Tuesday 29 December 2020

Year listing in 2021

As we approach the new year comes a build up of excitement as we plan our New years day outing to maximise our chances of a big first day, depending on the weather we usually head to Norfolk or Kent and aim to see around 80 to 100 species on the first big day but this year we're restricted by the Covid stay local message so the Lee Valley looks likely to be our day one meet up.

I'm hoping that the vaccine currently being rolled out will help us find some normality later in the year but of course we have concerns about the latest new strains of the virus and will have to see how these changes respond to the vaccinations. I wouldn't say 2020 has been the worse year of my life as I've had a few tough ones in my life but it's been strange and mentally challenging at times. 

As for listing I'm going to remain positive as I need birding in my life and I need to get out in the country so without concern for the slower start in variety that I expect I will chase a year list again in 2021 and look forward to the different approach that the Tier system will bring and refuse to let it spoil the chase too much.

Might not be the biggest big day I've ever had but I reckon I could get Mallard on the day one list

My ten year average total is 274 last year saw a slight drop to 271 so the aim in this challenging year ahead will be to keep my nose in front of the average and hope a few life ticks present themselves in places I can get to.

The Bubo listers pole positions for 2020 and  remarkably I'm still eight as I draft this on Boxing Day

My biggest wanted birds for 2021 would have to be..........

Snow Goose or maybe a tickable Cackling Goose having had my previous one scrubbed off by BBRC but unless I can get north that will be a difficult ask. The Black Scoter in Northumberland might not be doable in the first part of the year but maybe I'll be able to travel north if it returns in the Autumn/Winter. There's not too many that don't have that bird so it's about time I followed suit with it.

It'd be nice to take Terek Sandpiper, Collared Flycatcher orTawny Pipit off the dipped list if possible.Tawny Pipit being my new bogey bird having finally added Brown Shrike to my life list in 2020.

Travel to Cornwall next winter might finally give me a chance to see the long returning Pacific Diver of Penzance and maybe I'll finally get to Scilly and see one of those Wilson's Petrels and who knows what else. Maybe an Eastern Subalpine Warbler will make it my way following last years split and could Dunge get another Short-toed Treecreeper this spring and will the restrictions allow me to travel for it this time. Of course I'd gladly take a couple of Mega ticks too if they turn up within striking distance

I'm also quite desperate to visit the Highlands again in 2021 and with my brother looking for five ticks to break the 400 I hope I can help him achieve that goal too, in fact we're banking on it.

More than anything tho I want to be able to get out and enjoy the hobby in good health with the Jims again. I'm also hopeful that Robert may join the three musketeers on our travels when it's allowed just like the good old days.

However you plan to enjoy your birding in 2021 I hope it delivers for you too and I wish you all a very happy new year!

Sunday 27 December 2020

Good for the soul

I had to get out today having hardly left the house for ten days I needed a walk, some fresh air and some birds. I headed back to the local park. With us being in Tier four still I shouldn't be travelling far for my exercise so the park is ideal. I only had an hour or so but was pleased to see the Owls still about and performing quite well and for a change the light was quite good too.

Until today I had resisted the sitting on the teasle shot but it was there as I walked past...be rude not to!
Heavy crop as taken from the footpath!  Most people are thankfully now keeping out of the fields.

Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl

Ready to hunt


Showed quite well

Eyes on the prize

Fully focused

A close pass as the light faded away

These Owls continue to brighten my winter as they've now been here over two months and seem to be doing well for food and have tolerated the unfortunate early disturbance well so hopefully will stay into the new year now.

Saturday 26 December 2020

Best pics of 2020

 A few birding images from the year that was 2020 and may we never have another like it.

Black-throated Thrush that wintered in Whipsnade park

The Lammergeier in the Peak District

Bearded Vulture in Lincs

Caspian Gull in London

Cirl Bunting in Devon

Cormorant in Valentines Park Ilford

Desert Wheatear at Cart Gap

Local Foxes

Great Crested Grebe chicks at Lee Valley

Great Crested Grebes

Great Egret at Abberton

Greater Yellowlegs at Dunwich Pools

Grey Partridge 

Gull-billed Tern at Alton Waters

Hoopoe in Norfolk

House Sparrow in the garden during Lockdown

Iceland Gull at Newlyn in Cornwall

Lapland Bunting at Thornham point

Lesser-Yellowlegs at Cley

Mallards at Lee Valley CP

Masked Shrike in Kent

Nuthatch at Lynford

Radde's Warbler in Suffolk

Red-backed Shrike in Kent

Ring-necked Parakeet in the garden

Ring-necked Parakeet in Wanstead park

Robin in the garden

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin at Stiffkey

Russian White-fronted Goose at Wanstead

The scrub Robin twitch

Sedge Warbler at Oare Marsh

Shore Lark in Kent

Short-eared Owl at Gunpowder Park in the Lee Valley CP

Short-eared Owl in the Lee Valley CP

Sparrowhawk on a kill in Loughton

Spotted Flycatcher in Kent

Sparrowhawk in the garden

Wheatear at Oare Marsh

Whinchat at Wanstead

Wilson's Phalarope at Keyhaven Marsh in Hampshire

Wilson's Phalarope

Wryneck at Burnham Overy

Not such a bad year with the camera after all.