Whilst we continue to enjoy mainly warm and sunny weather, rain am I told is forecast for next Tuesday and Wednesday, those back in the UK have suffered more than the usually expected "ducks weather" with non-stop rains, high winds and major flooding. The BBC News tried to cheer me up last night by saying that the end of the rain was in sight - but the start of prolonged cold weather and heavy snow for many parts of the country was imminent! Just a little worrying when I think I am off to New Zealand via Britain.
We have no excuse to keep us in the house and, despite the weather, it seems that many British birders are still getting out and about as can be seen from a report I have just received from my birding friend Chris Bell in the East Midlands. Now here is a birder who travels to his sites in much the same way as we do out here in Spain; almost distance no object form north of Sheffield to the east coast.
I shall only be here for less then four weeks of the new year so thought I could take my time reaching the "Spanish Century" - probably have to wait until at least the end of March. Not so Chris. Despite deciding to start off at a leisurely pace he is just one short of his 100 mark for the year and, at the 9th January, barely a week into the New Year! Well done Chris. What about my Spanish birding friends who keep lists; anyone nearing the mark yet?
Having re-read the above I did have a look at my 2014 list to date and see that I have reached 68 with still visits to Charca de Suarez (tomorrow), the Guadalhorce with the Axarquia Bird Group next Thursday (16th) and the ABS visit to Fuente de Piedre (18th) still to come. The last visit will also give a chance to check out the Laguna Dulce and as I am about to report, the White Stork is still just down the road at the Rio Velez in Tore del Mar. Can I possible find the missing 32 before I fly off to foreign parts?
Thursday 9 January 2014
I had no intention of starting the year with a birding sprint, and the weather helped me to keep that promise to myself. Well initially at least. Yesterday I had another 10 ticks for 2014 and today 5, I think, but I haven't checked them in yet.
So by the end of the 9th I am on 99 2014 ticks. Surely a visit to Budby Common tomorrow, should return a Yellow Hammer, or a Meadow Pipit , or a Crossbill to add to the list?
Yesterday (8th) at Retford Sewerage Works, I had all the reported gems, that is winter gems. The Firecrest wasn't a winter gem (just a gem), but the Chiffchaff, Siberian Chiffchaff, and the cracking Lesser Whitethroat all were.
Today I went to Blacktoft Sands, which re-opened on the 28th of December after having 6 foot of water over the paths from the December storm surge, and then on Saturday last had some additional flooding but all the paths were clear today. Ticks were: Marsh Harrier, Skylark, Stonechat, Hen Harrier (male and ringtail), Short Eared Owl. (Gibraltar Point Visitors Centre was severely damaged and who knows when it will re-open).
The Glossy Ibis was reported from Deeping Lakes on the 7th (not very far from my little house in Stamford) and I haven't seen a report of the Howdham bird since before that date. I really think they are separate birds though.
Note the reference to the flooding and damage at Gibraltar Point and, in birding terms, the different emphasis on species. All, I am sure, will bring back many happy memories to we former UK birders. My personal surprise was reading about the very early return of the Lesser Whitethroat or are they, like the Blackcap, now becoming a regular over-wintering species? Many thanks Chris for a little birding enjoyment from back in the old country and trust that the weather will not get any worse.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.