I am a sucker for January and birding. Have been for 40 years, even to listening for Tawny Owl most years on January 1st at 00.04 (ish). Everything is new. A fresh start, no birds on the list.
I have pondered; the area within walking distance of my house in urban Sheffield must hold more birds. I just never look. Seeing Chiffchaff, Woodcock and Kingfisher while out walking with Mrs G in late November spurred me on.
I also like a challenge, a bit of competitive fun. So thanks to Mssrs. Reeder and McKinney, the late night military style campaign has begun. Maps are out, charts up, reports being scrutinised, diet altered, exercise regime started…
Mark has created a blog with all the details on and if you like to join in this bit of fun:
Of course you never know. Firecrest must be at least possible in my area. Maybe a Long-eared Owl is lurking somewhere and a target for me: Siberian Chiffchaff.
Then of course then there is the dream list, found in winter, often in urban areas. More likely to be found by folk out looking..
The Big Winter Surprises.
Of course all this got us musing on the BIG ones. Certain thrushes, American passerines (see here), and a recent eastern Dove… So thinking of cobbling together a list of some of the inspiring winter BIG rarities in the UK/ Northwest Europe perhaps especially those in the more urban or inland records. I will add my own bits of waffle and maybe some old photos on this page.
Dusky Thrush in Leigh, nr Manchester (near Tom McKinney), from the Manchester Birding site an incredible tale written up by Ian McKerchar from 2 years ago this coming weekend (8th December 2012). If you haven’t or as a reminder, visit the webpage and see where it was. Could be my street.