Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy new year all!

Hi all and happy new year (listing),How did you get on with your year lists, be sure to let us all know by posting yourself or putting a comment on this post with your highlights and totals.Staying in Swinton in Manchester at the moment I am in a hotel with a huge field and bushes outside, so the first thing I did in the morning was grill all the bushes for birds and scan every single Black-headed Gull for a Med- of course no luck!I got 17 species around the hotel and locally- we then went to Pennington Flash CP- hoping for some species like Goosander, Willow Tit and Bullfinch which would be hard to get down south.We went to the feeding station first and there were Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Dunnocks, Robins- one of my target species- Bullfinch, Tits (including great views of my target Willow Tit and a Coal Tit). I got videos of most species with my new camera (with got badly dented the other day when the tripod collapsed!!!!! :( :( ). There were good views of Great-spotted Woodpecker at the feeding station too. There was a juvenile Sparrowhawk low through the feeding station and dead quick- it zoomed right into the undergrowth.Someone said there was a Brambling on the right when we were at the feeding station but we failed to locate it- despite the very precise directions (sarcasm emphasised). But I located a male myself later on in a cage platform feeder with Greenfinches and Chaffinches. I got fantastic views and a video.In the various hides Wildfowl included Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Shoveler and Wigeon. Didn't manage Goosander today (they were unmissable yesterday and the day before... typical).We didn't go to the New hide where 'you are highly likely to see them in the right conditions'- as if! We have been going here for years in the right conditions and scanned for a good while each time and never seen them (though yesterday my scanning revealed a perched juvenile Sparrowhawk).There were Great-crested Grebes, all the common Gulls (Black-headed, Herring, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull and Common Gull) and Cormorants etc on the lake. There were loads of Lapwings as usual from the hide with the wooden birder outside of it. On my stay this year I haven't seen one Snipe at Pennington though last year there were plenty.As the day grew older the Gull numbers increased with Black-headeds into the thousands and each of the other species struggling into the hundreds... but there was a Gull species there with just one present....In the hide with the wooden birder outside of it someone had got something and was acting all nervous trying to re-locate this Gull he had picked up in flight- he re-located it and showed me it through the scope- I knew it was an adult Iceland as soon as I saw it... what a start to the year- Brambling, Willow Tit and Iceland Gull- some quality birds! I got good views through my own scope, it was a good specimen- white head and primaries- pale grey mantle, slightly smaller than a Herring Gull. I got videos with the new video camera and phone-scoped videos. The video camera didn't cope well with the distance and it keeps making Gulls really white. I got some acceptable videos of it so I will post one onto the videos blog (youngbirdersvideos.blogspot.com) when I get home and have my mini-SD adaptor to import them onto the PC.Please post to tell us how you got on.My 2008 year list stands at 43 species

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