30 Dec 2010

Farewell to the first decade of the 21st Century!

Its amazing how quickly the year end has come once again. Not only the year end but the end of a decde. Milder weather saw Obs members heading to Hilbre for a few hours yesterday. Amazingly the sea was virtually devoid of birds with just a few disntant Great-crested Grebes and some flypast Scaup to show for our efforts. On the passerine front Blackbirds and Song Thrushes predominate with one elderly Thrush returning after being ringed on the Island during the winter 2009. The Brent Geese numbers are still fluctuating but there are three colour ringed birds still amongst the flock.

The only other photo oppurtunity in dull overcast conditions was provided by an Grey Heron that posed for visitors to the Island before deciding the shoreline provided better feeding oppurtunities.

No sign of the local Peregrine but plenty of evidnece that its been busy with 'kills' of Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot and Redshanks scattered around the island and foreshore.

So, with the end of the year nigh what did 2010 hold birdwise?
It was an interesting year both locally and nationally with a few good birds 'unblocked' - including Marmora's Warbler (I'd already seen the 1982 bird whilst!), Lesser Kestrel, Northern Parula, American Bittern, Pied-billed Grebe and, unbelievably, what could turn out to be Britain's 2nd Alder Flycatcher! Four of the above were 'lifers' for me!

Other good birds for me included both Sykes & Eastern Olivaceous Warblers on the British mainland. Both species I've failed to connect with on numerous previous occasions.

The autumn was pretty good and the annual Shetland jaunt certainly produced some quality birds. The star bird for me was a Red-flanked Bluetail in Kergord plantation. Sitting quietly at a respectable distance the bird soon got used to our presence and actually settled 1 m above my head at one stage. Although I once again failed to connect with either of the rare locustella warblers the trip was well worth it and I'm already planning next years jaunt. Our flights and accommodation are already booked!

For sheer star quality though the Northern Parula takes some beating. Watching this little gem feeding only a few metres away with Paul & Vicky Wren being the only other birders present was superb.

Once gain the Wirral sea-watchers 'A' team took an international trip. This time to the Canaries to look for White-faced Storm Petrel with spectacular success. 21 were logged between Lanzarote and Gran Canaria and we also saw two Little Shearwaters on the return from La Gomera to Tenerife. With the team scoring with the other endemics it was a fantastic trip with great company. Who knows next year?
Despite a slow start some good birds were seen in Cheshire and on the Wirral this year although events conspired against me to ensure I missed some good birds on Hilbre Island - namely Nightingale, Yellow-browed Warbler and Great Grey Shrike. I did catch up with Woodlark, Slavonian Grebe and Lapland Bunting - all scarce birds in the county.

Late Autumn also saw a Waxwing invasion and we managed to find our share. The first county birds of the year for me were in my garden followed by several other small parties of self found birds.

So heres to 2011 and what ever it may bring!

1 comment :

johnnicklin345 said...

Hi Phil

You certainly had a more exciting year than me for rarities.
The best bird that I could manage was a Lapland Bunting at The Old Colliery Site at Ffynnongroyw,but strangely the bird that gave me the most pleasure in 2010 was a Common Jay at Llyn Penrhyn on Anglesey.
I've been Birding there since the age of 7,which is a full 43 years,and I've never previously recorded one there,making it the preverbial 'Lifer'

Cheers Denzil