Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Year in Birds 2013

 We had a lovely walk around Colinton Dell by the Water of Leith today. Two grey herons were chasing each other and one landed on the grass for Crafty Green Boyfriend to capture on camera. He also caught the tawny owl, who today had attracted quite an audience. Just after this photo was taken, he shuffled back into the dark recesses of his roosting hole.

It's been a great year for birds! I've seen 124 species this year - almost all of them in Edinburgh and the surrounding Lothians and all of them in Scotland.

Nine of these birds have been lifers, that is I've never seen them before, these are:

avocet (a very exciting sighting on Musselburgh Lagoons, avocets have come back from near extinction in the UK and in certain places in England are now frequently seen, but they're still rare in Scotland!)

pied flycatcher (we went to Dumfries in Spring this year, specifically hoping to see migrant birds including pied flycatchers and we weren't disappointed! It was on the same trip that I saw my first ever redstart in the UK - previously I'd only ever seen this bird in Vienna, where it was hopping around outside the Natural history museum).

wood sandpiper (on Musselburgh Lagoon, not a particularly good sighting, it was skulking around in some undergrowth!)

little gull (turning in circles on Musselburgh Lagoons)

ruff (on Musselburgh Lagoons, less spectacular in non-breeding plumage than it would have been in breeding plumage, but still a beautiful bird!)

curlew sandpiper, little stint and green sandpiper (on Musselburgh Lagoons)

common scoter (swimming in the middle of a group of velvet scoters at the sea front at Musselburgh).

So you can tell that Musselburgh Lagoons is a great place for seeing unusual birds! (I was sad to miss the spoonbill that visited Musselburgh this year.....)

In addition I've seen (and heard!) more mistle thrushes this year than ever before and have been delighted by the return of the Colinton Dell tawny owl to its rightful roost (scroll down in that post to see the best photo of the owl).Plus I was delighted and amazed to see a murmuration of knots at Musselburgh.

So, what have been your favourite bird sightings this year?

If you're in the UK, remember that the Big Garden Birdwatch is coming up soon, and I'll be blogging about that in early January.

As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.


martine said...

Saw a Waxwing on the cycle path on the way home today, it always cheers me up because we really seem to lack garden birds here, the magpies dominate.

speedyrabbit said...

Happy New year Juliet,xx Speedy and Rachel

Draffin Bears said...

Happy New Year to you Juliet.
Loved seeing the tawny owl and what a great photo, been able to capture it.
I have been annoyed at some mynah birds that have been in the window boxes outside. They have scared away the tuis that I love and they make the worst screeching noise all day.

eileeninmd said...

Great post, congrats on all your sightings. Happy New Years to you and your family!

Caroline Gill said...

Waxwing was a lifer for me back in Jan 2013. Also my best view of a Goldcrest. I think the most exciting sighting was that of the Cranes in Norfolk. Here's to 2014 and our feathered friends!

Oh, and best garden sighting ... a Great Spotted Woodpecker on 23rd Dec!

Caroline Gill said...

P.S. Think I forgot to say ... happy new year!

mvkchampion said...

Happy New Year, Juliet! I am enjoying the downy and red-bellied woodpeckers that have shown themselves this winter.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Happy New Year and nice work in keeping track of the birds!

When the little nuthatch mews in the bush and then comes to the feeder - amongst the many chickadees and juncos and towees - that is the biggest smile!