Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 in pictures.

Back working full-time, but I still managed to get out a bit and managed 8 (possibly 9) lifers along with a fair bit of other stuff. Lifers first...

Pacific Diver (22nd Jan)- a pre-work twitch to Druridge Bay Country Park for stunning views as it hugged the shore.

Blyth's Reed Warbler (15th June)- a drive across to Siddick Ponds on the Cumbrian coast, straight from the Rose-coloured Starling at Stanhope. Luckily got there 5 mins before it stopped singing. A couple of good, but brief views before it disappeared for good.

Night Heron (1st August)- a dash after work to Whittle Dene Reservoir. Initially crap views as it roosted high in a pine, then a brilliant series of fly-byes in stunning evening light.

Scops Owl (27th September)- ran out of the Obs in blind panic before some careful driving meant I was just the third person to see this cracker at Ryhope.
Cliff Swallow (2nd October)- the downer of dipping Rose-breasted Grosbeak on St. Agnes was quickly forgotten after a jet-boat ride in the pouring rain to Tresco for this massive pull-back from last year.
Cedar Waxwing (3rd October)- arriving on the same weather system as the Swallow this beauty led us all on a wild goose chase around St. Agnes before giving itself up and showing well for several days.
Wilson's Snipe (11th October)- in the pending file, this striking Snipe was at Porthellick, St. Mary's. Photos by others of the under-wing and tail seem to show this is the real deal. I did have brief scope views of another strong candidate a couple of days later.
Eastern Orphean Warbler (13th October)- an embarrassingly bad photo, with every possible camera setting wrong. Many hours of frustration on St. Agnes before getting good views on day two.
Leach's Petrel (29th October)- a brilliant seawatch from Whitburn Obs with this self-found Leach's followed 20 mins later by a Grey Phalarope and then 20 mins later a close-in White-billed Diver. Cracking!!!

A couple of major and distant dips, but a reasonable haul.

Along with the above were a decent number of scarcities and rarities, some of which were fairly photogenic.

Rose-coloured Starling (15th June)- after dipping the previous day, this eventually appeared and showed well at Stanhope.

Red-rumped Swallow (15th May)- not expecting the single bird reported still at Druridge Pools I stopped en-route for an ice-cream, only to arrive to two Swallows.

Sabine's Gull (17th July)- eventually stunning, close views after two frustrating hours of searching at Nosterfield.

Citrine Wagtail (12th May)- an after work twitch. Driving through fog and fading light I wasn't expecting this. Amazing views down to just 6 feet. Possibly my bird of the year.
Long-billed Dowitcher (12th July)- a couple of hours basking in the sun on Boulmer beach waiting for the tide to push this closer were rewarding with great views in perfect light.
Red-backed Shrike (3rd June)- arrived at Marsden to news that this had flown, but luckily it reappeared to pose. 
Bee-eater (2nd November)- not an expected winter bird at Whitburn. I'm far too old to be climbing trees to take photos!
Grey Phalarope (8th November)- the best year ever for these from Whitburn Obs, this very confiding bird was a regular at South Shields Pier.
American Golden Plover (11th October)- just a few feet away from where I ticked my first on Porthellick Beach, St. Mary's.
Short-toed Lark (10th May)- my first away from Scilly, in the amazing setting high on the moor above Catton.
Hopefully a good-as or better 2018!