plover amongst them.

Just before New Years Eve I found a Jack Snipe in a marshy corner of one of the local fields. The farmer has left the whole corner fallow for several years as its been to wet to plough. Sure enough the Jack Snipe was there again New years day.

New Years Eve saw me on the N Wirral coast looking for a recently reported Black Redstart. Unfortunately there was no sign but the bird below gave me a surprise flying overhead!

A quick look at the rocks below Wirral Coast Guards revealed a few waders but no Purple Snadpipers although there were plenty at Hilbre today. Other good Hilbre birds included Red-throated Diver, Rock Pipit, Red-breasted Merganser and Common Scoter as well as a good selection of waders.

Interesting to see someone from the Wirral has posted a Cheshire Year List on the Focalpoint Forums including some pretty scarce birds which it appears no one else saw or even heard about including Dotterel and Lapland Bunting! The list also includes White-fronted Goose (one was reported at Gilroy but turned out to be a Greylag hybrid being the same size as a Greylag and no where near as small as a Whitefront), Red-crested Pochard, Balearic Shearwater, Great-white Egret, Long-eared Owl and Turtle Dove but doesn't include Terek Sandpiper (claimed at West Kirby Marine Lake) or Red-necked Phalarope of which there were two on the Wirral. None of these birds have been reported through the bird information services but as the list also includes the short staying Ring-necked Duck its obvious the birder involved got the details through one of the networks. It's just a shame he didn't report his birds for others to enjoy......................

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