I've just completed my first calendar year of birding at the age of 54. After getting bored with photographing military aviation, due to a lack of variety, I started to take my camera out on walks. My interest in birds was sparked, and when some friends bought me Dominic Couzen's birding logbook last Christmas I was hooked. I've visited a few birding sites in the year namely my local patch at the Sand Quarries, Alkborough Flats, Blacktoft Sands, Potteric Carr, Whisby, Far Ings, Frampton Marsh, Bempton Cliffs, Loch Leven, Loch of the Lowes, Holy Island and the Isle of Skye. What I have to learn is a bit of patience and realise that because a site is blogging a list of sightings, it doesn't mean when you turn up you'll actually see them all! Also, I've realised some places blog sightings relating to areas the public can't actually access.
I've met some smashing people on my travels who've helped me with id's and where to look. Some people though are a bit secretive and not too keen to share info. I guess it's just a cross section of society. I've ended up with a life list of 157 after the year. I still struggle with my id's but I have friends who can point me in the right direction after seeing photographic evidence. Highlights of the year have been Western Swamphen, Isabelline Wheatear, Long Billed Dowitcher, Montagu's Harrier, White Tailed Sea Eagle, Osprey and Golden Eagle. I also had the pleasure of watching a barn owl hunting on a nightly basis just outside the village.
Looking forward to getting out and about in 2017 especially our trip to Mull in August. On my list of birds to see are bittern, little owl and tawny owl.