Hello again folks, been a while since I last got around to putting stuff online. I had a busy year in 2014 or at least that’s my excuse. Playing catch up, following on from Majorca 2013 there were a couple of lifers left in the year, Bridled Tern on the Farne Islands in September and Ivory Gull in Yorkshire (Patrington Haven) in December.
Ken and I landed on Inner Farne and the tern was present but hidden by the lie of the land. I realised now why it is called twitching, I was like a cat on hot bricks during a rather long wait until the birds took to the wing and bingo the Bridled Tern stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb. Happy now I could explore the island and get bombed by the Arctic Terns.
The walk from the car at Patrington Haven first made me aware of how much pain I was in with my right knee. Ken and I had a long wait until the bird came in but when it did boy were we treated to some gorgeous views. At one point the bird was floating less than 4 metres over our heads.
2014 and the start of my Patchwork Challenge. I have cobbled together a patch of just under 3 sq kilometres by careful selection encompassing Paul’s Pond & Breary Marsh in the West, through Golden Acre Park and Adel Dam to Eccup Reservoir in the East.I had to make sure there was easy access from the car as by January my knee was giving me major jip. I took to visiting either the Eccup or Adel and points West but not the area between as there was no way I could walk that far. Over the year I managed to find 67 species during 19 visits to the patch which gave me 69 points according to the scoring system Not brilliant but it set the standard for 2015.
Birding trips further afield in 2014 were;
January – Lower Derwent Valley, Castle Howard and Red House with BF buddies Andy, Richard, Rob and Ken
February – with Ken, Long Nab (North of Scarborough) in March for the Lapland buntings, lifer no 1 of the year and the usual Forge Valley and Wykeham suspects,
March – Broomhead Reservoir for the Two Barred Crossbills with Ken. A turkey cock wandering down the road was a weird way to finish that day.
May – Bolton Abbey for the Dawn Chorus with BF buddies Richard, Ken and Rob all the usual birds seen, as well as a trip to Scotland with Sheila which got us both red squirrel sightings but no new birds.
June – Redcar for the Black Scoter, lifer no 2 but not a satisfying one, much better this month were the Nightjars at Wykeham.
July – Sheila and I return to Lanzarote – no new birds but on the ferry from Fuertaventura we watched flying fishes doing their stuff.
August – Faxfleet got me a nice Yorkshire tick with juvenile Montagu’s harrier, whilst Nosterfield later in the month allowed Ken to pull one back on me with his first Gt white egret.
September – Two trips to Spurn, the first getting me Wryneck on my Yorkshire list whilst the second got me lifer no 3 Masked shrike.
The Skua cruise was a good day out with BF buddies when we saw a ‘blue’ fulmar – sadly not a proper tick just a subspecies but later in the day Ken and I visited Flamborough and I went from never having seen Red-breasted flycatcher to having seen 2 different birds within 20 minutes, lifer no 4, also saw my second Tyke wryneck.Finally added Black guillemot to my Yorkshire list in Filey towards the end of the month.
October got me my first and second dip of the year, the buff-breasted sandpiper at Ringstone Edge and Twite a little way across the valley from Ringstone.
November was largely taken up with work related stuff, including a trip to Budapest which got me rough-legged buzzard for the year which made up slightly for the dip at Hunley Hall when the Eastern Crowned warbler disappeared overnight.
December saw me back at Long Nab with a handful of my BF buddies failing to see the Lapland buntings this time but at long last allowing me to properly add Richard’s pipit to my list, for too long this bird has been a heard only record, so good to finally get a good view of one. Last stop of the day at Grindale and we added rough-legged buzzard to the day list. I managed to dip the Blyth’s Pipit at Pugney’s this month through having too much on my plate work and family-wise. I even managed to dip it January through a combination of pre-planned family stuff on the good days and totally crap weather on the only day I could have gone persuading the bird to depart.
Mention should be made of my knee, now much improved thanks to the work of a good friend who was on the list of physiotherapists approved by my works medical insurance. Good one Rob! Also a mention for Andrew the podiatrist who made me up a pair of insoles that corrected my wonky ankle enabling me to walk pain-free again.
So this brings me up to date more or less. I shall endeavour to post more frequently during 2015.