It's been a difficult few weeks, due to terrible weather and lots of freelance, and all of a sudden it's the end of the year. I'll try and get some more regular updates going forward and will most likely rethink my strategy, as it's proving difficult to get away to see the birds I need to see.
Anyhoo, you don't want to hear about that, you want to see the new birds. Well here they are :)
I headed off to Blashford Lakes today in the hope that I would see the Ring-Billed Gull. It eluded me, but I still got some crackers.
First up is strictly a record shot, but it's a great finish to the year. The Slavonian Grebe is arguably our most beautiful Grebe thanks to its gorgeous summer plumage that makes it look like a more majestic Black-Necked Grebe. Sadly, this one was in winter plumage and proved incredibly tricky to spot due to being on the other side of a huge lake. It was kindly pointed out to me by some more experienced birders. Just over a 1,000 birds are thought to winter here, with a handful breeding (typically in Scotland). This one was on its own, diving for fish and other goodies.
LOL, here's the original uncropped shot.
And here's a cropped shot. Thank goodness I have a decent lens!
Next up was a GoldenEye. This is a fantastic looking duck, but I missed every single one that showed up this year. Annoyingly, the drake was on the other side of the lake, so it's strictly a record shot again, but luckily a nearby female proved to be slightly more photogenic.
GoldenEye are medium sized diving ducks that spend the winter months with us (although they are more common in Summer in Scotland where they breed). They are very distinctive looking birds thanks to their piercing yellow eyes and white head patches (on the drakes). They are lovely looking birds and I'm pleased to see these ones, even if they were really far away.
He's very far away, but you can see the distinctive patch.
This female got slightly closer, but was constantly diving!
Every time a Brambling appeared at Arne last year I missed them. Luckily, I saw one of Blashford, although I had to go to lengths to see it. Because the Woodland Hide at Blashford is used for children, only the two side windows open. And annoyingly, the Brambling wasn't visiting the feeders near either window. Luckily for me, my new lens has decent reach with the teleconverter added, so I was able to take shots from a side fence about 50 foot from the feeder. Something I couldn't do with my old set up.
Anyway, the Brambling looks like a more beautiful Chaffinch, with lovely markings and colours. It typically appears in the UK from September onwards and likes to flock with other finches. Typically a ground feeder, I was unable to see it in its natural habitat, so settled for when it landed on the feeder.
What a smashing bird it is. I love the colours on it.
And here's an uncropped image to give a sense of distance.
So that's it for the end of the year. I've now spotted a total of 143 different birds, which I feel is pretty good going. I may restart my list next year as it keeps you fresh for identification, but I'll see how it goes. I was going to include a Redpoll, but it appears to be a Lesser (which I spotted last year). Still, it's a much better shot mind :)
Coot enjoying a swim in the rain.
A distant Tufted Duck.
A Robin, with cropped feet :(
A gorgeous Lesser Redpoll. This one's a male I believe.
A Greenfinch contemplating whatever Greenfinch contemplate.
A Bank Vole, which I've never seen before. It was after seeds from the tables.
Goldfinch crop. Too harsh?
A very fluffy Blue Tit.
I love the detail on this Chaffinch.
And here's a female Chaffinch.
Happy with this Great Tit :)
Love this male Siskin.
And here's a female Siskin.
More Goldfinch love.
A Kestrel which received over 10,000 views on Flickr!
This was on the same feeder as the Brambling, so not bad considering the distance.
Possibly another Bank Vole. There were four of them in total.
Lesser Redpoll hiding behind a branch. Boo!
Another close Robin.
And a Blue Tit.