31/12/2012 Hodbarrow RSPB

Slavonian Grebe: My last NEW tick of the 2012, where Dawn and I took a trip to the brilliant but blustery Hodbarrow RSPB Nature Reserve in the lakes.

We were staying at a nice B&B near Lake Windermere and spent most of New Years Eve day at Hodbarrow - its about an hour away and is rather like a giant marina lake. Full of Teal, Red Breasted Merganser, Coot, Pochard and Mallard. We went to see the Salvonian Grebe which has been there since August.

We spent about an hour looking for the bird out of the concrete bunker-like-bird hide (Dawn said it looked like a public toilet block from the outside) without any luck, then we made our way back towards the car when we caught up with the Grebe amongst the Teal flocks.

The bird was miles away and yet again I struggled with the distance and the lighting but got a few record shots.  I guess we were lucky to see this small bird in such a huge lake, but we didn't see the Green Winged Teal which was there too!

Hodbarrow RSPB is a great place, best in Spring for the Sandwich Terns but brilliant in winter for its wildfowl and warders. There was around 1000+ Redshank and a few hundred Oystercatchers and Lapwings on the scrapes with the odd Snipe feeding in the grasses on the edges.

I would definitely recommend going on a nice sunny day as in the rain and wind, right next to the Irish Sea, the gales can be a bit of a challenge especially if you go with your better half who is a non-birder!