End of the Year
Well 2008 turned out to be a good year for yours truly. I found 2 really good birds on my local patch here within the parish boundary of Exmouth, namely Stone Curlew and Rough-legged Buzzard. I had at least 4 World Lifers, Pacific Diver in Cornwall, and Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Crested Lark and Short-toed Treecreeper in northern France. I also had 2 pending lifers - Azorean Yellow-legged Gull (a possible future 'split') and Hooded Merganser (if it isn't wild, where the devil did it come from, given that it was in diabolical first-summer plumage when it arrived after late spring westerly gales and driving rain?). Other great birds this year included Devon's first King Eider, an obliging Little Crake at Exminster Marshes back in April, followed by an equally obliging American Golden Plover at the same location and the first 'mainland Devon' record of Semipalmated Sandpiper at Dawlish Warren! I certainly hope that 2009 is as good in birding terms.
Today I popped around a couple of Exmouth's birding hotspots. I visited Mudbank Lane late morning and was rewarded with the usual Greenshank and hosts of wildfowl and waders. A Grey Wagtail put in an appearance to add another splash of colour. I then zipped round to Shelly Beach and wandered round the area including the marina and the western end of the seafront. I was more than pleased to locate a Red-necked Grebe, just off Shelly Beach late afternoon. This was my second bird of this species I'd connected with this year - let's hope it's still there tomorrow! A couple of female Goldeneye were present in the same low-tide channel. Late evening saw me partaking of a few drinks to see in the New Year!
Happy New Year!