2014 has been my best year for birding by a mile, as I thrashed (in my opinion) last years British total by 14 species, where I got 216. This year, I have reached a whopping 230, so for the amount of time I go birdwatching compared to other birders (not as much as I would like because of school), I think that's a fine achievement.
So this year: British Year List: 230. British Life List Additions: 18. Patch Year List: 100
January: British Year List 104 - Lifers: 0
There wasn't any outstanding birds in January, just quite a lot of nice birds. 5th January bought Taiga Bean Geese, White-fronted Geese, Bewick and Whooper Swans, and a Hen Harrier in the Norfolk Broads.
We also got a Black-throated Diver on The Strand, Orwell Estuary on the 6th, Crossbills at West Stow and Mandarins, a Goosander and "Mable" the Tawny Owl at Christchurch Park, Ipswich which takes Bird of the Month.
Bird of the Month: Tawny Owl, Christchurch Park
February: British Year List 139 - Lifers: 2
February got off on a great start, with both Richard's Pipit and Glossy Ibis on the North Norfolk Coast on the 2nd Feb (both lifers).
We then got 2 Smew at Minsmere and a Dartford Warbler on Westleton Heath on the 17th.
We jammed in with a Goshawk in Thetford on the 18th, followed by 4 Goshawks on the 22nd at the same site. On the 19th, Burnham Overy Dunes produced a Rough-legged Buzzard and a Short-eared Owl, where Titchwell produced c.15 Velvet Scoter amongst c.5500 Common Scoter.
Awful I know!
We also got Tree Sparrow at Ampton on the 23rd.
Bird of the Month - Richard's Pipit, Salthouse - no picture though
March: British Year List 147 - Lifers 1
March only had 9 new year ticks, including the first Chiffchaff of the year on the 22nd, and 4 Caspian Gulls at Landguard on the 23rd. However, the only lifer was 2 Two-barred Crossbill at Lynford Arboretum along with 4 Firecrest.
Dodgy record but Bird of the Month
This isn't brilliant either lol
April: British Year List 165 - Lifers - 0
Much better month compared to March, but couldn't connect with that elusive Lifer. The 5th produced Jack Snipe and Stone Curlew at Minsmere, and on the 6th my first 2 Swallows.
On the 7th, I jammed in with Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker all on my patch, which was great!
The 21st bought the first spring Ring Ouzels, this time into Kessingland, where 4 birds were great to see with the first Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat too.
22nd bought Nightingale, Swift and Garden Warbler whilst ringing (the latter being ringed), but the bird of the year for me was a self found Ring Ouzel at Wildwood, Needham Market which was a patch lifer.
Bird of the Month - Ring Ouzel, Wildwood
May: British Year List 180 - Lifers: 2
The Norfolk Broads beckoned on 5th, and we jammed in on a Little Gull at Buckenham Marshes which was probably the highlight.
Then on the 23rd, we got a pair of Turtle Doves at my Auntie's garden, and on the same evening, we got 3 Nightjars.
On the 27th, Mum took me to Landguard to get Greenish Warbler and Common Rosefinch, but neither showed well enough for a decent photo.
Bird of the Month: Greenish Warbler, Landguard
June: British Year List 184 - Lifers: 2
June was a MEGA month, as I bagged my first ever MEGA rarity, this being a Spectacled Warbler at Bunrham Overy Staithe, Norfolk on the 8th June. We also year ticked Spoonbill here too.
On the 22nd, we jammed in with a cracking male Rose-coloured Starling at Carlton Colville, Lowestoft, which showed unbelievable well.
On the 29th, we connected with another lifer for me, which was a cracking female Red-backed Shrike at Winterton Dunes, Norfolk.
Bird of the month: Spectacled Warbler
July: British Year List 190 - Lifers: 1
July was a good month for waders, and I got all of the 6 year ticks at Minsmere, including one beast of a bird: Collared Pratincole!
The other waders we year-ticked was Common Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and Wood Sandpipers, Spotted Redshank and Greenshank.
Bird of the month: Collared Pratincole
August: British Year List 213 - Lifers: 3
August saw us going to the Isle of Islay, Argyll for a week. Here we grabbed 1 Lifer, Chough, and 16 year ticks - Osprey, Golden and White-tailed Eagles, Stonechat, Hooded Crow, Eider, Gannet, Black Guillemot, Raven, Manx Shearwater, Great Skua, Twite, Pomarine Skua, Whinchat and Fulmar.
On the 27th, Dad took me to the East Norfolk Coast. We got 2 lifers, them being Pied Flycacther at Winterton Dunes, and Barred Warbler at Eccles. We also got a cracking male Red-backed Shrike, a Wryneck and a Redstart at Winterton. I also saw another Wryneck at Minsmere on the 28th.
Bird of the Month: Red-backed Shrike at Winterton
I also saw another Wryneck at Minsmere on the 28th.
September: British Year List 218 - Lifers: 3
1st September bought another lifer for me, being an Eastern Subalpine Warbler at Landguard, Suffolk.
And the 21st bought Olive-backed Pipit (lifer) at Wells, Sooty Shearwater (lifer) past Cley and a Yellow-browed Warbler and Barred Warbler at Salthouse. A great day...
Bird of the month: Olive-backed Pipit
October: British Year List 226 - Lifers: 5
The month started off great, with my second MEGA of the year, this being Little Crake at Minsmere. I saw this on both the 5th and 7th, along with a Great White Egret on the 7th.
On the 12th, we got a Steppe Grey Shrike at Burnham Norton, which showed really well. We also got a Yellow-browed Warbler at Stiffkey on the same day.
On the 19th, we got bird of the year - Long-eared Owl at Walsey Hills, Norfolk along with a Grey Phalarope at Cley.
29th bought Surf Scoter and Slavonian Grebe along with Velvet Scoter in Holkham Bay, and the 30th and 1st Nov. bought a cracking Mid-Suffolk record being in the case of a Hoopoe at Framsden, along with an Osprey over on the 1st as an added bonus.
November: British Year List 228 - Lifers: 1
On the 9th, we got 2 Desert Wheatears: 1 1st Winter Male at Lowestoft, and 1 Female at Goreleston. We also got Purple Sandpiper at Ness Point too.
December: British Year List 230 - Lifers: 0
On the 23rd, we got White-fronted, Tundra Bean and 2 presumed esc. Red-breasted Goose at North Warren RSPB, Suffolk, and then 3 Shorelark and 12 Snow Bunting at Covehithe Broad.
What a year 2014 was. I wonder if I can beat it in 2015.....