Friday, 31 December 2010


It has been a great year. At the end of each year I always say to myself 'next year really cannot be any better this time' and time and time again I prove myself wrong. Without even trying at all I beat my previous year's British year list total by ten or so.

My thanks are due to many people this year. Most pressing expressions of gratitude go to Johnny Allan for keeping me up to speed with what's been going on in Surrey. Also to Phil Wallace, Mark Stanley, Roy Weller, Rob Stokes, Ian Jones, Steve Gale, Paul Manville, Paul Goodman and several others for their much needed lifts and great company without which this year would not have been the same.

Most memorable moments . . .


Trumpeter Finch was a great bird to watch and a nice get back
  • connecting with great rarities such as White-tailed Lapwing, Marmora's Warbler, River Warbler, Bufflehead, American Robin, Pied-billed Grebe, Trumpeter Finch, Green Heron etc
  • spending a week doing nothing but seawatching off Porthgwarra, Cornwall while meeting and learning from some very knowledgeable and welcoming birders
  • spending time in the company of new and old friends and some decent birds for a few days on Scilly in October
  • memorable time in East Anglia spent watching Red-necked and Grey Phalaropes together and Golden Oriole, Montagu's Harrier, Stone-curlew etc
  • seeing nine species of American wader

White-tailed Lapwing, contender for bird of the year for me

  • White-tailed Lapwing
  • Dusky Warbler
  • helpful birders


While frustrating close to the patch boundary, this male Red-backed Shrike was a top local bird (photo by Mark Stanley)

  • Red-backed Shrike
  • Common Crane
  • Lapland Bunting
  • Pectoral Sandpiper
  • Waxwings, lots of them
  • see below


Corn Bunting was a memorable find

  • stumbling across great birds like Quail, Hen Harrier and Corn Bunting (invariably when very least expected)
  • seeing, on a regular basis, birds like Black Redstart, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Yellowhammer, Little Owl, Common Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Wodpecker, Red Kite, Hobby etc
  • snoozing off on a lazy summer afternoon with nothing but Swallows keeping me company
  • organising the stall at the Banstead Countryside Day, really feeling people's enthusiam for birds, and seeing an Osprey overhead to boot!
  • having the privelege of keeping track of a family of confiding Hobbies during the summer

Worst moments . . .


  • walking a total of six miles on shingle in the driving wind and rain to see an elusive bird that I can't tick before going off to see another bird which although slightly easier to see also couldn't be ticked
  • going all the way to Cornwall to dip an American Bittern for the second time - b*ll**ks

  • The underground - everything about it
  • Public transport in general
  • People

  • spending lots of time seeing nothing - lots of time (of the ninety hours put into the last thirteen days all the time spent watching anything noteworthy would probably add up to about half an hour - even the usual things like Yellowhammers that help to brighten the mood evacuated during this period due to the hostile conditions)
  • rude dog walkers
  • getting only one away from 100

2011 TARGETS (many are perhaps a bit ambitious but I find this increases productivity)

  • get to 350
  • tick off some more tart ticks
  • spend at least one full day birding in Kent or Norfolk in spring or autumn in ideal conditions and find a BB rarity
  • get to 230
  • tick off some more tart ticks
  • start keeping a Surrey list again and get down to Holmethorpe
  • get to 120
  • get 100 in 2011
  • find a male Montagu's Harrier
  • find a Corncrake
  • find at least one of the following: Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow
  • find a Richard's Pipit
  • add at least two wildfowl species to my list
  • find a bird that will draw a constant crowd of at least fifty people
  • find a Moorhen
  • keep taking my SLR out and photograph and much as possible
  • make progress with my Canons Farm campaign