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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Maenad's 2010 Year List: Birding with Baby! (1 Viewer)

12 May 2010

Had a short walk at Boddington Reservoir this afternoon, dodging the anglers at the fishing competition. Two pairs of terns, and one single.

113. Common Tern
15 May 2010

A mixed day at Otmoor: some exciting birds, including a lifer; but LP did not enjoy himself and grizzled for much of the outing. |!| He may be getting a little old to be tucked into his pram and wheeled around aimlessly, which doesn't bode well for the rest of the year! We'll see.

Today, Otmoor offered many of its summer specialties, including lots of butterflies and damselflies. A Marsh Tit visited the feeder, the first I've seen for a few months, and there were Reed Buntings, Reed and Sedge Warblers, and Whitethroats singing their hearts out at every turn. Several Hobbies were whizzing overhead, and the new hide offered a distant but exciting view of my very first Spoonbill.

114. Cuckoo
115. Hobby

I started the year with a list of target species that I thought I could see, even with a small child. These were mostly fairly common species that I knew I could turn up in a limited number of places: wetland birds at Otmoor and Brandon Marsh, seabirds at my home in Scotland etc. I've far surpassed the total number B :), thanks to some wonderful trips with my husband, and there are now only a few stubborn target species to go. I have a pretty good idea for Corn Bunting, but I have a feeling that Stonechat might be a bit trickier in the places I can visit. Hmm, I'll have to get thinking about that one.
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28 May 2010

Two more LBJs at Otmoor today. The Cetti's was a pure fluke, but as I missed Garden Warbler altogether last year, I was pleased to see several staking out territories in the bushes.

117. Garden Warbler
118. Cetti's Warbler
26 June 2010: I do like to be beside the seaside!

We haven't done much by way of birdwatching for the past few weeks, but we made up for it in grand style on Saturday with our first trip to Bempton. I managed to fill the embarrassing gap in my life list left by a certain popular auk, but the highlight was the sheer spectacle of the thousands upon thousands of birds on the cliffs. As an added bonus, I also found that pesky Stonechat. We heard a Corn Bunting, but didn't manage to see it.

119. PUFFIN :king:
120. Kittiwake
121. Razorbill
122. Fulmar
123. Stonechat
1-15 July 2010

Another trip to see the grandparents, and some truly horrible 'summer' weather. We still managed a few bird sessions, although (contrary to what he says on his list) I haven't forgiven my husband CactusD for the LEO and Ring Ouzel he saw when I was at home with the baby. :C

Highlights included hundreds of Manx Shearwaters seen very distantly out at sea by Maidens in Ayrshire; an unexpected Spotted Flycatcher on the River Irvine near my parents' home; and a family party of 10 Goosanders on the river in Bakewell town centre.

124. Northern Wheatear
125. Manx Shearwater
126. Spotted Flycatcher
127. Sandwich Tern
7 August 2010

I haven't managed to get out much with the binoculars and LP recently, so probably a good thing that we were in the summer birding lull. But wader passage has started again, so we had a walk round Otmoor between showers this afternoon. Among other stuff, we had a few warblers (Whitethroat, Garden, Reed); a couple of Hobbies and a Red Kite; several Little Egrets and a Grey Heron that posed patiently for CactusD's camera; and we heard probably our last Turtle Dove of the summer.

And waders: five or six Green Sandpipers and (hooray!) my first Black-tailed Godwits of the year, just moulting out of their summer plumage.

The real stars of the day, though, were the butterflies. I'm marginally worse at identifying butterflies than I am at gulls (and believe me, that's saying something :-O), but a handy new ID card and my patient husband helped me put names to Painted Ladies, Red Admirals, a Small Tortoiseshell, Large, Small, and Green-veined Whites, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, a Small Copper and many, many Common Blues.

128. Black-tailed Godwit
6 September 2010

A weirdly quiet weekend for birds in Derbyshire, after a weirdly quiet month. A trip to Carsington gave us lots of Coots and not much else, except for an unexpected and exciting life tick for me. I've heard many, and at close range, but never managed to catch sight of one. In the woodland path towards the Paul Stanley hide, calling Blackbirds alerted us to a roosting owl, which then flew across our path before perching briefly to glare at us.

28 September 2010

In spite of a few trips to Otmoor, and one today to Farmoor, I haven't had any new birds to add to my list for quite a while now. My fault entirely: I know they're out there, but can't seem to connect |:(|.

But I've been thinking that the birding year is as much about lasts as firsts. Sometimes the first views are also the last. I know that I'm very unlikely to see another Puffin or Avocet this year with the birding available to me. Yet the departure of my 'resident' summer migrants is as important to my birding year as their arrival. The last Swift of the year signifies the end of high summer far more accurately and evocatively than any change in the weather.

The Swifts are obviously long gone from the skies around Banbury, but more recently I've noticed my last Hobbies (Otmoor last week, perhaps my best views of the year: a single Hobby hawking over the new scrape); my last Yellow Wagtails (today at Farmoor, a couple of Yellow Wags among a large group of Pied: the first time I've really noticed the subtle lemons of the winter plumage). The last brood of House Martins disappeared from the next street along last week. I'm hoping that I'll catch a few more Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, but most of the other warblers are gone, and there was only one Swallow above the reservoir this morning.

But these lasts will also herald some more firsts for the season if not for the year: when will I find my first Fieldfare? Or Siskin? Perhaps some Golden Plovers at Otmoor? I look forward to finding out.
6 November 2010

Baby LP and I are just back from a fortnight in Scotland, but a combination of teething and terrible weather meant a meagre total of 39 birds for the trip, with no year ticks. Meanwhile, husband and father CactusD was enjoying a holiday from domestic cares. He clocked up an impressive number of birds on a couple of trips to Slimbridge, and made sure to post enough photos on his thread to make me very jealous indeed. So there was nothing for it but to insist on visiting again today.

All in all, we had a successful trip, with 55 species seen, plus one heard. I managed two lifers, plus another 4 year ticks, bringing my year's total so far to 135. Just one complaint: I'll admit that I'm not the tallest of women, but I'm not that short, and I found it difficult to see out of the windows when seated in some of the hides! |=(|

131. Whooper Swan
132. Peregrine
133. Spotted Redshank
135. Pintail
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17 December 2010

After a month of illness and injury, not to mention getting ready to go back to work, I finally got to see some birds last week. No Waxwings as of yet, but a lovely little grebe at Carsington Water.

136. Slavonian Grebe
28 December 2010

Just when I thought that the weather couldn't get much worse, the ice melts and the fog descends. Baby LP is still unwell, so birdwatching is at a minimum. However, a short walk along the river at Bakewell gave us one more species - the last for the year? I hope not, but fear so!

137. Mandarin
31 December 2010: it's all over now

The light is beginning to go now even in mid-afternoon, and I know that my year's birding has come to an end. It has been an exciting year for me, mostly with baby but also with birds! I far exceeded my lowly target of 85 species: in spite of having the buggy in tow, we did manage to get out and about more than I had feared. I missed some very obvious species, Corn Bunting and Raven among them, but also enjoyed some lovely moments, including a distant Spoonbill at Otmoor and a magnificent Tawny Owl at Carsington. Bird of the year? Special mention has to go to my first Puffins at Bempton, but perhaps the most enjoyment was had from the pair of Nuthatches nesting in my in-laws' garden.

In summary, 2010 brought me 137 species, all in the UK. Nine were lifers (Barn Owl, Avocet, Spoonbill, Puffin, Pink-footed Goose, Barnacle Goose, Tawny Owl, Bewick's Swan, White-fronted Goose) and a further five new for me in the UK (Brambling, Green Sandpiper, Turtle Dove, Spotted Redshank, Slavonian Grebe).

And 2011? Well, it's back to work four days a week on 4 January. Baby LP is rapidly becoming a toddler, and is ever less willing to sit quietly in his buggy while Mummy and Daddy look for birds. So perhaps this year will be quieter. But we do have a trip to Lesvos planned for the spring, so who knows? ;)

Happy New Year to all, and good birding for 2011! :king:
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