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Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Junco for joy

Today was a mixed bag... Ian picked me up this morning and we headed to the New Forest for the Dark-eyed Junco. On arrival, around 8.00am, after driving through rivers and hurricanes and around fallen trees, we found that we were the only people present! We didn't know where exactly we were meant to be looking and after a falling pine missed us by a couple of dozen yards we cut our losses. Wyke Regis was our next venue. We thought it was pointless getting out and looking for anything because the weather was truly apocalyptic, but we soldiered on. After a few miles of battling the wind and rain we heard and eventually saw the HUME'S LEAF WARBLER! I couldn't believe that we'd actually seen a bird. It showed quite well at times and I got a few record shots.

Hume's Leaf Warbler

On the way back Ian located the Richard's Pipit - a lifer for him - at the bridging camp and it gave pretty good views. Even though some blue sky had moved over us it was still very windy and hence the scope tried to take off a few times. My umbrella looked like it had been dunked in acid. A couple of Ravens played in the gales.

Richard's Pipit

As we were approaching the car, news came through that the junco had been seen again. Off we went. People told us the bird hadn't been seen for an hour and a half but we staked it out and, at something like 3.40pm, a few people shouted that the bird had flown into a fallen pine. As everyone was in the middle of moving closer, several of us got onto the DARK-EYED JUNCO fly out, a good hundred metres across our view and into a stand of young pines and birches. I'm rather picky with flight views of passerines but I was pleased that I managed a clear and prolonged look at it as it fluttered past, getting the pale bill, white tail sides, white underparts, slate grey upperparts and darker head. I'd like to see it on the deck so might try to get down there again at the weekend. Also seen at the Hawkhill Inclosure were a few Crossbills and a couple of Woodcocks.