Monday, 21 December 2020

2020 The missing

Following my very early review of the year (see previous post) I've taken some time, and I have plenty of that at the moment, to review the birds that lockdown has cost me this past twelve months and I found it very interesting.

My year list ended on 271 following my best year ever of 303 in 2019 so what could have been this years total?

Well Scotland wasn't possible so I missed the usual targets for that trip which include.....

Golden Eagle, Sea Eagle, Black Grouse, Ptarmigan, Capercaillie, Crested Tit, Black Guillemot, Hooded Crow and the chance of a Crossbill be it Parrot or Scottish. If I'd made it to Scotland I'd have tried for the Black Duck for sure as the Jims still need that and probably given the Scoters at Musselburgh another look and there's every chance I'd have looked for the Black Scoter on the way up so a total of thirteen possible year ticks missed due to travel restraints.

Crested Tit just one of the birds missing from my year list in 2020

Then there's the annual ticks I've missed simply because I couldn't get out so much. I had one go at Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and failed but in a normal year I'd have given it a few tries at different locations.

I missed Long-eared Owl, Puffin, Dotterel, Glaucous Gull, Arctic Tern, Little Auk and Savi's Warbler all birds I usually see every year. 

Puffin....I'll do all I can to see these in 2021

Another year goes by with no Montagu's Harrier which is really sad and I didn't connect with Red-rumped Swallow, American Wigeon, Penduline Tit, Arctic and Common Redpoll or Sabines Gull all birds I'd expect in most years but travel restrictions have made it difficult to be in the right place at the right time.

Penduline Tit 

Another year with no Golden Oriole and maybe I've seen my last Ruddy Duck.

In terms of Life ticks or big twitches that the lockdown has cost me well there's been a few.

I think I'd have Short-toed Treecreeper on my list with two seen this year at Dunge.

Sociable Plover in Cornwall ...With Cornwall in a lower tier it was just not advisable to make the trip but in a normal year I'd have definitely gone for it and going for the Plover would have given me a chance of finding the Pacific Diver at Penzance too.

Pied-billed Grebe in Shropshire wasn't a lifer but in a normal year it would be considered local enough to visit and enjoy as I've only ever seen a couple previously.

The Lesser Kestrel on Scilly in the spring was a real temptation for my first Scilly twitch but again lockdown and isolation had other ideas.

The Fife Hudsonian Godwit has been a real temptation as was the earlier Greater Sand Plover but again both considered to be too far and against the spirit of lockdown so will have to wait for the tick.

The Crag Martin was tempting but arrived as Kent moved into higher tier than Essex so wouldn't have been a good idea. I am glad to have seen one previously or the tier thing would have been more testing but I like to think I'd have still made the right call on this one.

The White's Thrush on Lundy may also have been a real target if travel was easier to the Island this year.

I dipped four birds this year....The Yelkouan Shearwater at Portland, the Sooty Tern at Sizewell despite arriving within two hours of first news, The Eleonara's Falcon at Winterton and the Asian Desert Warbler aborting that trip half way up on negative news.

As far as I can tell the life ticks that I missed included the following.....


I should add the Kent Swift was a "report of a possible" in June this year.


Some really great birds visited our shores this year and whilst in a normal year I'd have struggled to connect with many of them I do know I'd have seen a few of the above and I did think this year would have been my first trip to the Scilly Isles too in which case the Black and White Warbler could have been my reward but I'll never know. I think I'd have Wilson's Petrel on the list too and the long staying Swainson's Thrush would have been a contender too. The Indigo Bunting who know's I may have picked that week to go although it did look a bit sad and not quite how I'd want to see my first Indigo in the UK. (Who am I kidding I'd happily have ticked it!)

One thing that does strike me is the number of "possible" and "probable" claims along the coast this year. Was there really that many rares flying along our coast or are there always that many and we just don't spend enough time looking? Are we not very good at identifying these or are they just too difficult most of the time miles out at sea? It'll be very interesting to see which ones are submitted and even more interesting to see which ones are accepted. Seems it's not restricted to coastal sightings either. I may come back to this at some point to kill some more time.

Anyway for now it's onwards and upwards and hope to get out more in 2021 and see some more of the great birds and beautiful places this country has to offer. 

Stay safe guys






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