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China Birds (Nick Sismey) 2010 List (UK, China, Hong Kong & ?) (1 Viewer)

ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
My final total for the number of birds seen this year is 393, both in the UK and Worldwide.

-------------------UK-----China-----Singapore-----World

------------------210------179----------93-----------393

My current records are as follows:

2009-------------UK-209, China-189, Hong Kong-113,Holland-4, WW-380
2008-------------UK-220, China-177, Hong Kong-99, Finland-17, USA-84, Canada-22, WW-443
2007-------------UK-200, China-249, WW-398
2006-------------UK-205, WW-410
2005-------------UK-183, WW-358
2004-------------UK-157, WW-276

Life-----882
China---487
UK------260
 
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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
01 January 2010

Having seen the New Year in, six hours later I was out of my warm bed and on the road for the 10-mile journey to Attenborough by 7am, having scraped the thick ice off my car. The cold snap that started at the end of 2009 continued, and most sensible folk were still in bed recovering from the night before, leaving the A52 empty. With the fast lane covered in ice it was a good thing there were very few cars about!

My target for the day was to beat the 74 birds DAS and I had seen on the first day of the year in 2009. This time I was on my own as DAS and Steve would be joining me tomorrow on the trip to Norfolk.

Parking next to the cricket pitch on The Strand the only light was from the full moon. By the time I was heading for the Brick hide (that looks over the Delta reed bed) I looked like the Michelin man, with the number of layers of clothing I had on, boy was it cold!

Stopping at the white metal bridge, where the Works Pond and the Main Pond meet, dawn had just broken (Photo’s 1 and 2). The first three birds of 2010 were all corvids with a Carrion Crow calling from a tree and a mass exodus of Rooks and Jackdaws flying out of their roost to the surrounding farmland.

1.Jackdaw----------------------Attenborough----------------------England
2.Carrion Crow------------------Attenborough----------------------England
3.Rook-------------------------Attenborough-----------------------England

Crossing the bund the silhouettes of several Robins and Dunnocks kept me company while Black Headed Gulls noisily passed overhead with Blackbirds and Woodpigeons waking in the trees. A lone Great Crested Grebe drifted away from the bank.

4.Robin------------------------Attenborough-----------------------England
5.Dunnock---------------------Attenborough-----------------------England
6.Rook------------------------Attenborough------------------------England
7.Blackbird--------------------Attenborough------------------------England
8.Woodpigeon-----------------Attenborough------------------------England
9.Great Crested Grebe---------Attenborough------------------------England

Arriving at the Brick hide it was clear there would be no Bittern here as a fox walked straight across the ice towards me, a beautiful creature but not endearing to any early morning birding! Leaving the hide I made my way along the River Trent towards the North Path picking up a total of 21 birds by 8am, six up on 2009!

10.Magpie--------------------Attenborough-------------------------England
11.Grey Heron----------------Attenborough-------------------------England
12.Cormorant-----------------Attenborough-------------------------England
13.Mallard--------------------Attenborough-------------------------England
14.Tufted Duck---------------Attenborough-------------------------England
15.Shoveler------------------Attenborough-------------------------England
16.Egyptian Goose-----------Attenborough--------------------------England
17.Stock Dove---------------Attenborough--------------------------England
18.Great Tit-----------------Attenborough---------------------------England
19.Chaffinch-----------------Attenborough--------------------------England
20.Goldfinch-----------------Attenborough--------------------------England
21.Goosander----------------Attenborough--------------------------England

The ticks continued to poor into the book with another 12 being added over the next 40 minutes.

22.Mute Swan----------------Attenborough-------------------------England
23.Teal----------------------Attenborough--------------------------England
24.Kestrel--------------------Attenborough-------------------------England
25.Moorhen------------------Attenborough--------------------------England
26.Canada Goose-------------Attenborough--------------------------England
27.Bullfinch------------------Attenborough--------------------------England
28.Blue Tit-------------------Attenborough--------------------------England
29.Reed Bunting--------------Attenborough--------------------------England
30.Starling-------------------Attenborough--------------------------England
31.Collared Dove-------------Attenborough--------------------------England
32.Song Thrush--------------Attenborough--------------------------England
33.Long Tailed Tit------------Attenborough--------------------------England

At the small stream near the railway line the path was blocked as the new flood defences were being built so I returned to the river. While slowly walking along the bank a birder I often meet at Attenborough caught me up. After wishing each other a Happy New Year he said he had had a good start to the year seeing a Water Rail in the small stream I had been next to 20 minutes earlier. I rushed back but to no avail, although I did add three more birds to the list. This included 35 birds by 9am, now seven up!

34.Coot----------------------Attenborough-------------------------England
35.Goldeneye-----------------Attenborough-------------------------England
36.Great Spotted Woodpecker-Attenborough-------------------------England

Paying another visit to the Brick hide there were two other birders there, but with little action I moved on, this time walking clockwise around the Delta Wood until I reached the other end of the blocked path by the railway. Doubling back I met up with one of the two birders I had seen at the Brick hide. “Just had wonderful views of a Water Rail on the ice near the hide” he exclaimed. Time for a coffee back at the car where the 39th bird of the day was in the books at 10am, now seven down on the record!

37.Pochard-------------------Attenborough------------------------England
38.Pheasant------------------Attenborough------------------------England
39.Greenfinch-----------------Attenborough------------------------England
40.House Sparrow-------------Attenborough------------------------England
41.Fieldfare-------------------Attenborough------------------------England

Refreshed I headed through the gates of the Cricket Club and across the green bridge behind the bowling green where a flash of bright blue signified the first Kingfisher of the year which lifted my spirits and almost made me forgot about missed Water Rails!

42.Kingfisher------------------Attenborough------------------------England

The Wet Marsh was completely iced over but heading towards the new Tower Hide a pair of Gadwall were feeding in the week winter sun with a Greylag Goose, as the clock ticked passed 11am, now I was eight down!

43.Gadwall--------------------Attenborough------------------------England
44.Greylag Goose--------------Attenborough------------------------England

Walking along the main drag to Kingfisher Hide the Clifton Pit (Photo 3) was full of birds, providing six new ticks.

45.Snipe----------------------Attenborough------------------------England
46.Wigeon--------------------Attenborough------------------------England
47.Common Gull---------------Attenborough------------------------England
48.Willow Tit------------------Attenborough------------------------England
49.Lesser Black Backed Gull----Attenborough------------------------England
50.Tree Sparrow--------------Attenborough------------------------England

By now Attenborough (Photo 4) was humming with New Year walkers, taken advantage of the crisp sunny morning. The last two birds there were Ruddy Duck and Little Grebe on the Coneries Pond, the list now at 52 by midday five in arrears.

51.Ruddy Duck----------------Attenborough------------------------England
52.Little Grebe----------------Attenborough------------------------England

Next stop were the gravel pits at both Long Eaton and Aston-on-Trent but in both places the sun’s position was not inducive to good birding. There were a couple of birders over the gate on the A50 at the latter destination however. They must have an arrangement with the owners, as this is normally a no-go area for any birders, being an active pit. There were reports of Smew and Jack Snipe there but as usual you could see nothing from the gate!

Leaving the A50 towards Alvaston is normally a good place for Lapwing (Photo 5) and Golden Plover in the arable fields. They did not disappoint with a Buzzard also thrown in for good measure. By now I was 21 miles into my 2010 expedition.

53.Lapwing---------------------Alvaston---------------------------England
54.Buzzard---------------------Alvaston---------------------------England
55.Golden Plover----------------Alvaston---------------------------England

Moving onto the centre of Derby hoping for Peregrine on the Cathedral, I came up short despite checking all four faces, at least the Feral Pigeons were more relaxed than usual, making it 56 birds at 1pm, seven down on 2009.

56.Feral Pigeon------------------Derby-----------------------------England

Leaving the city a Pied Wagtail flew over the inner ring road, 30 miles now on the milometer.

57.Pied Wagtail------------------Derby-----------------------------England

More to follow………
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
01 January 2010 continued

The lake at Allestree Park (Photo 1) was almost entirely frozen, with those ducks left braving the cold confined to a small ice-free area making it easy to spot the Mandarin Ducks.

58.Mandarin Duck------------------Allestree Park----------------England

Moving along the Eastern edge of the lake a Mistle Thrush was calling from the top of a tree together with a Nuthatch.

59.Mistle Thrush -------------------Allestree Park----------------England
60.Nuthatch -----------------------Allestree Park----------------England

Now on the North shore several Redwings flew through the treetops while a Treecreeper searched for grubs on a nearby tree, the 62nd bird of the day at 2pm, just three birds down on 2009!

61.Redwing-------------------------Allestree Park---------------England
62.Treecreeper---------------------Allestree Park---------------England

Rounding the West side of the lake and heading back to the car along the Southern shore several Siskins were feeding in the highest branches of elder trees (but no Redpolls), with both Goldcrests and Coal Tits in the fir trees.

63.Siskin---------------------------Allestree Park----------------England
64.Goldcrest-----------------------Allestree Park----------------England
65.Coal Tit ------------------------Allestree Park----------------England

With 33 miles on the clock as I left Allestree another 15 had been added by the time I parked up at Sheepwash car park at Carsington Water. Very little new here from the Paul Stanley Hide (Photo 2) apart from a lone Redshank, which was the only bird seen before 3pm, four birds now in arrears.

66.Redshank-----------------------Carsington Water--------------England

Next stop was Cromford, where Dipper and Grey Wagtail were added in 2009, but only a Jay on the banks of the River Derwent was the single bird added that hour, equalling the best bird count on the first day of any year prior to 2009, but now five down on last year.

67.Jay-----------------------------Cromford----------------------England

The B class roads between Cromford and Ogston Reservoir were iced over and so progress very slow. Arriving at the gull roost both Great Black Backed and Herring Gulls were washing off a day at the local trip in the freezing water.

68.Great Black Backed Gull----------Ogston------------------------England
69.Herring Gull----------------------Ogston------------------------England

Robin, the birder, not the bird, joined me for our annual get together, and when the light dropped to the level where it wasn’t possible to identify any new gulls we moved along the road to join some other birders for the annual Woodcock watch. They didn’t disappoint with three birds flying over almost immediately.

70.Woodcock-----------------------Ogston------------------------England

Although I was three birds down on this time last year, when I arrive back in Derby with 81 miles in the books, I still had the journey back to my mothers at Manthorpe, Lincolnshire that evening with Steve where there was always the chance we could pick up owls! My route today is shown in Photo 3.

Refreshed I made the journey to Ilkeston to pick up Steve and we then set off for Lincolnshire. Exiting the A1 at South Witham we immediately set our focus on spotting owls. The road was frozen so progress was slow anyway, but all we saw were deer and rabbits. We even passed through Manthorpe and onto Wilsthorpe and Kings Street but none of the owl hotspots proved successful.

Back at Manthorpe DAS joined us about an hour later celebrating a Tawny Owl at South Witham. Steve and I gritted our teeth!

Day 1 with a total of 70 birds and 153 miles in the books.
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
02 January 2010

A 6am start had us on the road by 7am heading for Welney (Photo1 – Map, apologies for the quality, will look at improving). We again took the back roads hoping for owls but failed again until we got half way along the A47 at Thorney Toll where a cheeky Little Owl was resting on a speed camera!

71.Little Owl---------------------Thorney Toll---------------------England

Exiting March the roads were very icy, it really was a winter wonderland out there, although you had to have your wits about you with all of those dykes next to the roads. A mile or so before reaching Welney we spotted several swans flying across the horizon and into a field close to the road (Photo 2). Before we were able to get our scopes on the swans a Skylark popped up on the edge of the field.

72.Skylark-----------------------Welney--------------------------England

As we analysed the swans in the field more (Photo 3) flew in to join them. There were both Whooper and Bewick swans feeding in the snow-covered field, two ticks in quick succession.

73.Whooper Swan----------------Welney--------------------------England
74.Bewick Swan------------------Welney--------------------------England

Then the sun broke over the horizon giving us a dramatic sunrise, swans silhouetted against the orange sky (Photo 4), what a moment! This was immediately followed by a high speed Peregrine diving at the Stock Doves in the same field. Being unsuccessful in its attempt it veered off right and just as it crossed the road defecated its previous meal as if carpet bombing any unsuspecting birders!

75.Peregrine----------------------Welney--------------------------England

The cold was biting so we warmed up on the drive to the village of Welney where we parked on the first bridge over the Old Bedford River (Photo 5) as the washes were flooded, the road impassable. While we watched a couple of cars thinking about negotiating the flood and getting stuck on the icy down ramp of the bridge we picked up a Wren. Coffee and sandwiches were our main target however!

76.Wren--------------------------Welney--------------------------England
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
02 January 2010 continued

Doubling back through Welney we passed a huge flock of Fieldfare and Redwing feasting on windfall apples before stopping on the outskirts of the village to pick up both Meadow Pipit and Red Legged Partridge (Photo 1) in a typical winter scene.

77.Meadow Pipit----------------------Welney----------------------England
78.Red Legged Partridge--------------Welney----------------------England

Taking the next right down the B1094 (Photo 2) towards Nordelph DAS (our partridge spotter extraordinaire) had us some Grey Partridges (Photo 3). Both partridge families within a mile of each other!

79.Grey Partridge---------------------Nordelph---------------------England

Joyed with our success we took the A10 to King’s Lynn and then started the next part of our journey (Photo 4) taking the A149 to Wolferton to dip on Golden Pheasant. Crossing the A149 we drove close to the Sandringham estate to a feeding station (Photo 5), which added Marsh Tit to my year list. We also watched as a guy in a sporty BMW nearly took out a tree as he crashed into the wood ahead of us (you can just see the white BMW opposite the van) thinking he could master the slippery conditions!

80.Marsh Tit-------------------------Sandringham------------------England

Next we headed for Hunstanton where we picked up three new-year birds from the car park below the cliffs but again no Fulmar!

81.Brent Goose----------------------Hunstanton-------------------England
82.Oystercatcher--------------------Hunstanton-------------------England
83.Turnstone------------------------Hunstanton-------------------England

It was just too cold to look out from atop the cliffs so we drove to Choseley Barns picking up our second Little Owl of the day in its usual tree on the left, but there were absolutely now finches or buntings up at the barns! Returning to the village there were several Curlew feeding in the fields and just then a large skein of Pink Footed Geese flew over, a sight of which I could never tire!

84.Curlew---------------------------Titchwell----------------------England
85.Pink Footed Goose----------------Titchwell----------------------England

More to follow.........
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
02 January 2010 continued

The Titchwell car park was full but we did manage to find a spot in the overflow car park. Checking the sightings list several people had seen Water Rail in the stream near the centre so my hopes were up again! Surprisingly, considering the winter weather, there were no Bramblings on either the new feeders or the regular feeding station. Again there were no Water Rails either (would this be like 2009 which was Water Rail free in the UK?) but a Marsh Harrier did catch our eye hunting over to the West as well as our first Little Egret of the year.

86.Marsh Harrier-------------------Titchwell----------------------England
87.Little Egret---------------------Titchwell----------------------England

We made our way into the new Island Hide where it was standing room only. But we did pick up five new year birds.

88.Shelduck-----------------------Titchwell----------------------England
89.Pintail--------------------------Titchwell----------------------England
90.Avocet-------------------------Titchwell----------------------England
91.Red Breasted Merganser---------Titchwell----------------------England
92.Yellow Legged Gull--------------Titchwell----------------------England

Leaving the relative warmth of the hide we checked out a pipit from the path (Photo 1) that we had spotted but couldn’t positively identify from the hide, resulting in my 93rd year bird.

93.Water Pipit---------------------Titchwell----------------------England

Parrinder Hide was no more and its place a new sea wall. Out on the beach (Photo 2) I reached my 100th tick of the year with a Knot

94.Common Scoter----------------Titchwell----------------------England
95.Sanderling---------------------Titchwell----------------------England
96.Bar Tailed Godwit--------------Titchwell----------------------England
97.Grey Plover--------------------Titchwell----------------------England
98.Linnet-------------------------Titchwell----------------------England
99.Dunlin-------------------------Titchwell----------------------England
100.Knot-------------------------Titchwell----------------------England

By 3:30 pm the night was drawing in so we made our way back to the car park, with one final look for Water Rail. Suddenly the sound of a squealing pig, just feet from where we stood stopped us in our tracks. Seconds later two Water Rails raced along the ditch, to say I was please was an understatement of the first degree!

101.Water Rail-------------------Titchwell----------------------England

On the way back to Manthorpe we checked out Wolferton but again dipped. After a wonderful fry up DAS set off home while I told Steve had to drop off a drawing DAS had done of a new throttle mechanism for my father’s racing car, at Kirkby Underwood, an ideal trip to look for owls! Steve ummed and ahhed about going but finally decided to. He was please he did as we picked up two Tawny Owls, one flashing in front of the car in Hanthorpe, another sitting in a tree on the edge of the road at Bulby. The side roads North of Bourne were absolutely treacherous, the route (Photo 3) taking twice the normal time.

102.Tawny Owl-----------------Hanthorpe----------------------England

My bird count was two down on this time last year, while 346 miles had been covered in two days! The 82 birds seen today are shown below in alphabetical order:-

Avocet, Bar Tailed Godwit, Bewick Swan, Black Headed Gull, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Brent Goose,Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Common Scoter, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Feral Pigeon, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Great Black Backed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Partridge, Grey Plover, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Knot, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Little Owl, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Marsh Tit, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Nuthatch,Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pink Footed Goose, Pintail, Red Breasted Merganser, Red Legged Partridge, Redshank, Redwing, Robin, Rook, Sanderling, Shelduck,Shoveler, Skylark, Snipe, Starling, Stock Dove, Tawny Owl, Teal, Tufted Duck, Turnstone, Water Pipit, Water Rail, Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Woodcock, Woodpigeon, Wren, Yellow Legged Gull.
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
03 January 2010

A more leisurely start this morning for Steve and I, again leaving from Manthorpe (Photo1) where there had been more snow overnight. However it soon turned into a beautifully sunny day, yet very cold.

First stop was just after we had crossed the A606, between Great Casterton and Ketton, the side roads still covered in snow (Photo 2), where there were a flock of finches crossing the road between the wood and the field. Three Yellowhammers added to our year list.

103.Yellowhammer-----------------------A606---------------------England

From here it was the very slow drive across country to Blatherwycke (Photo 3) where our target bird, a Red Kite, was perched in a tree near the frozen lake.

104.Red Kite----------------------------Blatherwycke--------------England

We could have gone across country again to Great Easton to look for Short Eared Owl but with the state of the roads it was easier to go via Corby and Rockingham. It was too early for any owls however so it was straight onto Eyebrook Reservoir where Steve picked up his first Tree Sparrows of the year before another birder told us that the Bittern was showing well at the bridge. Having to kerb my enthusiasm along the iced road we finally arrived at out destination (Photo 4) where sure enough the Bittern (Photo 5) was being very obliging. I can’t remember seeing a Bittern so out in the open in the UK before, what a treat!

105.Bittern-----------------------------Eyebrook------------------England

More to follow……..
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
03 January 2010 (continued)

With the Bittern in the bag we headed back along the same ice covered road to find the male Smew, which had been reported earlier. Sure enough, in a small cove (Photo1), just after the second hide there were two splendid males continually diving, unfortunately too far away to photograph.

106.Smew-----------------------Eyebrook-------------------------England

No one had seen the Green Winged Teal so we made our way to the Whitwell car park at Rutland Water where we walked out onto the snow-covered shoreline (Photo 2). The reservoir was as calm as the preverbal millpond, not a ripple, but it still took us a while before we locked onto the Great Northern Diver fishing near the dam. There was no sign of the Red Throated Diver well we couldn’t find it although later someone told us it was there!

107.Great Northern Diver---------Rutland Water--------------------England

We were keen to get to Exton, a picture postcard village with a generous covering of snow glistening in the cloudless sky. Parking up near Home Farm we soon spotted the birders (Photo 3) and seconds later the Black Redstart (Photos 4&5 - hand held digi-scoping). A beautiful bird in an equally beautiful setting

108.Black Redstart---------------Exton----------------------------England

After much photographing Steve and I stole ourselves away to the Rutland Water Egleton Bird watching Centre where we were on the hunt for the three owls that had so far foiled us. A couple of birders told us the Long Eared Owls had been flushed by a photographer that morning, just as a Sparrowhawk flew overhead.

109.Sparrowhawk----------------Rutland Water--------------------England

We decided we were still going to look, as there were plenty of bushes for them to hide. They wished us luck but at the same time hoped they weren’t there as they would be miffed if they came up on the Internet that night after missing them!
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
03 January 2010 (continued)

Before arriving at the path running up to Fieldfare Hide where the Long Eared Owls should be we spotted a Stonechat on a post in an open area near Harrier Hide (Photo 1)

110.Stonechat----------------Rutland Water--------------------England

Every birder we passed on the way to the owl area repeated the same story about them being flushed but we kept to our own schedule to check the area out all the same.

We joined an older couple already scanning the bushes before two other people joined us near Fieldfare Hide. Ten minutes into the search a lady (Photo 2 – on right) calmly announced that she had one bird in her scope. Within seconds we had all seen it, and high-fived metaphorically. The lady birder and her husband were regulars, staking out the owls on many occasions so were well versed on where they roosted. She had also heard the rumours but like us wanted to see for herself whether they were still there. We were pleased she had!

111.Long Eared Owl-------------Rutland Water-------------------England

They went on to tell us about the Short Eared and Barn Owls they had seen on the way back to the Bird Watching Centre, which got our hopes up. We therefore headed back and just as we rounded the corner for Harrier Hide a young lad and his father were walking out of the lane. The youngster, very confidently and excitedly said, “Excuse me, we think we have just seen a Short Eared Owl”. We stood and chatted for a while before I noticed he was wearing a Manchester United hat. Having just received a text from a friend telling me that Leeds United (my team) had just knocked them out of the FA Cup, I had to let them know! His father was also a Man U fan and his other son was at the match. Trying not to gloat we turned the conversation back to Short Eared Owls when one flew high up into the air carrying its most recent prey (Photo 4).

112.Short Eared Owl-------------Rutland Water------------------England

Two types of owl inside twenty minutes, would our luck hold? It sure would as minutes later we met up again with the same couple who had spotted the first owl. The lady now had her scope focused on a dead tree on the edge of Lagoon 1 where a Barn Owl was peering out of a hole! She really was an owl expert of the first degree.

113.Barn Owl--------------------Rutland Water------------------England

The owl finally decided to leave the comfort of the tree, quartered the area for a few minutes and then swept into a bird box near the wood followed closely by a kestrel that sat in the entrance and stared at the owl before becoming bored and taking to the air. It was another good ten minutes before the owl left again, by now it was getting very cold so we left for the comfort of our car and bid our new found friends a good night.

Total Mileage in 2010 = 490 miles
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
04 January 2010

A late afternoon drive (Photo1) to Foremark Reservoir (Photo 2 & 3) produced a wonderful gull roost but not the bird I had hope for, a Glaucous Gull. With the tips opening for the first day after the festive season it may have unsettled the bird’s habits.

Total Mileage in 2010 = 517 miles
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
06 January 2010

My second trip to Rutland Water, which I made around lunch time, was the day after the big snow storm, and so with the low temperatures and risk of roads being blocked, I decided not to risk the cross country route from Derby, instead taking the A52 via Nottingham and then down the A1 (Photo1). It was probably a good decision as the side roads were treacherous once I left the A1.

It was a beautiful day though, if cold, with blue skies. At Whitwell I cautiously drove down to the snow covered car park and then walked out onto the shoreline where, to the West (Photo 2) I picked up three male Red Crested Pochards.

114.Red Crested Pochard-------------Rutland Water----------------England

Making my way to the East end of the shore the Red Throated Diver finally revealed itself after missing it three days earlier.

115.Red Throated Diver---------------Rutland Water----------------England

As I returned to the car Tim Appleton was in his Landrover observing three male Smew in the bay. We passed the time of day discussing where the Black Necked Grebes and Scaup had been reported and I mentioned the diver to him.

Final stop was the dam where I walked to the western end with a local farmer who was on his daily walk. “With all this mechanisation I have to go for a walk each day for the exercise!” he exclaimed as sped off while I checked the tufties for any Scaup. Minutes later Tim Appleton was again alongside me saying a Shag had been reported off the dam. He too sped off leaving me to continue my stroll across the dam.

Just before I finally caught him up with Tim, who had been joined by another birder near the outflow, I spotted the Shag on a rock at the bottom of the dam.

116.Shag---------------------------Rutland Water------------------England

There were no Scaup but I still had the much colder walk back along the dam (Photo 4) as the sun was setting and now the cold wind was directly in my face.

I was so relieved once I was off the dam and on the shoreline (Photo 5), where it was much warmer out of the wind. I checked the relatively large gull roost for anything out of the ordinary but like with the Scaup, failed!

Total Mileage in 2010 = 642 miles
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
07 January 2010

With snow still thick on the ground and again blue skies it was picture postcard weather this morning. Not wanting to miss out on this unusual weather I made the five-mile drive to Elvaston Castle, parking in the main car park and walking across the parkland (Photo1) to the nature reserve (Photo 2) hoping for at least Green Woodpecker, Redpoll and Grey Wagtail.

Despite covering every inch of the reserve as well as the extended park I didn’t add another bird to my year list. Disappointing though it was I did surprise a Woodcock, which in turn surprised me as it burst out of the wood in front of me, the best bird of the morning.

In the afternoon I made my second trip of the year to Foremark Reservoir where the gates (Photo 3) to the car park were closed due to the snow. Leaving the car I walked the half mile to the gull roost. Local birder Martin (Photo 4) soon joined me, who I regularly see at Willington gravel pits, which was good news, as I soon found out, as he is a gull expert.

While waiting, with fingers crossed inside my gloves, for the regularly reported Glaucous Gull that I had dipped on earlier in the week Martin locked onto a Caspian Gull. How he spotted it amongst all those gulls I’ll never know. And what’s more, even after most of the gulls flew up and resettled on the water he picked it out again, incredible! I take my hat off to any birder who can do that with a bird that to me looks very similar to the other gulls around it.

117.Caspian Gull--------------Foremark Reservoir------------------England

It would be nearly an hour before the Glaucous Gull arrived at the roost. I had been confident that, having seen enough of these birds in the past, I would be able to pick it out in the roost, even one as large as this one with several thousand birds. However the light level was so low I had again to rely on Martin who picked the bird out on the far side of the roost. Once I was on it I knew it was a Glaucous Gull, but I would never have found it myself.

As we left I took a final photo of the roost (Photo 5) and thanked Martin for his invaluable help.

118.Glaucous Gull--------------Foremark Reservoir-----------------England

118 is one ahead of my previous UK record for this date set in 2009.

Total Mileage in 2010 = 680 miles
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
08 January 2010

I was pleased I had decided to take the first week of the new year off as snow continued to cover the ground and the sky remained blue, providing a spectacle rarely seen of late. First stop this morning was the River Derwent (Photo1) at Cromford near Matlock Bath, where the target birds were Hawfinch, Dipper, Raven and Grey Wagtail.

Parking in the rugby club car park at 0815 I made several journeys between the riverbank there, the churchyard and the road junction just over the bridge in search of Hawfinch with little success. Therefore at 0930 I stopped for a coffee when luck would have it a Hawfinch flew into one of its favourite trees, the tallest to the left of the T-junction (Photo 2). Just as I was about digi-scope it, it flew down and was lost for the rest of the morning!

119.Hawfinch-----------------------Cromford----------------------England

Reinvigorated by both the Hawfinch and the coffee I then made my way along the riverbank where within minutes a Dipper flew past towards the bridge, wings beating furiously!

120.Dipper--------------------------Cromford---------------------England

For Grey Wagtail Steve had told me to walk along the Cromford Canal (Photo 3) to High Peak Crossing where the canal crosses the River Derwent and check out the sewage works (Photo 4. It was a good walk, but the unusually tame Little Grebes kept me company. It was worth it as a lone Grey Wagtail (Photo 5) was feeding just where Steve had said!

121.Grey Wagtail--------------------High Peak Crossing------------England

Unfortunately there were no Ravens in sight during the morning

More to follow......
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
08 January 2010 (continued)

At lunchtime I picked Steve up from Matlock Bath and we set off via Grindleford to the Longshaw Estate, which again was like a picture postcard.

After parking next to Padley Gorge we walked across the road and then the half-mile, through some stunning scenery (Photo1) to the feeding station at the Longshaw Tea Rooms & Shop (Photo 2). Again Steve’s knowledge proved fruitful with up to 20 Lesser Redpolls (Photo 3) feeding within feet of us. In the same tree there was also a single Brambling. These were joined by Siskin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Great Tit, Blue Tit and Coal Tit.

122.Lesser Redpoll-----------------Longshaw Estate---------------England
123.Brambling---------------------Longshaw Estate---------------England

We walked the long way back to the car via the top of Padley Gorge (Photo 4) enjoying the winter sun and the superb views. Photo 5 shows the route.

Total Mileage in 2010 = 752 miles
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
Thanks very much to whoever ranked this thread, it is always much appreciated

09 January 2010

A mid afternoon drive to Allestree Park (Photo 1) to the north of Derby gave me my second opportunity to dip on Lesser Spotted Woodpecker there in nine days, however the sight of the park encased in snow made up for it. I also discovered my fourth Woodcock location of the year near the upper lake as one burst out of the undergrowth.

Total Mileage in 2010 = 763 miles

10 January 2010

Sunday afternoon I met up with Steve at Attenborough for a gentle stroll more to help Steve with his year list than I with mine, although I did manage to photograph this female Red Crested Pochard there (Photo 2). Steve soon picked up Ruddy Duck and Kingfisher, the latter close to the aptly named Kingfisher Hide!

While the smaller lakes remained frozen the snow had gone, leaving mud everywhere. We met up with a colleague of Steve’s who had seen four Bitterns there early, but we weren’t lucky enough to see any, even after my first visit to the Tower Hide.

We did get some great views of two Water Rails feeding in the allotment just as we left the Works Pond for The Strand. It was too dark however to take some photo’s.

Total Mileage in 2010 = 782 miles

16 January 2010

Today the family were visiting my in-laws in Bourne, Lincs. Taking advantage of this I arranged to have lunch with my mother in Manthorpe. No sooner had I set off from the in-laws when I spotted a Green Woodpecker feeding on the green!

124.Green Woodpecker-----------------Bourne--------------------England

After lunch I made a rather large detour back to Bourne in the search of Corn Bunting, with little luck

Total Mileage in 2010 = 818 miles

23 January 2010

A leisurely start to the day joining Steve at Wollaton Park (Photo3), Nottingham, at 10am in search of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Despite only living 13 miles away and passing it frequently (my son being at Nottingham University) this was my first visit. Steve had regularly seen lesser spotted here and so was confident of a sighting.

Two and a half hours later we thought we had been beaten having covered virtually all the park, except the golf course. Then we realised there was one place we really hadn’t checked out properly, the wood to the right of the main gate as you enter the park, near where the Red and Fallow Deer are normally grazing. Half way along the edge of the wood we both heard a lesser spotted and before you knew it we were craning our necks (Photo 4) watching a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Photo 5 – spot the bird!) high up in the trees.

125.Lesser Spotted Woodpecker--------Wollaton Park--------------England

Not leaving it at that, like sensible folk would do, we then decided we just had to see all three woodpeckers in the same day. We had already seen several greater spotted but only Steve had heard a green. We therefore set off on the same route we had taken earlier and would you know it we didn’t see a Green Woodpecker until we arrived back at the same wood an hour later!

Not only had we seen all three for the first time on the same day, we saw all three in under a minute as the green flew passed us while the lesser and greater were feeding in the same tree!

To finish off the day, just as we arrived back at the car park a lesser spotted started calling from a tree a few yards from the car!

Total Mileage in 2010 = 843 miles
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
24 January 2010

My second new birding venue in as many days was the RSPB’s new Frampton Marsh reserve. Leaving Ilkeston at 0700 Steve and I arrived at Frampton at 0820, incredible to be at the coast so quickly, it has to be our nearest coastal venue and by what we saw of it, it will no doubt become our favourite!

Leaving the car near the visitor centre (Photo1) our first bird was a Barn Owl quartering the hedgerows and dykes! Checking out the lagoon behind the centre we immediately picked up our first year bird a White Fronted Goose mingling with greylag and pink footed

126.White Fronted Goose------------Frampton Marsh----------------England

A local birder confirmed that the reported Snow Buntings and Lapland Buntings were regularly seen from the 360 hide (Photo 2) so we quickly made our way there. The good news was that Snow Buntings (Photo 3) were quickly ticked, feeding to the right of the hide thanks to direction from a birder already in situ.

127.Snow Bunting-------------------Frampton Marsh----------------England

The bad news was that he hadn’t seen the Lapland and he had been there nearly an hour. Not to be beaten it was Steve who led the march to find them. Having checked out all of the islands to the right and directly in front of the hide he started to comb the one’s to the left. Then we heard those immortal words, “I think I have got a Lapland!” The long staying birder had moved on so it was left to another birder, from Leicester, and I to share in Steve’s find. Sure enough Steve’s keen eye and patience had paid off, we had another tick in the book. There were in fact two, as reported!

128.Lapland Bunting-----------------Frampton Marsh----------------England

Before we could finish celebrating the Laplands were up in the air, as were many of the other birds. What had spooked them? The answer; a Merlin, which locked onto a finch/bunting, both wheeling above us in a battle of wits, which I am pleased to say the latter won, the Merlin cruising off to prepare for a future battle.

129.Merlin--------------------------Frampton Marsh----------------England

Two godwits that had been asleep facing us with their beaks buried under their wing suddenly woke up and proved to be Bar Tailed Godwits adding another tick in quick succession.

130.Bar Tailed Godwit---------------Frampton Marsh----------------England

Happy that we had ticked off all of our target birds to date we made our way to the sea wall, which gave great views over the reserve (Photo 4 & 5)

More to follow……….
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
24 January 2010 (continued)

Further along the sea wall, after watching thousands of Brent Geese wheeling like Starlings in slow motion, a flock of buntings flew into the only tree this side of the reserve. Clocking them with the scope revealed them to be Twite (Photo1), the first time I had seen them this early in the year.

131.Twite-----------------------Frampton Marsh-------------------England

Next stop was refuelling back at the car before then walking just out of the reserve and following a raised path to the East with bushes either side. One break in the bushes gave us wonderful views of a male and female Peregrine chasing each other, both in the air and on the marshy fields. Further round, now heading towards the sea wall, there were 10-15 Whooper Swans feeding in the fields together with a single Bewick Swan.

Our slow amble giving us other fine views of the reserve (Photo 2) finally took us back to the sea wall (Photo 3) where we met up with another birder who said he had been watching a male Hen Harrier on and off over the last hour quartering the salt marsh. Within minutes the bird was up again and while admiring it another came into view even closer, what a sight!

132.Hen Harrier-----------------Frampton Marsh-------------------England

With all target birds now in the bag we strolled back to the car, it had been a wonderful day at a wonderful reserve (Photo 4), which isn’t that far from Derby or Ilkeston (Photo 5), we will be back.

Total Mileage in 2010 = 999 miles
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
30 January 2010

With Steve off to Spain today Martin Chadwick, fellow slot car racer (see club I founded in 1992 at www.dhorc.co.uk), work colleague and keen photographer, but not a birder joined me at around 11am on a beautiful but crisp day. My target was the Red Necked Grebe at Hoveringham and Firecrest at Rufford Country Park. Martin’s target was to take some photos of anything and everything!

Steve had seen both birds the previous day taking delight in texting me while I was at work, so I just had to see them today. He had been kind enough to give me directions though.

Parking just before the railway crossing near the Railway Pit at Hoveringham we walked onto the bridle path but soon detoured onto the banking to view the pit. The sun was in our eyes however and what birds we could see certainly weren’t grebes. There was however a birder in the distance with a scope so we headed back to the bridle path alongside the railway line and crunched our way over the frozen ground to see if he had seen the bird.

By the time we arrived he had been joined by another birder, neither had seen the grebe but said it had been seen earlier and was often asleep amongst the flooded trees next to an island to our left (Photo1). After a while I moved along the shore to get a better view but was soon called back as they had spotted it. It was always a good distance away so the only photo I managed was a fuzzy digi-scope record shot (Photo 2). Martin never even took his lens cap off!

133.Red Necked Grebe----------------Hoveringham-----------------England

Bird bagged we set off to Rufford Country Park where the car park was as usual full, with just one place available at the end of a row. Heading for the Ice House where the bird had been reported we met up with several birders on their way back to the car park who all said they hadn’t seen the Firecrest. Another birder near the Ice House had been there all morning and just returned after lunch but still had had no success.

We patrolled the area immediately behind the Ice House as the trees there were bathing in the winter sun but only found three Great Tits. Therefore we then set off down the path directly in front of the Ice House. Around 50 metres along this path (Photo 3) there was a feeding flock of Long Tailed Tits (one without a tail), Coal Tits, Great Tits, Blue Tits and a lone Goldcrest that suddenly chased another bird, which turned out to be the elusive Firecrest – Yes!

Within seconds it was gone, but 20 minutes later the same two birds, with the Goldcrest again very agitated with the Firecrest flew into the tree above us. Having not seen one since 2008 it was a special treat.

134.Firecrest------------------------Rufford------------------------England

My previous record for getting to 134 UK birds in a year was 23Feb08 so I am well ahead of my target of reaching 200 UK birds by 23 May, again set in 2008.

Photo 4 shows our route

Total Mileage in 2010 = 1,083 miles
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
18 February 2010

First new bird of year in February, where did the time go?

A Waxwing (Photo1) in Allestree (Photo 2), ten minute drive from my home

135.Waxwing--------------------Allestree (Derby)------------England

Total Mileage in 2010 = 1093
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
20 February 2010

Meeting up with Steve at Eyebrook Reservoir there had been yet another snowstorm the night before so again we found ourselves in a winter wonderland (Photo1) where our first Slavonian Grebe of the year was showing well, near the island.

136.Slavonian Grebe---------------------Eyebrook-----------------England

From here we moved round to the inflow where, after the bridge, we parked up (Photo 2) where another birder had spotted the Green Winged Teal

137.Green Winged Teal-------------------Eyebrook----------------England

Next stop was Rutland Water where the Black Necked Grebe off the Fisherman’s car park (Photo 3) was soon spotted thanks to two other birders already on the bird.

138.Black Necked Grebe-----------------Rutland Water------------England

We next parked at the Egleton Bird Reserve and made our way to Lagoon 3 (Photo 4) where, as well as seeing a Green Sandpiper, there were 9 Smew, 4 males and 5 female, the most I had seen in one place.

139.Green Sandpiper-------------------Rutland Water-------------England

Earlier in the day I had again dipped with Scaup so while Steve left for home I returned to the dam. No Scaup but a nice sunset (Photo 5)!

Total Mileage in 2010 = 1,203.1 miles
 

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