A work jaunt to the east midlands was a touch underwhelming this week but it did lead to a few year ticks and a handful of decent birds. Working on a major reserve we suffered due to the pools we were working next to being frozen. This prevented birds feeding on them and we were left with a loafing flock of gulls for the most part. By the end of the week the pool had opened up and we had good numbers of birds on.
Our travel day was completed early and we had a wander round the nature reserve which we were to work on. A redhead Smew on an island looked an awful lot like a juvenile male and a male Goosander was a year tick (and one I didnt manage in 2011 - how rubbish am I?). We saw swathes of Tufted Duck & Pochard amongst the manky Mallards and a Bahama Pintail. A couple of Egyptian Geese were rather lame lifers for my colleague. I also year ticked Lesser Black-backed Gull with an adult loafing with some Common and Black-headed Gulls. Steady away...
Our first day of work was greeted by singing Mistle Thrush and unseen Green Woodpecker yaffling away. On the work site calling Cetti's Warbler was only seen briefly when going for a pee but a Marsh Tit was calling above us in the frosty morning which was registering -4 C. Quite cold enough. The day passed off with crash landing Goosander and Cormorant but little else aside from a Bittern coughing in the adjacent reedbed unseen, probably forced in by the brief freeze.
Day 2 held a little more for us with LBBG and Herring Gull briefly joining the loafing small gulls. Herons were seen regularly around the pool and small numbers of Mallard and Teal were seen.
By the third day most of the pool was unfrozen and we recorded Shoveller, Goosander, Cormorant, Canada Goose, Egyptian Goose & Moorhen. Not much better but a definite improvement. Not the most exciting survey but a nice place.
Travelling back we called by Clumber Park and Harewood House. At Clumber I year ticked Buzzard, Treecreeper & Nuthatch but failed with big finch and micro-pecker. A very brief sojurn to Harewood revealed at least 4 different Red Kites. Very tasty and takes me onto 123 for the year already - only another 85 to beat 2011 which should be straight forward. In fact only 90 to be my best yearlist for 4 years after 222 in 2009 (I managed 253 in 2008 and seems probably unattainable until my daughter is a teenager. Only a decade then).