Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Today And The Past Year

Spent most of today in the field, which is the first time I've done that for weeks!

This morning, the Axe Estuary Ringing Group had an outing at Colyford Common, we remained here 'til just after midday. In all we caught 38 birds, nothing outstanding, and as the weather was soooooo cold there are no 'in-hand' photos as we wanted to let the little critters go as soon as possible. I had a stomp around the new reedbed area whilst others were processing some birds; 11 Snipe, one Green Sand and one Water Rail the results. On the actual common there were at least ten Rock Pipits, a lovely Water Pipit and another six Snipe. It was REALLY REALLY cold today, most the frost remained 'til it got dark again tonight! Here are some scenic snaps....

Proper chilly today!

After a bite to eat and a spot of shopping I headed out again to have a look over the fields alongside the A3052 west of Tower Servies. Despite several hundred Lapwings dotted about I could only find a single Golden Plover. A single flock of about 250 Redwing was nice to see.

Gulls had all my attention for the rest of the afternoon, I couldn't find anything scarce though. At the moment Ferrybridge have somewhere in the region of 150 Med Gulls, so I think it is somewhat unfair that I could only rustle up six! Two adults, a second-winter and a first-winter were in the Gull roost off Seaton Hole, then a look along the estuary revealed two more adults.

2008 summary

So it is the end of 2008, and the patch has produced some excellent birding and some cracking birds. My personal fave....hmmmm....dunno! I love Gulls, so to finally get Glaucous Gull on my Axe list was very pleasing indeed, plus it was a right brute! The Glonk isn't the Gull that could be my bird of year though, but the stunning juv Sabine's Gull which basically knocked me for six on 6th October is a serious contender!

The only pic I managed of it - a real stunner!

Although we've not had that many actual rares this year, there has been lots of unusual sights for the patch. A flock of 22 Woodlark (never seen one here before), some close and really showy spring Roseate Terns (only ever seen one here before), lots of decent raptors (Red Kites and Ospreys galore!), some superb seawatching fit for a headland and some exciting 'vis mig' sessions. Along with the Glonk and Sabine's, the other patch ticks for me this year included a fly-over Dotterel and a gorgeous dark juv Honey Buzzard (a bird I well and truly earned after all my sky scanning!).

Unlike most the other local birders I didn't yearl ist this year. Well I started, but got bored by about May! I did just have a tot up and my final total stands at 185. This is a long way off my total last year of 197 (a patch record!) but I'm still pleased with it. Easy(ish) birds I missed included Garden Warbler, Ring Ouzel, Puffin, Slav Grebe, Long-tailed Skua and a Hen Harrier or two....

Right folks, time for some celebrations to begin! I wish everybody a HAPPY NEW YEAR, let's hope 2009 is stuffed full of action packed birding in the Seaton area! Best wishes to everyone.

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