Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Ring-necked Duck

The new year always brings a new excitement to the birding. Standing in the kitchen window, as the sun comes up on New Years Day, waiting for that first year tick. Then two or three days of rushing around trying to find all those birds that you have ignored for the rest of the year. It is almost as bad as twitching but it is difficult not to get sucked in.

New Years Day always used to be a trip down to Gosport to say hello to Waldo the Ring-billed Gull. He had been returning there for so long that you always felt that you needed to get him early in the year just in case he died of old age. Now he is no longer there, the day seems strangely empty.

In memory of Waldo

Anyway Dave and I entered into the usual tick gathering exercise. Bird numbers seen were reasonable but picture opportunities were very limited. We saw the eight Cattle Egrets in the fields at Warblington. Great to see but not much chance of a good picture.

Cattle Egret

Pagham Harbour had the birds but again all very distant. The best picture opportunity being this Curlew with crab.

Curlew and crab

We had a trip down to Dungeness that proved a bit disappointing. The Long-eared Owl was not in its usual roost and we wasted hours in searching for the Stejneger's Stonechat. Dave eventually got a distant glimpse but I must have been the only person there that did not get to see it.

A Stonechat but not the Stejneger's

Best bird of the day for me was the Ring-necked Duck on the pond just by the entrance to the RSPB at Bolderwall Farm. This is the first Drake that I have seen.

Ring-necked Duck

and Kestrels everywhere

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