Thursday 1 January 2015

1 January 2015: Happy New Year!

Well, will the birding in 2015 live up to 2014? I had many highlights in 2014, including catching up with four Yorkshire 'firsts': Black Scoter at Redcar in June, Masked Shrike at Spurn in September, Eastern Crowned Warbler at Brotton in October, and Blyth's Pipit near Wakefield on Christmas Eve.

Add to this a sprinkle of other crackers, notably the Budby Common Parrot Crossbills in January, stonking views of Goshawks in Wykeham early in the year, Tawny Pipit at Flamborough in April, my dream spring vagrant, male Collared Flycatcher at St Abb's Head also in April, a lovely trip to the Outer Hebrides in May, Bee-eaters and Woodchat later that month at South Gare and Hummersea respectively, great views of Long-eared Owls in the York area in June, the spectacle of Coquet Island and the Farnes, finding Tansy Beetles by the river at Bishopthorpe, finding Wryneck at Spurn during the Mig Fest in early September, finding a brace of Barred Warblers at Flamborough later that month, corking views of my first Yorkshire Radde's Warbler at Flamborough in October, a trio of Yorkshire Rough-legged Buzzards in November, and ending with the epic finale of the Little Bustard at Fraisthorpe on New Year's Eve.

Moth trapping was on the up, with a new moth trap purchased in mid summer enabling me to catch some corkers in the back garden. I am looking forward to the new season starting soon. 

There have been a few lows too: not being able to find the York Kumlien's Gull early in the year; dipping a bull Orca in the Minch on the way back from the Hebs; not being able to escape work to Flamborough for the Crag Martin; not being able to nail a possible Pacific Golden Plover during Mig Fest that flew over the Warren calling, and disappeared into the vastness of the Humber. Also, Terek Sandpiper still managed to elude me, despite one being 'gettable' at Covenham Reservoir in spring, and a wagtail that flew past me in Dorset in late August was almost certainly a Citrine, but it didn't stop flying, and avoided the clinch.

So, all in all not a bad year wildlife wise.

Collared Flycatcher, St Abb's Head (photo courtesy of Jack Ibbotson). Though not the rarest by a long shot, this was definitely my favourite bird of 2014.

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