Saturday 21 December 2013

Winter Solstice

Lade - mild, wet, windy, sw 6 - Happy solstice to one and all (pagans included) and here`s to the ever extending daylight hours to come.
Today has been a shocker down here on the coast with near gale force winds and driving rain throughout making for a complete non-birding day.
However, on the plus side it has meant that this afternoon I could spend some time in retrospect  reviewing the past birding year for a post some time next week. It also reminded me that despite not being one of the best years for rarities at Dungeness we really shouldn`t complain as there have been many memorable days of sub-rarities and scarcities along the way, plus one or two good falls to saviour; more of which anon.
Anyhow, I couldn't resist giving some of these little gems an airing:
Comedy Moment of 2013 - I was spoiled for choice here, as let`s face it there have been a few, what with the Greatstone Joker and the Bard of Burrowes at large...
It could easily have been on a spring trip for woodpeckers in Crecy forest when two old blokes struggling with digital technology played just about every bird call on the Western Palearctic list before finally arriving at Middle Spot - you had to be there! Or maybe the fella at the fishing boats one afternoon putting me right on the finer points of seabird identification - apparently those black ducks that I stupidly thought were scoters, were, after all, Coots...
But no, my comedy moment of the year has to go to the `Storm Petrel` called on an autumn seawatch that most of us regulars went along with, bar one, when it eventually morphed into a Purple Sandpiper! Pure seawatching magic - you could not make it up.
Serious Ornithological Moment of 2013 - In contrast to the above frivolities this award goes to the on going saga of redpoll identification and one November afternoon at the Obs when a hat trick of species were examined in the hand. I think I got it... until the next time... has anyone considered they might all be just, well, races of one species...

                                Coues`s Arctic Redpoll - DBO, 7-11-13

Barney`s Flush of 2013 - It`s a three way split here, all this autumn/winter. Two strong candidates were the Short-eared Owl and Jack Snipe at Lade but pride of place goes to a Ring Ouzel flushed from Penn Bars whilst I was watching a Black Kite.
Dips of 2013 - Looking back through the missed list I`m still wondering how I could have gone through the year without seeing Sooty Shearwater, Honey Buzzard and Osprey...
That`s it for now, but beware there could be more such irreverent posts over the coming days if the weather remains manky.

1 comment:

  1. Don't fret - your luck's bound to improve! Happy Christmas & atb for 2014. Lew