As I end the year I am going to do my first ever round up listing some of the birds that where life ticks for me that I have seen in the UK and then say what my personal bird of the year and also maybe some stats. So here goes in no particular order:
Spoonbill – Cley Marshes, Norfolk – Life Tick
Garganey – Blacktoft Sands, Yorkshire – Life Tick
Goshawk – Wykeham Forest, Yorkshire – Life Tick
Common Crane – Lamesley, Gateshead – Life Tick
Temminck’s Stint – Houghton Gate, County Durham – Life Tick
Pectoral Sandpiper – Greatham Creek, Teesside – Life Tick
Also 1 at Castle Lake (DBC) the same day as above!
Glaucous Gull – Teesside – Life Tick
Sabine’s Gull – North Shields, Northumberland – Life Tick
Black Tern – Herrington Country Park, County Durham – Life Tick
Long-eared Owl – undisclosed site, County Durham – Life Tick
Bluethroat – Hartlepool Headland, County Durham – Life Tick
Marsh Warbler – Herrington Country Park, County Durham – Life Tick
Yellow-browed Warbler – Holy Island, Northumberland – Life Tick
Firecrest– Holy Island, Northumberland – Life Tick
Red-backed Shrike – Dorman’s Pool (TBC), Teesside – Life Tick
Great-white Egret – Saltholme RSPB, Teesside – Life Tick
Semipalmated Sandpiper – Cresswell beach, Northumberland – Life Tick
Lesser Yellowlegs (seen twice) – Aberlady Bay, Lothian – Life Tick
Hooded Merganser (escape??) – Calor Gas Pool, Teeside – Life Tick
Blue-winged Teal – Saltholme RSPB, Teesside – Life Tick
Buff Breasted Sandpiper – Saltholme RSPB, Teesside – Life Tick
Glossy Ibis – Druridge Bay, Northumberland – Life Tick
Eastern Crowned Warbler – Trow Quarry (SS), County Durham – Life tick
Richard’s Pipit – South Gare, Yorkshire – Life Tick
Snow Goose – Budle Bay, Northumberland – Life Tick
White Stork – Great Lumley, County Durham – Life Tick (self found)
Not a bad list for a whole year! Thanks to meeting my new friends from Durham Bird Club my life list has shot up. This is the first full year where I have been simply obsessed with birdwatching. I think there is a clear winner for me but I will drag this out a bit for my reader’s entertainment.
The Common Crane was absolutely fantastic and very close when I first saw it. This was a bird I mentioned for a while after it had gone. The male, (that’s right) male Bluethroat was absolutely fantastic and a very nice migrant to have and was the only Durham record of the year (I believe). The Semiplamated Sandpiper & Lesser Yellowlegs where both fantastic and I think they where both equal to me in terms of enjoyment when watching them. The Glossy Ibis was quite special as I dipped it the first time and thought that my only chance of seeing this fantastic rare wader had gone but thanfuly it remained for a week longer and I saw it. On the same day as the Glossy Ibis I added my first ever Yellow-browed Warbler x2 and my first ever Firecrest. Both birds showed really well especially the Firecrest. The Black Tern at Herrington Country Park was a fantastic bird to see and I picked it up almost immediately. A fantastic summer plumage bird this Black Tern was worth getting drowned wet for. The Red-backed Shrike showed really well all be it somewhat briefly although I saw it both sitting as well as in flight. Although probably an escape on Friday last gone (18th) I had a White Stork over my housing estate when I was walking for the bus! I missed the bus but didn’t care!!!! My first rare self found bird.
However………….the clear winner is
Eastern Crowned Warbler! This was only the 5th ever for Europe and the 1st ever UK record! It is the only European record of a bird staying longer than one day!!!!! Also it was in my own County!!!!!! I had fantastic views of the bird both in the scope as well as through my bins. This was also my first ever MEGA. What a mega!!!! I saw the Eastern Crowned Warbler and then when it disappeared briefly a Yellow-browed Warbler put in an appearance! Likely to never be in the UK again in my lifetime.
Glad I didn’t miss it!