Monday, 7 January 2013

Old year out, New year in...........

Bewick's Swans at West Carlton in December - Adrian Johnson

December remained mild until close of play and most of the highlights were wintering birds that had generally been around for a while. West Yorkshire continued to attract plenty of birders with Wintersett CP. in particular fairing well. Birds seen here included the long staying American Wigeon (though it did go awol for a while), the female Long tailed Duck, a drake Smew, a couple of drake Scaup and an impressive selection of roosting gulls including Caspian, Yellow-legged and Glaucous. 

One of the first-winter Caspian Gulls at Wintersett CP - Kev Denny
And with a drake Long-tailed Duck at nearby Pugneys and the Ring billed Gull still visiting Mirfield it not really surprising that many coastal birders were tempted inland. The coast was not completely birdless however, with the odd Bean Goose (three at Cayton Carrs), Little Auk, and Velvet Scoter, among the highlights. 
Velvet Scoter, Hornsea Mere - Adrian Johnson. Well, almost coastal!
A roost visit to Blacktoft Sands RSPB must have been impressive, with a remarkable count of 30 Marsh Harriers as well as five Hen Harriers a stark reminder of how things have changed. And then of course there were Waxwings, hundreds and hundreds of them, the largest flock being a spectacular 470 in Wombwell, South Yorkshire. 
Waxwing at Old Moor RSPB - Keith Pickering. An amazing flock of at least 470 visited nearby Wombwell.
So overall how did 2012 check out for the Yorkshire birder? A decent spring, and a generally disappointing autumn, certainly for rarities anyway? Most Yorkshire listers did manage to catch up with the double dose of Pallid Harriers but most didn't get to grips with the double dose of Gull billed Terns. And nobody who wished could have failed to add Roller to their Yorkshire tally but everybody who wished did fail to add Black Kite despite the fact that there were two multi-observed.  As for 2013...................

Part of a healthy flock of Twite between Ringborough and Grimston in early January - Adrian Johnson