5 Jan 2011

Happy New year.

2011 started with milestone birthday for me and the chance to try out a new camera. As usual not I didn't do much on New Years day but a walk along the seafront with the family and of course Molly produced a few good birds with Brambling, Hen Harrier and Pinkfooted Goose all being seen. We also had a Brambling near the house and I managed a quick record shot before it flew off.

Stanney Woods was the next port of call on the 2nd and a Woodcock was present along with the Redpoll flock - including at least one Mealy. A phone call from Chris Williams had me hurrying home for a rapidly arranged trip to Hilbre after the high tide. Amazingly, on the way to pick him up, I spotted 3 Waxwings in a tree adjacent to the M53 motorway! A good move and an ideal way to blow away some of the cobwebs. The 3rd saw us back on Hilbre in the dark as we decided to stay over the tide and do some seawatching. Our efforts were rewarded with good numbers of both Scaup and Goldeneye along with the more regular species including a solitary male Common Scoter.

As usual the Brents kept us entertained and there are quite a few juveniles amongst the flock and they stick around in family groups as the photo's below show.

Good views of waders were obtained as we drove on to the island as the tide flooded and I managed a sequence of shots of a Curlew eating a Periwinkle  - I'd never associated Curlews with eating mollusc's before, especially still in the shell!

Passerines were scarce but a few Song Thrushes and Robins passed through with 4 Song Thrushes dropping in at the north end around midday.

Purple Sandpipers numbers are relatively low but as usual the birds show pretty well.

Not all work at the Observatory involves recording numbers and species in the cold.  Energy levels have to be kept up so the occasional fry-up is in order - the 3rd was no exception with the Chairman keeping his troops fed with bacon, cranberry & brie rolls before braving the cold again.

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