Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Review of 2015

My year list total for 2015 is 276

I added fifteen new birds to the life list to move that to 366
The new birds were

The best twitch amongst these would have to be the Crag Martin as the massed crowd let out a cry of joy as the bird finally showed itself. The worst without doubt the Lady Amherst which underlines all that is wrong with this crazy hobby with a gathered crowd standing for hours to hear or maybe see a slight movement or in my case a head of the bird. It really had me doubting the sanity of what we do but then days like my trip to Iona for Corncrake come along and remind us of the pleasure the hobby can bring in seeing great places, meeting like minded people and seeing some great birds along the way.

The bird of the year would have to be the Merlin at Elmley that just posed superbly for the camera but last weeks Hoopoe would be a close candidate too.

Merlin at Elmley
Hoopoe at Hinksford
My birding travels took me to Scotland twice where as mentioned above I enjoyed my first trip to Iona and a terrific encounter with my first Corncrake and my first trip to Applecross gave great views of Ptarmigan.

Corncrake Iona
Ptarmigan at Applecross
I have a few big holes in the year list which include Jack Snipe, Nightjar, Velvet Scoter, Capercaillie, Black-winged Stilt, Pomarine Skua, Chough, Mealy Redpoll, Lapland Bunting and Cirl Bunting. All birds I could and should have connected with but didn't make enough effort.

Still no Sooty, (I missed ten at Dunge by a few minutes on 28th Dec.) Great or Cory's Shearwater on the list and I'm still waiting to connect with a Tawny Pipit.
Despite staying in Strontian for a week I failed to find the Black Duck so that's still missing from the life list and I keep looking at the Pacific Diver in Cornwall but it's a fair way outside my two hour rule so this may be missing for a while yet.

Whilst work pays the bills and funds my birding trips it also prevents me dropping everything and dashing off for anything within my two hour rule with the biggest casualty of this in 2015 being the Acadian Flycatcher at Dunge. (Big regret) Other misses this year included Hudsonian Godwit at Meare Heath (stretching the two hours a bit but a bird I should have gone for) The Terek Sandpiper at Pagham, Radde's Warbler at Holkham, Black-eared Wheatear at Acres Down (Went a day late) Moltoni's Warbler at Blakeney and the Citril Finch at Holkham.

But I did add fifteen new birds in twelve months which wasn't a bad return for my efforts and I'd gladly take that next year as I chase down the magic 400 (366 plus 15 = 381) could 2017 be the year I make 400?

The plan for next year is to simply get out as much as possible, see as much as possible and yes I'll be year listing starting in Norfolk on 1st January. My main targets for the year are the three missing Shearwaters so I plan a late August trip to Cornwall in an attempt to finally add these to the life list.
The year will also be remembered for the 500 plus Yellow Wagtails on a visit to Dunge, the huge fall of Goldcrests whilst at Landguard along with the arrival of Short-eared Owls whilst at Holland Haven and a Little Auk that dropped into Salthouse pond as I was driving by proving that you just need to get out there and you will see stuff!

Little Auk at Salthouse
Thanks for reading my ramblings and here's wishing everybody a healthy and happy 2016. 

Tree Sparrows at Bempton given Photo of the week on Birdguides.
And my personal favorite image from 2015

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