2012 ended okay with a trip up to Manchester. At least, the birding was okay, the rest of it was pretty uncomfortable. I had to stay in the only available room with my parents, sleeping on an inflatable bed that was half a foot too short, and both the heating and the television volume were always on extremely high for my gran. The best day was that spend with Liam, on New Year's Eve. The two Long-eared Owls at Marton Mere were the highlight. Marshside was also enjoyable with a first-winter Spoonbill, a female Merlin, two Ruffs and numbers of wildfowl and waders including Black-tailed Godwits, Golden Plovers and Pink-footed Geese. A pair of Pintail there was also nice. Seventy-odd Twites nearby was a real treat even though we didn't see them perched, their energetic call as they circled around us was magical though.
New Year's Day was spent at my favourite Manchester birding site, Pennington Flash. A Willow Tit and three Goosanders were the highlights, plus I heard a flock of Pink-feet.
I've been home since the evening of the 2nd. Been at the patch yesterday and today, yesterday producing George the Red-legged Partridge very easily. He clearly wanted to be added to the 2013 yearlist - I hadn't seen him since December 11th, despite looking, and he was the twenty-ninth bird I saw, proudly parading around Broadfield.
I also visited Holmethorpe Sand Pits today, where Gordon Hay kindly put me onto the drake Smew - I later located the two redheads and saw the six Shelducks before they headed towards Mercers West Pit - all on Mercers Lake.
I haven't got any brilliant photos to put up but once I have some time I'll put a record shot or two of the Long-eared Owls up, and maybe one of George or a Goosander.
Happy New Year
I've posted a new page on this blog containing my 2013 patch yearlist in chronological order, as I try to get as near to 110 for the patch this year as I can.