Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 Highlights - home

Snow Buntings at Widewater in late December, for me the most enjoyable local birds this year

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 Greater Black-backs continue to provide the most interest amongst  colour-ringed gulls on the Adur with several sightings of Norwegian birds and these two from Normandy seen on 6 November

My best colour-ringed sighting was this Rock Pipit from Norway, seen at Margate on 13 November

The Sabine's Gull at Newhaven in September was perhaps my favourite bird in Sussex in 2011.  I saw it after work on 20th, on my second attempt

The Pallid Harrier at the Burgh in September would probably have pipped the Sabine's Gull if it had been more photogenic.  I saw it twice, the first views on 18th so distant the 'boa' couldn't be seen making me think it was probably a Montagu's.  No such problems when I returned on 22nd but it still wasn't as close as I would have wished. My only new bird seen in Sussex in 2011.

It was a reasonable year for Ring Ouzels Beachy, this one photographed at Birling on 30 October.  One of the biggest disappointmets of the year was that I missed all the better birds at Beachy, too many were mid week. 

Outside of Sussex I saw three new birds for Britain.  The White-throated Robin in Hartlepool was the first.  I saw it on 10 June, the last of its five days stay.  A piece of very good fortune that I felt I spent much of the rest of the year paying for ...

The Sandhill Crane near Loch of Strathbeg on 24 September was excellent and my second new British bird of the year.  A stronger nerve might have saved an overnight drive as it appeared in Suffolk two weeks later although that ploy failed for the previous two, on Shetland and Orkney, and it didn't seem worth taking that chance.

This superb first-winter Caspian Gull at Dungeness on 29 December was all I imagined the species should be and was well worth the wait for one I could confidently count as a new bird.

Not a new bird, yet, but the 'Eastern' Black Redstart at Margate on 13 November was one of the autumn's highlights.

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Biggest disappointment of the year was not going to Shetland for the Siberian Rubythroat. 'It is better to burn out than to fade away' but I didn't take heed of Neil Young's words.  This one was at Rudong, China on 17 May 2010.
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