Finally managed to get out with the new camera and take some photos, some bad and some not so bad. A small flock of Waxwings on the right side of Doncaster (though in another sense very much the wrong side) were too tempting though disappointingly chose to sit within a school compound making them almost impossible to photograph, though with double the resolution I did get a record shot.
A spot of hilarity mid-week with the report of a Black Woodpecker on the side of a telegraph pole in Cumbria. I greeted it with the usual chorus of "Bollocks that's a Green Woodpecker". Not surprisingly it then came out that the reported Black Woodpecker report was erroneous, which as we all know is political correctness for 'Bollocks'. What did have me rolling around the floor was that when the truth came out it turned out to be a plastic cut-out of a Black Woodpecker nailed to the telegraph pole in order to keep Great Spotted Woodpeckers off the poles! Why would UK Great Spot's even recognise Black Woodpecker? Wouldn't it be more productive to nail a stuffed cat to the post.
Some sun on the 19th meant I might be in for some photo fun, so we decided on a stroll around Clumber. No Hawfinches but plenty of these.
Saturday the 20th was a stupid day where most things went wrong. I fancied a bit of old school twitching, the kind that Rob and I used to enjoy back in the day when we were irresponsible youths with shit loads of time on our hands. Unfortunately my old mate was home on Shetland celebrating his 40th so I tempted Jo with such delights as Ring-necked Duck, Smew and Red-necked Grebe. Pugneys first where the Ring-necked Duck was showing well (depending on how you define showing well) at about 300 metres with its head firmly tucked in his wing. Following a trudge around the Calder Wetlands the drake Smew refused to show with the only consulation being some top fish and chips from the Wetherby Whaler. We were told that the Wintersett Red-necked Grebe was showing well, whatever showing well does mean it certainly doesn't cover not showing at all. I was feeling a bit despondent by now and couldn't be arsed to walk through the shitty path to the low res for a couple of Smew added to the fact that there was a gang of pikey looking youths fishing, that is hanging around dipping rods in to the res, whilst lighting fires, dumping rubbish smoking crack and planning to anally rape the next passing birder. I remembered just why I've only ever made two visits to Wintersett - it's horrible, cold and plagued by inbreds that make the Marshians of Killamarsh look normal!
Pissed off we headed for the Bewicks Swans that have been frequenting Mexborough since before Christmas. Surely we couldn't fail on these, even Jo had managed them on her lunch break! True to the days form we did.
Despite the run of failures a reported Red-necked Grebe at Langold was the final stop of the day, though I didn't give it much hope. Surprisingly it turned out to be gen and was well and truly showing well.
An unexpected dollop of Snow on Sunday left me filling in a Job application whilst getting distracted by the photogenic birds in the garden. But a Yellowhammer under the feeders proved to be the biggest adrenalin rush of the week being new for the garden. I have a soft spot for Yellowhammers, they were the first birds that caught my eye and completely responsible for my birding addiction and the subsequent troubles that they caused - but how could you ever hold that against them?