The first day of the new year. Dont you just love it!
From the moment the clock stuck midnight i parted with the company of Biology revision to spent the next 1 1/2 hours searching the local woodland for Tawney Owl. But having slogged my way around it was obvious the wet conditions had prevented me getting Tawney as number 1 for another year. So with sadness i slogged myself into bed, awaiting the new beginnings of the morning.
And i awoke, at a fairly typical teenage time of around 10:30, and i then proceeded to spend the next hour or so reading. No birds for me...
While lying awake in the duvet, i conjured an elaborate plan, and my quest for Tawney Owl as number one changed. It was now Great-Grey Shrike for number one!
So, with headphones blaring some overly loud rock music, and with my eyes looking nowhere other than the floor it was towards Bittel.
It was a very hard task, and i managed to get to around the M42 when a sudden lapse of concentration had me inadvertently looking up, and in doing so my worst fears were realized, as a Carrion Crow flew past....
So with the first bird now having been positively identified, i went into full 'tick' mode. And soon i had a small but growing list. On arrival at the destination a single scan of the intended field was enough to reveal the presence of the gorgeous GREAT-GREY SHRIKE, but again it remained distant at the back of the field, and after a short while watching it from the road in what now was becoming fairly heavy rain we decided to have a quick look at Lower Bittel, having been tipped off about the presence of some sea-duck.
And immediately upon arrival at the causeway, a quick scan of the nearest Tufted Duck flock was enough for me to locate the 1st winter drake GREATER SCAUP, which was feeding actively.
Slowly the bird moved out into the middle with the flock, and i scanned the remainder of the reservior, where i picked up a female SCAUP feeding in the NW corner, with its white blaze and rouded head standing out very well, even in the driving rain.
Optimism was quickly diminished though by the rain, and after locating a female Goosander, 15 Pochard, 2 Wigeon and 2 Kingfisher among the expected species we took a hasty retreat.
The ever worsening rain stopped me from finding anything more, but with a big day out planned for the next day, i couldn't run the risk of getting ill.