Tuesday 26 December 2017

2017 Highlights

Well, another year almost done. 2017 draws to a close and with that its time to cast my mind back and look at some of my birding highlights.

This year was a hard pick, when spring finally rolled around it was a quiet enough affair for me. The summer brought its usual doldrums and the quietest autumn I can ever remember almost had me hanging up the bins! April and June trips to Mallorca and Latvia respectively just about saved the year.

In reverse order, here are the highlights!

3. Garden Redstart

No not in Norwich - but in Latvia. A male bird was visiting the garden frequently so I set myself up and finally suceeded in getting some respectable shots of one of my favourite bird species (See more photos on Chat show).

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2. Collared Flycatcher, S'Albufera, Mallorca

A short trip to Mallorca in April with Nick Watmough really exceeded my expectations. I had been twice before but still enjoyed several lifers in Spectacled Warbler, Moustached Warbler and this superb male Collared Flycatcher. A relatively rare bird for Mallorca and a fine male to boot! See more on Mallorca trip

1. Corncrake, Lielupe, Latvia

A long awaited lifer! I had first heard one at the tender age of 8 back in County Sligo and several times since in Donegal, Offaly and various parts of Latvia, but getting even so much as a glimpse had been impossible - up until last summer. I had a very close encounter with the bird (as you will see if read back on Crex crex at last). I didn't get any photos but have this short movie clip as a reminder of an unforgettable encounter.

And that's it - fingers crossed for a better year in 2018, it can't be much worse that 2017 - right? A trip to Western Sahara for Golden Nightjar might be next time I have something birdy to write about but in the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!