Overall I think the last year has been quite good. I still, annoyingly, haven't even got near my 200 bird goal, something which has frustrated me for a while. Then again considering I've really only been 'birding' for a few years I guess it's alright.
This year I've added 20 birds to my life list, which isn't a bad effort. It does show how poor it was by the end of 2016. I'm still a tiny bit tempted to add that Twite to it...
It's also been good that I've found 4/6 of my >2016 bogey birds. So I've made a new top 6 of them.
- Little Owl
- Dartford Warbler
- Golden Plover
- Marsh Tit
All 5 are relatively common British species for different habitats, and somehow I haven't managed any of them. The most frustrating ones are by far the first 2, with attempt after attempt being unsuccessful.
I reckon that list could be about 20 birds longer, with Guillemot, Cattle Egret, Black Redstart, Caspian Gull and Short-eared Owl not making the cut.
I've set myself a garden target too; although quite a few raptors and passerines have been seen overhead, I've never seen any type of wading bird passing over. So that's my 2018 target; whether it's a 2 second fly-through of a Snipe I don't care.
My highlights of 2017 were:
1) The conservation weekend down in Dorset/Hampshire where I met many more
geeks young birders and took part in some interesting conservation week, as well as see some wildlife.
2) Going on a pelagic off Penzance and seeing so many different seabirds that I'd never seen before. Seeing a Wilson's Petrel really tipped it off. The whole Cornwall trip was great overall but this was undoubtedly the standout.
3) Getting into Beddington Farmlands. Being finally allowed into this fantastic local private site was great, and I hope to be allowed in again at some point this winter to try and see a Caspian Gull.
I also like to reflect on one missed chance that I experienced over the year.
That also happened in Cornwall. I didn't even mention it on the Rame Head post, as I was too disappointed about it. I had just come out from one of these fields and a warbler was flitting around a small bush near the church. Having heard of Rame's rarity record before I went stock still. At that moment a car decided to rush past, honk at a stationary car, and cause the bird to disappear. What was it? No clue. But a week later a Greenish Warbler was found there. It could've been that and might not have been it. Chance missed.
I've been able to take advantage of the developed natural areas within the Wandle, and Morden Hall Park has been pretty good this year.
I have a lot to look forward to in 2018 as well - a trip to Greece in April the main thing, as well as birding locally.
So, who knows what 2018 will bring me...