Friday, December 31, 2004

End of year review

Well, not the birding year I had hoped for with far less local birding done.

But . . . I still managed nine Peterborough area ticks - Great Northern Diver (River Welland, Nov), Red-necked Grebe (Ferry Meadows, Dec), Slavonian Grebe (Ferry Meadows, Dec), Tundra Bean Goose (Bassenhally Moor, Dec), Red-breasted Merganser (River Welland, Apr), Temminck's Stint (Nene Washes, May), Wryneck (Langtoft, Oct), Pied Flycatcher (in the garden, Aug) and Red-backed Shrike (Prior's Fen, Sept). These take me to an end of year standing of 217 species in the Peterborough area, and joint second in the local listing stakes!

. . . and 11 new species added to my garden list! In order, Curlew (Mar), Great Crested Grebe (Mar), Oystercatcher (Apr), Little Grebe (Apr), Quail (Jun), Red Kite (Aug), Pied Flycatchr (Aug), Grey Wagtail (Aug), Reed Warbler (Aug) and Pink-footed Goose (Nov) [and doesn't include the female Pintail I had flying along the drove when I was heading towards Tebbitt's Bridge and I watched it fly right over my house!]. This saw me ending the year on 103 species, and top of the local garden bird league! My garden year list ended on 93, two up on last year. Likely species I missed this year (which I have had in the past) included Whooper Swan, Gadwall, Wigeon, Redshank, Green Sand, Stonechat (recorded nearby on the fen) and Blackcap. Number of species seen each month - Jan (49), Feb (49), Mar (52), Apr (58), May (63), Jun (60), Jul (52), Aug (61), Sept (53, Oct (52), Nov (56) and Dec (56).

My British List grew by three species - Western Sand (Dorset, September), Cream-coloured Courser and Ovenbird (both Scilly, October). I failed to get to the Fife Masked Shrike which was a bit of a bummer.

I did get to some great birding destintations during the year, many of which were as a wildlife tour leader for Speyside Widlife - Camargue (Feb), Lesbos (Apr), Scilly (May and Sept) and Shetland and Orkney (July). I did however manage one of my dullest ever east coast birding days on the Lincs coast in Oct - the same day Yorks and East Anglia was leaping with stuff!

Overseas bird of the year - Eastern Bonelli's Warbler, Lesbos (Apr)
British bird of the year - Ovenbird, Scilly (Oct)
Peterborough birds of the year - Red-backed Shrike, Prior's Fen (Sept) and Wryneck, Langtoft (Oct)
Garden bird of the year - Pied Fly
My places of the year - a part from my beloved garden and Scilly - Rousay (Orkney) and Lesbos

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

More grebe ecstasy

Well, I may have been 100 miles away in Yorkshire undergoing some post-xmas relaxation with family, but that wasn't gonna get in the way of my Peterborough area tick no. 217 - a Red-necked Grebe at Ferry Meadows CP. Alerted by my ever thoughtful friends, the Natural Stone and Bogbumper, I hot footed it back down the A1 this afternoon to eventually secure my latest area tick to take me equal with the Natural Stone (and both of us only seven species behind area leader Martin Coates!).

A couple of record shots snapped in the fading afternoon gloom.

Red-necked Grebe Ferry Meadows CP

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Slav Grebe falls at last!

Since moving away from the Ortons two years ago, it takes something really good to get me back to old haunts such as Ferry Meadows CP, and what better than a P'boro area tick (no. 216 - hot on the heels of 215, Tundra Bean Geese at Bassenhally Moor last Friday).

Slavonian Grebe Ferry Meadows CP.

Found by Nene Park Trust stalwart Terry Daunt yesterday, I was confident it was still going to be present as when these birds do turn up they have a habit of hanging around. So, unlike messers WeedWorld and Bogbumper, I didn't lose my much needed beauty sleep this morning, or fight through the P'boro traffic, but waited on news and sauntered down to FMCP late morning by which time the light was reasonable but the wind was up - can't have everything.

The Slav performed well, ranging from the Sports Centre to the pontoon corner and took a real dislike to dogs and children around the edges of the lake and so decided to spend much of its time in open water rather than fishing along the shallower edges which it tried to do occasionally (until disturbed by dogs and/or kids again!). Oh the joys of urban/suburban birding - not!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Bean, gone, and back again!

On Sat 4 Dec, Bill Meek found a flock of Tundra Bean Geese on the Nene Washes RSPB reserve, but as soon as he got news out, they buggered off! Step in Jonny Taylor - Nene Washes ace bird finder - who relocated them some days alter on Bassenhally Moor.

Peterborough area tick no. 215! Thanks gents.

Tundra Bean Geese Bassenhally Moor.

A rather poor shot in dull light and murk!