Monday, 3 January 2011

A quick review of 2010

The year saw me add six British ticks to my list - namely Scottish Crossbill in Scotland, Lesser Kestrel in Suffolk, the Lincolnshire Oriental Pratincole, the Gwent Marmora's Warbler, Alder Flycatcher on Blakeney Point and the Cornish American Bittern. I also saw the Norfolk Northern Harrier and the House Finch in Devon but we'll save these for later. Luckily, I only dipped once this year - on the usually productive Flamborough Head and the Eastern Olivaceous Warbler.

Above - Lesser Kestrel on Westleton Heath, Suffolk 31st March 2010

Above - Oriental Pratincole at Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire on 11th May 2010

Above - Marmora's Warbler at Blorenge, Gwent

In Staffordshire, it was rather quiet all year, but there was just the one tick, the Franklin's Gull at Chasewater on 15th July.

It was a good year at Westport Lake, with my highest year total to date - 112. I also managed six ticks enabling my promotion into the exclusive Westport150 Club - Woodcock, Nuthatch, Crossbill, Green Sandpiper, Sandwich Tern and Pheasant plus added Tawny Owl to my heard only list, and Marbled Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Cape Shelduck and Chestnut Teal to my feral duck list.

Nuthatch and Sandwich Tern at Westport.

and not forgetting Marbles in June

I also had a Brent Goose, a flock of 16 Barnacle Geese, a Black-tailed Godwit, two Green Sandpipers, Hobby, two Little Egrets, Lesser Whitethroat and Mediterranean Gull.

It was a year of seconds this year, with six birds being seen only for the second time - Pallid Swift, Iberian Chiffchaff, Gull-billed Tern, Booted Warbler, Arctic Warbler and finally, after a 23yr wait, Pied-billed Grebe.

Other rares included a Bonaparte's Gull on Anglesey, two King Eiders off Burghead in March and off Suffolk in October, a drake Blue-winged Teal in Cambs, Northern Long-tailed Tit in Suffolk and a Glossy Ibis on Anglesey.

Bonaparte's Gull, Lligwy, Anglesey. January 2010

Ferruginous Duck, Brookleys Lake, Staffs. January 2010

Buzzard at Gigrin Farm, Powys in February 2010

The overwintering Black Kite at Gigrin in February 2010

Capercaillie in Scotlandshire in March 2010

And finally, who can forget the bird of the year, the Alder Flycatcher on Blakeney. This was very satisfying after harshly dipping the Cornish bird in 2008, but boy, those who saw it on the Sunday will never forget the conditions from midday onwards.

Two of the Clayhead Crew celebrating seeing the Alder Flycatcher.