1: Foot It http://birdingbyfoot.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-rules-and.html
2: Patchwork challenge http://patchworkchallenge.blogspot.co.uk....-challenge.html
3: 1000 for 1ksq http://1000for1ksq.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/the-rules-first-draft.html
The first challenge only lasts for January so is not an arduous undertaking and that's how I began 2013 with a walk down to Hatch Pond and great views of a Bittern - full write up here:
A brisk walk back home to pick up William and head down to Poole Quay to board the Brownsea Island ferry which Mark & Mo Constantine had kindly booked for the day. A gathering of about 50 Dorset birders were already onboard and we soon headed out into the harbour. It was a beautiful morning and with flat calm conditions it made picking up birds such as Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye quite easy. As we neared Brownsea I got on a diver sp but it dived straight away, thankfully it surfaced in much the same area and with better views we were able to see a white flank patch confirming the identification as a Black-throated Diver - quite rare within the harbour with Great Northern being the most frequent diver species encountered. The ferry stopped to overlook the lagoon on Brownsea and the year ticks fell thick and fast, with the like of Avocet, Knot, Bar and Black-tailed Godwit and a lone Greenshank whilst a male Sparrowhawk glided and then perched on the seawall. As we set off again a Razorbill and then two Great Northern Diver appeared, the latter looking so much bulkier and angular than the earlier Black-throat. They were also within half decent photo range so I rattled off some shots:
Great Northern Diver (1st winter)
Heading deeper into the harbour we paused near the landing at Furzey Island and someone superbly picked up a Kingfisher perched quite high up in a tree. Despite careful scanning no Golden Pheasant could be seen but a Raven was hanging in the air at the western end. Further along to the west of here a Red-necked Grebe was picked up and showed quite well but not within distance for the camera with perhaps a second bird further back but too distant to confirm. Two or three Black-necked Grebe were also seen in the same area. Next it was on towards Shipstal Point where the Spoonbill often are and we were not to be disappointed with 15 roosting and then performing a quick fly-by.
Spoonbill (and Shelduck)
Heading back to the quay another Black-necked Grebe appeared quite close to the boat and a few hasty shots were taken
Finally, as we neared the quay a Guillemot was another surprise addition to the day list
A great few hours in good company so a big thank you to Mark and Mo for organising the event. I ended the day with a species total of 84 and a couple of pints (Ringwood Best) in the Angel pub in the Old Town.
With regards the other two challenges I probably won't get down to the new patch (Swineham GPs) until next week and the 1000 in 1ksq will begin when we move into our new house just down the road from where we are currently renting, which hopefully will be before the month's end.
Almost forgot, I also found a moth in the underpass heading down to Hatch Pond