1st January 2010
A quiet start to the New Year this year with a visit to Westport on the 1st to start things off. We managed to bag the highly prized Westport mega - the female Pheasant - on our list following several days of careful preparation to entice it to stay. We also saw Goosander, Wigeon and Teal but it was generally a quiet visit (38 species in all). Below is a video of the Pheasant hiding under the bushes in the snow taken through my bins - its a corker!
I then planned a quick solo trip during the afternoon, birding just in the city with three target species. The 25 Waxwings were still at the bottom of Anchor Road,but it took me slightly longer to find two Long-eared Owls at Parkhall plus two Golden Plover in the field. Finally, I decided to head to the North Staffs Bird Forum's own bird reserve Berryhill to see the wintering Short-eared Owls. Now I was expecting a full turn out here of every member of the bird forum (as had happened every night at the back end of last year) but I was pleasantly surprised to find just me, a dog walker and two other birdwatchers who stood right up at the far end. The two Short-eared Owls showed down to a few feet again.
4th January 2010
A quick trip to Westport saw an adult Yellow-legged Gull standing on the ice - another useful addition to the Westport year list.
Sammy the resident Westport Shoveler (present for nearly a year now) has decided to give up shovelling and take up the far nicer bread option on the car park.
Final visit of the day was at Doxey for the Bitterns. One had been showing well before we arrived, but we just managed to catch the last glimpses of it before it went into the reeds. We probably had a second bird fly over from the right later on as well.