Monday, 31 December 2012

My first end of year post!

Well hasn't this year flown by!

This is the first year I have actually attempted to record all the birds I have seen, previously I have just enjoyed looking out for birds whilst out and about, however now we go out specifically to look for them!

January to May was not so hot for birds for me, as I was trying to concentrate on my degree (trying being the main word, not always succeeding!) and with a difficult dissertation to complete and 8 exams to revise for the best I got was watching red kites from the 5th floor windows of the library! Not such a hard life! Once exams were over I had more time to concentrate on birding!

The end of may brought good things, I purchased my first DSLR and 70-300mm lens so I could really try and get some better photos of the birds that I so love!

One of my first bird photos was of a lovely reed bunting sitting, begging for a photo! Taken down at Oare marshes (30th May), this handsome fella was accompanied by little egrets, avocets, greylag geese, coots and more!

Reed bunting

Little egret

The beginning of June saw my first trip to Scotland! My mum and I took a trip to Edinburgh, where we did usual touristy things such as the zoo (where we saw bullfinches, and not in a cage thankfully!), the castle, botanical gardens etc! One of the days we decided to jump off the bus early and join the river Leith walk to get back in touch with nature! Little did we expect to see a bird which we searched for high and low on a trip to Wales in 2011.... a dipper! What a truly fantastic little bird!! It hung around for a while, dipping and catching fish while we watched in awe! A lovely robin also sat and posed for me.



Early July brought avocet chicks, house martin chicks and screeching swifts, 3 of my all time favourites! (how many favourites is one allowed?!) I think the 2 pairs of house martins which nest on the side of our house and another pair on our neighbours house had 3 broods throughout this summer, which was great news! Not such great news for mum's camellia which ends up covered in house martin poo!

Avocet chick (1 of 3)

A trip to Dungeness allowed us sightings of linnets, peregrines, common terns, marsh harrier and a lovely male stonechat! I also saw my first marbled white butterfly!



I was then away travelling around Eastern and central Europe for the whole of September. I was with a friend and we mainly toured the cities, I was lucky enough to see hundreds of alpine swifts in Bulgaria which was a real treat! On the many buses and trains I saw a great number of birds of prey, however identification at 70mph is not really feasible! There were many times when it would have been perfect to have gone birding! In Bosnia and Herzegovina and also Croatia I saw bright blue and red flashes, however I just wasn't equipped for birding! However, did see hundreds of swallows in several countries and a lovely great crested grebe on Lake Balaton in Hungary! No new ticks though!

Great crested grebe (non-breeding plumage)

Autumn back in the UK provided opportunities for lovely bright seasonal photos, but as mentioned before, birding flew out of my life briefly when a puppy Bracken became a part of our family!

However this just made me take more notice of our resident garden birds! A bold wren, a flock of 8 or so long tailed tits which love the fat balls, many blue tits, great tits, starlings, house sparrows, dunnocks, a robin or two, blackbirds, thrushes and a pair of collard doves that sit in our tree and crap everywhere, ready for the pup to eat it!

Long tailed tit

As winter drew near, the chatterings of fieldfares and redwings were heard over our garden, heading towards the orchards. On another trip to Oare Marshes we were graced by the presence of teal, lapwing, coot, pintail, linnet and stonechat.

Golden plover was another new bird for me as were the beautiful and magnificent waxwings!

So what a great year! I may not have seen loads of really rare birds or even lots of new birds, but I have seen lots of my favourites and this year has paved the way for a great new year of birding! Bring on 2013!

Thanks to anyone who has taken the time to read my posts and I wish you a Happy New Year!!   


  1. Great write-up! Love your Waxwing pics and how you told that man on the bike (below) to ssh! Best of luck for 2013.


    1. Thanks Peter! I hope they stick around for a few more weeks at least!

      Good luck in your birding this year too!