Firstly, apologies to my reader for the complete lack of updates during December but family commitments and the Christmas period have given me little time for outings.
However today, New Year's Day, Dazza and I got 2024 off to a good start by watching a very confiding Firecrest at Drumoak Sewage Works Aberdeenshire. Then shortly after over to Kings Links Golf Course in Aberdeen where we were entertained by a couple of Short-eared Owls.
|Firecrest at Drumoak, Aberdeenshire.
|Short-eared Owls at Kings Links Golf Course Aberdeen.
2023 REVIEW PART ONE.. As a birder my birding year in 2023 ended with a Scottish Year List of 218 species. The highlights of my year included a +Dark-eyed Junco on May 9th at Rattray, a +White-crowned Sparrow on June 10th at Girdleness, and a +Sharp-tailed Sandpiper on September 11th at the Slunks, Montrose. All three sightings were British firsts for me and were located within a radius of less than 100 miles from my home. Other notable species included a Red-backed Shrike at Longhaven on August 25th, Ross's Gull at Fraserburgh on March 3rd and a self-found Lesser Yellowlegs at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg on August 24th.
|+Dark-eyed Junco ~ Rattray May 9th
A couple of other species are also worth mentioning and include a juvenile Bewick's Swan at Strathbeg on February 6th, quite the rarity up here and a King Eider along the Ythan Estuary on June 14th.
|A singing +White-crowned Sparrow in the allotments at Girdleness on June 10th.
|Red-backed Shrike ~ Longhaven Aberdeenshire.
|Self-Found Lesser Yellowlegs at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg Aberdeenshire.
|King Eider ~ Ythan Estuary on June 14th a 2nd-summer drake & not the beloved 'Elvis' who's visited over several years!
Away from the mainland, my 3rd autumn visit to Shetland since moving north produced the usual host of highlights and a British first for me with a +Veery at Luna. Other species of note included a 1st-year Citrine Wagtail, Siberian Stonechat, Olive-backed Pipit, Western Subalpine Warbler, Red-breasted flycatcher, Bluethroat and Barred Warbler.
|+Veery ~ A British 1st for me at Luna, Shetland.
|Citrine Wagtail at Lerwick, Shetland.
|Siberian Stonechat at Hamnavoe, Shetland.
|Barred Warbler at Hoswick.
PART TWO to follow... Which includes two trips to Andalusia Spain and a brief visit in April back to my old birding grounds at Brandon Marsh, Warwickshire.