A much belated Happy New Year to all readers of this blog!

Myself and a few mates are having a bit of a healthy year listing competition between us this year so I’ve put in a little more effort so far this winter than usual. I haven’t neglected my Hayle and Gwithian Patches though, and sightings are now going on the respective blogs. (click on the place name links).

So, a January round-up. Didn’t get out until late on the 1st as Mrs F was working nights and I had the kids! But I dragged them to Hayle and Gwithian in the rain, just to get the year list of to a start. Apart from the Spoonbill at Hayle, nothing really of interest and I finished the day on 56 species. As I’m sure you are aware by now, the weather in Cornwall so far this year has been atrocious. Mainly rain and high winds followed by drizzle, rain and more rain. So early January was limited to short range trips picking up common birds with the odd local scarcity in between. The 5th was one such day on the estuary at Hayle with Common Sandpiper, Red-throated Diver, Water Pipit, Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warbler all adding to the year and patch list.

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Unfortunately my Grandma fell ill the second week and later died, which meant a couple of trips to South Yorkshire. Never one to miss an opportunity (well, Grandma wouldn’t have minded!) I managed a bit of birding up there adding a few highlights such as Brambling, Marsh Harrier, Bewick’s and Whooper swan, PF Geese, Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow and Little Owl as well as few commoner year ticks.

On the way back from Yorkshire on the 11th, I called in at Bowling Green Marsh, Devon where American Wigeon, Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneye, Brent Goose and Spotted Redshank were added. The Lesser Scaup at Dozmary Pool was also an easy addition the same day.

On the 20th we had a relatively dry but cold day, so I took the opportunity to go and search for the Hudsonian Whimbrel again , which had been seen the previous day at Perranuthnoe. After a very long and arduous walk along rocks and gravel I found myself very nearly back at Marazion before I found the bird amongst a flock of Curlew and a Eurasian Whimbrel. It turned out to be quite a fruitful walk as I also picked up the Pacific Diver off the east side of Mounts Bay!

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The 23rd saw myself and Brad in the Camel estuary after a night shift. The Green-winged Teal was picked up at Walmsley along with Red-legged Partridge and Pintail. Six Knot on the Camel estuary itself were the only other year tick. The following day I took the girls on a family walk to Golitha Falls near Bolventor. It actually took us longer to get there than the walk itself, but Mrs F knew I needed a few speciality birds there and had agreed to endure the drive and wet weather. The girls enjoyed the muddy puddles and I added Dipper, Nuthatch and Marsh Tit! Happy Days.

So month end totals look like this: My Hayle patch has produced 71 species and Gwithian a lowly 34, although I’ve only been twice so far! The year list currently stands at 136 species. Apologies for the lack of photos! Weather’s been terrible.

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