The year got off to a good start on 1st January with breif views of the DUSKY WARBLER at Ham Wall and one of the Yellow-Browed Warblers on Yeovil Openspace (there was a couple reports of 2 this month, but personally I can't say I saw both after the New Year). One bird stayed until 14th January at least.
Had my first Glossy Ibis of the year at Exminster Marshes.
HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL at Perranuthnoe.
Only rarity seen this month was the LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER at Keyhaven which showed down to a few metres (which was lucky as there was heavy fog that day).
Another attempt to find the pacific diver in Cornwall again proved unsuccessful. Other highlights included an Iceland Gull at St Just and better views of the HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL again at Perranuthnoe.
A day in the Southeast proved well worth the journey. After just 2 hours of waiting, I had a brief view of the Lady Amherst's Pheasant at Lidlington, and the day was rounded off by the RUFOUS TURTLE DOVE at Otford, Kent.
GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO stayed for months. Gave great views while I was there.
Only bird of note this month was a Woodchat Shrike at Great Hill, Dorset.
A couple of twitches to Ham Wall allowed me to connect with COLLARED PRATINCOLE, LITTLE BITTERN and Glossy Ibis.
A week spent in Norfolk/Lincolnshore produced a great selection of birds, the highlights of which included a CASPIAN TERN at Hickling Broad, BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER and Pectoral Sandpiper at Frampton Marsh, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at Snettisham and self-found Montagu's Harrier at Bircham Newton and Honey Buzzard near Basingstoke.
Pleased with the collection of sandpipers from the Norfolk trip, I wasn't expecting to get a LEAST SANDPIPER at Black Hole Marsh and a SPOTTED SANDPIPER at Sutton Bingham Reservoir both in the following week!
LEAST SANDPIPER - Black Hole Marsh
SPOTTED SANDPIPER - Sutton Bingham ResA day seawatching in Cornwall produced 4 Great Shearwaters and 44 Cory's Shearwaters, and I also finally had a look at the DALMATIAN PELICAN, though I doubt it stands much chance of getting accepted.
DALMATIAN PELICAN - Point Quay
Cory's Shearwater - PorthgwarraRounded the month off with 2 Wrynecks together at West Bexington.
2 Wrynecks - West Bexington
The sandpiper theme continued this month with a BAIRD'S SANDPIPER at Upton Warren, Worcestershire.
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER - Upton WarrenThis was followed by my 300th UK bird; the LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Fremington Pill which showed down to a few metres. Also had good views of another Glossy Ibis here.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS - Fremington Pill
Glossy Ibis - Fremington PillA trip to Plymouth resulted in mostly distant and one breif close up view of the LESSER GREY SHRIKE which thankfully stayed put just long enough for me to connect.
LESSER GREY SHRIKE - Plymouth
A trip to East Yorkshire was in order to see the once (or 13!) in lifetime bird, the SIBERIAN ACCENTOR at Easington, a really cracking bird! Other highlights from the day included singles of RADDE'S WARBLER, Pallas's Warbler, 2 Shore Larks and 9 Tundra Bean Geese at Spurn and a SIBERIAN STONECHAT at Grimstone.
SIBERIAN ACCENTOR - Easington
SIBERIAN STONECHAT - Grimstone
Shore Lark - Spurn
Tundra Bean Geese - SpurnAnother trip up to Lincolnshire and, after several dips, I finally connected with Britains first WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN at Alkborough Flats! Views were distant, light was poor and there was rain and heavy fog, but I'm just glad to have finally caught up with this thing.
WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN - Alkborough FlatsContinuing on to Norfolk produced the ISABELLINE WHEATEAR at Burnham Overy Dunes and the DESERT WHEATEAR at Cley.
ISABELLINE WHEATEAR - Burnham Overy Dunes
DESERT WHEATEAR - CleyA day at Ham Wall towards the end of the Month had me finally connect with both Glossy Ibises together.
Glossy Ibises - Ham WallAlso of note this month was the Turtle Dove on Portland which showed like a feral pigeon!
Turtle Dove - Portland
Only bird of note this month was the regular Ring-Billed Gull at the Blashford Lakes roost, though not the same individual I saw here last year.
Ring-Billed Gull - Blashford Lakes
Headed up to Beeley in Derbyshire for the lingering DUSKY THRUSH on the 10th, another nice December surprise.
DUSKY THRUSH - BeeleyAlso got the HUME'S WARBLER on Portland on the 17th.
HUME'S WARBLER - PortlandStayed in Norfolk again over Christmas. Birding highlights included singles of RED-BREASTED GOOSE and Todd's Canada Goose, at least 14 Tundra Bean Geese and 6 Waxwings.
RED-BREASTED GOOSE - Docking
Tundra Bean Geese - Docking
Waxwings - CostesseyDecember was nicely rounded off with the BLUE ROCK THRUSH at Stow-in-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, though it's origins remain a bit dubious.
BLUE ROCK THRUSH - Stow-in-the-WoldIt was a personal record-breaking year for me, with a total 41 lifers and 9 megas (previous records were 34 and 3 respectively). Happy new year to all, and good birding for 2017!