Friday, 7 February 2014

End 2013.... Begin 2014

A bit late I know, but this is how 2013 ended and 2014 began in bird-terms for us. It ended very nicely, with a trip along the coast taking in Purple Sandpipers at Southsea Castle, the Ring-billed Gull at Gosport then the Lesser Yellowlegs at Lepe (on the second time of asking). The Purple Sands showed as well as they usually do, down to a few feet at times in the lovely morning sun. The Ring-billed Gull was also very obliging, posing nicely on the path for a few minutes of close observation before flying off into the depths of Gosport; good timing we thought! However, the same could not be said for the Lesser Yellowlegs, which insisted on staying on the far side of the pools at Lepe CP for the whole time we were there, and unfortunately a long drive to Scotland meant we had to depart with distant but very satisfying views.

Purple Sandpipers at Southsea, Calidris maritima

Ring-billed Gull showing very nicely the chunky bill with clear black "ring", pale iris and winter streaking.

Ring-billed Gull, Larus delawarensis

Worst record shot ever? Lesser Yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes

Then into 2014, which began for us in Scotland where Grey Wagtails, Ravens and Goosanders were a plenty, and through the gloom a stunning Kingfisher along the river where we stay.

Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis

Then back to the south coast before heading back to Norfolk. And this meant we had to make a trip to Hove to see the Grey Phalarope, which will be hard to beat this year. Despite not being the rarest of birds, the views were incredible as it made its way happily around a children's paddling pool, and it will live long in the memory. Also nearby where the Red-breasted Mergansers at Widewater Lagoon, showing some early signs of displaying, although the female on the left in the photo below seems more interested in escaping with her weeds.

Grey Phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius

Grey Phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius

Red-breasted Merganser, Mergus serrator

And finally for this post, a an always enjoyable trip to Dungeness to visit Lana. I love this place, and as usual it delivered the goods, with Great White Egret, Black-throated Diver, Smew, Little Gull, Kittiwake and a host of other wonderful birds on display. Perhaps the most satisfying find was this 1st winter Glaucous Gull, as we had spent many mornings looking for it, only to find it on my last day flying right in front of us. By the time I had my camera out, it had finished hovering in front of us with a fish in its beak and was flying away,but I still managed this shot showing the hefty pink bill with black tip and complete lack of black or dark brown in the primaries.

Glaucous Gull, Larus hyperboreus