The unsound approach

March 
Bangladesh (AL, RoMa, JB, et al)
Keep your eyes on Birdguides for blow-by-blow accounts of the month of mud-wrestling and wader-counting but for now, check out the video and a few images....
 
Probably the best shorebird in the world (AL)
 
 
foraging with Sanderling... (AL)
 
Nordmann's Greenshanks (AL)
Indian Skimmers (AL)
 
Asiatic Dowitcher (AL)
 
29th March
Dama Char, Bangladesh (JB, RoMa, AL et al)
First contact for a while from the boys in Bangla - I had long since written them off and was about to ask Katherine if I could have some of Robs bird books, but actually they're still going strong with 23 Spooners, 34 Asian Dows and half a dozen Spotted Greenshanks. Looks like I'll have to buy my own copy of Slack.....
 
26th March
Happisburgh (RDM)
My first chance to get out (in Norfolk) this spring resulted in a few migrants but no big swift action. Can't believe I'm one of perhaps only four UK birders not to have found an Alpine Swift this spring...
 
20-21 March
Dingle, County Kerry (RDM, MO, F-tFJ, MB etc)
Stag (MO) action in The Kingdom, meaning I can regale you with none of the details of what actually occured.
10-1? I'll have 5 Euros on Matt
 
OMG!!
 
Cor blimey!!
 
'Funtime' Frankie Johnson spotting his first ever seagull
 
13th March
Bangladesh (JB, AL et al.)
Totals so far: 25 Spooners, 24 Spotted Greenshanks, 500 Great Knot
Further (jealousy levels rising to unhealthy levels), Irrawaddy Dolphins and Ganges River Dolphins also spotted. Rob should be with them now, and James is currently on the plane to New Jersey. I think I need to be sick/self-harm (don't do it kids)/cry/dig the garden.
 
9th March 
Sonadia, Bangladesh (AL, JB et al.)
Text received from the initial visit to Sonadia: in 24hrs they've racked up 24 SPOON-BILLED SANDPIPER6 SPOTTED GREENSHANK and 300 Great Knot. And they badly need more sun bloc...

2nd March
Norfolk (AL, GP)
Drove all the way to North Walsham to get George his life Bohemian on, in the last window before my departure to sunnier parts, and then got back to home to find a reception committee of four within 100m of my front door. Is this Karma? Wax on, wax off....
(AL)
 
27th February
Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk (RDM)
Apologies if you're eating your dinner (don't judge me, I was forced into it)...
 
Looks like the 'pure' adult
 
Belly is nice and dark and with a good collar, back maybe not dark enough to be pure Brant? One of the hybrids?
 
Again, good collar, but belly and back colour little different to the pure bernicla, presumably the other hybrid?
 
20th February
Huntingdonshire  (AL)

Saw the dark Barn Owl again today in good light and saw enough to loose interest by-and-large, it doesn't have a smudgy face, nor that many spots on its breast which isn't as dark as one might hope (cf discussion here). All that said, it still looks as good as many of the well-twitched Norfolk ones e.g. this one, cf this, and this one mostly because with the new look criteria these aren't any 'good' either. Really they've really got to look like this, but I might save my next Tyto excitement for this instead.

BO pres ssp tyto, top pics taken in warm evening light in full sun, bottom backlit... (AL)

17th February
Whitlingham Lane (AL)
Quick trip to the fast lane, produced Ring-necked Duck, Red-necked Grebe, Scaup, 2 Smew and 6 Goosander. In any other lifetime that would be amazing, except its now 'below par' given that the diver is gone. Word on the street (the lane?) is that it was last seen with tackle in its beak, so possibly it may have met a grisly end (RC pers com) - bringing back bad memories of craddling the dead Tattershall WBDiver in my arms.
 
Blakeney Point (RDM)
The winter blues can do strange things to a person, such as compel them to go down Blakeney Point in mid-Feb. I was ready for boreal owls, an eastern Parus or perhaps an Arctic gull. What I got was single Fieldfare, 2 Redwings, 6 Blackbirds, Peregrine and some wildfowl/waders. Remind me not to do that again until spring.....
 
Classic Plantation action!
 
Peregrine on it's way to twat something
 
13th Februray
North Norfolk (AL, GP)

Quick half-day out was pretty quiet, Titchwell was very slow, a few Velvs on the sea the highlight, tried and failed to find some Waxwings but stopped to scan a big flock of geese @ 1300 which produced the mentalist Pallid Pink, 2 White-fronts (looked like standard from a distance) and 1 Barnie, ten minutes the Snow dropped in....

Goose-fest (all AL)

30th January
Huntingdonshire  (AL)

Nominally surprising discovery of a guttata-type Barn Owl on private farmland, views in poor light not really good enough to rule out an intergrade (cf French 2006), but I'd never seen a dark one in the UK before so it at least helped with the survey tedium.

  

Darkish-breasted Barn Owl (AL)

29th January
Whitlingham Lane  (JG)

Very quick early morning trip down the lane, noticed that the Ring-necked Duck has now added her dainty self to the already insane 2010 Whitlingham haul. Had to rush to dentists so didn't get time to check whether any of the other rares are still about, but the ugly scaup was still visible.

Back at her spiritual home. But why no visit to the bloody Waterworks?

24th January
Norfolk (JG, DG, JG)

A weekend visit from the parents provided an excuse to finally dig out the winter coat, de-mothball the optics and head out to the field. Seems like the big freeze has taken its toll � the hedgerows and fields seemed noticeably lacking in thrush, finch and tit. The fact that the light barely got above hadal-zone levels probably didn�t help. Remarkably, when we did finally kick a bird out of the gloom, it turned out to be one from the top of the �most likely to become feathered popsicle� list. Who would have thought one of these beauties would still be surviving in the freezing bowels of Norfolk?

Note how it's already beginning to shed its warm winter pelt - obviously confident there won't be a re-freeze. It was even engaging in some sub-singing as it stumped about the undergrowth - a genuinely beautiful sound, full of mimicry and variation, miles better than the moronic droning chatter that passes for their "real" song. I've noticed the same thing with several Sylvias - anyone ever listened to Lesser Whitethroat subsong? Why on earth do they pump out that boring che-che-che crap, when they are quite capable of rivaling any Marsh for vocal skill when singing quietly to themselves? Presumably beauty is in the ear of the beholder...

11th January 2010
Cotham, Notts (AL)
Stooped to a new lowe today - was thrown off a rubbish tip! Er, I can explain - had to return home to go to the dentist for a wisdom tooth issue (I want a refund on these - they haven't improved my publication record at all..). So after flying by my parent's house to collect my 5 million candlepower torch (next week - Golden Nightjar!),  I called in at the dump on the way back. It took 15 minutes to find a juv Glauc and twenty minutes for security to throw me out! Seem to have a good track record at this place....
 
Juv Glaucous Gull - cropped and 'one step photo finish' to infinity and beyond... (AL)
8th January 2010
Whitlingham (AL)
Couldn't resist a quickie foto-sesh, not much new - just the GND, Smew, Ruddy, 3 Goosanders and a Buzzard.
Not so common loon (AL)
 
hot redhead (AL)
 
 
BNG back on NYE, had a flyover Little Egret with Faz on the same day. (AL)
 
4th January 2010
Whitlingham (RoMa)
Had to nip back this morning, thought I'd take some photos until I bumped into Robo Chit annhilating all in his path with his mighty 500mm. Still, I blasted the best thing on the pond... 
Isn't it cute?
 
 
3rd January 2010
Whitlingham (RoMa)
Slid down the lane late afternoon (sideways) to get involved with the slew of birds that make you go 'oh, that's allright... for Whitlingham' but failed to add to the list today. And most of the list had shifted off elsewhere. No sign of the Shag or any Smew, and the Black-necked Grebe appears to have left. Still a mighty impressive spectacle for Whitlingham, with the concentrated masses getting ever more concentrated as ice crept across the broad and closed in ever more tightly around the island.