Friday, 2 January 2009

Here we go again - another year List.

So here we go with another year list. I feel that I have learnt a lot since my first one last year so it will be interesting to see how I get on this year. This year I am going to pay more attention to my Oxon county list (last year 163 ticks) as well as aiming to get some more easy lifers ticked off and my life list up to a more respectable level.

In the same way as I did last year, my year list started off by staring out the window at the garden. I have quite a few bird feeders up now and especially with the cold weather we have quite a variety of garden birds visiting. The highlight of the first day was a nice pair of lesser redpolls seen from the bedroom window in the garden. Last year I rather struggled with this bird so it was great to get it on the first day especially I've not seen one in the garden for quite a few years.

The next day I decided on a trip to Dix Pit with my two year old son, L, in tow. He likes going there because of all the trucks and lorries that he can look at while I look at the birds. I wanted to get the red head smew while it was still there so a chilly but sunny morning found me scanning the pit whilst L looked for trucks from the warmth of the car. I was not having much luck finding it when a birding colleague turned up: he'd used the excuse of doing some recycyling to pop down for a quick bit of birding. Fortunately he managed to find the smew when it emerged from behind the nearest island briefly. I endeavoured to get a digiscoped shot of it but it ducked back behind the island too quickly. Apart from quite a few water fowl ticks there was a smart yellow-legged gull in amongst the other gulls.

Later that day I nipped out to Port Meadow to see what sort of state it was in with the current cold weather and managed to see the four main over-wintering waders there. This was fortunate as a day or two later the floods were completely frozen over and birdless.

The following day was cold but beautifully sunny so I took L out to Farmoor to enjoy the sunshine as well as to pick up the over-wintering great northern divers and the first winter scaup pair which were still there. I failed once again to see the water pipit there - I've not seen it for quite a number of trips now though I've never made a special effort for it. There was an over-wintering common sandpiper also present which was nice to see so early in the year.

I also took the opportunity to try out some new digiscoping equipment: I am testing out the Swarovski DCA digiscoping adaptor as opposed to the DCB that I used for the latter half of last year. This one is a more conventional adaptor that attaches to the camera and which you fit over the scope eye-piece as opposed to the DCB which attaches the camera on a sort of arm which swings down over the scope. I had a go at one of the divers though they are extremely difficult to photograph when feeding (which this one was) as they spend so little time on the surface before diving again and often coming up a long distances from where they go down. Despite only getting off 3 shots (which is very few for digiscoping where you need safety in numbers to ensure that you get something in focus) I managed to get a shot of it I am really pleased with.

One of the over-wintering great northern divers

Anyway here's the list so far (and these are all Oxon ticks so the Oxon list is identical).

2008 Year List
001 Carrion Crow 01/01/2009 Garden
002 Wood Pigeon 01/01/2009 Garden
003 Starling 01/01/2009 Garden
004 Goldfinch 01/01/2009 Garden
005 Blue Tit 01/01/2009 Garden
006 Dunnock 01/01/2009 Garden
007 Robin 01/01/2009 Garden
008 Blackbird 01/01/2009 Garden
009 Jackdaw 01/01/2009 Garden
010 Great Tit 01/01/2009 Garden
011 Chaffinch 01/01/2009 Garden
012 Leser Redpoll 01/01/2009 Garden
013 Black-headed Gull 01/01/2009 Garden
014 House Sparrow 01/01/2009 Garden
015 Redwing 01/01/2009 St. Margeret's Road, Oxford
016 Magpie 01/01/2009 Kingston Road, Oxford
017 Song Thrush 01/01/2009 Garden
018 Long-tailed Tit 01/01/2009 Garden
019 Mute Swan 01/01/2009 Wolvercote
020 Mallard 01/01/2009 Wolvercote
021 Shoveler 01/01/2009 Wolvercote
022 Pied Wagtail 01/01/2009 Kingston Road, Oxford
023 teal 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
024 wigeon 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
025 coot 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
026 moorhen 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
027 pintail 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
028 tufted duck 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
029 goldeneye 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
030 pochard 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
031 grey heron 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
032 cormorant 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
033 lsr black-backed gull 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
034 gtr black-backed gull 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
035 herring gull 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
036 common gull 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
037 yellow-legged gull 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
038 fieldfare 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
039 buzzard 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
040 kestrel 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
041 smew 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
042 great crested grebe 02/01/2009 Dix Pit
043 mistle thrush 02/01/2009 Port Meadow
044 lapwing 02/01/2009 Port Meadow
045 golden plover 02/01/2009 Port Meadow
046 meadow pipit 02/01/2009 Port Meadow
047 black-tailed godwit 02/01/2009 Port Meadow
048 ruff 02/01/2009 Port Meadow
049 redshank 02/01/2009 Port Meadow
050 dunlin 02/01/2009 Port Meadow
051 snipe 02/01/2009 Port Meadow
052 wren 02/01/2009 Port Meadow
053 grey-lag goose 02/01/2009 Port Meadow
054 blackcap 03/01/2009 Walton Manor, Oxford
055 common sandpiper 03/01/2009 Farmoor Reservoir
056 great northern diver 03/01/2009 Farmoor Reservoir
057 scaup 03/01/2009 Farmoor Reservoir
058 little grebe 03/01/2009 Farmoor Reservoir

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