In at number 5 / Sykes's Warbler in Northumberland / Rarity: MEGA
When I first heard about the bird I can't say I was all that bothered, but I knew I wanted to see it! I am so glad I went as it was a fantastic bird and it showed well at times and I got some cracking views. When I found out how rare the bird was on the mainland I was extremely pleased. But who cares how rare it is? It was a nice bird to see and another educational bird for me.
In at number 4 / Sharp-tailed Sandpiper in Durham / Rarity: MEGA
I can remember looking at a photo on BirdGuides of a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper that was at Spurn a few years ago, when I saw how rare it was I thought to myself that I would never see one in the UK. I missed my chance to go and see the Spurn bird and thought that was defiantly it, then a few weeks later a bird turned up in Teesside. When news came through I had just finished watching The Simpsons after my first day at University, I refreshed BirdGuides and saw the three little red !!! next to a bird, being interested in all mega rare birds in the UK I looked and was shocked at what I saw. I had to read it again to make sure I had got it right, I had my tea and then went down to Teesside and saw it well about 5 minutes before darkness fell. I also went to go and see it the next day and saw it even better and at closer range. What a bird!
(Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - © Mick Brennan)
In at number 3 / American Bittern in Cornwall / Rarity: MEGA
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper would have been here but considering this is the first twitchable American Bittern for about 10 years I couldn't not put it in at number 3. When I saw the bird it was simply superb! I twitched it with Ghost of Stringer and a mate of his, we saw it well from the tower hide. But Gary suggested we checked the small hide where it has only been seen from once before the day before we were there. We went in and 3 blokes were in scanning around and they said they hadn't seen it from that hide. after about 5 mins one of the guys picked it up. We watched and waited pretty much biting our nails and then eventually it walked out right into the open on the grass briefly before retreating back into the reedbed. We has simply superb views and smiles all around, the day was topped of by a Green Heron which was also near by. Best days birding I had this year without a doubt. I doubt there will be another American Bittern in the next 10 years or so.
(American Bittern - © Ghost of Stringer)
In at number 2 / Rough-legged Buzzard in North Yorkshire / Rarity: Scarce
One of these bird I looked at in BirdGuides when I was younger and didn't think I would ever see one in the UK. But thankfully this year I had superb views of at least 3 birds plus a whole host of raptors and a Great Grey Shrike along the way.
(Rough-legged Buzzard - © Derek Charlton)
In at number 1 / MONTAGU'S HARRIER in Norfolk / Rarity: Scarce
Sadly I can't say where but all I will say was this was another bird I didn't think I was ever going to see. I am really keen on my birds of prey and therefore this bird is number 1 for this year for me!
(Montagu's Harrier - © Derek Charlton)
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to everyone who follows my blog.
Until next time, Foghorn out!