Happy New Year to all who view my Blog. 2013 seemed to fly past, looking back it seemed quiet birding wise, but I managed to see a few new species and some lovely wildlife.
The year started of with some cold hard hoar frosts, but what better way to start than with Waxwings. A flock had graced a town close to home, and who can resist such beauties.
A cold trip to Thetford with my Dad connected us with a Black-Bellied Dipper. This was a bird we had not seen before (black bellied).
Close to home again, and a Black Necked Grebe with the addition of a lovely Ferruginous Duck, which I happily visited on a couple of occasions to get pictures.
The nearby feeding station at Sandy proved to be a good year for the Redpolls, and a handful of Mealy type Redpolls proved popular. With a couple of Bramblings as an add on to the huge amounts of Siskins, the start of the year got off well.
These images are of Mealy Redpoll, Steve Blain kindly helped with going through the vast amount of Mealy images I had taken, and we identified up to 8 different birds.
Staying more local with my birding through the year, I was able to bag a few nice birds including this Wheatear (above) and stonking Whinchat (below).
I also found this mega rarity for Bedfordshire, a Spoonbill which proved very popular.
A memorable visit with my wife Sarah to Blakeney Point ( yet another trek on foot!, I said I wouldn't) brought us face to face with the seal colony there. They were so inquisitive approaching to a couple of feet away, a truly wonderful experience.
Staying in Norfolk at the time this Roller was found was a godsend. I had never seen one before and so my Dad and I made sure we got there early, and after a short while my Dad located it and we both happily ticked it off our lists, we even visited again later that day for Sarah to connect too. Another visit to Norfolk, just Sarah and I, proved to be a very quiet time in Norfolk, but a Yellow Browed Warbler and Firecrest made it not so dull.
With an influx of Two-Barred Crossbill and Parrot Crossbill into the country I knew a visit somewhere was on the cards. I had never seen a Parrot Crossbill before, neither had my Dad, so a visit down to Kent bagged us a few Parrots and the lovely male Two-Barred Crossbill too. Although the birds were at some distance, the Parrot's were unmistakable, and one of the first views was a male perched side by side with the Two-Barred! convenience birding or what!
I had connected with a Northern Harrier in Norfolk before, but eagerly took a trip with my wife Sarah, to the Ouse Washes in Cambridgeshire when one turned up there. It showed distantly most of the time but interacted with a Hen Harrier often, giving good comparison views.
And as the year drew to an end I kept local and was able to connect with a couple of Siberian Chiffchaffs and a very elusive Dartford Warbler. I managed a few mothing and butterfly sessions in the garden and locally too, which all added up to a great wildlife year.
And what is planned for 2014?
Well a move to Norfolk and the start of a new chapter in Sarah's and my life. Who knows what delights await us both, but first we have a group trip to Spain with friends in February where we will be meeting our good friend Neil Renwick, who resides in Spain now. We will see plenty of Cranes and a few other special birds resident there, hopefully loads of images to capture and great memories.
Wishing everybody a great 2014.