Monday, 9 February 2009

2009 Year List. The story so far...

The year got off to a slow start with birds being added as seen from the house. Then a half hour visit to a local reservoir followed by a quick cuppa at my mum's house saw a grand total of 42 species for New Years Day.

Back to work on the 2nd but another 8 species were added including Sparrowhawk which was nice and a Wren was species number 50. It was while at work the Mega alert went off on my pager. Looks like im off to Cleveland in the morning!!

Midnight and I was round at my friend Mick Frosdick's house and off we went up the A1 on the way up to Cowpen Bewley near Billingham. A stop over near Peterborough to pick up 2 other birders that had driven from Norwich and we were off again. We arrived at 5am and tried to get some sleep which was easier said than done in a cold car by the side of the road with near constant traffic going to the local tip but we did manage to hear both Little and Tawny Owls!! But at 8am it was light enough to see birds so out we got and started searching.

A few year ticks were seen during the wait including a juvenile Glaucous Gull and just as we were giving up hope of seeing the bird in question people started running to their cars. It had been found round the back of the tip so with scenes like wacky races we drove round the corner where I jumped out of the car before it had even stopped and ran to where it was being seen.

After asking directions there it was an adult GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL only the 2nd for GB and the 4th for the WP (WesternPalearctic) and my first lifer of 2009 but after less than 10 minutes of viewing and people still arriving the flock of gulls it was in suddenly took off. Amazingly the G-WG was the only bird not to fly and was now the only bird on the deck! We all watched it for the next 20 minutes or so before 5 hours in the cold got too much.

A brief detour to Fairburn Ings RSPB in West Yorkshire on the way home turned out to be a great move with 6 more year ticks. These were a single Tree Sparrow on the visitor centre feeders followed by a female Bullfinch then a fly over pair of Goosander but it was the 5 Long-Eared Owls roosting around a small pond and a Willow Tit calling and showing briefly that were the highlights. Before today i'd only seen one of each of the owl and tit, the owl in 2002 and the tit way back in 1991!! The last bird of the day was a smart Peregrine.

So after 3 days the total stood at 73 species.

More to follow....

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