Thursday, 29 December 2016

A couple of year ticks to see out 2016

The birding year ended with a self found bittern (Botaurus stellaris) at Burton Mill Pond, West Sussex on the 14th December. Found during a sunset bird-watch from roadside; and seen flying into roost in the reeds just metres from the viewing platform on the NE corner of the dam crest. I returned at dawn with camera in hand, but the bird was not re-located even as the light progressed. A patch tick for me, and as far as I could tell the only bittern being reported in West Sussex at the time?

A filthy twitch to Hill Head, Hampshire on the 28th enabled confiding views of the female snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) which had been present since the 14th of December. The bunting gave stunningly close views allowing photographers within feet of it.

Snow bunting, Hill Head 28th December 2016

This bird was a Hants tick and helped to stem the disappointment of missing out on the pair of snow bunting widely observed at Southsea sea front - one of my home patches - during November. I completely failed to see them at the time due to work and travel commitments.

A return to Burton Mill Pond at dusk on the 29th December produced an albeit brief second encounter with the local bittern.

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