Thursday 5 January 2023

New Year Birding!

Happy New Year 2023!

I don't often get out to do much birding on New Year's Day, due to family commitments and sometimes rather lousy hangovers. To my delight then, I was able to get down to Wheldrake Ings on New Year's Day afternoon to do the roost. No better way to start my 2023 birding!

A couple of Marsh Harriers were spooking a large mixed flock of Lapwings and Golden Plovers, creating havoc and filling the air with a real wildlife spectacle. Thousands of Wigeon and Teal were gathered on the water, keeping a close eye on the hunting raptors. Eight Ruff were flying about and the female Scaup was present on Swantail, feeding with the Tufties.

As the afternoon wore on, gulls began to come in. Annoyingly, they roosted on Swantail but the light was good and there was  little wind, so I was able to pick out a first-winter Mediterranean Gull followed by a first-winter Caspian Gull, both good birds to start the year. We estimated about 10,000 Black-headeds in the roost, but comparatively few Common Gulls, with maybe only 500. There were about 100 Herrings and 20 or so Great Black-backeds, so a bit down on recent weeks.

It was good to meet a few friends in the hide too, to swap stories and talk about the year ahead. We walked back in the dwindling light, listening to an unseasonal Song Thrush signing behind Tower Hide.

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