Most of my birding was local this year with the odd trip to the Northumberland, Yorkshire and Durham coasts, the Scillies and South Coast and a few other locations in between. My highlights this year included: Dark-eyed Junco, Spanish Sparrow, 2 Paddyfield Warblers, Red-rumped Swallow, Roller, Bee-eater, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Common Crane, Bittern, Pallid Harrier, Solitary Sandpiper, Blackpoll Warbler, Short-toed Lark, Dusky Warbler, American Buff-bellied Pipit - some pictures of some of these below.
Also had a really enjoyable trip to The Brenne area in France and although I didn't get any 'lifers' it was an incredible location and was fantastic to be able to see some great birds like Bonelli's Eagle, Black Woodpecker, Bee-eater, Black Stork, Honey Buzzard etc and all in beautiful, peaceful scenery. I'll definitely be going back here - loved it!
There was also some great local birding in the York Area with several of the big guns going for the year-list record of 170 species (set in 2006). At least four people that I know broke the record with Tim coming out on top with 174 species. I missed the majority of wader passage whilst I was in France so was never in with a shout but was happy with finishing on 159 species, the majority of which were on my local patch (or in the LDV) and self-found so fairly pleasing. I even managed a couple that Tim didn't; most notably Red-rumped Swallow, Black Tern and Whinchat...
So what does 2013 have to offer, who knows! A 3 week birding trip to Malaysia for starters and maybe either France/USA in the summer and possibly Thailand next Christmas, but that's a long way off...
Thanks for reading the blog over 2012, I hope you've enjoyed it and here's to a great 2013! Incidentally this is my 500th post and I've had over a quarter of a million hits on my blog now! Thank you!
Bee-eater - Durham
Dark-eyed Junco - Hampshire
Bittern - North Yorkshire
Buff-bellied Pipit - Berkshire
Paddyfield Warbler - Cornwall
Blackpoll Warbler - Isles of Scilly
Solitary Sandpiper - Isles of Scilly
Dusky Warbler - Durham
Red-breasted Flycatcher - East Yorkshire
Black Tern - North Yorkshire (phone-scoped)
Garganey In the Hand! (Phone-picture)
Pallid Harrier - South Yorkshire (Phone-scoped)
Roller - East Yorkshire (Phone-scoped)
Common Cranes - Down South! (Phone-scoped)
Western Bonelli's Warbler - Yorkshire
Golden Oriole - France (Phone-scoped)
Black Woodpecker - France (Phone-scoped)
Melodious Warbler - France (Phone-scoped)
Red-backed Shrike - France (Phone-scoped)
Hoopoe - France (Phone-scoped)
Bee-eaters at Breeding Colony - France (Phone-scoped)
Purple Heron at nest - France (Phone-scoped)
Western Bonelli's Warbler - France (Phone-scoped)
Black Redstart - France (Phone-scoped)
Woodchat Shrike at nest site - France (Phone-scoped)
Me birding in France!