Thursday, 9 June 2011

Spring Highlights 2011

I have had an excellent spring this year, to me its all about enjoying the birds for what they are but it would be a lie to say I am not slightly keen on my own personal lists. So here some small statistics to compare last years spring to this years in terms of numbers of lifers and then fit these lifers into the following; scarce birds, rare birds, and very rare birds.

Birds 2010 2011
British Lifers  11 7
Scarce Birds  2 3
Rare Birds 0 2
Very Rare Birds 2 1

From the above table it doesn't look like I have had a very good spring in terms of numbers but I have had some simply superb birds that I didn't think I would see. You can see from the graph that on very rare birds I am down on one. I saw Black Scoter this year of Stag Rocks in Northumberland whereas last year I had Iberian Chiffchaff at Potteric Carr SWT in South Yorkshire, and Trumpeter Finch at Blakney Point in Norfolk. I am also up on rare birds having seen 2 this Spring opposed to none in 2010; the rare birds this year included a very showy Western Subalpine Warbler on Holy Island, a stunning male and it showed superbly well for a bird that is usually quite skulking. This was a good bird for me to get back having missed the last long staying individual at Trow Quarry in South Shields. The second rare bird will probably be one of my birds of the year; Terek Sandpiper. This was another great bird to see after having missed the previous two that were down at Teesside.

Scarce birds I am up 1 on last year. Last year I had Capercallie at Loch Garten RSPB in Aberdeenshire, and Montagu's Harrier at an undisclosed site that probably every birds knows who is reading this blog in Norfolk. This year by comparison I had Red-necked Phalarope at Frampton Marsh RSPB in Lincolnshire and then another 2 days later at Welney WWT in Norfolk. Also I had another scarce gamebird in the form of a Golden Pheasant at Sculthorpe Moor NR, with these birds deemed as 'untickable' for BOU rules its on my personal life list only. But my favourtie scarce bird of the spring I have left until last; Golden Oriole. After spending about 10 hours over a period of 2 days looking for these birds last year I failed both times. This time  when I went on my first visit I had excellent (for the site) views of the Golden Oriole and saw another briefly on my second visit. Again another bird that will no doubt make my top 10 birds of 2011.

Lifers were down on last year however that is to be expected as last year I went to Speyside where I was able to connect with the Scottish specialities I still hadn't seen; Capercallie, Ptarmigan, and Crested Tit. Also I had a fair few new common birds from Norfolk suck as Woodlark, Stone Curlew, etc.

So all in all its been a superb Spring time for me with some cracking birds. But forget all the numbers, its the birds that are important:

(Black Scoter - © Willie McBay)

(Trumpeter Finch - © Derek Charlton)

(Terek Sandpiper - © Andrew Kinghorn)

(Western Subalpine Warbler © Colin W.Pears)

(Red-necked Phalarope © Andrew Kinghorn)

Until next time, Foghorn out!

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