New Year Birding

Wednesday 1st to Sunday 5th January 2014
Green-winged Teal on the Top New Piece on 1st
The bad weather on New Year's Day meant that the traditional family walk was off, so I spent the morning at WWT instead. The highlights were an adult drake GREEN-WINGED TEAL on the Top New Piece from Zeiss Hide and a LITTLE STINT on the Dumbles from Holden Tower near the scrape. Several other year-ticks didn't include The White-fronted Goose - these were out of sight on the 50-acre. I even tried from the Sloane Tower but couldn't see through the rain lashing on the windows. On 3rd, a good count of 10 Goldfinches were on the garden feeders. On Saturday 4th I headed for the forest with Andy, where highlights included 20+ Hawfinches and a Dipper at Parkend, and three Goosanders at Woorgreens. Nine Crossbill sp. were also seen in flight at Woorgreens but were too distant to determine the species; the calls and size more suggestive of  Two-barred though. I returned to WWT Slimbridge again today with Andy and Mark; this time several White-fronted Geese were on the Tack Piece along with thousand of birds; seven Ruff and three Snipe (Martin Smith Hide) I also added from Wednesday. A search for Green-winged Teal was fruitless but I saw an interesting bird from Zeiss Hide briefly. This drake Teal displayed both Eurasian and Green-winged characteristics: horizontal white scapular stripe and a distinct though not bold vertical white breast stripe; gold edging between the maroon and green of the head pattern was visible, though didn't appear as bold compared to nearby Eurasians. Also of note from Zeiss high were four Avocets (returning family?) and a Cetti's Warbler.
Two of the three Snipe from Martin Smith Hide today
This apparent hybrid Ruddy Shelduck  (x Cape?) on the Tack Piece today was also on The Dumbles on 1st
Avocets on the Top New Piece today
The sunrise from my house this morning

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