FRIDAY 16 NOVEMBER
It was pretty foggy early on so my visit to the hills was delayed. However a NUTHATCH in the garden more than compensated for it - being the first record for this year
At around 1030 hours, I did finally get to IVINGHOE HILLS but it was pointless - the fog was much thicker here and had hardly cleared at all
Anyway, Tony Revell discovered a RED KNOT at MARSTON VALE MILLENIUM PARK (BEDS) and gave me a good excuse to change location. Of course it was gone before I got there (Martin Palmer and Andy & Melissa Banthorpe getting there before me and dipping) but I did stumble in to a nice HAWFINCH as I wandered towards the hides, undulating over and calling as it headed from the Park over the line of Poplars and away beyond towards the test track. There were a large number of winter thrushes present too, particularly Fieldfares. A single OYSTERCATCHER was a surprise sight on the Pillinge (replacing the Knot that was present for perhaps just ten minutes) but as I sat in the hide, Adam Bassett contacted me to say a RED KNOT had just dropped down into SPADE OAK PIT, LITTLE MARLOW (BUCKS) with a Dunlin - Was it the same bird?
I had a half-hearted look for Penduline Tits then departed south......
I met up with Adam, Dave Cleal and Jackie at SPADE OAK some 40 minutes later but as suspected the Knot was long gone - it had only made landfall about 15 minutes (although none of the aforementioned observers had seen it fly off) - the DUNLIN was still there though !
Not a great deal of interest, with low duck numbers noted, but did count 7 Great Crested Grebe, 54 island-roosting Sinensis Cormorants, 52 Wigeon, 11 Teal, 13 Shoveler, 10 Pochard, 638 Lapwing, 13 Common Snipe, Common Kingfisher and a single LESSER REDPOLL. An adult Mute Swan was dead besides the spit.
I left Alan Stevens scanning as Malcolm, Adam, Jackie and I departed and less than ten minutes later, the first-winter CASPIAN GULL came in at 1513 hours