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Unusually no new county rarities were found during the month but hangovers from 2023 included the long-staying Red-breasted Merganser at Ogston Reservoir, the last juvenile Shag (of four) at Foremark, the adult Carsington Water Great Northern Diver, the juvenile Great Northern Diver at Long Eaton GP (only to the 3rd), the Foremark Red-throated Diver (only to the 3rd) and the often elusive Great Grey Shrike that frequents the Ramsley/Leash Fen area. All were popular but THE crowd pleasers were the hordes of Waxwings that roamed the county with by far the highest numbers being seen at Hassop, where the maximum count was 300. Birds were seen at 40 or more locations with 50 or more at Bolsover (95), Shirebrook (76), Pools Brook CP (63) and Carr Vale DWT NR (50). Up to 45 were seen at another 40 sites including a couple of colour ringed birds from Scotland earlier in the winter.
Whooper Swans were seen at five sites with ten at Carsington Water the largest herd reported. Pink-footed Geese again put in a good showing with up to 1,000 logged at many places, particularly during the first half of the month. But the only scarce duck recorded during the month concerned the whirring wings of Common Scoter flying over Hadfield with two seen at Ogston Reservoir.
A Bittern was seen at Willington GP. Up to ten Cattle Egrets fed at Egginton, with up to nine roosting at Willington GP whilst elsewhere one was seen at Long Eaton GP. Up to 51 (Willington GP roost) Little Egrets were logged at 42 sites and up to eight (Willington GP) Great White Egrets were seen at 23 sites.
Three Marsh Harriers were seen in the Willington GP / High Bridge GP area and up to nine Red Kites were recorded from 35 locations.
Returning Oystercatchers and Curlews were seen at ten and four sites respectively, up to four Dunlin were seen at four places as were overwintering Green Sandpipers, but the most notable wader records concerned Jack Snipe with three places hosting up to nine and a record count of six at Carr Vale DWT NR.
A few Caspian and Yellow-legged Gulls were seen, mainly at regular places, and up to four Short-eared Owls were at three localities.
Amongst the passerines Chiffchaffs were seen at 11 places with the most at Carr Vale DWT NR and up to two Blackcaps were noted from 19 mainly garden localities. Amongst the scarcer finches, Bramblings were just that with very few noted (less than ten) and Hawfinches too were very scarce with up to two at three places. A few Mealy Redpoll were seen with records of up to four from three places and up to 24 Common Crossbills were seen in the Matlock Forest / Beeley Moor area and Ramsley Reservoir/Leash Fen.