|TO MY READER|
My first post of 2022, in fact, my first post after almost a month of absence due to a short-term bout of illness. I hasten to add, not Covid related.
|Little Bunting at Gutcher Shetland|
The year ended quietly for me with a UK Year-List of 208 bird species. Not bad considering the majority were in Scotland and most definitely bolstered by my first ever trip to Shetland in October. Shetland was a wonderful experience and something I've already booked for this coming October. I managed a few UK firsts but my personal highlight was a self-found Little Bunting while waiting for the ferry at Gutcher.
|Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs ~ Loch of Strathbeg|
Back on the mainland, my highlight for the year came in late September with no less than three Nearctic waders all together at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg with Pectoral Sandpiper and both Lesser Yellowlegs and Greater Yellowlegs all on show. This surely has to be a UK first?
|Monarch Butterfly ~ Shetland|
With a good number of Butterfly and Dragonfly species absent this far north, 2021 was certainly a learning curve and I ended the year on what I feel is a creditable 24 Butterfly species. This also included some notable and species firsts including Northern Brown Argus, Scotch Argus, Monarch and Chequered Skipper. As for Odanata another first with Northern Damselfly and such a treat to see Common Hawker, Golden-ringed Dragonfly and Black Darters on a regular basis during the summer months.
|A Short-toed 'snake' Eagle flys south across the Straits of Gibraltar to Morocco & Africa|
Despite Covid restrictions, I did manage to slot in two visits to Spain in September and November which included my regular trip down to Tarifa for the autumn migration, which I sadly missed in 2020 due to the pandemic!
|My first ever Egyptian Mongoose|
Another heart-stopping moment came in November when I came across my first ever Egyptian Mongoose while birding at one of my favourite locations in Zapata, Spain. I was delighted to snap the above image before it darted off!
|Great Northern Diver ~ Peterhead Harbour|
To start 2022 a few walks around the locality to get the year-list off the ground produced the usual selection of the more common species, highlights here Dipper and Brambling. Then yesterday a short drive out to the Ythan Estuary and on to Peterhead Harbour to see what I could find. The day included a Red-throated Diver and ten wader species, including (5) wintering Greenshank along the Ythan, plus a Black Guillemot and very showy Great Northern Diver at Peterhead Harbour, so all in all, not a bad start to the year.