200 birds in 1 year! Could I do it? I had never even been close before. A good start to the year gave me 100 birds before the end of January. This entailed going out once or twice a week, so not in twitch mode yet! A highlight of January was seeing lesser spotted woodpecker, a bird becoming increasingly hard to find due to its recent breeding population decline.
During March I was able to add considerably to my list with a visit to the Cairngorms. Speciality birds such as capercaille, ptarmigan, golden eagle and crested tit increased my count to 154.
A trip to Salisbury Plain in April added great bustard and stone curlew both rare birds to see. The great bustard is in fact being reintroduced to Britain after becoming extinct here due to over hunting. Along with summer came the summer visitors, swallows, warblers, nightingales, terns and by the beginning of June I was up to 186.
Of course there are the special habitat places, such as heaths, that we visit where some less common birds are to be found and during June and July I managed to add tree pipit, wood lark and nightjar to my growing list to give me a total of 192 birds.
A late holiday to Norfolk added ring ouzel, which was a first for me and another summer migrant that is from north Africa or the middle east that is of conservation concern. Creeping ever closer to that magic 200, I eventually make it with a glaucous gull at Dungeness on 22nd November.
200 wonderful birds, that I confess I would not have seen without a lot of help from my friends. So thank you for a great year and here’s looking forward to the next.