Saturday, 2 January 2016

New Years Day

Rather than our normal habit of heading south, usually to the Dawlish area, for New Years Day, we decided to head North, with the lure of a LEO being too strong. So it was at 4am that 4 (Mrs Gaze decided to go to bed instead) hardy (foolish) souls headed of for Chesire. We arrived at Burton Marsh around 8:30 with a number of species already in the bag (Mr Bell starting things off with a Robin at 3:50). A quick coffee at the road side overlooking the saltmarsh just west of the RSPB reserve before becoming amongst the first through the reserve doors at 9am.
The male Green-winged Teal was the first of the less common species to be picked up, followed by a group of 4 Ruff. Enquiries at reception informed us that the LEO hadn't been seen since Tuesday, but we were pointed in the general direction and we set off to see if we could refind it. Reaching the path to Inner Marsh Farm hide, we started working the Hawthorn bushes and in only the second, Bingo - 1 LEO - a tick for Mike and only Messers Bell and Hill's second sighting. Whilst we managed to get good looks at the bird, it kept its back to us. We got a couple of locals onto it (some had walked past) and very soon the path was filled with local birders out to year tick the Owl.
A scan of the swan flock feeding on the saltmarsh produced both Whoopers and a couple of Bewicks, and the strange sight of a pair of Goosander in a small pond.
From Burton Marsh we travelled down to Dudley, for the Hoope that has been in residence for the past month, picking it up quickly - though it was surprisingly well camouflaged in the dead vegetation. As usual we didn't all get onto everything, but with 75+ species in the bag it was a great New Years Day birding with the boys, with some good species to get under the belt so early in the year.

Pics to be added by the others.

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