Saturday 3 January 2015

Green-winger to start the year

Another year on the patch begineth.....

I tried to start my year-list yesterday but a heavy sleet shower had me heading for home and hot soup, I am still not re-acclimatized from Costa Rica.

I headed back out today and visited the far flung corners of the patch, hoping to turn up some winter goodies. I managed 24 species yesterday, the highlight was a fly-by turnstone - a tricky bird at Druridge. I was keen to add to my total.

I headed north into the dunes, finding grey partridge and reed buntings and then a mixed flock of 300 or more goldfinches and greenfinches, with a single linnet amongst them. Three whooper swans flew south over my head as set off off along the haul road. More reed buntings were found along the track, but their cousin the yellowhammer was nowhere to be seen.

Male reed bunting in the dunes

female-type reed bunting along the track
At the Preceptory, a pair of kestrel were hanging about with the jackdaws.

Chibburn Preceptory - always worth checking
Headed towards the farm, a stock dove flew over, which I was pleased about as these can be very tricky too. I then got a tweet from Jonathan Farooqi telling me there was a green-winged teal on the Budge fields. A good bird which I was glad to hear about, but I won't get the three 'finders points' on the PWC.

A fly-over great-spotted woodpecker was a bonus over the cottages on my way to the Budge screen. When I got there the Yankee teal was asleep in the grass.

green-winged teal in the centre of the shot
A couple of bird-race teams popped by to see it whilst I was there, they were cagey about their scores, understandably. I was a bit envious of them, I used to really enjoy the winter bird race, but it clashes so often with the Toon playing, that I can't commit and therefore don't have a team (although after today's performance, I should maybe rethink my priorities).

No sign of New Years Eve's pintails sadly.

I had a look on the sea but it was quiet, with only red-throated divers of note.

So I started the year with a respectable 51 species and my first scarcity in green-winged teal.

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