Sunday, January 01, 2023

πŸ“– 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 ~ Happy New Year 2022

I ended the year with a final total of 203 bird species for Scotland as a whole, which considering I was out of the country for the last part of April and the whole of May, missing some top short-staying rarities, I'm pretty pleased with. For the UK as a whole, I finished with 212, the balance of which was spotted during my visits back to Warwickshire in April and November.

I also added a creditable 26 new species to my Scotland Life List during 2022, a list I created when moving permanently to Aberdeenshire in late September 2020. This now stands at 236 species for Scotland. 

Greater Sand Plover ~ August 21st St. Combs, Aberdeenshire

Mainland Highlights included: Ross's Goose, Ross's Gull, Greater Sand Plover, Dusky Warbler, Pallid Swift, Arctic Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Firecrest, Glossy Ibis & Baird's Sandpiper.

Ross's Gull ~ Kinnaird Head Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire

Ross's Goose ~ Portlethan Aberdeenshire ~ This photo featured in Birdguides

Shetland Highlights included: Least Bittern, Myrtle Warbler, Pechora Pipit, White's Thrush, Great Grey Shrike, Turtle Dove & Lanceolated Warbler during my visit in October.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle Warbler) ~ Bigton Shetland

White's Thrush ~ October 9th Lerwick Shetland

In late April and the start of May Dazza and I visited Hungary for eleven days recording 138 bird species with some wonderful moments which included our best-ever views of a Black Woodpecker and finally managing to secure a photograph of a Moustached Warbler. Other highlights included nesting Collared Flycatchers and seeing species such as Roller, Pygmy Cormorant, Red-backed Shrike, Wryneck and breeding Red-footed Falcons at close range.

Collared Flycatcher ~ Hungary 

Moustached Warbler ~ Hortobagy Hungary

Black Woodpecker ~ On our final day ~ Csakvar Woodlands Hungary

I also managed a couple of visits to my second home Spain, which took place in mid-May and late November, recording 140 bird species in total. Many highlights as usual and this year included my first sighting of a Lesser Flamingo at Fuente de Piedra. A sad moment came when visiting Cantera Los Arenales after the devasting wildfire in July. A wonderful habit in the mountains of Mijas simply wiped out but I'm happy to say already beginning to recover.

The devastating wildfire above the Mijas mountains ~ July 2022

A Black Wheatear returns to the quarry at Mijas after the fire!

Black-eared Wheatear ~ Sierra Loja Granada Spain

Of course, during my many field trips in 2022 other wildlife was recorded and there are some wonderful highlights to reflect on.

Red Squirrel ~ Taken from a nearby neighbour's garden

Bottlenose Dolphins ~ March 14th, Girdleness Aberdeen 

Crimson Speckled Moth ~ Several seen during my visits to Spain

A large colony of Monarch butterflies reside at Palermo Park Benalmadena Spain

Iberian Ibex ~ Cantera Los Arenales

Common Hawker ~ Loch of Strathbeg Aberdeenshire

Souslik ~ European Ground Squirrel ~ Hungary

European Hare ~ Sadly not a common sight in Aberdeenshire

Roe Deer ~ Common locally & throughout Aberdeenshire

Muskrat ~ Hortobagy Hungary

So here's to more memorable highlights in 2023 ~ Happy Birding to my reader