Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The BIG one (2011)

Although not exactly an amazing year for rare birds (for me anyway) i did have some amazing times, and this post is here to summarise it all!
My year started on the 1st (obviously) with a trip into the Wyre, to see the HAWFINCH'S that were showing, in a few hours i counted 5 birds! The 3rd was a trip to Slimbridge where the year list took a BIG bump Upwards, Many highlights from the day,LESSER SCAUP,2 GREATER SCAUP, SMEW, and nearly 600 WHITE-FRONTED GEESE! amongst hundreds of Waterbirds! 8th was at Upton Warren, where we saw 3 WAXWING's, 13th i found a flock of 42 WAXWING's while on my dinner break at school in Gornal! 14th we visited Stubbers Green and Chasewater, a Cracking Drake SMEW and 7 Goldeneye being the highlights! 22nd- Trimpley Res, 2 WAXWING's were feeding in the car park and 56 Mandarin and 13 Goosander were on the river!
Stubbers Green on 4th got me an ICELAND GULL and a few other gull year ticks, 5th saw me seeing a flock of 10 Goosander at Upton warren (the reserve record!) and 12th i had a Pink-Footed Goose at the same locality. On 15th Sheepwash had 40 Goosander!, Back to Upton on 18th, for better views of the Pink-Footed Goose, as well as the first returning Oystercatcher and Avocet! Upton again for 19th for a Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet and Pink-foot goose again. Also on 19th, we had 4 WAXWINGS in Kidderminster, and a flock of 30 at Finstall near Bromsgrove.
20th Revealed a patch revelation, 3 BRAMBLINGS were in the lickhill birchwood!, A Crossbill and 2 Mealy Redpoll were also on Patch!
21st saw a female Brambling still in the wood, and an increase in Siskin Numbers! Also that day, we paid homage to the Drake RED-BRESTED MERGANSER at Bittell, on 22nd a Brambling came into the Garden, as well as 15 Lesserpoll, 50 Siskin and 20 Goldfinch. 3 BRAMBLINGS were still in the nearby birchwood, as well as a early BLACKCAP.
25th revealed a flock of 48 WAXWINGS in the birchwood for about an hour feeding on mistletoe berries, sometimes in the same scope view as 2 BRAMBLING!
Later that day, we headed into the Wyre for 4+ HAWFINCH, 6 BRAMBLING and 2 DIPPER.
26th there was 2 BRAMBLING in the Garden with a single Lesser Redpoll.
By 5th 10 BRAMBLING were in the Birchwood, as well as quite a large accompanying Finch flock, on 6th there was 14 BRAMBLING, on 12th there was our first multiple sighting of BRAMBLING in the garden.
18th saw a 2nd Summer MEDDITTERANEAN GULL at Upton, and also a stunning drake GOLDENEYE. 19, The Med gull remained and i also saw a Jack snipe. 27th saw the largest recorded flock of Brambling on the patch, with a staggering 24+ birds!
2nd saw my first SWALLOW of the year! 2 Bramblings remained in Garden.
Also on 2nd, the pink-footed goose was still at Upton, the Avocet flock had shot up to 17, there was 8 LRP, a Blackwit, the Med Gull and my first Common Tern of the year.
3rd saw 14 Brambling still on the patch.
On 9th, a flock of 6 Brambling were in the Garden!
Again on 9th, we saw the Med Gull at upton, but joining it was also 2 near summer plumaged adult LITTLE GULLS! 19 Avocet was a huge number!
10th Was the 'Bloggers day out in Staff's' with any highlights, Great Grey Shrike, Red kite, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Wheatear and Stonechat amongst others!
My first Lesser and Common Whitethroat came on 19th and on 22nd we wandered into the Wyre, 5+ Redstarts, 8+ WOOD WARBLER and a male PIED FLYCATHER being the highlights among many Warblers. By 23rd Nesting was underway at upton, But passage had only just started (again) and a Dunlin was on show. the 29th and 30th at Upton was potentially the weekend this year, a WOOD SANDPIPER, a Greenhank and a WHIMBREL were showing on 29th, on 30th while at the Moors pool, i saw a flock of 27 fly over BAR-TAILED GODWITS!!! combined with the single that was still at the flashes that made 28 for the day, a reserve and county (?) record, the WOOD SANDPIPER and WHIMBREL remained, and 2 ARCTIC TERN were on the moors!
30th at Earswood saw 2 ARCTIC TERN aswell as a showy Mandarin.
1st: My first Swift.
6th, i found 9 Mandarin on the patch at blackstone! and 3 Goosander, also the next day 5 Mandarin and 3 Goosander.
7th at Earlswood i found 2 summer plumaged adult LITTLE GULLSand an ARCTIC TERN!
on 14th I twitched the BLACK-NECKED GREBE at Bittell.
An amazing find for Matt G (the Earlswood Blog) saw me seeing a NIGHT HERON at Earlswood on 21st after a very long wait. Cheers Matt
27th: A female Mandarin with 11 chicks on the patch!
(The next bit is over the 2 months but i will put it all in june)
June: on 31st May, At Stackpole head in wales we saw 3 WHIMBREL fly in off the sea! as well as getting out usual wales birds such as the iconic Chough!
On 2nd we visited Strumble head, and saw 400+ Manx Shearwaters offshore, 3 Puffin flew past as well as large numbers of Many Seabird species (no odd species though)
Now came my Highlight of the year, on 12th, i found 3 LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER and i was able to get some superb views over the next few weeks of them on feeders or in Tree's, and the fact they bred at the site made my year! Great Birding!
On 26th I found another female Mandarin on the patch with 3 Chicks, these went on to fledge while the 11 chicks were all predated!
2nd: 2 Redstart were showing at Upton, and an amazing flock of 12 Blackwits! On 12th I found a stunning male WHINCHAT at Sheepwash, which i also have down as one of my better birds of the year. on an Urban patch!!
On 23rd a Little Egret roosted at Upton. On 30th there was 2 Little Egrets at Upton, and an adult MED GULL roosted with the leg ring 5P5.
5th Female Mandain with 2 fledged young on the patch, on 6th the female LESSER-SPOTTED WOODPECKER re-appears at the site briefly! and at Earlswood later in the day, a juv Dunlin shows amazingly well! The roost at Upton that evening had a 1st winter MED GULL.
on 14th a RUFF was at Upton.
On 19th i had amazing views of a Hobby on the patch. 22nd saw another Sheepwash Mega, a juv Greenshank! on 26th i twicthed the Chelmarsh ARCTIC SKUA and was left with good impressions of this location!
on 30th I returned to Chelmarsh, and had MUCH better views of the ARCTIC SKUA closer in, aswell as 63+ Goosander! 30th we also went to Upton, where we saw 2 Spotted Flycatcher. Slimbridge on 31st saw me seeing a juv CURLEW SANDPIPER amongst the Esturine Waders.
Started well on 3rd, when i had great perched views of a juv BLACK TERN at upton. On 4th, i caught up with the shenstone BLACK REDSTART on my 2nd try (Good find JK!) which shown quite well! 10th i was back at upton to see a Juv ARCTIC TERN with the company of my Girlfriend, on 12th we struck lucky againat Sheepwash, when I found 2 ARCTIC TERN and a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER! on 17th, i again saw 2 ARCTIC TERN at upton on Amys Marsh.
18th i again popped into Shenstone for another look at the BLACK REDSTART, which again showed well!
A juv RUFF was briefly on the patch on 1st, my only patch first of the year! before flying off North upriver, Another Sheepwash Mega on 3rd with a Wigeon! Upton on 15th had a Pintail and 3 Common Gull (thats a good number at upton!) On 26th, we headed back down to Slimbridge, where we saw the first returning winter visitors, 3 Bewick Swans, 31 White fronted geese, An AVOCET and a CURLEW SANDPIPER were welcomed additions to the day! Our visit coencided with a rare Wheatear being found, so we went down for a look.
The PIED WHEATEAR shown superbly throughout the time i was there! An obliging rarity!, a northern Wheatear and a Merlin were also noted here!
on 30th i saw a very late SWALLOW on the patch, as well as 2 Goosander, Mandarin and Little Grebe.
A visit to the site revealed a brief look at the male LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER after a long absense!
11th saw me seeing 2 1st winter drake RED BRESTED MERGANSERS at Fen's Pool's in the very late evening, i saw a Yellow legged gull ast Bittell on 12th.
On 21st, was overjoyed to see a stunning adult RED-THROATED DIVER on the patch! One of my highlights of the year! What a bird to see so close! (Thanks JK!)
On 27th, i made the trip up to Titterstone Clee for the DESERT WHEATEAR (Thanks again JK!), which shown amazingly!, we dropped into another Shrop's site on the way home, Chelmarsh and saw the RED-THROATED DIVER (same bird as the patch), A LITTLE GULL and 2 Yellow-legged gulls!
3 CORN BUNTINGS were showing at Shenstone. on 7th i Found a first winter LITTLE GULL at Earlswood whcih stayed just long enough for MG to see it!
From now on the birding cooled down, clocking Goosander at Sheepwash and on the patch, although my last sheepwash mega of the year, a Female SHOVELER and 9 goosander.
On 28th 2 Yellow-legged gulls were at Chelmarsh in the Gull roost.
Now i will post a Video showing my favorite Birds/Photos/Videos from 2011, hope you like it!

I know this has been a long post, But thankyou for reading my blog over this last year, it has kept me going, and i can say, if it wasnt you lot, i would'nt be Blogging now, so thankyou guys for your support, and i hope you drop in throughout the next year too!
Thankyou all!
I know its late but i hope everyone has an amazing bird filled new year!


Anonymous said...

I`ll be dropping into view the blog, Craig.
Hope you have as good a year has you did last year.
All the best.

Anonymous said...

good interesting stuff.keep it up

Pam said...

I reckon that is the best 'Round up of 2011' I have read Craig! You have put a lot of effort in to making it interesting and your video is splendid! Well done with the post and with seeing such great species throughout 2011!

Happy Birding 2012!

Rob Stokes said...

Excellent read Craig and good years birding with some top birds seen , hope 2012 brings you plenty of top birds too.

Jason K said...

That's an interesting summary of your year Craig...a varied mix of species and a few lifers thrown in too!

Lets hope 2012 is as good a year as the last was.

p.s. I'm still putting together my round up of 2012 but I've only just finished going back through my April who knows I may finally post it come February!!!

midlands birder said...

And i will do the same to your blog dean!
Thankyou Anonymous :)
Pam, thankyou, it did take some time, but i ended up just listing the birds rather than having little stpries around the sightings, like last year! But thankyou anyway :)
Rob, Thankyou :)
Jase- it wasnt too bad a year, saw 174 species last year which break's my yearlist record, could easilly beat that again this year if a few 'rare's play ball!
Well, you've had quite a few good birds, so may take abit of time to work through, look forward to reading it!
Happy Birding in 2012 everyone!