Isn't New Year's Eve a complete waste of time? I've never seen the point in it, especially the "having to pay to go into a pub" thing. It's a Scottish event anyway.
I just wanted to get to New Year's Day, and see if the Ferruginous Duck was still there. So I had an early night, recorded the Hootenanny (HOOTENANNY!), and over to Brookleys Lake at first light.
Friday 1st January.
And was it there? Of course it was! And it now has the honour of being on my blog title for the time being. Also on the lake were a female Scaup (moved here from Uttoxeter Quarry), 2 Goldeneye, 7 Mandarin, 7 Pochard and a Kingfisher.
Onto Uttoxeter Quarry (as featured in January's "Birdwatching" Magazine) next. The first winter drake Scaup, which was at Brookleys Lake on Boxing Day, was still here along with a Pink-footed Goose, 6 Goosander, 116 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 1 Pochard.
Blithfield next. Unfortunately the Green-winged Teal in Tad Bay proved difficult, but did get the redhead Smew in Blithe Bay and the Great Northern Diver from the angling club, swimming out of Ten Acre Bay into the middle of the deep end.
I also found this odd looking Gull. After some studying and asking around for advice, the conclusion is Yellow-legged Gull. But comments welcome.
Saturday 2nd January.
I must confess I did a lot of chasing around for birds in Staffs during 2009. I don't want to do quite as much of that this year, although I'll gladly travel to see some good quality birds. I want to do a bit of exploring this year. I've got a couple of areas in mind first, one in particular is the countryside around Brookleys Lake, and following the footpaths around the Wootton estate.
So after another look at the Fudge Duck this morning (there were also four Crossbills that flew over!) that was the plan. However, I didn't realise we were in for a fall of snow! I really didn't fancy leaving my car parked along an ungritted lane, so headed down into Rocester for a bit, where there was nowhere near as much snow.
A rather wintry looking Weaver Hills, once the clouds had cleared. Scanning from the entrance to Kevin Quarry (I wonder if there's someone with that name?) produced a Peregrine mobbing a Buzzard. Another dollop of precipitation started, let's postpone the exploring for another day.
So I went back to Blithfield to have another try of the Green-winged Teal. All the edges of Tad Bay had frozen over so much easier today, due to all the duck stood on the ice. Somewhere in the middle here is a Teal with a vertical stripe:
A lot of new facilities have been added at Blithfield in recent times, some of them mentioned on this blog. I didn't realise a gallows pole has been added in Stansley Wood. So don't start stringing, or you know what'll happen!