Wednesday, 11 January 2017

2016 the year that kept giving! Part 1

What an action-packed year it has been! Full of wildlife. I spent the first few months commuting to Cumbria for work. I went on a short birding break to Latvia and Estonia. I got married and went on a ‘minimoon’ to Morocco. Volunteered with Operation Wallacea in Madagascar. Worked on a renewable energy project in The Wash. Went birding all Autumn including a week on Shetland and went on proper honeymoon to Ecuador and Galapagos for all of December. It’s going to be a hard year to beat!

All of the photos except the Latvian photos, the Iberian chiffchaff and the bee-eater were phone-scoped with a Samsung galaxy s5.


A Hoopoe was wintering at Wall Heath and I saw it on the 1st. Some of the month was spent in Cumbria on a work project, during this time highlights include a Snow Goose and 2 Long-tailed Ducks at Anthorn (6th), Hawfinches at Sizergh Castle (11th) and a Slavonian Grebe at Hodbarrow (28th). While back in Norfolk the wintering Pallid Harrier quartered the fields at Flitcham, a Red-necked Grebe was at Brancaster Harbour and Shorelarks were at Thornham (10th), a Grey Phalarope was just in front of the new hide at Cley/Salthouse, Rough-legged Buzzards were at Choseley and Blakeney Harbour and a wintering Great White Egret was at Holkham (18th), a Glaucous Gull was in Great Yarmouth (19th), a Serin showed really well at Downham Market while nearby a Black-necked Grebe was at Tottenhill GPs (22nd). On second attempt I caught up with the Lesser Yellowlegs at Breydon before finding a Smew at Filby Broad (23rd). January finished up with Golden Pheasants (29th) in Suffolk to make 158 species for the month.



A day in Suffolk produced a Cattle Egret at Iken and a Glossy Ibis at Hollesley RSPB (6th). A Ferruginous Duck was at Holkham (8th). Deviations from my Cumbria commute were a Ring-necked Duck at Tittesworth Reservoir, Staffordshire (15th), a pair of Willow Tits at Pennington Flash, Greater Manchester (19th) a Long-billed Dowitcher at Wanlip Meadows, Leicestershire (22nd) and an American Wigeon at Aqualate Park, Staffordshire (22nd).



A short birding trip to Latvia and Estonia was a real success, getting everything we went for. The best birds in the UK in March were a Hooded Crow at Eskmeals, Cumbria (9th), the wintering Great Grey Shrike at Grimes Graves, Norfolk (14th) and a Thayer’s Gull at Minsmere, Suffolk (28th).



April kicked off with an Iceland Gull and Stone-curlews at Minsmere and Dartford Warblers at Westleton Heath, Suffolk (1st) followed by a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at Santon Downham (2nd) and a Penduline Tit at Strumpshaw Fen, Norfolk (4th). An Iberian Chiffchaff at Telford, Shropshire (11th) wasn’t far off my route north to Cumbria. A very distant Savi’s Warbler was reeling from the reedbeds at Minsmere (16th). A week in north Cumbria for work produced Green-winged Teal at Siddick Pools (19th), Black Guillemot and Puffin at St. Bee’s Head and a singing Wood Warbler nearby (21st). Back in Norfolk a Nightingale was singing near Will’s house, West Earlham (22nd). A Wryneck was in the front Garden of a house at Cley (26th).


A Black-winged Stilt was at Frampton Marshes, Lincolnshire and a flock of Dotterel were at Choseley, Norfolk (3rd). An Emperor Moth was in Norwich (4th). A well timed day-trip to Kent with Will to twitch the Rufous Turtle Dove (ssp. meena) (6th) coincided perfectly with a huge Pomarine Skua movement at Dungeness and a couple of Black Terns. We also went to see Early Spider Orchids at Samphire Hoe and Lady Orchids at Yocklett's Bank though we were too early for the Fly Orchids. A Temminck's Stint was at Titchwell (7th) and a Western Bonelli's Warbler at Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire (8th) was some consolation for dipping the Alpine Accentor that had been there the day before. A Broad-billed Sandpiper showed nicely at Frampton Marshes (13th) and I caught up with the European Bee-eater at Winterton on second attempt (14th).

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