January 2014 – the wettest month since records began.   Leave a comment

 

Yes, its official, January 2014 is the wettest month since records began, at least in Southern Britain. Many events have been weather affected throughout January but I have managed to go ringing on five or so occasions and do a little birding, as well as going on the East Anglia trip that I have already reported on.

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Anita and Kara at Anita’s flat in Bournemouth. John and Anita returned from their long trip to South Africa on the 4th and Anita held a belated 40th birthday party on the  11th 

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Anita relaxes with friends and family at her 40th birthday party. John, Amber, Janis, Margaret and I are all in there somewhere. Kara took the photo.

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We managed three ringing visits to Holton Lee. As usual we ringed or retrapped lots of Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Robins and Dunnocks plus a small number of Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Nuthatches. The large number of retraps allows us to hone our aging skills by examining birds of known age and comparing the plumage against the published criteria. On the 14th we trapped the first Reed Bunting for the site on the but had already ringed as a juvenile (3J) female at Lytchett Bay on 23rd August 2013. I’m happy to report that we considered it to be a first-winter female (age code 5) which of course, it should have been.

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We have long considered that our ringing site at Fleets Lane needed some maintenance, mainly in reducing the height of the vegetation to promote new growth. Seven of us met up on the 26th for a very tiring four hours of cutting, trimming, hacking and trimming.

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Like all newly cut vegetation it looks pretty hacked about now, but should be ideal for ringing once the new growth starts to sprout in March.

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The 27th saw a very wet WeBS count at Holes Bay at lunchtime but later on the weather had eased of enough to warrant a trip up to the Blashford Lakes neat Ringwood. The causeway at Ibsley is still flooded and impassible to all but 4x4s.

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…. but a Bewick’s Swan posed for photos on the flooded meadows.


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The main reason for going was to see a male Ferruginous Duck at Kingfisher Lake. This is a private lake surrounded by a high fence with lots of vegetation obscuring the view. I managed a brief and obstructed view of the ‘Fudgy Duck’ before it disappeared behind and island. We ended up at nearby Ivy Lake (above) where we waited in vain until dusk in the vain hope that either the resident Bittern or Great White Egret would put in an appearance.

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On the 28th I drove over to West Bexington in west Dorset to see the adult Glaucous Gull that had been there for about a week. It does wander up and down the coast so I was lucky to see it flying immediately in front of the car park as soon as I arrived.

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It eventually settled on the beach. I tried to get it in the same photo as this beautiful rainbow. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not I succeeded.

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Glaucous Gull is a scarce but regular visitor to northern Britain from the arctic, but twitchable individuals this far south are pretty uncommon.

 

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Glaucous Gulls share the white-wing tips with the closely related Iceland Gull, but are larger with a thicker bill and more fierce expression. This bird is at the smaller end of the Glaucous size spectrum.

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Christmas 2013 was the first since I was a kid that I didn’t get invited to a Christmas party or a Christmas dinner-dance, so when we heard that our friends at the Phoenix (previously Nexus) organisation were attending a Burn’s Night dinner we gladly joined them. Here the piper plays us into the dinning room.

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The haggis is piped in. It was an excellent meal but my injured toes are still recovering so we didn’t join in with the dancing.

 

And finally I have to report the sad end to Margaret’s car. The little Daihastu was over 20 years old but finally expired the day before yesterday. It was taken to the scrap merchants who crushed it into a little cube. Margaret bought it for £300 over seven years ago and got £80 back for the scrap –  good value motoring in my opinion.

February brings new adventures including my first foreign travel of the year – more of that later.

 


Posted January 31, 2014 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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