Off to a New Start with the first port of call being Fairburn Ings RSPB near Castleford taking in firstly the Lin Dike area. Down here I found Redwings and Teal on the nearby field pools, scanning the nearby fields Canada and Greylag Geese then a Fieldfare flew over nearby where I was standing, on further towards the hide and Spoonbill flash Goldeneye, Mute Swan, Little Egret (2), Grey Heron, Cormorants, Black-headed Gulls, Wigeon and more Teal. I moved on then to the visitor centre area but not before finding two Lesser Redpolls on my return journey along Lin Dike. At the centre the feeding area is always a good place to catch up with some common birds at close quarters namely Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbirds, House Sparrows and Tree Sparrows but the surprise today was a Red-legged Partridge feeding quiet happily around the feeders.
My visit to Fairburn was over so I came back via Pugneys Country Park to pick up the two Great Northern Divers still on the main lake and hearing news of a Drake Smew over at Calder Wetlands I couldn’t resist going over to have a look. The Smew (white nun) was easily found on the left hand pond near the footpath which bisects both ponds and was in full view giving great views to see him in all his splendor. Other birds about with him were Teal, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Wigeon and Mallard, the same guy who put me on to this Smew also told me about another bird, one of the butcher birds, on my local patch area so I wasn’t spending as much time with the Smew as I would have liked I was soon off heading towards the Bretton Park area. The bird was in an area of farmland along Jebb Lane near to High Hoyland than Haigh by the directions I had been given and it took some finding as there wasn’t any other birders about at the time I arrived but I found it eventually, Great Grey Shrike (last seen in 2004) was the bird and a bird hard to see in the Huddersfield Area and now was safely on my Patch List taking it now to 157. I enjoyed the bird for quiet a while and by now a few more were too, the first day out birding in 2012 had got the year off to a great start (Last Great Grey was seen 31st December 2004 at Carsington Water)
The Day List :-
Great Northern Diver, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Smew, Goosander, Kestrel, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Curlew, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Great Grey Shrike, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Lesser Redpoll, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting