The year didn't start in Norfolk this year, instead it was spent in Kent. A total of 73 species were seen among them were Cattle and Great White Egrets, Bean Geese, Bewick Swan and Great Grey Shrike. A very showy Slavonian Grebe locally at Wanstead on the 5th was a nice bonus. A Surf Scoter at Wrabness took some time and effort to find and the month ended with another Essex trip when two Serins were observed at Gunners park. The year list at the end of January stood at 136.
A very disappointing month with the only highlight being a visit to Orwell in Cambridgshire where a Quail gave superb views along the edge of the wheat fields. It called constantly a short time after we arrived and gave good flight views from time to time. When it took flight again it landed along the edge of the next field and remained in view for several minutes calling. The Quail would be the only addition to the year list in July. Year list total 233
A drake Ring-necked Duck showing well but in torrential rain at Startop's End Reservoir at Tring was the first trip of October. A Norfolk trip on the 11th saw us well placed when an Isabelline Shrike was reported at Beeston Regis, The shrike was found immediately upon arrival for another life tick, and soon afterwards news started filtering around that there was a Pallas's Warbler at Sheringham. After some time searching for the right area the Pallas's was found along the railway tracks. Another Norfolk trip on the 18th would prove even more successful. Six year ticks and two lifers would follow, firstly a Red-flanked Bluetail was seen at Wells Wood adding the first lifer of the day, this would be followed by sightings of Hume's Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler and eventually after an extensive search a Blyth's reed Warbler. At Muckleburgh Hill the second lifer was added a superb Olive-backed Pipit. It showed within a few feet immediately upon arrival. We made another visit to Beeston to get another look at the Isabelline Shrike on the 18th and timed it perfectly to add a Long-eared Owl while there. A Jack Snipe relatively local at Rye Meads the next day was too good to miss and it showed superbly well in front of the hide as we entered. The final trip of October was to Caister-on-Sea for a Siberian Stonechat and ended with a stop off at Holland Haven for several Short-eared Owls and a Rough-legged Buzzard. October added 11 year ticks and four lifers. At the end of the month the year list had moved onto 259
Another great years birding comes to a close, with another one soon to begin.
Fourteen lifers added this year with only three months within the year not providing any additions to that list. October (4) April (2) and May (2) the most productive. No surprise that Norfolk was top county providing five lifers to my list.
During the year several new sites were visited while birding, with many more sites again re-visited.
There is no other hobby where you can be at a sewage works or rubbish tip one week and the next birding the Scottish Highlands or the Oak woodlands of mid Wales?
Anything could turn up on any given day, you could be anywhere in the United Kingdom on any given day. Having dipped two Red-rumped Swallows in the last two years both in May, I never thought I would be watching one in Norfolk in December!
Happy new year to one and all