Thursday, 10 January 2008

Best of 2007

It occurred to me that I failed to make an end of year appraisal for 2007, so here's a quick best of round-up...

Best birding site visited... difficult to choose, it'd have to be the North Norfolk Coast, and those magical dawn moments of thousands of roosting Knot, thousands more commuting Pink-feet, Shore Lark below the dunes and Barn Owl quartering closer than you'd dare imagine.

Best bird seen... for rarity value, the juvenile Night Heron at Fairbun Ings in July. Rumour has it this may have been the first true wild bird of the species hatched in the UK.

Best bird photograph...

This Swallow fledgling feed at Bempton Cliffs RSPB, also in July.

Best bird video...

Barn Owl at Holkham NNR, late August.

Best local find... not a classic year, but a pair of Whinchat at Brierley Forest Park stirred interest in the place during April. They would probably breed were it not for the dogwalkers. According to BirdTrack these were earliest birds reported in my region for the year.

Best memories... too many to mention, a shortlist list would include the Starling roost near Carsington, wintry days and rare ducks at Hoveringham, Osprey days at Rutland, magical Montagu's Harrier in Lincolnshire, the Nightjars of Sherwood Forest, 3 lifers in one day with Long-tailed Skua/Sabine's Gull/Red-necked Grebe, picking up a stranded Little Auk at Snettisham, and really I could go on and on.

Best decision... getting involved with the RSPB, volunteering at their Aren't Birds Brilliant(!) events at Carsington Water in Derbyshire, where I educate the public about the RSPB, conservation and birds in general. A genuinely worthy cause, I get to watch and talk about birds all day long, and it's a great crew down there too. That moment when you see it click within a kid, the gasp and dazzle of discovery when they realise how amazing the birdlife is out there, it'll never get old.

The numbers:

species on the year list
18 lifers

For the foreseeable future my prediction is 2007 will be my best year for sheer numbers of birds seen. Between moving house, rising petrol prices, and the intention of greenifying my birdwatching activities, I should be cutting back on the travel for 2008/9.

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