'Mr Banks Birdland'. 30th January 2012.

With the weather not great, cold and grey, I decide to just take my scope and my digi camera. I had not used the camera for years and realising I couldnt remember any settings I opted to try a short video clip, hopefully the links will take you to the footage. The first new addition for the year was a single Shelduck on the main lake, it didnt hang around for long mind you. My second attempt to video was of a snipe, I was hoping it was a Jack Snipe considering the bobbing up and down whilst feeding the video clip shows this and not noticed snipe moving like this before, but the crown stripe and long bill put a stop to those thoughts. The temperature did not rise at all and after logging all I could see I made my way to the car and home for a cuppa.

Bird Species seen: Shelduck,Shoveler,Teal,Coot,Pochard,Tufted duck,Black headed gull,Little grebe,Mute Swan,Gadwall,Common gull,Greylag geese,Mallard,Lapwing,Pheasant,Stock Dove,Woodpigeon,Blue tit,Great tit,Blackbird,Chaffinch,Dunnock,Carrion crow,Jackdaw,Wren,Snipe,Song thrush,Moorhen,Wigeon,Green woodpecker,Yellowhammer,Pied wagtail.

'Mr Banks Birdland' January.

Took a walk around with Sarah, noting what was about. Only took my scope and bins this time though, looking at a spot for Kingfisher fingers crossed. The first sight that was noticeable were the 150 or so Greylags in the grass field adjacent to the A1, in the same field a 100 or so flock of Skylarks were feeding too. There were quite a few Teal around, noticeably vacant last time, and there was no sign of the green Sandpiper on this visit. Species seen: Greylag&Canada geese,Mute swan,Shoveler,Black headed gull,Common gull,Little grebe,Jackdaw,Mallard,Coot,Pochard,Tufted duck,Teal,Gadwall,Green woodpecker,Magpie,Song thrush,Long tailed tit,Blackbird,Moorhen,Carrion crow,Pied wagtail,Dunnock,Lapwing,Muntjac deer.

Calshot. Hampshire. January 2012.

Spanish Sparrow

After my last night shift I travelled straight down to Hampshire for the Spanish Sparrow. With quite a number of birders there it wasn't long before the bird was picked out in a back garden and just viewable from the road. It was fairly mobile then moving from one side of the road to the other but gave itself up on a few occasions, albeit hidden behind branches. Every now and again it would return to the same garden to feed before returning to the nearby bushes to preen and rest. A great morning chatting to other birders and photographers and I for one did not expect to get any shots so I left well happy.

"Mr Banks Birdland".Biggleswade.January 2012.

My first visit for 2012 and great weather too, the wind had finally dropped off and I was able to put the hide up. A couple of new additions, albeit not great species but birds none the less!, and a wader to boot too. Coots and Mallards were mating and the Coots very stroppy with neighbouring interlopers. The Black headed gulls were in good numbers with perhaps one or two more Common gulls than last time.

Some Canada geese were joined by a small group of Greylags, which didn't have anything else mixed in with them, they later departed leaving the Canada's to graze the grass. But the best showed itself some time later. I glimpsed a small bird fly from a hidden bay which I immediately thought wader and probably a Green Sandpiper, unfortunately I could not pick it up from my hide. But it was to show a few more times confirming it as a Green Sandpiper, and happily came close enough for a record snap.

Birds seen;Lapwing,Gadwall,Mallard,Canada geese,Greylag geese,Starling,Pied wagtail,Coot,Skylark,Black headed gull,Common gull,Mute swan,Little grebe,Moorhen,Pochard,Tufted duck,Green sandpiper,Carrion crow,Magpie,Cormorant,Shoveler,Green woodpecker,Sparrowhawk,Jackdaw,Yellowhammer.

New Beginnings in Bedfordshire.

Mid December 2011 I was invited to take a look around a potential site along the A1 between Sandy and Biggleswade (Derek White Eggs), with views to setting up for photography. I knew the place from reports amongst the Bedfordshire Bird Club, but being a private site never thought I would gain access. But with thanks to Bev for letting me have access to his site the year ahead was looking most inviting. I would be recording all species from common to hopefully scarcer. My early visits would be to make the regular birds familiar with my hide and 'suss out potential spots.

The flock of Lapwing were quite confident to venture close by and there were a number of Black headed gulls present with a few Common gulls mixed in. A Snipe was flushed whilst walking around and a Little egret flew over on its way towards the fishery lakes. Duck species numbered 7; Gadwall,Mallard,Tufted,Shoveler,Teal,Pochard and Wigeon. Hopefully I will clock up a varied list as 2012 progresses.

Birds seen;Gadwall,Mallard,Shoveler,Teal,Pochard,Wigeon,Tufted duck,Coot,Moorhen,Mute swan,Little grebe,Black headed gull,Common gull,Common Snipe,Grey Partridge,Skylark,Cormorant,Pied wagtail,White wagtail,Starling,Lapwing,Green Woodpecker,Little Egret,Carrion crow,Jackdaw,Sparrowhawk,Common buzzard(distant).