Tuesday, 3 January 2017

2016 Birding Summary

2016 will remain in the memories of birders for time to come, after an incredible string of autumn vagrancies. In under a month, Siberian Accentor went from a bird never before seen in Britain, to nine records, and seen by every twitcher (it would seem) who lived on the East coast. Indeed, one bird drew in a crowd of 4000 over a week, but it wasn't only Siberian Accentors which hit the headlines. Earlier in the year, two  new species for Britain were recorded, with a Lammergeier seen in Wales and Devon, and a Dalmatian Pelican in Cornwall. A large influx of Pine Buntings went largely unnoticed along the South coast, and Britain's first breeding Little Gulls provided something other than vagrants causing a stir. However, how did I do in 2016?

In total, I recorded 155 species, but missed out on what would've been easy ticks, such as Bewick's Swan and White Fronted Goose by simply not visiting Slimbridge. However, there were some "lifers" (which are highlighted in bold) as well as a few notes about the more notable species!

Great tit, Blue tit, Coal tit, Starling, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, BH gull, Herring gull, LBB gull, GBB gull, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon/Rock Dove, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Jackdaw, GS Woodpecker, Rook, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Buzzard, Redwing, Fieldfare, Mallard, Song thrush, Mistle thrush, Dunnock, Jay, Long-Tailed tit, Goldcrest, Kestrel, Cormorant, Stock dove, Collared dove, Pied wagtail, Wren, Sparrowhawk, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Oystercatcher, Coot, Raven (Mendips), Tree Sparrow, Kittiwake (Sand Point), Guillemot, Dunlin, Turnstone, Shelduck, Curlew, Blackcap, Linnet, Siskin, Stonechat, Short eared owl (three in the Uphill area in early 2016), Grey wagtail, Rock pipit, Ringed plover, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Teal, Sanderling, Lapwing, Great White Egret (Axe estuary and Ham Wall), Wigeon, Merlin, Skylark, Dartford Warbler (Sand Bay-a possible pair, until the council cut back the bushes...), Water pipit, Mute Swan, Peregrine, Pheasant, Meadow pipit, Canada goose, Tufted duck, Greylag, Red Kite, Swallow, Chiffchaff, Redstart, Willow warbler, House Martin, Sand Martin, Bullfinch, Nuthatch, Common Scoter, Tree pipit, Wheatear, Pied Flycatcher, Garden warbler, Gropper (Sand Point), Ring Ouzel (Sand Point), Whimbrel, Yellowhammer, Chough (Lizard point and Land's End), Black Redstart (Land's End), Shag, Fulmar, Gannet, Red Throated diver, Iceland Gull (Marazion), Pacific Diver (Marazion), Great Northern Diver, Razorbill, Bar Tailed Godwit, Whitethroat, Mediterranean Gull. Manx Shearwater, Sandwich tern, Common tern, Little egret, Hudsonian Whimbrel (Perranuthnoe), Swift, Treecreeper, Puffin, Green Woodpecker, Spotted Flycatcher, Bearded tit (Ham Wall), Reed bunting, Bittern (Ham Wall), Water Rail, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Glossy Ibis (Ham Wall), Cetti's Warbler, Pochard, Garganey, Lesser Whitethroat, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Shoveler, Marsh tit, Corn Bunting (Rowberrow), Ring-Necked Parakeet (St. James' Park), Pintail, Ruddy Duck, Egyptian Goose, Red Crested Pochard, Woodlark (found at a still undisclosed site in N. Somerset, due to the possibility of breeding), Roseate Tern (waterway near NOC-ending of river Solent), Eider (Keyhaven and Marine Lake), Storm Petrel (Solent), Black tailed godwit, Avocet, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Turtle Dove (New Forest), Wood warbler, Knot, Ruff, Kingfisher, Yellow browed warbler (Worlebury woods), Lesser Yellowlegs (Cheddar Reservoir), Mandarin, Scaup, Little Grebe.

2016 was my best total so far, in terms of species, and Yellow legged gull went down as "Probable."

However, not all has been good for birds in Britain this year...
A recent outbreak of bird flu (avian influenza) caused the closure of WWT Llanelli, and the situations on the uplands is dire. Despite the petition to ban driven grouse hunting putting pressure on Westminster for change, it seems unlikely to happen, mainly due to lack of motivation from MPs who support the ban, from both the government and opposition. The problem does not lie in the act of shooting grouse; there is no difference to other poultry raised and killed for food here (other than the lead!). The problem lies in the illegal activity which sustains the population of the soon-to-be-slaughtered birds, such as killing birds of prey,

Chris Packham's petition to "Introduce a moratorium on the hunting of critically declining wading birds" is gaining momentum, and I urge you to sign using the link below.   

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167410

George
 

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