1 Jan 2023

Goodbye 2022

The end of 2022 found me unexpectedly in Australia. Our daughter suffered a brain haemorrhage on 12th December and had to be air-ambulanced down to Melbourne for surgery. We got my wife a flight the day after we heard but I had to wait until the 21st December. Thankfully our daughter is making a remarkable recovery and the surgeons don't anticipate any long term repercussions. We were coming over early in the New Year anyway and will stay until the last week of January to help out.

At both ends of the year we've had family trauma. Last Christmas my lovely mum in-law was to ill to make Christmas day and died on the 9th of January. The previous Christmas was spent under lock down restrictions so that's three years running our plans have drastically altered.

Anyway, 2022 was relatively quiet year for me. Four lifers  - starting with Kents superb Eleanora's Falcon in June. See here for twitch detail here.

I had to wait until our annual trip to Shetland for my next tick in the form of a first for the UK's  - a delayed flight to Fair Isle meant we were on hand to see the moribund Least Bittern at Spiggie. See here

It was great being back on Fair Isle again and see the new Observatory taking shape. Hopefully we'll be staying there soon.

My third lifer of the year turned up whilst we were on our way back from Shetland and by the time we reached Aberdeen I'd made arrangements with 'The Stig"to travel down the same day! I was at home for three hours before setting off for Hayle and ultimately Bryher to see what was probably the most twitched bird of 2022. The long awaited and long staying Blackburnian Warbler! See here for details.

 My fourth lifer of 2022 came in the form of an armchair tick with the belated acceptance of a Moltoni's Warbler at Burnham Overy Staithe in 2007. Widely touted at the time as a Moltoni's it was only submitted as such in 2022.

Most of my birding is done locally around my village 'patch'. This year I added Quail to the patch list with a singing male present for at least three days. I only added one new specise to my county list in the form of the elusive Penduline Tit at Woolston Eyes.

Ringing wise  I carried on with Hilbre Bird Observatory although I couldn't get over as often as I liked. I spent my 12th Consecutive season ringing seabirds on Puffin Island with SCAN as well as taking part in a number of canon netting sessions for waders along the N Wales coast.

The end of the year saw a prolonged cold spell over much of the UK and a good local movement of Blackbirds & Fieldfares. Mindful of the cold conditions I only ringed for a couple of hours a day using walk in traps but it that period I ringed 43 Blackbirds including a 'control' that had been ringed in Holland. I'm still awaiting the original ringing details.

I also fulfilled a bucket list ambition to go on Safari in the Masai Mara. Something we should have done in November 2020  just prior to my 60th birthday in January. As with many plans covid scuppered that and we finally got in 2022. What a fabulous trip  - two birds off the bucket list in the form of Secretary Bird and Southern Ground Hornbill! Following the safari we had a week in Zanzibar where I had another unexpected world tick in the form of Crab Plover.

So what will 2023 bring? After our recent experiences I'm hoping for a year where family trauma's don't exist! Happy New Year everyone.

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