Swanning around…

This morning, when the alarm went off at 6.45 I questioned my own sanity. The wind and rain were lashing at the windows, and a slight ache from a couple of pints at a family birthday party on Friday night was niggling at my head. I had an hour and a half journey, on three modes of public transport, to a damp field on the outskirts of Mexborough to look forward to… what was I thinking?!

You’ve probably guessed the reasons were birdwatching-related – I was off to see a pair of Bewick’s Swans that have taken quite a shine to a single field on Sticking Hill near Manvers, where they’ve stayed since Christmas Eve. And sure enough they were there waiting for me this morning – a local rarity and the first lifer of 2010.

Bewick's Swans (record shot)

A trip to Old Moor, meeting up with Dave Simmonite, followed, and good birds were everywhere despite the drizzle and still-icy conditions. A whooper swan at Wath Ings, along with the usual mute swans, completed the swan triumvirate, and other wildfowl around included goldeneye, goosander, wigeon, teal, pochard, shoveler and a single pintail. From the “Tree Sparrow Farm” viewing screen I picked up a year tick in the form of, um, tree sparrow, and another in yellowhammer, many of which were feeding on the stubble there.

The birds kept on coming with a distant, but showy green woodpecker, an overwintering green sandpiper by the Field Pool Hide, a wonderful hunting barn owl, and a water rail scurrying through the reeds at Wath Ings, plus slightly more mundane year ticks in the form of linnet and stock dove.

A brilliant day in all – well worth dragging myself out of bed for!

A whopping 54 species seen today, with 11 year ticks. Full list below, year ticks in bold.

Mute Swan
Whooper Swan
Bewick’s Swan
Canada Goose
Wigeon
Gadwall
Mallard
Pintail
Shoveler
Teal
Pochard
Tufted Duck
Goldeneye
Goosander
Pheasant
Cormorant
Grey Heron
Sparrowhawk
Kestrel
Water Rail
Moorhen
Coot
Lapwing
Redshank
Green Sandpiper
Black-headed Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Common Gull
Stock Dove
Woodpigeon
Barn Owl
Green Woodpecker
Pied Wagtail
Wren
Robin
Blackbird
Fieldfare
Redwing
Mistle Thrush
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Magpie
Jackdaw
Carrion Crow
Starling
Tree Sparrow
Chaffinch
Goldfinch
Greefinch
Linnet
Bullfinch
Yellowhammer
Reed Bunting

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Pete

My name is Pete

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