Wednesday, 2 January 2013

2012 Review: A mixed year!

2011 was an awesome birding year for me, with some great birds like Upland Sandpiper, Scarlet Tanager, Solitary Sandpiper, Northern Waterthrush and Isabelline Wheatear to name but a few. It was always going to be hard for 2012 to live up to the expectations set in 2011 and not surprisingly it generally didn't. Despite this there was several enjoyable avian moments in 2012, some of which are outlined below:

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!


  1. Ohh you saw the buff-bellied pipit! It was rather close to me, but I had no way of getting to it. Gutted! You took some wonderful photos!

    1. Thanks Mary-Jane, the pipit was a great rarity and very obliging, but I think the Bee-eaters were my favourites (UK+France) as they are just awesome birds!!

  2. Nice work Andy some real crackers!!

    just one thing whats that odd thing with the hair on the last pic!!!!

  3. oops!! its a baseball cap specsavers here i come!!!

    1. haha yeah I was going Gangsta in that photo!!! (trying to prevent getting too sunburnt otherwise I'd get told off by my mum when I got back!)

  4. Wow! Some fantastic birds you've seen! The Hoopoe a personal favourite!

    1. Thanks Lou, the Hoopoes in France were very obliging! They gave great views at times!!