Things have been happening in our lives in recent days that can only reinforce for me the need to make the most of the time we have. Combine that with the need to behave with a sensible degree of caution at the moment with this very infectious variant of Covid extremely prevalent in Yorkshire and the North-east and you can understand that I am anxious to go birding as long as the location seems safe. Busy twitches or busy hides are not for me at present.
Ok. Ramble over!
January 4th: Bempton - once the bank holidays were over and the cliffs were quiet. Quiet indeed and cold and windy. However with no shortie last year I hoped to see one. I also thought I might spot the odd gannet or fulmar. No sign of those two. The cliffs were empty apart from the pigeons. But the owl showed up nicely in the afternoon.
Late afternoon and with the light fading rapidly I parked by Scarborough harbour hoping for a glimpse of the great northern diver. I'd never seen so many large trawlers in the harbour before. Between the boats I soon spotted the diver.
January 11th: York University main lake. Goosanders seem to be wherever I go this year!
Drake mandarin was my main reason for this visit.
January 14th: Another visit to Bempton to see if the owls were around. they were but the light was challenging...
A nice if slightly distant view of a fieldfare watching over the Dell.
January 17th: North Cave for a walk round the main perimeter path. Nothing exciting to report but some nice sunshine photos. Reed bunting; robin and long-tailed tits [2 different birds]
January 19th: Kildale for red grouse then first visit to Lockwood Beck reservoir for a while: no sign of any redpolls but treecreeper was new for the year. On then to South Gare. I couldn't find the snow buntings but this goldfinch posed in the dunes area for me.
Siskin and yellowhammers at Sutton Bank on the way home.
January 22nd: morning visit to Swillington Ings to find a great crested grebe which seemed strangely missing from my sightings this month. Soon found quite a few! Here's two of them plus a pair of goldeneye.
Walking back to the car I spotted a great white egret hiding in a dark corner at the end of the causeway.
97 UK 2022. It was May 11th last year before I saw bird number 97!