31 Dec 2018

Review of the year 2018

2018 was a year of many changes for me personally. Jan & I were blessed with two healthy and beautiful new grandchildren, Penny & Oliver to join Lizzie but at the other end of the spectrum of life we lost my dad who finally succumbed to his vascular dementia. He was a major inspiration to me in both my professional life and and in his love of nature and the outdoor world.

There have been major changes in my professional life as well as I made the momentous decision to hand my notice in back in March and take early retirement at the end of this year.

Birding wise it was pretty quiet. The only 'lifer' for me involving a long distance twitch was Cornwalls famous Gray Catbird (note the deliberate American spelling!  A great day out and a lot of people were very happy after missing the Anglesey bird and the controversy surrounding that bird and a Saturday..................See  here for details of an epic day out.

The Royal Tern on Anglesey in December may eventually get split so potentially there will be two species of Royal Tern on the UK list (assuming the bird at Porthmadog in 2009 gets submitted and accepted as African Royal Tern). See here for details of the Royal Tern twitch.

Royal Tern photo's @ Malc Curtin

Apart from that my only other two new British birds were both 'armchair' ticks with the Cornish Dalmation Pelican and N Wales Elegant Tern being accepted onto the British list.

My Cheshire list increased by three this year with the addition of the superb Pied Wheatear at Meols (which was discovered a few days previously but not identified until two days later from photos) a Chough at Caldy and A Snow Goose at Neston with Pinkfooted Geese.

Another good Cheshire bird was the Bonepartes Gull found by Tim Kinch at Meols and then re-found on Hilbre by Chris Williams. Not a Cheshire tick for me but certainly the first for Hilbre! My first Cheshire Bonepartes gull was seen at Inner Marsh Farm RSPBin the evening of 20th May 2004 and didn't hang around. Luckily the more recent bird stuck around for the majority of people who wanted to see it.

Sadly our annual trip to Shetland / Fair Isle had to be cancelled due to bad weather and Dads funeral but I've already booked for 2019. However, I had my annual fix of small islands when I was invited to join the regular trip to Nan Ron to catch and ring Storm Petrels. See here for details of that superb trip.

Once I'd handed my notice in the company really went for their pound of flesh and work commitments meant I couldn't get to Hilbre as much as I'd liked to. Hopefully I'll be able to spend more time on the island in the next few years.

2019 will bring many changes for a lot of people We can only hope that there will be positive changes for our native wildlife. Heres wishing everyone a happy bird-filled 2019!

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