For the first time I’ve kept a list of all the bird species I’ve seen during the year, but I think 2010 will be a hard act to follow. I saw 118 species with a further three which I heard. The tally was much helped by a visit to Lincolnshire in February (an unusual holiday destination for Feb, but I can recommend it). There, much assisted by Kevin Hand, I identified lots of waders at Freiston Shore and Gibraltar Point.
Special bird events for me were:
- finding crossbills in Cowleaze Wood, Oxon, on 7 Feb (fortunately during a survey of my British Trust for Ornithology atlas tetrad – but I need to go back this year to try to find breeding evidence),
- hearing my first nightingale at Ebernoe Common, West Sussex, on 6 May,
- hearing wood warblers in White Wood below Bench Tor on Dartmoor on 28 May – thanks to Ian Mercer for recommending this spot,
- a dawn walk in Tavy Cleave, Dartmoor, on 31 May with ring ouzels, peregrine, cuckoos, whinchats, grey wagtails visiting a nest under an overhanging rock, and a fox stalking in the heather,
- my first bearded tits (now called bearded reedlings) for nearly 30 years, at Blakeney, Norfolk, on 1 August,
- a blustery walk on the north Kent coast on 27 August where I saw arctic skua among other species blown that way by the strong north wind,
- the recent snow brought a male brambling onto our window feeder at Turville in Bucks.
Sorry, this is pure indulgence -but just as Wordsworth enjoyed recollections in tranquillity, it’s nice to remember happy birding during the murky days of winter.