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December 2007

Previous months: January 2007 ; February 2007 ; March 2007 ; April 2007 ; May 2007 ; June 2007 ; July 2007 ; August 2007 ; September 2007 ; October 2007 ; November 2007

 

Monday 31st December

Sparham Pools was quite good this morning. Ducks on the main lake included 2 drake Goosanders (my first in the area this winter, though I should imagine they've been around a while), a female Pintail (my first grounded Pintail in the local area) and an escaped female Rosybill. The Rosybill was presumably the same bird that was at Swanton Morley on 7th October.

A local patch year-tick came just in time: a male Stonechat by the river, 'scoped across two lakes from the public footpath. Otherwise, a flock of 50 Siskins was still knocking around and the usual bits and pieces were all showing.

I've pretty much neglected some of the lesser sites in my 5 km circle in recent months as limited time has forced me to prioritise the better places. So today with a bit more time I checked Whitwell Common and Bawdeswell Heath. Predictably not much at either site, but both held Marsh Tits, Treecreeper, Siskin and at Whitwell, a Redpoll flew over.

So, the year ends and, with the Stonechat, the local yearlist reached 124 species (though I expect some of you will think I shouldn't count Ruddy Shelduck or Red-crested Pochard, so call it 122 if you like). If you're interested, click here for a review of my local birding year.

Vitty needed a lift to the deli at Holt this afternoon which somehow ended up returning via Holkham Park. The presumed Barnacle x Greylag hybrid is still there. And now I'm off to enjoy our last meal of the year: Quails Egg and Bacon Salad followed by Fish Ravioli with Basil and Tomato Sauce finished off with Orange and Grand Marnier Pancakes. Yum, yum, now where's that champagne... Happy New Year!

Goldcrest, Sparham Pools, 31-Dec-07 Goldcrest, Sparham Pools, 31-Dec-07

Goldcrest, Sparham Pools, 31st December 2007

 

Rosybill, Sparham Pools, 31-Dec-07 Red-legged Partridges, Bawdeswell - Whitwell, 31-Dec-07

escaped female Rosybill, Sparham Pools, 31st December 2007

 

Red-legged Partridges, between Bawdeswell and Whitwell, 31st December 2007

 

Shoveler, Holkham Park, 31-Dec-07 Shoveler, Holkham Park, 31-Dec-07

Shovelers, Holkham Park, 31st December 2007

 

Goosander, Sparham Pools, 31-Dec-07  

Goosander, Sparham Pools, 31st December 2007

 

Sunday 30th December

Swanton Morley was generally quiet this morning. A new Cetti's Warbler was singing at the east end and another was calling and showing occasionally at the usual place. Two Water Rails were seen too. Wildfowl numbers were down, with the exception of Pochards which totalled 65. 'Bout time there was something decent amongst them.

Willow Tit was found once again at Bintree Woods but little else apart from a distant flock of 20 Bramblings.

 

Wednesday 26th December

A pretty much birdless Christmas spent in the Lake District. Nice place to be though, although the weather didn't encourage us to get out much. Bird low-lights were Little Egret, Goosanders and Goldeneyes.

Hardknott Pass, 26-Dec-07
Hardknott Pass, 26-Dec-07 Ahsness Bridge, 26-Dec-07

Wrynose and Hardknott Passes, 26th December 2007

 

Ahsness Bridge, 26-Dec-07 Ahsness Bridge, 26-Dec-07

Ashness Bridge, 26th December 2007

 

Monday 24th December

A quick look round Foxley Wood this morning before heading up to the Lakes to see the family for Christmas. Not much happening at Foxley: Nuthatch, 3 Treecreepers and 2 Marsh Tits were the unsurprising highlights.

 

Friday 21st December

An enjoyable couple of hours spent at Swanton Morley where the highlight was a first-winter drake Scaup. Perhaps it's the same bird that I saw last visit (back in November, shame on me!), but it's grown up quite a lot if it is. I'm always suspicious of Scaups inland, half-expecting them to turn out to be some Scaup-like hybrid, but I can't see any reason to think that's the case this time.

A Chiffchaff was with one of the tit flocks - presumably over-wintering now. Otherwise just run-of-the-mill stuff like Barn Owl, Grey Wagtail, 4 Treecreepers, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 6 Bullfinches, etc. The dull, gloomy weather didn't make photography easy (excuses, excuses...)!

Dunnock, Swanton Morley, 21-Dec-07 Great Crested Grebe, Swanton Morley, 21-Dec-07

Dunnock (left) and Great Crested Grebe (right), Swanton Morley, 21st December 2007

 

Scaup, Swanton Morley, 21-Dec-07 Scaup, Swanton Morley, 21-Dec-07
Scaup, Swanton Morley, 21-Dec-07 Scaup, Swanton Morley, 21-Dec-07

first-winter male Scaup, Swanton Morley, 21st December 2007

 

Green Woodpecker, Swanton Morley, 21-Dec-07 Scaup, Swanton Morley, 21-Dec-07

Green Woodpecker (left) and first-winter male Scaup (with Tufted Ducks, right), Swanton Morley, 21st December 2007

 

Wednesday 19th December

The 4 Whooper Swans are still at Docking.

Dunlin, Brancaster Staithe, 19-Dec-07 Dunlin, Brancaster Staithe, 19-Dec-07
Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 19-Dec-07  

Dunlin (above) and Turnstone (below), Brancaster Staithe, 19th December 2007

 

Tuesday 18th December

Most exciting bird of today was a Woodpigeon - a leucistic bird among a flock of 1100 birds. Drove past where the Whooper Swans were yesterday and they were still present. Also a few of the Pinks were visible from the road and among them was a Ross's Goose hoovering up the beet (it never raised its bill more than an inch off the ground the whole time I was watching it) and a Barnacle Goose.

leucistic Woodpigeon, N of Docking, 18-Dec-07 leucistic Woodpigeon, N of Docking, 18-Dec-07
leucistic Woodpigeon, N of Docking, 18-Dec-07 Ross's Goose, Docking, 18-Dec-07

leucistic Woodpigeon, north of Docking, and Ross's Goose, Docking, 18th December 2007

 

Monday 17th December

A huge flock of Pink-feet was present near Docking today, but sadly they are on fields that aren't viewable from the roads and I only knew about them when something put them all up and the sky went dark. Thats what you get when people get to hear there's Snow Geese and Ross's Geese and things in the area - all the numpties turn up to see them and instead of watching discreetly from their car they get out, slam doors, shout to each other and wonder why the geese always fly off as soon as they arrive. Then no-one else can see them either.

Four Whooper Swans were in a field just east of Docking, though you couldn't see them without looking through a thick hedge. If I'd had a bit more time a Buzzard with a Woodpigeon might have provided some nice shots, but with five minutes before I was due back at the office all I had time for was a couple of quick hand-helds through a dirty car window.

Buzzard, Stanhoe, 17-Dec-07 Buzzard, Stanhoe, 17-Dec-07

Buzzard with Woodpigeon, near Stanhoe, 17th December 2007

 

Whooper Swan, Docking, 17-Dec-07  

first-winter Whooper Swan, Docking, 17th December 2007

 

Sunday 16th December

Sparham Pools was generally unproductive this morning, save for the usual things like Marsh Tits, Treecreepers, etc. A Tawny Owl flew across the path and disappeared into the side of a tree. A flock of about 250 Golden Plovers were seen in the distance and a Stoat was chasing a Rabbit round the car park when I arrived.

Stoat, Sparham Pools, 16-Dec-07 Gadwall, Sparham Pools, 16-Dec-07

Stoat (left) and Gadwall (right), Sparham Pools, 16th December 2007

 

Mute Swan, Sparham Pools, 16-Dec-07 Mute Swan, Sparham Pools, 16-Dec-07
Mute Swan, Sparham Pools, 16-Dec-07 Mute Swan, Sparham Pools, 16-Dec-07
Mute Swan, Sparham Pools, 16-Dec-07 Mute Swan, Sparham Pools, 16-Dec-07

first-winter Mute Swans, Sparham Pools, 16th December 2007

 

Tuesday 11th December

There's just time at lunch to pop in to Wells where the Black Brant was conveniently close to the road but inconveniently back/side lit by the Sun.

Black Brant, Wells, 11-Dec-07 Black Brant, Wells, 11-Dec-07
Black Brant, Wells, 11-Dec-07 Black Brant, Wells, 11-Dec-07

adult Black Brant (with Dark-bellied Brent Geese), Wells, 11th December 2007. In the photos its left hand side seems less impressive than the right, but in the field it seemed to show all the features of a pure bird rather than one of the hybrids that are now frequent.

 

Saturday 8th December

Arrived at Horsey just after the Wheatear had gone missing, which allowed me plenty of time to photograph the Seals. After a while the Desert Wheatear reappeared and showed ridiculously well, walking right up to people. For some reason it didn't like me much and never got within a few centimetres of me. Given the circumstances I should have come away with loads of brilliant photos, but only a few were sharp enough.

Desert Wheatear, Horsey, 8-Dec-07 Desert Wheatear, Horsey, 8-Dec-07
Desert Wheatear, Horsey, 8-Dec-07  

first-winter male Desert Wheatear, Horsey, 8th December 2007

 

Grey Seal, Horsey, 8-Dec-07 Grey Seal, Horsey, 8-Dec-07
Grey Seal, Horsey, 8-Dec-07 Grey Seal, Horsey, 8-Dec-07
Grey Seal, Horsey, 8-Dec-07 Grey Seal, Horsey, 8-Dec-07
Grey Seal, Horsey, 8-Dec-07 Grey Seal, Horsey, 8-Dec-07
Grey Seal, Horsey, 8-Dec-07 Grey Seal, Horsey, 8-Dec-07
Grey Seal, Horsey, 8-Dec-07 Grey Seal, Horsey, 8-Dec-07

Atlantic Grey Seals, Horsey, 8th December 2007

 

Thursday 6th December

No pictures worth sharing but the Snow Goose was still in the same field near Chosely today.

 

Tuesday 4th December

Nice variety of geese today, including three white ones - not bad for a short lunch break. The first flock of Pinks I found at Choseley contained the Ross's Goose, the old hybrid goose (whatever it is, Ross's x Pink-foot if you buy the popular view) and 2 Barnacle Geese. Then on the way back to work I discovered another flock nearby, and this flock contained a nice adult white Snow Goose.

Snow Goose, Choseley, 4-Dec-07 Ross's Goose, Choseley, 4-Dec-07

Snow Goose (left) and Ross's Goose (right), Choseley, 4th December 2007

 

 

Previous months: January 2007 ; February 2007 ; March 2007 ; April 2007 ; May 2007 ; June 2007 ; July 2007 ; August 2007 ; September 2007 ; October 2007 ; November 2007

Next month: January 2008

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Should anyone care about my 5 km circle year-list, I've seen (or heard) 124 species within 5 km of my home at Bawdeswell (species marked with an asterisk * are new this month):

  • Mute Swan
  • Greylag Goose
  • Canada Goose
  • Barnacle Goose
  • Egyptian Goose
  • Ruddy Shelduck
  • Shelduck
  • Wigeon
  • Gadwall
  • Teal
  • Mallard
  • Pintail
  • Shoveler
  • Red-crested Pochard
  • Pochard
  • Tufted Duck
  • Scaup
  • Goldeneye
  • Goosander
  • Red-legged Partridge
  • Grey Partridge
  • Pheasant
  • Little Grebe
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Cormorant
  • Shag
  • Little Egret
  • Grey Heron
  • Honey-Buzzard
  • Red Kite
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Buzzard
  • Kestrel
  • Hobby
  • Peregrine
  • Water Rail
  • Moorhen
  • Coot
  • Oystercatcher
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Golden Plover
  • Lapwing
  • Snipe
  • Woodcock
  • Bar-tailed Godwit
  • Whimbrel
  • Greenshank
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Common Gull
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Common Tern
  • Stock Dove
  • Woodpigeon
  • Collared Dove
  • Turtle Dove
  • Cuckoo
  • Barn Owl
  • Little Owl
  • Tawny Owl
  • Swift
  • Kingfisher
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Skylark
  • Sand Martin
  • Swallow
  • House Martin
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Wren
  • Dunnock
  • Robin
  • Stonechat *
  • Wheatear
  • Ring Ouzel
  • Blackbird
  • Fieldfare
  • Song Thrush
  • Redwing
  • Mistle Thrush
  • Cetti's Warbler
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Reed Warbler
  • Lesser Whitethroat
  • Whitethroat
  • Garden Warbler
  • Blackcap
  • Chiffchaff
  • Willow Warbler
  • Goldcrest
  • Spotted Flycatcher
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Marsh Tit
  • Willow Tit
  • Coal Tit
  • Blue Tit
  • Great Tit
  • Nuthatch
  • Treecreeper
  • Jay
  • Magpie
  • Jackdaw
  • Rook
  • Carrion Crow
  • Starling
  • House Sparrow
  • Chaffinch
  • Brambling
  • Greenfinch
  • Goldfinch
  • Siskin
  • Linnet
  • Lesser Redpoll
  • Mealy Redpoll
  • Crossbill
  • Bullfinch
  • Yellowhammer
  • Reed Bunting

 

Escapes

  • Blue-winged Goose
  • Chiloe Wigeon
  • Rosybill
  • Night Heron