Wednesday, 1 January 2014

And the winner is...?!!

Another year begins and for most it means the start of another year list. Birders year list for varying reasons myself it gave me the extra motivation to go birding at stupid o clock when any sensible person would stay in bed! I have not completed a Surrey VC Year list for a couple of years and NO this is not the year I am going to do another one. I will be away in Paraguay during the Spring migration therefore a year list is not a practical option!

New Years day is normally a day I don’t see much of having over indulged the previous evening. This year was slightly different I was up and about at a reasonably hour and engaged in my annual first day feeder watch. This is the starting place for the race to be first species of the year in my notebook. My feathered friends are obviously oblivious to this otherwise my garden would be full of candidates!
(House Sparrow)
House Sparrows have been on the increase where I live numbers have reached 30 birds in recent times. Not surprisingly this species was first in the book followed closely behind by a missile of a Blue Tit (perhaps word of the race had got out!!).

To say the weather was awful would have been an understatement and there was no surprise when Sutton Utd’s fixture at Hayes & Yeading (who play at Woking FC) was called off. What to do now?! The wind and rain was relentless even the garden birds had gone into hiding!
(North Lake)
Time to test out the waterproofs and go to Beddington Farm! They were thoroughly tested from the walk from the car to the tin hut hide! I had not seen the water level this high for some considerable time. All the islands on the North Lake had a good covering of water at least this would kill of the vegetation and leave the islands in good condition to attract waders during the Spring migration!
I stayed for a couple of hours having been trapped in the hide by biblical style wind and rain! The conditions did not compete with the Laguna Blanca storm I got caught in last year but conditions were pretty bad!! Even the Water Rail squealed in protest at the driving rain. The ducks were even having trouble against the waves! A few gulls and corvids were the only species crazy enough to attempt any kind of high level flight!

(Tufted Duck)
Having escaped in the smallest of windows where the wind dropped just leaving the rain to deal with I made my way home! Interestingly enough I appear to have moved (according to the tracker!) I wondered why I had trouble with the key?!
Hopefully the weather will improve and all is left to do is wish you all a Happy Birding Year!!

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