Tuesday, 2 January 2018

The obligatory 2017 roundup

I'll try to keep this brief, its just quite good to have a look back through the year and see how it's been. Its not been the most amazing of years locally, but I have managed quite a few nice birds throughout the year, some things have gone my way, others not so much.

I'll break this down into 3 sections.

Holme Pierrepont

Things started out well on patch with several sightings of a Great White Egret early on, and some good additions to the patch list in February and March. Spring was OK, but being busy at work and other things meant I couldn't get down to the patch as much as I would have liked, leading to some birds being missed. The Autumn was a bit rubbish, very poor for migrant waders and with that my enthusiasm started to fizzle out, as often happens, and I began to look further afield. Buying a house certainly reduced birding time too!

All that aside, there have been some highlights, including 5 patch ticks - Wood Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Pintail and Cattle and Great white egrets. Several Black-necked Grebe sightings added to the interest, as well as Black Terns in spring and Autumn. Other goodies included a Turnstone, Knot and several Whimbrel, as well as a few Garganey, and a Sibe Chiff. Narrow misses were Bar-tailed Godwit, Sanderling and Wood Sandpiper, whilst 'easy' birds such as Green Sand, Greenshank and Ruff were all notable by their absence (on my list!)

I ended on 124 species - 130 was my unofficial target - and as far as i know there were roughly 160 species seen on site throughout the whole year, so many missed birds... must try harder!

Notts Birds

Its been a reasonable year for scarcer birds in the county, and I managed 150 species without trying too hard really. Obvious highlights were the Bee-eaters at East Leake, Great Grey Shrike at Owthorpe and only my 2nd county Black-throated diver at Hoveringham. Several Glaucs and Casps at the Hov gull roost and Cotham tip were nice, though I failed to see any Med Gulls in the county this year! Several Scaup (Kilvington, Holme Pierrepont and Stoke Bardolph) were nice. I finally added Ring Ouzel to my notts list, after failing so many times in the past, and Gannet and Bean goose were also accounted for!

Further Afield

I attempted to see 200 species in Britain this year and fell short at 187 species. I thought a bit of autumn birding could have helped things along a bit, but several trips to the coast were pretty poor in terms of migrants, not helped by slow birding back home. However, my attempts resulted in some nice birds seen, including 14 UK ticks. A Long-tailed duck over the border in Derbys was nice, a Long-billed Dowitcher in Lincs and Pec and Curlew sandpipers at Spurn added to the wader total, and a range of breeding seabirds seen on a trip to scotland, along with crested tit (but no eagles or capers!). A late Snow Bunting in mablethorpe was the last of the year.

Other decent birds were the long-staying American Wigeon at Rutland, with other decent birds there including Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper, Red-breasted Merganser and a load of Great White Egrets throughout the year. The Velvet Scoter at Staunton Harold Res in Derbys did the decent thing and hung on til after new year, meaning i could get it on the 2017 list a few weeks after initially seeing it in 2016.

There are many birds that could have made up the 13 species i'd have needed to get to 200, the most sore being Bittern, Great Northern Diver and Gropper! If i had tried a little harder Slavonian Grebe would have been relatively easy (birds at hov and collingham, i think!), and the same goes for Spoonbill (didn't bother going for the Erewash bird) Ring-necked parakeet (missed em in Bridgford, couldn't be bothered with the Wollaton birds!) and a host of many others. Still, it wasn't a bad year overall and what I did see was without busting a gut too much!

Going to take it as it comes this year, will still be doing Holme Pierrepont when I can, and will try my best to keep an eye on things at Colwick Park too, seeing as its on my doorstep and underwatched (could be that its not particularly good - but surely somethings lurking there somewhere!). Other than that I'll just try and get out and see good birds, and who knows maybe find something decent along the way too? Probably not though...