Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy New Year...

Well it's a new year again and it feels as good a time as any to revive this blog. It's been over 5 months since I have posted anything on here for various reasons which I won't go into. Since last August I have been outside a lot due to work but it's been a long time since I have gone out for the sole purpose of birdwatching and it has kind of taken a backseat in the last few months. I completed my degree this May (BSc Sustainable Forest Management with Forest Conservation if you are interested) and graduated in September at the ceremony in Inverness. Since the start of June I was working for Forestry Commission Scotland on a short-term 6 month contract which finished at the end of November and I am looking to open the next chapter now but what the future holds is uncertain at the moment, watch this space as they say.

Anyway, 2013, it was a pretty good year for birding (although it was really only 8 months). The year included two weeks in Poland near to Krakow and although I didn't see anywhere near as much as I had hoped I still managed some interesting birds.

My British list was only 129 which was down from 133 the previous year however, I did manage 10 entirely new species, a few which are Highland specialities that I feel a bit embarassed about not seeing since I have lived up here for over 25 years but better late than never! This included both eagle species which I actually ended up seeing both on several occassions throughout the year and my bogie bird in the form of a female Ring Ouzel. New species were:
  • Barn Owl
  • Black Grouse
  • Capercaillie
  • Common Redstart
  • Cuckoo
  • Golden Eagle
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • Ring Ouzel
  • Snow Bunting
  • White-tailed Eagle
As mentioned I had two weeks in Poland near to Krakow which was through college and birding time was limited however I did get to take a couple trips to Las Wolski forest which is a beautiful forest for many reasons and where I managed to see most of the interesting stuff. New species were:
  • Black Redstart
  • Collared Flycatcher
  • Middle-spotted Woodpecker
  • Pied Flycatcher
  • White Stork
  • Wood Warbler
So overall that's 16 new species which took the life list up to 172. There were quite a few species that I didn't see this year that I have in previous years many which were related to location but some through lack of effort on my part. Geographic contraints meant no birds such as Green Woodpecker and Nuthatch but also seabirds were lacking this year too and I didn't manage to see Puffin, Kittiwake, Razorbill etc. Also two "white-wingers" were missing last year those being Glaucous Gull and Iceland Gull and I didn't see any reported locally.

Just a quick overview really of last year, not going to to an in-depth one like I have previously. But it's been good to post again and hopefully I can find the motivation to get the blog going again and more importantly get some good birdwatching in soon. Posts still might be a bit few and far between for the next month or two however.

All the best for 2014 and let's see what this next year brings!

Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus ochrurus) - Black Isle
Male Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) - Las Wolski

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