Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Best of the 400

So I have finally crossed the line and made the personal milestone of 400 birds seen in Britain and this has got me thinking back on a few of them and which ones I enjoyed most.

Ortolan Bunting at Abberton my 400th UK tick

Now you'd think it would be easy just by picking the rarest but it's not that simple. One may have been more challenging to see or ID. Maybe a particular bird took more trips and dips before I finally connected or perhaps one is chosen just because it looks great. I might consider the particular twitch to be most memorable or it could be that the bird was the most camera friendly so bear with me while I select my favourites for all of the reasons above.

Got to be included. After missing the bird on a couple of trips to Scotland I decided to book a cottage in Strontian for a week and eventually struck lucky finding it on a garden pond in April 2016
Great spotted Cuckoo at Portland is included as a genuine rarity and a nice twitch at a great birding site back in May 2016
Blyths Pipit was a nice twitch down in Somerset at Blagdon Lakes back in December 2016
Added just for the rarity value is the Purple Swamphen didn't exactly show well.
The Blue Rock Thrush that took a while to get accepted was a bit of an urban twitch which are never my favourites but the bird was a cracker when we eventually found it.
The Cliff Swallow at Minsmere was a large twitch with a good crowd and the bird was eventually a little crowd pleaser.
Hoopoe....Included because it was a great bird and I dipped nine times before my first.
Siberian Accentor had to be included as a great twitch and I think I'm right in saying this was a first for mainland Britain.
Night Heron just too confiding but great news for all holding a camera.
The Rock Thrush is a real contender for my best bird....It was rare, It was only two hours form home in a great scenic location and it was pretty kind to the camera as an all rounder it's right up there.
Another great bird from 2018. The American Bittern that spent some time in Suffolk was a good twitch. A small crowd and a long wait but eventually good views of this rarity allowing it to become one of my 400.
This was my second Snowy Owl with the first being at Felixstowe and viewed through a hole in a fence this second bird was a much nicer twitch although the long walk out to the far end of Snettisham tested us the reward was just fantastic.
The Rustic Bunting twitch at Wanstead has to be included as the best local bird and when you can pop out at lunch to pick up a lifer it doesn't get much better. (Thanks again Nick)
The Radipole Lake Ross's Gull was one of my best twitches as it showed really well after a challenging morning to find it, the twitch was good and well behaved and it's a bird I had always held high on my wish list.
The Green Heron in the MP's garden in Wales was a must go for bird. A great bird with a real rarity value and again a very nice well behaved twitch.
This will be right up there with the best of the best. A great bird with extreme rarity value and although a long way to travel who wouldn't want a day out at Lands End in Cornwall to bag a lifer.
This is the one that's not yet on the list due to it not yet being split but surely it's just a matter of time. This was at Staines reservoir so again not far from home and showed well feeding along the banks close to the causeway.
This Pallid Swift could be my luckiest life tick as I was just in the right place at the right time when it was found feeding along the cliffs at Cromer.
Caper just a magnificent bird and a real treat to watch this male as one of my 400
American Coot in the Highlands
Harlequin Duck in Aberdeen
Rosy Starling at Wells
Red backed Shrike at Canvey Island
Desert Wheatear

Brunnich's Guillemot in Portland Harbour way back in 2013
There's obviously a lot more but these are a few of the memorable where's the next one?

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations mate. I've been lucky enough to be with you on the majority of those trips.